Gardner seeks confirmation of Bob White to fill Planning Commission vacancy

BobWhiteFrederick County Executive Jan Gardner has appointed Robert (Bob) White to fill the current vacancy on the Frederick County Planning Commission. As Executive Gardner points out, Mr. White is highly qualified for the position.

In fact, Mr. White previously served 17 years on the Frederick County Planning Commission, including two terms as Chair, and three years on the Frederick County Board of Appeals. In addition, he has served on many other special county boards and commissions, including the Citizens Zoning Review Committee and on those involved in developing or amending the County’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. Bob is a founding board member of Envision Frederick County. He was a co-founder of Citizens for Quality of Life and the Citizens for Responsible Growth. In 2010 he campaigned, unsuccessfully, for Frederick County Commissioner, coming in sixth in the Republican primary. He is a retired former executive of the National Electrical Contractors’ Association and has been a Frederick County resident since 1977.

In spite of that extraordinary record, there are development interests, including the Frederick County Builders Association, who are lobbying certain council members, most notably council president Bud Otis, to vote against confirming Gardner’s appointment.

Please send an email the members of the county council (links below), or, at least, send one to council president Bud Otis, before the county council convenes on Tuesday afternoon (March 17, 2015).

Below please see the letter from County Executive Gardner to the members of the Frederick County Council. Below that, I’ve also included the text of an email sent out by Steven McKay, the president of RALE (Residents Against Landsdale Expansion) about this appointment and confirmation.


March 13, 2015

Frederick County Council
12 East Church Street
Frederick, MD 21701

Re: Appointment to the Frederick County Planning Commission

Dear President Otis and Council Members:

I am writing to seek your confirmation of my appointment of Mr. Robert White to fill the existing vacancy on the Frederick County Planning Commission.

I have selected Mr. White based on his strong working knowledge of planning issues and his prior experience on the planning commission. Mr. White has a stellar reputation for being well-prepared, for fairly considering and applying the zoning ordinance and county comprehensive plan, and for listening and balancing public input. I believe the Planning Commission will greatly benefit from his wealth of experience and knowledge and he will bring a balanced voice and perspective to the Planning Commission.

As you are aware, Administrative Officer Joyce Grossnickle recently advertised for interested applicants for two slots on the Planning Commission; the current vacancy and the seat that will be available when Mr. Bob Lawrence’s term expires on June 30, 2015. I anticipate making an appointment for the second slot at your first meeting in June.

Thank you for your consideration and confirmation of this appointment.


Jan Gardner
County Executive

Attachment: Letter of Interest and Resume
cc: Douglas Browning, Chief Administrative Officer


Here is the original letter from County Executive Gardner.

Please consider taking a moment to email the members of the county council encouraging them to confirm the appointment of Robert White to the Frederick County Planning Commission. In particular, be sure to contact council president Bud Otis and council member Anthony (Tony) Chmelik.

Bud Otis
Tony Chmelik

MC Keegan-Ayer
Jerry Donald
Jessica Fitzwater
Kirby Delauter
Billy Shreve

Again, if at all possible, please send your email before the county council convenes on Tuesday afternoon, March 17, 2015 (the meeting begins at 4:30 p.m, at Winchester Hall).

The following is the text of an email sent out by Steven McKay, the president of RALE (Residents Against Landsdale Expansion)


On Tuesday, the Council will vote to confirm Jan Gardner’s first appointment to the Planning Commission. Jan has appointed Bob White. He is an exceptionally qualified man for the job, having already served numerous terms on the Commission. Bob played a central role in the 2010 Comprehensive Plan which laid the foundation for well-planned growth in the right areas, and only when it’s needed. Bob continued to fight for sensible growth decisions well into the Young BoCC. In fact, it was only after Bob and Catherine Forrence’s terms were up on the Commission, that Blaine was finally able to put in motion his plans to undo all the careful planning that had been put in place.

Think back to all those hearings at the Planning Commission. Think about all the questions that the Commissioners asked you in response to your concerns about MTC. That’s right – they didn’t ask one, did they. They had plenty of softball questions for the developers, but not a one for concerned residents. Many of those Commissioners actually never said a word. You had to wonder if they were listening or were following along. No disrespect, seriously, because it is practically a volunteer position and we made them earn their $75 per hearing, but that’s no excuse for not being an engaged participant. It’s also no excuse for being part of a Planning Commission that has yet to say “NO” to anything.

Bob White will be an intelligent, experienced, and reasonable person on the Planning Commission. He’ll challenge assumptions and assertions. He isn’t beholden to the development community, and he’ll provide some much needed balance on the Commission. Lord knows, we need some balance up there. We need someone that’s willing to say “NO” when that’s the right decision to make.

Apparently, there are plenty of people opposed to Bob’s appointment. The development community has gotten used to having their way and they don’t want that to change. They are lobbying HARD against Bob’s appointment and a few too many on the Council are listening.

If you are content with how things have been, then don’t do anything. However, if you feel as strongly as I do that it is time for a change, then you have to make your voice heard. Tell the Council that you want Bob White on the Planning Commission. Don’t wait until tomorrow, send your thoughts to the Council today –

Bud Otis will be a key vote on this issue. I encourage you to send him a respectful, well-argued note, encouraging him to agree to Jan’s appointment of Bob to the Planning Commission. Remind him that the development community has owned the Planning Commission for the last several years and they can afford to lose one seat.

Regards, Steve

Frederick County Planning Commission

Frederick County Council

Agenda (with related links) for the March 17th council meeting