Pugh appoints Baltimore’s first new permanent planning director in 10 years

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Photo via Southeast Community Development Corporation website

Longtime community planner Chris Ryer is returning to the Baltimore City Department of Planning next month to take over as its director.

Ryer is leaving his job as executive director of the Southeast Community Development Corporation in Highlandtown, where he’s worked since 2007. He’s worked for the city before, including having served as deputy planning director under then-Mayor Martin O’Malley from 2002 to 2006, and started his career there decades earlier as an intern and then a community planner, according to his bio.

He’s also worked for the Trust for Public Lands and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, among others.

Mayor Catherine Pugh announced the appointment this morning. Of Ryer, she said in a statement that “he knows our City intimately and has established a long career working with community and neighborhood organizations and renewal efforts, in addition to working at the State level.”

“I have every confidence that Chris will play an integral role in all that we’re doing to bring about meaningful revitalization and growth in our neighborhoods and across our City.”

He’ll take over for Laurie Feinberg, who’s served as acting director during a transition period following Tom Stosur’s retirement in October 2018.

Stosur had served as director since 2009, and oversaw the implementation of Transform Baltimore, the city’s zoning code overhaul (for which Feinberg served as project manager), the redevelopment of Harbor East, Harbor Point and other areas. He also helmed the department during the early stages of development of Port Covington, the implementation of parts of the Green Network plan and widespread redevelopment surrounding city schools under the 21st Century Schools’ INSPIRE program.

Nearly three dozen people applied for the position, the Baltimore Business Journal reported in September 2018.

Ryer’s first day on the job will be Feb. 11.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
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