MPCA Thanks Partners for a Fantastic 39th Annual Conference

A Message from MPCA President, Danny Winborne

MPCA Corner

The 39th annual Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) conference, Planning for Challenges on the Horizon, was an even greater success than we could have imagined!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was MPCA’s first in-person conference since 2019. While we enjoyed the 2020 and 2021 virtual versions, there is nothing like gathering in one place and sharing the joy, frustration, and sense of accomplishment that is citizen planning.

Fig. 1 – MPCA tour participants view future site of the Downtown Hotel and Conference Center, brownfield redevelopment project located adjacent to Carroll Creek.

The MPCA Executive Committee sincerely thanks our distinguished guest speakers: Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner; Frederick City Mayor Michael O’Connor; Frederick City Planning Commission Chair Barbara Nicklas; Secretary of Planning Robert McCord; and Keynote Speaker Eli Glazier, Transportation Planner Coordinator for the Montgomery County Planning Department.

The Executive Committee also extends its thanks to the many session panelists, tour leaders, sponsors (Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association, Rodgers Consulting, Maryland Department of Planning, and Commuter Choice Maryland), conference attendees, the staff of the Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center, and most importantly, to our wonderful hosts from the City and County of Frederick.

Fig. 2 – Developer, James P. O’Hare, leads a tour of the future site of the Visitation Hotel, an historic former convent and private girls’ school.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the MPCA’s first in-person conference since 2019. We enjoyed the 2020 and 2021 virtual versions, but there is nothing like gathering in one place and sharing the joy, frustration, and sense of accomplishment that citizen planning brings all of us.

We are currently finalizing recordings from Day Two of the conference and will share a conference website with attendees and the public very soon. As for next year’s conference, our 40th annual, stay tuned! More information will be coming soon.

The MPCA has a strong and dedicated membership, and I am honored to be the President of such a vibrant organization!


MPCA Recognizes Maryland’s Citizen Planners

MPCA Corner

by Kristen Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner

Maryland’s citizen planners volunteer endless hours to their communities. Unfortunately, this civic dedication often goes overlooked. However, each year at MPCA’s annual conference, the Executive Committee recognizes the contributions of exceptional citizen planners and/or entire planning boards (planning commissions, boards of zoning appeals, historic district commissions) from around the state. This year was no exception!

Efforts deserving praise include: comprehensive planning; zoning code updates or rewrites; engaging the community in planning efforts or education; economic development initiatives; focused neighborhood revitalization; historic preservation; collaboration with professional planners and the planning community; inter-jurisdictional coordination; and other unique planning programs and initiatives.

At a ceremony on Day Two of the conference held in Frederick City, the MPCA, in partnership with Robert McCord, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning, was gratified to honor four citizen planner nominees, including two individuals and two planning boards/commissions:

Tom Liebel 

Fig. 1 – Planning Secretary, Rob McCord and Baltimore City Planning Director, Chris Ryer, present Tom Liebel, CHAP Chairman, with MPCA Citizen Planner award.

The staff of the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) nominated Chairman, Tom Liebel, for his many contributions in more than ten years of service to historic preservation in Baltimore City.

During his tenure, Liebel oversaw the designation of more than 40 new Baltimore landmarks, three new interior building landmarks (such as the interior of the Senator theater), and four new historic districts. He advocated for the City’s Historic Tax Credit program through three renewal cycles, a celebrated program that has helped restore more than 3,000 properties and has leveraged more than a billion dollars in rehabilitation investment.

Liebel also spearheaded an overhaul of the city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance that created a Preliminary Landmark List, a Baltimore Inventory of Historic Places, and clarified the commission’s role in reviewing city-owned properties. He oversaw several major updates to the city’s Historic Preservation Design Guidelines, including guidelines to address lead-based paint hazards (some of the first in the nation) and for alternative materials.

As a principal architect at Mosely Architects, Liebel applied his expertise in the adaptive reuse of historic industrial buildings to the betterment of thousands of projects. Outside of his role as chairman, Leibel promoted Baltimore’s history and architecture through his involvement in programs like Doors Open Baltimore, the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Historic Resources Committee, and the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Partnership for Building Reuse

Eric Holcomb, Executive Director of CHAP, presented the award, and about Liebel’s service said, “As CHAP chairman, Tom Liebel created a welcome and supportive environment for new staff and commissioners and showed respect for all applicants appearing before the commission. His leadership over the past ten years was critical in forwarding historic preservation in Baltimore City.” 

