In Montgomery County, lots of planning but no director

April 4, 2013

It’s been nearly a year since Montgomery County Planning Director Rollin Stanley resigned, in the aftermath of a Bethesda Magazine interview in which he described his critics as “rich white women” who were “sowing discord.”

The protracted search has led to speculation in county development circles that candidates for one of the hottest jobs in Montgomery government have either withdrawn or had background checks that revealed red flags.

Planning board chairman Francoise Carrier declined to discuss the search this week, but said it was “down to a very short list.” She said she expected to have an announcement soon, possibly within a week.

“It’s a very important decision, one that we don’t take lightly,” Carrier said.

Stanley left a big imprint with his emphasis on more dense, urban-style growth around mass transit stations as a way of slowing sprawl. The White Flint redevelopment now underway is probably his signature project. But, as evidenced by the Bethesda interview, his outspoken style also created enemies. Stanley, now planning director in Calgary, later apologized for the comments and even promised to enroll in “conflict management” classes.

Meanwhile, under interim director Rose Krasnow, the board is working on no less than five master plans—documents setting out long-term land use and zoning classifications for specific areas—to send to the County Council by year’s end. The communities covered include Long Branch, Glenmont and Clarksburg. The board also is finishing up a proposed revision of the county’s zoning code.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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