City's Planning Department reorganizing

Changes aimed at giving it larger development role

October 21, 2003|By Laura Vozzella | Laura Vozzella,SUN STAFF

The city Planning Department is undergoing a reorganization intended to give it a more active role in charting the city's development.

Otis Rolley III, who became planning director in August, is eliminating 16 jobs, creating 20 new ones and replacing six divisions with three.

Those changes, expected to take effect by Jan. 1, will help the agency guide Baltimore's development - a mission set out for the department in the city charter, but one that it got away from over the years, Rolley said.

"It's been over 30 years since we had a citywide comprehensive plan," Rolley said. "That's gonna change."

The agency has shrunk from an all-time high of 120 employees in the 1970s to 36 workers today. But the department has not been reorganized in that time.

"The organizational structure still indicates a huge organization, so we had a lot of managers," Rolley said. "It doesn't reflect what I have now. ... We had these six divisions. Some of these divisions had only a supervisor, no people in it."

Agency employees can apply for the newly created jobs, but there are no guarantees. Those who are not rehired will get help finding work elsewhere, Rolley said.

"We'll do everything in our power to make sure folks stay employed," he said.

The agency will have three divisions: land use and urban design, which will handle development and site plan reviews, permits and zoning; comprehensive planning, which will cover community, transportation and environmental planning; and research and strategic planning, which will focus on public policy and statistical analysis.

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