Adopt-A-Lot Program

Adopting a city-owned vacant lot can improve living conditions in your neighborhood.  You and your neighbors can create a peaceful and enjoyable space for everyone to share.  It not only improves your neighborhood, it helps the City become a beautiful and productive place to live for everyone!

What is the Adopt-a-Lot Program?

The Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development’s Adopt-A-Lot program allows residents, businesses or neighborhood groups to steward and care for city-owned vacant lots in their community.  The program gives you the opportunity to use the Department of Housing and Community Development’s city-owned vacant lots near your home or business for your own benefit and your neighborhood's benefit without the burden of taxes or other financial obligations that come with ownership. 

Who May Participate?

Any Baltimore City resident, civic or non-profit organization, school group, business or neighborhood group committed to caring for the vacant lot in their neighborhood is eligible to adopt a lot from the City of Baltimore.

What Can I Do on an Adopted Lot?

An Adopt-A-Lot license holder is able to create community spaces that include, but is not limited to:

  • Community Gardens

    A community garden is a garden collectively managed by a group of people producing not-for-profit fruits, vegetables, flowers or plants for attractive appearance. These types of applications will require additional vetting and site plans.

  • Clean and Green Spaces

    Clean and green spaces are primarily maintenance and minimal beautification. Examples include mowed grass with perhaps a neighborhood sign and/or small flower beds.

  • Recreational Spaces

    Examples of recreational spaces include chess parks, horseshoe pits, meditation spaces and other passive recreational activities. These types of applications will require additional vetting and site plans.

What CAN’T I Do on an Adopted Lot?

Adopted lots CANNOT be used for:

  • Parking

  • Carwashes

  • Dog Parks

  • Playgrounds

  • For Profit Businesses

Individuals seeking these types of uses should contact DHCD Development Division at 410-396-4111 to speak with a Neighborhood Development Officer to identify an appropriate location.

Where are the lots?

Vacant lots owned by the City of Baltimore are scattered throughout the City.  You can search our map to identify city-owned lots that are available to adopt.  The map will show you which lots are available and which lots have been adopted. 

Additionally, we encourage you to contact the neighborhood development officer for your area. Use the Neighborhood Development Officer Map to see which officer works in your area. 

What is the cost?  How do I adopt?

It is FREE to adopt a lot!  Your application will be reviewed and pending approval, the adoption will be finalized within 60 days.

The application period is now closed, and will reopen beginning February 1, 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 410-396-4111. 

How Do I Bring Water to My Lot?

The Department of Housing and Community Development has partnered with the Water Department to give site stewards of both City and privately owned community open space the ability to access water for their site for a flat rate of $120 for each growing season (March 1st through November 1st). Please be aware that the $120 will not be prorated and that should be taken into consideration when submitting an application. 

To apply for water access, you will be required to complete the Water Access ApplicationOnce your application is reviewed, a Water Access Agreement will be emailed to you. You must return your signed agreement and mail in the $120 payment in order for the service request for access to be submitted.   Once  payment is received, the service request is submitted and an inspector will assess your site for water availability. IF PAYMENT IS NOT RECEIVED, WATER SERVICE WILL NOT BE TURNED ON

If water is available, the inspector will install a device that you can connect a hose to and will contact you to provide instructions on how to use it.  If water access is not available, your original $120 payment will be returned to you with information for other options.

What do I do if I have questions or concerns about my adopted lot?

If you have any questions, please contact us at 410-396-4111 or email [email protected] and your question will be routed appropriately.

Community Managed Open Space Resource Links

A program thru Recreation & Parks that offers garden plots for rent (small fee) to City residents and employees located in city parks. Some supplies and Community Liaison support provided.

A blog and online manual provided by The Community Law Center, explaining legal concepts that affect urban agriculture including nuisance abatement.

A collective plan created with an interconnected network of greenspaces throughout the City, helping to strengthen communities through greening efforts.


First Week of February   -  Garden Season Opens!  Start Submitting Applications

First Week of October   -  Last week to submit water access and Adopt-A-Lot applications

First Week of November  -  Garden Season Ends!  Applications for water access are not accepted. Existing water connections will be disconnected until next season.

Thank you for your interest in the Baltimore City Adopt-A-Lot Program.  We look forward to working with you and your groups.