Digital Planning Directors Roundtable a Success

Planning in Progress

On Thursday, April 16, the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) conducted its first ever videoconference Planning Directors Roundtable. With more than 80 attendees, it was a big success! Planning conducts approximately three roundtables a year (it varies), but with the COVID-19 Pandemic, the typical in-person meeting in Crownsville was not an option. Staff from our Planning Data and Research and Planning Coordination Divisions, with a hefty assistance from our Communications staff, used the GoToWebinar platform (which we frequently use for webinars), to host a virtual meeting blending PowerPoints, polling, webcam presentations, and live discussion. There were a few minor technical difficulties, but we powered through like planners do. A big thank you to Kathy Maher, AICP, Director of Planning and Code Administration for the City of Hagerstown, and Robert Kronenberg, Deputy Director of the Montgomery County Planning Department, for sharing their insight during the Planning in a Pandemic session.

Check out a recording of the roundtable and the presentations at the Maryland Planning Directors Roundtable webpage.

The roundtable included four sessions on the following topics:

Housing Element Models and Guidelines

2019 HB 1045 legislation mandates the inclusion of a housing element in all new or updated Maryland comprehensive plans developed after June 1, 2020. This session reviewed the resources and tools that the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) is developing to assist jurisdictions and provide input on matters that most benefit your community. If you are interested in getting more involved in this effort by joining a local planner workgroup, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager for Planning, at

Solar Facility Siting Guidance

The Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting completed its interim report in December 2019. One of the report’s recommendations is the development of guidance for local governments, including best practices, and zoning and siting examples. This session explored the resources and examples that Planning is developing to educate jurisdictions on this complex issue. We are seeking local government feedback on the content of a new solar siting guidance website. If you would like to get more involved and provide input, please Contact Jason Dubow, Resource and Conservation Manager for Planning, at

Planning During a Pandemic

Kathy Maher and Robert Kronenberg described the innovative methods and technologies that the City of Hagerstown and Montgomery County are using to maintain department operations and community engagement during the pandemic.

Census 2020 Self-Response Dashboard

Planning’s State Data Center staff updated participants on Census 2020 efforts, including the self-response rate dashboard, which includes an interactive map updated daily at 3 p.m. Dashboard users can select the date and type of response (internet and total) and track responses locally by county, municipality, and census tract. Please access the following links to learn how you can track Census response rates in your community.

Census Bureau Response Rates

Census Self-Response Rankings Dashboard

Maryland Census Response Rates at a Glance


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