Information for Neighborhoods

Community Law Center has materials written specifically to assist leaders of neighborhood associations. Below are some materials that you may find helpful. You may also wish to check our workshops, clinics, and training schedule for additional opportunities to learn more about the legal tools available to assist your community association.

Strengthening Baltimore’s Neighborhoods: A Legal Handbook for Community Associations (2nd edition, 2018)

Community Law Center has updated our manual created especially for Baltimore City’s community associations. “Strengthening Baltimore’s Neighborhoods: A Legal Guide for Community Associations,” will help community leaders run more efficient and effective meetings, update bylaws, maintain the organization’s corporate status, utilize laws designed to help neighborhoods, and much more! To order a printed copy for $25 plus $4 shipping, click here!

The Community Association’s Guide to the Development Process in Baltimore City

The Community Associations's Grocess in Baltimore City coverNew development can bring all sorts of things to a community – new housing, commercial or retail space, industrial or manufacturing uses, schools, and parks. Sometimes these are resources the residents of the community need, and at other times, residents do not see their needs reflected in the proposed development. Sometimes a community may seek simple, minor changes to the development plans. Other times, a community may seek major changes to development plans, based on concerns about construction noise, traffic disruption, damage to their homes, local hiring, environmental pollution, and other impacts on quality of life. Regardless of whether the community supports or opposes the planned development, community organizations need a voice in the decision-making process from the outset.

This manual provides a basic overview of the development process in Baltimore City and advises community leaders about ways to insert themselves into the process. Community organizations should contact Community Law Center as soon as possible when development related issues arise, as legal representation is often highly advisable and every situation requires advice specific to the circumstances involved.

Community Benefits Agreements: Tools for Equitable Development

A CBA is a binding agreement between a developer and an organized community group regarding a specific development project.  Learn how your community can use this tool for equitable development.

Fight Blight Using the Community Bill of Rights

An alley full of garbage. A breeding ground for rats. An empty lot that now resembles a landfill. A collapsed, dangerous row home. These are just a few of the various manifestations of blight that can come from just a single nuisance property. Fortunately, community associations can do something about these properties, even if the owner refuses to take responsibility or City code enforcement is unable to address it. The Community Bill of Rights statute (Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. § 14-123) authorizes Baltimore City community associations to seek the enforcement of many Baltimore City Code provisions.

Legal Services Available to Community Greeners

Is your community association involved in a community garden? If so, the Community Law Center can help you determine you navigate legal obstacles and secure legal rights.

Baltimore City Adopt-A-Lot Program

Community Law Center has received questions from community associations entering Adopt-a-Lot license agreements primarily regarding two issues: liability and license termination. This document contains brief explanations of these provisions of the license agreement. These explanations do not constitute legal advice, but are merely intended to be informational. A group seeking specific legal advice regarding its Adopt-a-Lot project should consult an attorney.

Using Self-Help Nuisance Abatement to Clean Up Vacant Lots

SCENARIO: A privately-owned vacant lot in Baltimore City is covered with three-foot weeds and overgrown shrubs and trees, creating a haven for rats. Additionally, trash is strewn throughout the property and a few individuals have started to use the lot as a dumping ground for unwanted tires, sofas, and so on. A group of concerned neighbors is tired of looking at the eyesore and wants to clean it up. Furthermore, they would like to turn the lot into something attractive and productive for the community, to ensure that it does not return to the current situation once it is cleaned up. WHAT CAN THE COMMUNITY DO ABOUT THIS SITUATION?

Tips For Your Neighborhood Association to Successfully Work With An Attorney

If assigned an attorney through Community Law Center, your organization may be represented by one of Community Law Center’s staff attorneys or by a member of the private bar who has volunteered time and resources to work with your organization. In either situation, the following information should help ensure that your organization understands what is involved in working with an attorney, which will help your organization in receiving the best services for its legal needs.

Legal Tools for Urban Agriculture in Baltimore City (1st edition, 2015)

Legal Tools for Urban Agricultin Baltimore City 2015 coverAs urban agriculture continues to grow in Baltimore City, it is important that groups intending to start urban agriculture projects are familiar with the legal tools available to them. This manual is designed to educate individuals that either currently operate or intend to create an urban agriculture project in Baltimore City. Topics covered include choosing an organizational structure for the project, gaining legal access to land and complying with regulatory restrictions on the land, accessing water for the project, complying with laws regarding keeping animals in the city, distributing produce and farm products, protecting the project from liability, and hiring employees to work on the project. Free for download.