Montgomery County Planning Board Chairman Norman Christeller, making clear his opposition to County Executive Sidney Kramer's Silver Spring redevelopment plans, said yesterday he would recommend curtailing the downtown projects even though a majority of the board favors Kramer's plan.

Christeller's statement, which he said was based largely on traffic concerns, came after the Planning Board deadlocked 2 to 2 over his bid to recommend to the County Council that 10,000 new jobs -- instead of the 13,500 jobs backed by Kramer -- be allowed in the downtown business district.

The split vote by the board creates somewhat of a problem for the County Council, which traditionally looks to the board and, in particular, its powerful chairman when making important land-use decisions. Many county officials regard the ambitious Silver Spring plans as the most important development issue in recent years.

The council is scheduled to vote this fall on the plan, which supporters view as crucial to the commercial and residential revitalization of downtown Silver Spring, but which critics have attacked primarily for its traffic-producing potential.

Planning Board members Carol G. Henry and John P. Hewitt, newly named Kramer appointees, voted against cutting back Kramer's proposed job ceiling. Those job limits are a key county mechanism for controlling development in the central business district. Board member Nancy Floreen sided with Christeller. Member Max Keeney was absent but he sent word that he reaffirmed his support for 13,500 jobs.

Council President Rose Crenca said it would not be the first time that the council has been faced with a divided vote and said the council would inquire about the rationale for the Planning Board vote when the council begins work sessions on Silver Spring Thursday.

Christeller explained during a morning board session that he had doubted whether some transportation goals outlined by Kramer were realistic. To meet county policies on transportation, Kramer is proposing the establishment of a special traffic management district that would use a combination of incentives and disincentives to get people to ride mass transit or to join car pools.

The county proposes that its traffic program will increase from 20 percent to 25 percent the rate of Silver Spring commuters traveling by car pools or by mass transit.

"It is hard not to have a certain level of disbelief," Christeller said, pointing out that the county had had uneven success with its share-a-ride program. "Fewer people are car-pooling in Silver Spring today than several years ago," he said, noting that gasoline costs less today and that parking in Silver Spring is ample, providing little incentive for commuters to abandon their cars.

Christeller pointed to new studies by the Planning Board's traffic experts that raised questions about whether downtown parking can be effectively curtailed to produce the desired result of inducing motorists to switch to mass transit.

Christeller said he thought it would be wiser to cut back on the number of jobs, implement the traffic district plan, and then gauge its results before approving increased jobs. He also said that 2,500 to 3,000 of the new jobs should be reserved for retail so that redevelopment is not solely more office space.

Henry countered that the mass transit goals are good ones and that the county has the power to meet them by taking such actions as increasing parking fees or hiring extra staff for car pool programs. "The pressure should be on the executive to meet the goals, not to lower them," she said.

Henry expressed frustration with Christeller's position that he would not defend the board's vote.

Christeller said he would report the board's vote to the council but "the three of you decide which one will present that to the council . . . . I won't." He later explained that it just made common sense for a majority member to present their viewpoint. "It is sort of silly for me to say, 'Here is why they made their foolish decision,' " he said.

Yesterday's action was one of the initial votes by the newly constituted Planning Board, which for the first time contains two members appointed by the county executive. The vote had been awaited as a possible indication of how the board would function. Opponents of giving the executive appointments on the Planning Board had argued that members appointed by the executive -- in this case, Henry and Hewitt -- would feel beholden to the executive and the board would be less independent.

"I don't really think it is fair to say that they {the executive appointments} are just parroting his position," Christeller said, but noted that it is human nature to be more responsive to the viewpoint of the person responsible for the appointment.

Meanwhile, the debate over Silver Spring's future took on a new twist with the emergence of a citizens group favoring Kramer's plan. PROGRESS (Proposed Growth Renews Silver Spring) was formed because of concerns that not all points of view were being heard, said steering committee member Susan Heltemes. She said about 75 members of the group met yesterday with the County Council.