Zoning may not seem like a fun and interesting topic, but when you see a sign pop up for your favorite new business or a new community you can’t wait to move into, there’s a whole process going on long before. gets to this point. Even when the signs are mounting, the process can take a while and even stagnate, for months or even years. What is the process? Are there ways to be more creative? What about projects that start and then stagnate? Why does this happen? In this podcast, we talk to a zoning expert who helps us understand a little more about these processes and more about how Baltimore builds and builds fairly.
T.J. Smith is a Baltimore native and career public servant. He began his service career as a law enforcement officer in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. After rising through the ranks, he moved into advisory roles to chiefs and elected officials. Smith then became the primary civilian spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department and later became the Baltimore County Executive Press Secretary. Smith was a candidate for mayor of Baltimore in 2020. After the election, he chaired the Famous Fund, a nonprofit that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and was created to help restaurants in Baltimore during the closings and restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
justin williams is a Partner in the Land Use and Zoning Group at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP, where he advises on land use, zoning, liquor permits and licenses for bar developers, owners and operators / restaurants in the Greater Baltimore area. Prior to RMG, Justin was a member of Venable, LLP’s State and Local Government group. He also worked as a CitiStat analyst in the administration of former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
In addition to his law practice, Justin serves on the board of directors of the Southeast (Baltimore) Community Development Corporation and Live Baltimore. In 2021, he was nominated by Governor Hogan to the Maryland State Board of Elections. He also served on Baltimore City Comptroller Bill Henry’s transition team and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s Affordable Housing Task Force.
Justin received his law degree in 2010 from Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as editor of the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy. He graduated from Bryant University in 2005, where he earned a Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science. At Bryant, Justin was a member of the varsity football team and was named to the Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll in every season of his career.
Trivia enthusiast Justin appeared as a contestant on both Peril! and Who Wants to Be a Millionairebut as a native of Baltimore (county), he is disappointed that he never managed to It’s Academic.