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Baltimore County Councilman David Marks Introduces Bill to Require Council Confirmation of Planning Board Members

Updated: May 1

This blog serves to highlight the good work of Councilman David Marks, and his co-sponsors, who introduced a bill that would require all members of the Planning Board be approved by the Council. Right now, there are 15 members of the Planning Board, a majority of which (8 such members) are appointed by the County Executive without requiring Council approval. We agree with the Council that this should change.

 

The County Council is, of course, the legislative body in the County. As a result, like most legislative bodies, it has the responsibility to review and approve (or reject) the persons nominated by the executive to serve in important roles. As Councilman Marks puts it, "If the County Council is going to approve members of the Animal Hearing Board and other more obscure bodies, then why aren't we at least reviewing the names that are being put forward for the planning board?"

 

Moreover, it is fair to say that the Planning Board favors developers and development. We saw this during the Master Plan process, when the Planning Board proposed amending the Master Plan draft to make it much more development-friendly. At the time, the Planning Board went so far as to weaken the language reaffirming the County's commitment to directing most development to areas within the Urban Rural Demarcation Line that are serviced by water and sewer; instead, the Planning Board suggested that such development could appropriately take place outside the URDL in our remaining green and open spaces. You can read more about our comments to the Planning Board's amendments here.

 

Please consider sharing your support for this bill, by emailing the Council at (countycouncil@baltimorecountymd.gov) and/or by testifying at the Council's work sessions on April 30 or May 14. It is important to note that this bill would necessitate a change to the County Charter, which would be voted on in the November election. So please pay attention to this issue and you will hopefully see it on an upcoming ballot.

 

Thanks again to Councilman Marks and his co-sponsors, Councilmen Crandell, Ertel, Kach and Patoka. And, if you are interested in learning more, please check out this terrific article by WYPR's John Lee here.

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