Maryland APA

The Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association

Welcome to the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association's Website.  Our mission is to make great communities happen in Maryland by offering continuing professional development and other valuable services to our members that will enable them to excel in their practice. We advocate for excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, and providing our members with the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change. We hold a bi-annual conference, produce a quarterly newsletter, offer continuous opportunities to network, and experience new and varied educational opportunities across the state.


The Impact of the New Town Columbia on Howard County: A 50 Years Retrospective

Columbia is the most celebrated of the new towns built in the 1960s. Recently on its 50th anniversary, it received considerable journalistic and scholarly attention as a successful example of a planned Community.

Yet it is striking that little attention has been given to the effects that new towns have on the surrounding area. How do new towns influence the development of their ‘host’ regions? This article addresses these questions by analyzing Columbia’s impact on Howard County.

Read Entire Article Here.

APA-Maryland 2018 Elections

On March 15, APA-Maryland will begin the call for nominations for our 2018 election cycle.  APA-Maryland’s elections will now be held in concert with the National APA election cycle, and will be administered by APA-National. Because of a recent change in the APA-Maryland bylaws, we now have staggered two-year terms for all of our officers. This year we will be holding elections for the positions of Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Officers elected to each of these positions will be in office for two years, from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020.

We also have a vacancy in our President-Elect position. The President-Elect automatically becomes President at the end of the current President’s term. The current vacancy means that, when elected, the President-Elect will only serve one year before becoming President on January 1, 2020, and will then serve a full two-year term.

Chapter members who are interested in being nominated for an office should send an email to so that their request will be forwarded to the Nominating Committee. All nominees shall be Chapter members and shall be in good standing with both the Chapter and the APA. Associate members are not eligible for nomination. Once each nominee accepts their nomination, the Committee will submit all nominations to APA no later than May 15, 2018 for placement on the ballot. After this time, any Chapter member, in good standing with both the Chapter and the APA, may petition to be put on the ballot. The petition shall indicate the office being sought and shall be signed by at least ten (10) Chapter members.

The 2018 election schedule is below:

March 15: Begin the Call for Nominations.

May 15: Firm deadline for submission of names of potential nominated candidates.

May 15: Firm deadline for receiving electronic position statements of all potential nominated candidates.

June 15: Member list for ballot distribution prepared, for members eligible to vote in the election.

July 10: Firm deadline for receiving petition candidates, and their position statements/bios.

August 7: Ballots available online, reminders emailed to all chapter/division members.

September 7: Firm deadline for receipt of ballots from membership

September 14: Survey Ballot Systems certifies election results and prepares report to National for dissemination to Chapters/Divisions

January 1, 2019: Newly elected leaders take office

Ellicott City: Is Past Prologue? A Recap by Peter Conrad

Post Disaster Planning on Ellicott City

This past January 31th, on a rather chilly night in Ellicott City, some 40 planners gathered to hear about the ongoing master planning effort for Ellicott City.  This event, sponsored by the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association, provided attendees with an opportunity to hear about Howard County’s post-flood planning process and earn 1 hour of CM credits.

Ellicott City, if you recall, was devastated by a flash flood on the evening of July 30, 2016, at a time when many visitors were enjoying its restaurants and taverns.  The toll that night was significant for this historic community; at least 90 businesses were affected, 107 homes that house 190 residents were flooded, dozens of vehicles were washed into the Patapsco and two people lost their lives.  The onset of flooding from the over 6 inches of rain that fell in just two hours was so fast that first responders performed 120 swift water rescues.  There was significant damage to the towns streets and sidewalks that Main Street remained closed for more than two months as businesses and residents cleaned up from the floods and began repairing damaged buildings, streets, utilities and sidewalks. Main Street reopened to vehicle and pedestrian traffic on October 6, 2016.

Nationally, significant post disaster planning efforts have been on the rise, particularly in East Coast states after Hurricane Sandy.  To be successful, these efforts need to be sensitive to the immediate physical, financial and emotional concerns of the impacted businesses and residents.  Howard County formed a Community Advisory Group (CAG) which was charged with bringing the gap between short/intermediate disaster response and longer-term planning.  The CAG was an important part of the process as it brought the community together to share concerns and discuss recovery efforts, with government officials there mostly to listen.  As the CAG proceeded to meet into the fall the agenda broadened to include learning about recovery methods in other communities.  Finally, the group was an important mechanism to gather ideas and develop a local framework to incorporate into master plan.  The CAGs Final Report is a good example for other communities faced with bridging the gap between short/intermediate term and long-term recovery.

The two major partners in this planning effort, the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) and Mahan-Rykiel Associates, Inc., the lead consultant, coordinated the session.  This presentation was introduced by Peter G. Conrad, Deputy Director, first shared an overview of the flood event, the response efforts in the months following the flood, and the steps leading up to the master plan process.  Mahan-Rykiel staff Megan Griffith and Jeff Dube followed with additional details on the components and steps involved in the master plan to date and laid out the model to an Integrated Approach to Resiliency.

We had an engaged crowd that night as there were several questions regarding the flood modeling, the public engagement process and the local business management structure.  Several attendees were inspired after the event to support the Ellicott City revitalization by gathering at the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company for some after-event socializing and networking.

More details on the planning effort can be found on the Howard County Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan website.  Interested in seeing what you missed?  The presentation is available here

The Maryland Chapter is interested in supporting more events like these – if you have any ideas or suggestions please contact us at

Peter G. Conrad, AICP

Deputy Director, Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning



Olivia Vidotto's Southern Maryland Regional Report

2018 has been a great year so far; cold, but that doesn’t stop us from staying engaged! MD APA is working towards many informative and fun events for the upcoming year.

We are planning a very exciting one-day event scheduled for Friday, May 18th at Serenity Farms in southern Maryland.  I am working with Bernie Fowler Jr., founder of Farming 4 Hunger, a 501(c) 3 non-profit, and our keynote speaker for the 2016 APA Maryland conference.  

Farming 4 Hunger started as a way to feed the hungry by growing fresh produce and distributing it locally.  It has quickly evolved into a community outreach program, has become an educational source for our youth on agriculture and team building, and has taught coaching for life building skills designed for the inmates who work on the farm.  Other programs have sprung from this work, like the “Getting Ahead While Getting Out” program, which is part of the 2nd Chances Initiative.  This program works to give prisoners a true second chance upon completing their sentence.  The farm has also become a place of healing and memorializing loved ones lost from addictions.  Farming 4 Hunger has won numerous awards and is being used as a model not just in other counties in Maryland, but nationwide.  

Farming 4 Hunger is in the spotlight right now and Bernie’s words are sought all across the nation. This is not an event to miss. Attendance will be limited so mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details.

I am looking forward to doing some after work social events. A few ideas are to visit the National Building Museum in Washington, DC on a Saturday and to host a few webinars.  I welcome all thoughts and ideas on places and topics for this upcoming year.  I am always available via email or phone for discussions on events, continuing education or any concerns.  Spring is coming but winter is here for another six weeks according to that groundhog, so stay warm everyone.

Olivia Vidotto,

Southern MD APA representative



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New Blog! The PDF Newsletter is no longer!

We have decided to move from our quarterly Newsletter - The Maryland Planner - to a Blog. published regularly. But if you are wanting to find a previous issue of The Maryland Planner, fear not(!) - we have them listed below.

New Blog posts will appear here shortly. In the meantime - we are opening the Blog section to all members to contribute. If you would like to contribute a story - please send it to Text (and pictures if relevant) are all we need!








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