Jerry Pesterfield

Through his work on the Planning Advisory Board (PAB) and several working groups, Jerry Pesterfield helped Anne Arundel County develop policies promoting smarter growth, more effective environmental protections, and greater fiscal responsibility.

Fig. 2 – Cindy Carrier, Anne Arundel County Planning Administrator, shares her appreciation of Jerry Pesterfield’s contribution to the county.

Pesterfield served as PAB Board Chairman from 2013-2021. He participated in community meetings and guided PAB review of the latest update of the Anne Arundel County General Development Plan, Plan2040. His leadership helped build consensus in support of revisions to the draft plan and helped promote short term actions on affordable housing, renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, and resiliency to environmental challenges such as sea level rise.

During his tenure, Pesterfield provided guidance for the Odenton Town Center Plan and numerous functional plans, including those for land preservation, parks and recreation, and water and sewer infrastructure. In various working groups he also offered leadership on key water quality policies, including the conversion of septic systems, stormwater management fees, and recycling programs. He provided detailed analysis and review of capital budgets as part of the annual review process and via his role on the Spending Affordability Committee, lending critical insight and a sound financial perspective to both.

After retiring in 2004 from his position as a corporate vice president of information technology in the food industry, Pesterfield moved to Anne Arundel County to be near family. His objective was to be involved with and give back to community and non-profit organizations. He says that “getting involved…has been a wonderful learning experience about the county and area where we live. This involvement has been equal to if not more rewarding than my more than 40-year work career.”

Cindy Carrier, AICP, Anne Arundel County Planning Administrator in the Long-Range Planning Office of Planning & Zoning, presented Jerry Pesterfield with his Citizen Planner award certificate.

City of Brunswick Preservation and Revitalization Committee

The MPCA recognized 11 citizen planners for their participation in the development of the City of Brunswick Conservation District Ordinance:

Fig. 3 – Members of the Committee accept award from Secretary McCord.


Abbie Ricketts

Alan Miner 

Brian Keller 

Kelly White (Chairperson) 

Kimberly Brandt

Mary Bellamy 

Andrew Costello 

Ashley Ross 

Jessica Winter 

Bruce Dell 

Abigail Ingram 


The main goal of developing the Conservation District was to preserve historic structures in the downtown area without creating a full historic district; viewed by some in the Brunswick community as a more daunting and controversial option. The City of Brunswick Preservation and Revitalization Committee (Committee) met weekly over a year to develop the Brunswick Conservation District; a very intense schedule for a citizen volunteer committee

Committee members reviewed existing legislation, met with planners from other municipalities (including Frederick and Rockville), and consulted with staff from Preservation Maryland. The resulting document was discussed and changes were made in response to input received in workshops with citizens and business owners. Following a formal legal review, it was submitted to the Planning Commission and then the City Council for approval. 

Brunswick City Councilman, Andrew St. John, who presented the award to the Committee said, “We are very proud of the work that this group put in on what started out as a very controversial subject but resulted in a document that all parties agreed with and supported.” 

Harford County Historic Preservation Commission

For the creation and adoption of the first ever Harford County Historic Preservation Guidelines (Guidelines), a multi-year project (2020-2022), The MPCA recognized seven citizen planners:

Fig. 4 – Harford County staff accept award on the HPC’s behalf, sharing a laugh with Secretary McCord



Carol L. Deible, Chairperson

Daniel G. Coates, Co-Chairperson

Dr. Iris Leigh Barnes

Philip T. McCall

Eric W. Polk

Christina R. Presberry

Jacquelyn M. Seneschal




The Historic Preservation Guidelines enhance the preservation of the places that make Harford County unique. Members of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) served on a subcommittee with county staff and an architectural firm to determine best practices for historic preservation.

Topics ranged from general repair and replacement to sustainability enhancements, as well as the nomination and designation of local historic landmarks and districts. The resulting guidelines are flexible and realistic, recognizing the complexities of balancing preservation with the needs of modern society.

The full HPC reviewed the draft guidelines, offered feedback, solicited public comments, and voted to adopt them. The guidelines are a tool for use by the HPC and county staff when reviewing proposed changes to locally designated properties, as well as a reference for property owners, designers, and contractors. Municipal planning departments and HPCs may also adopt the guidelines to create consistency throughout Harford County among local preservation programs.

The adoption of the Historic Preservation Guidelines fulfills a major historic preservation goal of the county’s Harford NEXT master plan and significantly advances its historic preservation program.

MPCA Welcomes Two New Board Members!

