Michael Bayer - AICP

Michael Bayer is an AICP-certified urban planner with two decades of multidisciplinary experience, at all scales, from site and facility planning to local comprehensive plans and zoning; regional and statewide transportation, land use and infrastructure planning; park and trail planning; as well expertise in environmental policy and impact assessment.

His approach is to identify the needs of the planning effort, listen carefully and respectfully to all stakeholders, and build collaborative relationships among colleagues and clients that generate collaborative solutions. This involves defining measurable goals and objectives, performing excellent technical analysis, and planning for, executing and achieving desired project and policy outcomes, within an integrated planning process. On all projects, he seeks to integrate planning and design considerations with strategic thinking informed by key stakeholders and the public.

At the Federal level, Michael has managed a large partnership construction project for the National Park Service from feasibility through design and the creation of a fundraising plan, culminating in the approval by NPS Director Jon Jarvis.  At the State level, he has managed key elements of the Public School Construction Program, collaborating with local and state planners to allocate more than $300 million in annual capital project funding.

A native of Milwaukee, Michael began his career as a journalist at several Midwest newspapers, developing skills he combined with his planning experience to co-author the book, Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design, published by John Wiley & Sons.  This collective experience has led him to focus his work at the nexus of planning and implementation. 

His journalism experience provides him with a skill set unique to the typical urban planner, with an exceptional ability to formulate the "right" questions, listen to what's being said - as well as what's not being said - and identify and collect all the information needed to make important decisions. Also unique is his ability to facilitate and guide implementation by combining creative approaches and consensus building with the hard skills of project management.

  • Comprehensive land use planning

  • Facilities planning

  • Federal planning

  • Regional planning

  • Land use and transportation integration

  • Stakeholder engagement

  • Strategic planning

  • Business planning

  • Value analysis

  • Choosing by Advantages decision making

Selected Accomplishments

  • Leading the State of Maryland’s Planning Infrastructure and Development unit, responsible for reviewing more than $300 million in elementary and secondary (K-12) school facility planning, design and construction projects annually; coordinating statewide redevelopment efforts through the Reinvest Maryland initiative in coordination with the Sustainable Growth Commission; managing the agency’s annual work plan for the Maryland Department of Transportation; and reviewing all power facilities in Maryland proposed to generate at least 69kV.

  • Led the development, from feasibility through schematic design, of the $40 million Salt River Bay Marine Research and Education Center (MREC), a partnership construction project of the National Park Service, Government of the Virgin Islands and university partners led by the University of the Virgin Islands.  The MREC is one of the largest partnership construction projects in NPS, and the largest in the Southeast Region (based in Atlanta).  Drove funding acquisition, leading to more than $7 million in grant funding and in-kind support to the project.

  • Created, led and managed a multi-disciplinary team to support the MREC.  Brought together university researchers, resource managers, government leaders, community stakeholders to support the project and work with architects, engineers and curriculum experts to develop the program.  Engaged more than 50 people in the project in various roles and capacities.

  • Served as lead planner and author of several innovative comprehensive and facility plans in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

  • Authored the leading book for prospective urban planners, Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design, with sales of more than 4,000 copies.

Professional Experience

2016-Present - Manager of Infrastructure and Development - Maryland Department of Planning, Baltimore, MD

  • Manage the five-person state planning unit that helps to strengthen existing communities through infrastructure planning, coordination and funding, as well as place-based economic development and community revitalization. I work with local governments and other state, regional and federal agencies to facilitate the efficient and cost effective use of land and infrastructure investment within established communities and targeted growth areas, consistent with local governments' plans and in a way that reinforces prior public and private investments; enhances residents' access to jobs, shopping, services and amenities and businesses' access to employees and consumers; and contributes to a safe and healthy environment.

