Incumbent, two residents vie for spot on planning board -- Gazette.Net


Montgomery County Planning Commissioner Marye Wells-Harley, whose four-year term ends in June, is seeking reappointment.

Two Silver Spring residents also have expressed interest in taking her place.

Wells-Harley (D), of Silver Spring, has served one term on the Montgomery County Planning Board of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

“We are currently involved in several significant projects ... and I would like to continue to be a part of their successful conclusion,” she wrote in her letter of interest to the council. “For this, and many other reasons, I would consider it an honor and a privilege to be a member of the Montgomery County Planning Board for a second term.”

Appointed to the board in 2009, Wells-Harley is the retired director of the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, according to her biography on the Planning Board website.

During her time working for Prince George’s, the agency received five awards from the National Recreation and Parks Association.

Margo Kelly and Jonathan Brown, both Democrats from Silver Spring, also have applied to serve on the board.

Kelly has been president of the Forest Glen Citizens Association for 20 years, has lived in Montgomery the past 41 years and is a founding member of Citizens Against Beltway Expansion, a group that grew out of the Rock Creek Coalition, according to letters of interest and résumés submitted to the Montgomery County Council.

“In my capacity with the civic association and as a Maryland real estate licensee, I have reviewed area plans, subdivision plans, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and site and development plans,” Kelly wrote. “I would consider an appointment to the Montgomery County Council’s Planning Board to be an honor and an apt culmination of my education, knowledge of real estate and civic service.”

Kelly worked as a federal employee from 1970 to 2011 in the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Commerce as well as the U.S. Government Accountability Office, according to her submitted résumé. She also has a master’s degree from University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from Howard University.

With a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., Brown said his intensive studies in both city planning and business administration have positioned him to be a leader and contributing member of the board.

“Being part of this wonderful board would allow me the opportunity to work with professionals of all backgrounds in the common goal of a better-planned Montgomery County,” Brown wrote in his letter of interest.

In a phone interview Monday, Brown said he brings to the table a deep understanding of planning and also a diverse point of view.

“I bring a definitely different viewpoint to the table,” he said. “I’m a big fan of new urbanism, walkable communities, mixed-use communities, affordable renting.”

As a fairly new resident to the county, Brown said Montgomery is a desirable place to live, but it also needs to be affordable.

Brown currently is working for the Department of Defense as a program security officer for the U.S. Navy and worked during 2012 as a planning intern for the city of Bristol, Tenn., according to his résumé.

Montgomery County Council will select the next planning board commissioner.

No more than three members of the Planning Board may be from the same political party, and all members must be residents and registered voters of Montgomery County when appointed, according to a council news release.

In addition to Wells-Harley, the current board members are Chair Françoise Carrier (D), Casey Anderson (D), Norman Dreyfuss (R), and Amy Presley (R).

The Planning Board serves as the council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning, and commissioners earn $30,000 annually for their service, according to the release.

Council members will review the applications and select applicants for interviews in May.