The Mid-Atlantic Planning Collaboration

Planning for the New Normal - Interact Regionally - Act Locally

The Mid-Atlantic Planning Collaboration is a joint venture of the Maryland, National Capital Area, Virginia and West Virginia Chapters along with the Maryland Department of Planning, Maryland Planning Commissioners Association, Rural Planning Caucus of Virginia and West Virginia University's Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic. The intent is to address topics that may be of interest to people involved in planning at all levels across multiple regions.

In November and December of 2020, the Collaboration is launching an 8-part webinar series addressing a variety of topics. Special thanks must be given to the Ohio Chapter for aiding with the webinar hosting.

  • November 5  1 pm -2:30 pm ET (Law CM) Land Use Law Update

This session discusses recent significant court cases that impact land use planners. Given the geographic diversity of the audience, the presentation focuses on federal court cases and significant court cases that impact planning practice across the country. “Hot topics” to be covered include legal issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, telecommunications, regulatory takings, short-term rentals and First Amendment issues.


  • November 10  1 pm-2:30 pm ET (Ethics CM) Ethics

This virtual session considers the American Planning Association’s Ethics Case of the Year with discussion and commentary by experienced members of the AICP. The presenters will use questions to elicit self-reflection from participants and prompt participants to consider how they may react to a situation or scenario.


  • November 12  1 pm-2:30 pm ET (Law CM) Sign ordinances

When the United States Supreme Court decided Reed v. Gilbert in 2015, many local sign ordinances become unconstitutional. In the five years since Reed, federal court decisions have clarified some of the issues raised but many issues remain unclear. Legal experts will discuss recent court decisions and particularly difficult issues like on premise v. off premise signs. Unique issues arising when regulating signs in historic districts will also be discussed.


  • November 24  1 pm-2 pm ET Better Public Engagement-

Public engagement has always been challenging and will be transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. How should we engage citizens during and after the pandemic? The challenges are even more daunting in rural and low-income due to broadband deficiencies. This session explores innovative ways to better engage citizens while also advancing equity. 


  • December 1  1 pm -2 pm ET The Planner’s Tool Kit

The Planner’s Tool Kit includes zoning ordinances, subdivision and land development ordinances, and a variety of other regulatory and non-regulatory approaches. With new and unique issues to address, even experienced planners struggle to identify which tool or combination of tools most effectively addresses the issues. Complicating the issue, enabling authority and preemption may rather arbitrarily limit the use of some tools. This session engages participants in a discussion of how to address unique issues most effectively while shielding the local government from liability.


  • December 3 1:00 pm-2:30 pm ET (Law CM) Legal Issues with Green Energy

Across the country, state governments incentivize development of green energy, often without consideration for local impacts. When companies seek to site wind turbines, solar panels and other green energy infrastructure, the authority of local governments and state governments often remains unclear. Attorneys from Mid-Atlantic states will discuss the legal issues impacting land use planners in the siting of green energy infrastructure, including the limits of local government authority.


  • December 8  1 pm- 2 pm ET BROADBAND

With COVID-19, the rural divide just became bigger. The presence of adequate broadband impacts distance learning K-12 in Higher Education, economic development and many other aspects of land use planning. This session discusses how planners can impact broadband distribution through telecommunications ordinances, comprehensive plans and other local ordinances and policies. The discussion will include the uncertainties surrounding small cells and 5G technology.


  • December 17  1 pm-2:30 pm ET Equity Planning

Recent events, unfortunately neither new nor novel, lay bare the historical legacy and persistent injustice of systemic racism in American society. The compounded and disproportionate impacts of Covid-19 and political/economic oppression demonstrate how the decisions and actions of those in authority at all levels deny communities of color equitable access to the benefits of citizenship. The planning profession is guilty of contributing to this legacy, through unfair housing policies, exclusionary zoning, capital investment and disinvestment decisions, and infrastructure development, among others. This session will explore how some communities and organizations in the Mid-Atlantic are proactively addressing this legacy and ensuring that equity is included in the planning process from community engagement through development review.