  • Serve as the Maryland Department of Planning’s Secretary’s Designee on the Interagency Commission for School Construction (IAC).  In this role, I provide planning and technical support to the IAC, the Secretary of Planning and to all 24 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in the State of Maryland.  Together with the IAC staff, I develop the state’s annual Capital Improvement Program for schools and review proposed projects and project budgets for all state-eligible project submissions, including replacement schools, renovations and systemic improvements. My role includes coordinating with the State Data Center on annual statewide K-12 enrollment projections and reviewing them against local projections; reviewing and providing input on local Educational Facilities Master Plans; reviewing and verifying the staterated capacities of all public schools; reviewing and approving proposed school sites, including the location of new buildings, roads and other facilities against state standards and requirements and Maryland’s Smart Growth laws. I review proposed space needs programs and educational specifications on all projects against enrollment projections to right-size projects and determine state funding eligibility.  I am working with IAC staff on an initiative to develop and implement sufficiency standards for classroom and educational program space to create a data-driven process to allocate future funding and improve the overall condition of all K-12 public educational facilities in Maryland.

  • Developing the Reinvest Maryland website:

  • Developing and managing content for the Smart Growth Network, including hosting a series of webinars on national planning topics:

2016-2016 - Principal Planner - Calvert County Planning and Zoning Department, Prince Frederick, MD

  • Senior member of the Development Review team in charge of reviewing residential and commercial development proposals throughout Calvert County.  Coordinated input and development of the County’s on-going comprehensive plan update with staff and the consultant team, including public input and completion of capacity analyses with the consultant and, concurrently, with the Maryland Department of Planning utilizing the state’s growth model.

2014-Present - Principal - PlanChampion LLC, Baltimore, MD

  • Partnering with a variety of firms on local and federal planning initiatives, as well as site, sector and comprehensive plans throughout Maryland.

2007-2014 - Senior Project Manager/Urban Planner - Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Annapolis, MD

  • Led the development of the Salt River Bay Marine Research and Education Center, at the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve on St. Croix, in the United States Virgin Islands as project manager for the Joint Institute for Caribbean Marine Studies (JICMS).

  • Served as project manager and lead planner on the Access, Stewardship and Interpretive Opportunity Plan for Water Portions of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail in Maryland (the “Water Trails Plan”), State of Maryland and NPS, Maryland, DC and Virginia, a partnership between the State of Maryland and the National Park Service.  Recommended more than $3 million in infrastructure improvements along the Patuxent, Patapsco, Potomac rivers and the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

  • Served as project manager and primary author of the Cecil County’s first comprehensive plan in 18 years.  County is expected to absorb significant growth during the next 30 years, given

  • its proximity to the Aberdeen Proving Ground and exurban growth from Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore.  Led the development of the plan and guided a 37-member citizens’ oversight committee with disparate interests to consensus, with the Maryland Department of the Environment commending the plan’s water resources element.

  • Consulted as lead planner for the Subregion 5 and 6 Master Plans, Maryland National Park and Planning Commission, Prince George’s County, MD.  Plans examined the county’s Rural Tier and agricultural preservation programs, zoning, water and sewer capacity and land use issues related to Base, Realignment and Closure (BRAC), the Andrews Air Force Base Maryland Air Installation Compatible Use Zone and projected growth.  

2001- 2007 - Project Manager/Urban Planner - LDR/HNTB, Columbia, MD and Washington, DC

  • Production, Distribution and Repair Public Facilities Plan: Realigning Public Facilities for a Growing District of Columbia, Washington, DC – Project manager and lead planner on $600,000 project identifying need for future production, distribution and repair facilities and their location to make more efficient use of space of public facilities operated by the DC Government.  Project involved the review and assessment of more than 80 sites throughout DC and the development of four site plans to program the redevelopment of those facilities.

  • Enlibra Environmental Toolkit, Oquirrh Institute (now the Park City Center for Public Policy), Salt Lake City, UT – Managing editor and lead author of the Oquirrh Institute’s handbook on environmental issues, which describes the Enlibra principles (developed by the Western Governors’ Association) and includes case studies of how these principles have been and can be applied.  

  • National Park Service: Managed more than two dozen task orders for the National Park Service, for NPS’ Southeast and Northeast regions, developing General Management Plans,

  • Development Concept Plans and environmental compliance documents.  Parks included: Cades Cove (part of the Great Smoky Mountains), Manassas National Battlefield Park, Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.

  • 2040 Regional Framework Plan, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, Chicago, IL – Served as project planner, editor and final writer of the Commission’s regional plan with NIPC staff, using a structure of centers, corridors and green areas to focus future growth and protect quality of life in the six counties of metropolitan Chicago.  The American Planning Association selected this project as its Plan of the Year in 2006.

