Kensington mayor wins fourth term

June 5, 2012

Kensington Mayor Peter Fosselman won a fourth term Monday, handily defeating challenger Stowe L. Teti in an election that focused on unifying a town divided by redevelopment plans.

In the nonpartisan race, Fosselman got 334 votes to Teti’s 213. Two Town Council members also were elected: incumbent Sean McMullen and challenger Tracey Furman.

Fosselman’s backing of a proposal to redevelop the town divided residents, and Teti supported less redevelopment.

Although known for its village charm, Kensington has many gas stations, garages and tired-looking strip malls. Montgomery County officials want a town center with mixed-use development surrounding the MARC commuter rail station.

But some neighborhood activists worry that the plan Fosselman supported would lead to overdevelopment. Activists lobbied county officials, who approved a slightly scaled-back version of the proposal.


Kensington Mayor Peter Fosselman in his office and outside of the Kensington town hall. (Dan Gross/THE GAZETTE)

The Washington Post has reported that the mayor, while pushing for the plan, invested in land that would probably increase in value because of redevelopment. He did not properly disclose some of those investments.

Fosselman, who also serves as Maryland’s deputy secretary of state, has said that his support for the plan predated his investment in the properties. He has said the transactions did not violate the town’s conflict-of-interest laws.

In April, The Post reported that Fosselman was improperly reimbursed by the town for more than $1,100 in campaign contributions to other politicians. The contributions occurred early in his mayoral career. Days after the report was published, Fosselman announced that he had returned the money.

Town Council member Lydia Sullivan, a critic of Fosselman, decided not to run for reelection, saying she wanted to spend more time as a countywide activist. McMullen and Furman have supported the redevelopment plan; Glenn Cowan, who did not win a seat on the council,has criticized it.

As is the case in many other municipal elections, turnout in Kensington was expected to be light. In a town of 2,200, about 400 voted in the 2010 election, and about 600 voted in the 2011 election.

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