The Planning Board is overseen and appointed by the County Council, though the County Executive can veto appointments and is obviously deeply involved in planning and land use processes. The following is County Executive Marc Elrich’s statement:
Statement from County Executive Marc Elrich on the Resignation of the Montgomery County Planning Board
Like many in the County, I have followed with growing concern the unfolding events at the Park and Planning Commission. As County Executive, I have not been a participant in the conversations about the details. I think where people are implicated, a resignation is appropriate. This cannot be the end of the conversation on the dysfunction and structural issues at Planning. The Planning Board faces a deficit of trust, and continued questions about management, transparency and process must be addressed. I stand ready to work with the Council to ensure transparency in choosing the interim members of the board and ensure that the investigations continue.
Beyond the recent reports regarding infighting and questionable behavior and decisions, the Planning Board has also been cited with multiple violations of the Open Meetings Act. Furthermore, the problems with Thrive 2050 and equity and community input should have been recognized and dealt with instead of a push for quick adoption of this significant guide for the next 30 years of development. As noted by one racial equity consultant hired by the Council, “compressed timeframes are the enemy of equity.”
It is clear that new people and new voices are needed on the Planning Board. Park and Planning has been run by a group of insiders for far too long. There needs to be a respectful balance of the views of developers and those of the community. I hope that the new Planning Board appointees reflect the demographics of this community and are committed to our residents, community input, and an efficient and transparent process.