  • Comprehensive Plan, Washington, DC – Project planner for the first major overhaul of Washington DC’s Comprehensive Plan in 20 years. The revised plan provides policies, strategies and tools for guiding growth and redevelopment, urban design, the land use/transportation interface, affordable housing, neighborhood conservation, environmental quality, and regional interdependencies.  

  • Transportation Policy Report, Phase II, Montgomery County, MD – Project planner and lead author of a report addressing future state- and locally-funded road and transit facilities and policies, coordinating the efforts of a 35-person task force, against a backdrop of future land use patterns that would rebalance jobs and housing in some of the county’s corridors and subareas. Collaborated with the Public Involvement Working Group to craft the report, a panel that included the deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

  • Tysons Corner Transportation and Urban Design Study, Fairfax County, VA – Project planner on project to determine the residential and non-residential development potential that could be supported by the transportation system envisioned in relevant long range transportation plans.  Coordinated production of 3D Visualization of future growth scenarios in the study area.

  • Springfield Connectivity Study, Fairfax County, VA – Project planner for study to improve connections through the greater Springfield business area of suburban Washington D.C.  Project includes land use and transportation scenarios, and analysis of pedestrian movement, traffic patterns, as well as proposed design improvements to enhance connectivity.

  • Owings Mills Transit Oriented Development, MD – Project planner for an EPA-funded project developing “sustainable” land use and transportation patterns for several opportunity sites in a county-designated growth area. Developed scenarios to enhance community strengths and improve walk-ability, bike-ability and transit-accessibility by connecting new, mixed-use development with existing parking, and a regional mall and nearby corporate office parks.

  • Central Maryland Mobility Study, MD – Project planner for MDOT-sponsored study of land use trends within a 700-square mile area centered on I- 95 between Baltimore and Washington DC. Analysis of land use indicators and trends and overall capacity to absorb future growth in five jurisdictions will help MDOT and other state agencies structure 20-year Smart Growth transportation planning scenario for the region. 

  • Researched best practices in transit-oriented development (TOD) and TOD zoning and the establishment and “right sizing” of urban growth boundaries (UGBs) and presented my findings at national planning conferences.

1999-2000 - Legislative Planner - Baltimore County Office of Planning, Towson, MD

  • Prepared amendments to zoning and other regulations. Prepared reports examining existing regulations, gathered information on similar issues in other jurisdictions and reviewed legal considerations. Facilitated input of public advisory groups and representatives of county agencies on these projects.

1989 - Present - Author, Journalist and Educator

  • Authored and published in publications as follows:  Universities Team with NPS on Marine Research Center, Planning magazine, November 2012 Right-sizing Urban Growth Boundaries (with Uri Avin). Planning magazine, April 2003 Lessons from Hampton’s Neighborhood Initiative, Hampton, VA – Lead author of a 2003 Casey Foundation-funded report detailing the stories and lessons gleaned from a decade of experience with an innovative neighborhood initiative in Hampton.

  • Maryland PLANNER – Edited the bimonthly newsletter of the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association.

  • Certificate of Education in Planning and Zoning, University of Wisconsin Extension Service – Edited a 14-chapter introductory course on Planning and Zoning. Self-study course provided on CD-ROM to plan commissioners throughout Wisconsin.

Other Relevant Experience

  • Rochester Post-Bulletin, Rochester, MN - Community Journalism Reporter 

  • Created a community journalism beat covering neighborhoods, planning issues, social services and ethnic communities.

  • Wrote a series of stories for the Rochester Post-Bulletin on the effects of widening U.S. 52 around southeast Minnesota. Series named Best Local News Story by the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

  • Led a team of staff reporters who explored the effects of blighted housing in Rochester. Series received the George Hage Award for outstanding public affairs reporting from the University of Minnesota.

Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne, IN - Regional and General Assignment Reporter

  • Served as regional reporter responsible for covering breaking news, local government, schools and general assignments for three counties in northeast Indiana.

Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI - County, General Assignment and Police Reporter

  • Performed general assignment, police and county reporting of breaking news, crime and local government.

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Certified Planners


Masters of Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

Bachelor of Arts, English and U.S. History, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI