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July 16, 2024
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North Harbor Area of Special Sign Control

Downtown Billboards

In partnership with Orange Barrel Media (OBM) and Capitol Outdoor Media, Downtown Partnership is excited to launch a large-format digital sign network north of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Regarding Signage Issues

Upon the launch of a new sign district, an initial testing phase is conducted. The signs undergo testing, refinements are coordinated with the manufacturer, and necessary changes are implemented. This phase may involve outages and additional construction for improvements. Testing and refinement will continue until the end of January, with collaborative efforts across manufacturing, installation, and software teams to identify and address improvements promptly.

These billboards will provide much more for our community than meets the eye.

They will serve as a free marketing resource for small and local businesses, a space to spotlight artists who call Charm City home, and open the door for Baltimore to host future world-class sporting events.
— Shelonda Stokes, President Downtown Partnership

THE WHY

Benefitting Artists, Small Businesses, and Adding Vitality

Exposure for Artists and Small Businesses

DPOB will be given 10-20% of time on each digital sign in the ASSC to display community content and promote small businesses. This annual value of free advertising is approximately $2.5M.

Additional Funding

DPOB will receive 5% of annual gross revenue from advertising sales on each sign in the ASSC; 1% to DPOB for program administration, and 1% to each of Baltimore’s four Arts & Entertainment Districts

Enhanced Vitality

Signs will support Baltimore placemaking, provide enhanced lighting, and promote public safety.

To Benefit Baltimore's A&E Districts

1% of advertising profits will be distributed to each of Baltimore’s four Arts and Entertainment districts (totaling 4% of the 5%).

Clean Zones

Clean Zones are required to attract major events to Baltimore. We are future focused when it comes to working with our partners to attract world-renowned events.

THE WHERE

Sign Locations

300 S Charles Street

Southeast Coming Soon

100 S Charles Street

Southwest Coming Soon

100 S Charles Street

Northeast Online

36 S Charles Street

Southeast Online

30 Light Street

Southwest Online

100 E Pratt Street

Northwest Online

100 E Pratt Street

Northeast Online

204 E Lombard Street

Southeast Coming Soon

601 E Pratt Street

Northwest Coming Soon

124 Market Place

Northeast Online

55 Market Place

Southeast Online

Sign locations were chosen based on the interest of local property owners.

Click here to explore an interactive location map.

This map shows the ASSC boundary in Baltimore, as well as the location of all current and future billboards.

THE HOW

Legislative Process

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore sponsored the North Harbor ASSC (Area of Special Sign Control) legislation and Planning Commission Boundary approval for the area north of the Inner Harbor, along Pratt Street north to Baltimore Street, from President Street to Howard Street. This process began back in 2020.

What is an area of special sign control?
It’s a provision allowed under Title 17, which in this case is being used to allow large format signage (billboards) to be installed within an approved boundary area, not to exceed the maximum allowed signage area as designated by the Planning Department.

Steps in the Right Direction

  • October 18, 2021: The District boundaries were reviewed by the Planning Department and were approved by City Council.
  • December 16, 2021: A public hearing was scheduled for the ASSC sign plan project for the following addresses — 1 E. Pratt, 10 E Pratt, 100 E. Pratt, 124 Market Place, 30 Light, 300 S. Charles, 36 S. Charles, 55 market Place, 601 E. Pratt.
  • A postponement of the hearing was requested and grated
  • March 3, 2022: The ASSC hearing at Planning Commission, originally scheduled for December 16, 2021, was held. The Planning Commission approved six billboards. Read more about that here. 
  • May 7, 2022: An updated sign plan was drafted to account for all feedback from planning commission.
  • May 19, 2022: The Planning commission approved the 5 signs on the updated sign plan that went before commission on May 19th. To date the following signs 11 have been approved.
  • Summer-Fall 2022: A community advisory panel was formed to oversee the 20% community content share. The panel consists of residents, small business owners, nonprofit partners, artists, and community stakeholders.
  • November 2023: First two signs installed at 36 S. Charles Street and 100 E Pratt Street.