Montgomery Co. Council Whittles Down Extensive List of Planning Board Applicants

    Having received almost two dozen applications for two vacancies on the Planning Board, the Montgomery County Council has narrowed the field to seven candidates and is planning to interview the contenders on June 11 and 13.

    One of the candidates, Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, is seeking a third term leading the planning agency, and is expected to be successful – though nothing is for certain.

    The other vacant position was held by Norman Dreyfuss, who will complete his second and final term next month (Planning Board chairs are eligible for three terms, while rank and file members can serve two terms).

    Two of the candidates for the board, Brandy Brooks and Julian Haffner, ran unsuccessfully for office in 2018 – Brooks, a nonprofit leader and political activist, sought a seat on the Montgomery County Council, while Haffner, an attorney who is married to Gaithersburg City Councilmember Lauri Ann Sayles, ran for the House of Delegates. He spent the just-completed General Assembly session as chief of staff to freshman Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery).

    The other candidates for Planning Board are: Charles Kauffman, a Bethesda attorney who was a board member of the organization Visit Montgomery; William Kirwan, a Bethesda architect and former chair of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission; Jennifer Russel, director of planning at Rodgers Consulting Inc., who is chair of the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance; and Partap Verma, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who is land use chair of the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board.

    Before the Council interviews the candidates, the Montgomery County LGBTQ Democratic Club is hosting a public forum to hear from the Planning Board aspirants. The forum is June 3, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Center and will be moderated by Adam Pagnucco, opinion columnist for Bethesda Beat.

    The club’s goal is to educate the public on the role the Planning Board plays in shaping communities and the future growth of the county. Club leaders want to ask the candidates about their goals for zoning, development and other planning issues –– especially as they relate to LGBTQ people.

    To attend, RSVP online here.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.