About Charles North and CHAP (Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation)

Charles North is a diverse, vibrant community in Central Baltimore, the heart of the Station North Arts & Entertainment District, and a mix of historic residential and commercial structures, magnificent churches, entertainment and dining venues, and “a funk” found nowhere else in the City.  Our rough boundaries are the Jones Falls to the West, 22nd Street to the North, Hargrove Alley to the East, and Mount Royal Ave. to the South.  While Charles North has significant historic assets which need to be preserved, maintained and restored,  we're also a community on the move and looking towards the future, with major commercial, institutional, residential, and arts-related developments recently completed (The Univ. of Baltimore Angelos Law Center, the Motor House, the Centre Theatre, the Pen & Quill restaurant, the prominent LED billboard) and more coming soon (The Parkway Theatre, the Lanvale St. Residences, the former Odell's, etc.).

 The Charles North Community Association (CNCA) is the community association of record for this neighborhood, as specified by the Charles North Urban Renewal Plan, which is enforced by City ordinance. CNCA is currently exploring the possibility of implementing a CHAP (Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation) District for the neighborhood.  While many CHAP Districts exist in Baltimore to ensure historical preservation, the Charles North District would be unique, in that our goal is to both honor and preserve our past, and embrace our future as the premiere arts, entertainment, and cultural crossroads in Baltimore.  We envision accomplishing this through a set of standards for new design and construction, as well as rehabilitation of existing historic structures, that preserves historically significant buildings, encourages dramatic new architecture in context, and keeps “the funk” that is the hallmark of the Station North District. 

Artistic Expression Zone – One major element of a Charles North CHAP District will be the creation and designation of Charles North as an Artistic Expression Zone.  The purpose of this zone is to encourage significant artistic creativity within Charles North while at the same time respecting the historic character of the overall neighborhood and many of its buildings. The guiding principle behind artistic expression and historic preservation is the idea that “alterations that are made in the spirit of artistic expression should be reversible in nature and should not in any way disrupt original or significant architectural features.”  This will be a unique designation for Charles North, currently found in no other CHAP District within the city of Baltimore.

New Construction Guidelines – Another major element of a Charles North CHAP District will be the development of a set of rather unique guidelines for new construction in the neighborhood.  With an abundance of empty surface lots, etc., the potential for large scale development here in Charles North is enormous.  Yet, currently, there are rather limited construction guidelines for that development and very little opportunity for direct community involvement in the design and development process.  The guiding principles behind these guidelines will be community review and continuity within the historic fabric of Charles North.

There are both benefits and costs to becoming a CHAP District in the city of Baltimore.  Benefits include increased property values because of the preserved character of the community as a whole.  This is accomplished over time as the community itself is held to a higher standard of preservation than in other non-CHAP Districts.  Another benefit is the increase in historical continuity within the District as the risk of offensive or architecturally inappropriate buildings or renovations is reduced across the District.  This leads to a more pleasant urban atmosphere in which to live, work and play. Costs include reduced autonomy over new constr