MPCA Corner

by Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner

In addition to informative and stimulating presentations and plenary sessions, the MPCA membership also nominated and elected two new members to the MPCA Board: Theresa Rubio-Dorsey, Chief of Staff and Senior Manager of Fraud Programs at Adobe, Inc., and a Planning Commissioner with the City of Annapolis; and A. Cesante (“A.C.”) Alrey, Business Development Manager with Dorchester County Economic Development, and member of the Planning and Zoning Commission with the City of Cambridge.

They have been kind enough to provide us with short bios, so you can learn a bit about them:

Teresa Rubio-Dorsey is the Chief of Staff and Senior Manager of Fraud Programs at Adobe, Inc. based in the Washington, D.C. office. Digital Fraud & Consumer Protection is a global team designed to detect, mitigate, and prevent internal and external fraud.

Spanning both public and private sectors, Teresa possesses a depth of experience in program management, utility planning, design, and construction. Providing visionary leadership, coupled with developing her teams to achieve extraordinary results, has been the hallmark of her career.

As former Senior Manager of Local Customer Experience at Pacific Gas and Electric Company, she also acted as Division Manager for Silicon Valley, serving the needs of over a million customers. Previously, Teresa has also worked as Director of Utility Sales and Account Management at Ecova, Inc., implementing energy savings programs throughout the Midwest, and spent nearly a decade working for San Diego Gas & Electric in the areas of energy efficiency, and electric/gas distribution, design, and construction.

As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and former national board member of The Elite SDVOB (Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses) Network, Teresa led efforts to qualify, recruit, and expand service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses across the country. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University and dual bachelor’s degrees in Business Management and Marketing from the University of Phoenix. She is currently pursuing her second master’s degree in Cybersecurity and Risk Management at Georgetown University.

A.C. Alrey is an urban and rural development professional with extensive experience in education, business-government-community relations, marketing, and business/client development. He has extensive interest and experience in the overall well-being of communities.

Throughout his career, A.C. served in a variety of public sector roles in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, and Maryland, at both the state and local levels, including: the governor’s office and house of representatives in Michigan; a city council in Texas; and a county commission in Alabama.

A.C. has also held positions within local economic development offices in Texas and throughout Ohio, and community relations positions in multiple states. He has broad expertise in development, planning, regionalism, international relations, arts and culture, education, community engagement, and human development.

In addition to serving on the City of Cambridge’s Planning & Zoning Commission, he is a member of the Maryland Economic Development Association, the Maryland Chapter of the APA, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, and the International Economic Development Council. Previously, A.C. served on planning boards in Holly and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and in Birmingham, Alabama.

A.C. holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Metropolitan Studies from Michigan State University (MSU) and has obtained specialized training in economic development as a graduate of both the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and the Intensive Economic Development Training Course at the University of Auburn.

Please join us in welcoming Teresa and A.C. to the MPCA fold!

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum Receives $49,000 Grant to Study Early Twentieth-Century Rural Wallville Community

National Park Service Funds Will Support Historical and Archaeological Study of Rural Community in Calvert County

From Our Partners

The Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM) and the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), both divisions of the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning), announced last month receiving a $49,000 grant from the Department of Interior’s National Park Service Civil Rights grant program. The grant will support a historical and archaeological study of Calvert County’s Wallville community.

Following the Civil War, newly emancipated Black Marylanders found themselves negotiating a new world, one filled with both opportunities and constraints in southern Maryland, where freed families formed nearly half the population and yet struggled against efforts to perpetuate systems of labor.

JPPM’s “Witnesses of Wallville: Documenting a Rural Southern Maryland Community” project will, with the help of descendants, articulate the history through a focus on Wallville, exploring how the community’s residents crafted new lives as they confronted racism and bigotry into the mid-twentieth century.

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Hogan Administration Announces More Than $19 Million to Revitalize Historic Buildings

Tax Credits Leverage Projects Expected to Create More Than 1,380 Jobs

From Our Partners

Fig. 1 – Photo showing the Fidelity Building located on North Charles Street, Baltimore City.

The Hogan administration announced earlier this month that the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), a division of the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning), has awarded 16 projects more than $19 million in revitalization tax credits, leveraging more than $92 million in additional investment

The Historic Revitalization Tax Credit, administered by MHT, has invested more than $465 million in Maryland rehabilitation projects since 1996. The investments have helped make improvements to 5,331 homeowner and 825 commercial historic structures, preserving buildings that contribute to the distinct character of Maryland’s towns, cities, and rural areas.

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