Montgomery County Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson was appointed to a third term by the County Council on Tuesday.
Anderson, a Democrat, has served on the five-member board since 2011 and as chairman since 2014, and had only one challenger for the position, considered one of the most influential in the county because the leader can direct agendas and debate over development and growth policies.
As chairman, he is responsible for overseeing the board and acting as a liaison to the County Council and also running the bi-county Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which includes members of both the Maryland and Prince George’s planning boards. His base salary is upwards of $200,000.
Brandy Brooks, a progressive activist from Wheaton, was the other candidate under consideration to lead the Planning Board, which advises the council on land use policy decisions, crafts long-range development master plans and reviews park plans.
Anderson has been known for his work to expand pedestrian and bicycle-oriented development and focus on economic development near transit centers.
County Executive Marc Elrich, who must confirm the council’s nominees, has said he is “not a fan” of Anderson because of housing policies that he believes have been detrimental to low-income and minority residents. Elrich, however, has said that he will not veto any of the council’s nominees.
The council also confirmed Partap Verma by a unanimous vote on Tuesday. Verma, a Democrat, is an attorney with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and has served in a number of other positions with the State Department. Verma is also the founder of the group Friends of Forest Glen & Montgomery Hills advocacy group.
Verma, a Democrat, replaces Republican Norman Dreyfuss, whose term is expiring. He was among 24 candidates applied for the vacancy. The council later narrowed the search to seven finalists and interviewed them earlier this month. Verma was one of two of the candidates endorsed by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
Council member Tom Hucker noted the pool of talent the council had to choose from, and encouraged those who applied and were unsuccessful to stay involved.
“We had a particularly impressive and talented group of candidates this year,” he said.
With Dreyfuss’s departure from the board, there will now be three Democrats, one Republican and one unaffiliated voter on the board. Planning Board rules mandate that no more than three members of a political party can occupy the board at one time.
Staff Writer Caitlynn Peetz contributed to this story.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org