Greater Greater Washington

Casey Anderson is Montgomery's new Planning Board chair

Montgomery County's new Planning Board chair will be Casey Anderson, a strong advocate for growing the county's urban areas and improving its transit network. The County Council voted 8-1 to appoint him this morning.

An attorney who lives in Silver Spring, Anderson has been a community activist on smart growth, transit, and bicycling issues, previously serving on the board of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. He stepped down to join the Planning Board in 2011, and can be seen walking or biking to meetings there. The council will have to find a replacement for his old seat.

Councilmembers appeared to rally around Anderson last week over four other applicants for the position. "Anderson comes closest to holding the vision I have for our County's future," wrote Councilmember Roger Berliner in a message to his constituents. "He is a strong proponent of smart and sustainable growth, served by world class transit. These are the key components of a strong future for our county."

The Planning Board chair is responsible for giving the County Council recommendations on land use and transportation issues, meaning they can play a big role in how and where the county grows. As chair, Anderson says he'd like to look at the way Montgomery County uses the amount of car traffic as a test for approving development. The tests often discourage building in the county's urban areas, where people have the most options for getting around without a car.

As a board member, Anderson has advocated for more transportation options and more nightlife as ways to keep the county relevant and attractive to new residents. He was the only vote against approving an extension of Montrose Parkway through White Flint, where the county wants to create a pedestrian- and bicycle-oriented downtown. He also served with me on the Nighttime Economy Task Force, which sought to promote nightlife in the county.

Anderson was a strong influence in favor of the county's Bus Rapid Transit plan, and persuaded some of his fellow commissioners to support repurposing existing lanes for BRT. Anderson also pushed for performance standards for BRT which aim to prevent BRT from being watered down in the future.

Upcounty, he opposed the board's unfortunate vote in support of the M-83 highway last fall. He did support keeping development in a part of Clarksburg near Ten Mile Creek which turned the Montgomery Countryside Alliance against his candidacy.

Councilmember Marc Elrich was the only vote against Anderson. Though he didn't nominate her this morning, Elrich favored former Planning Board member Meredith Wellington, who had support from some civic activists who feel that the county is growing too fast. The field of candidates also included current board member and real estate developer Norman Dreyfuss, current deputy planning director Rose Krasnow, and former County Councilmember Mike Knapp.

Montgomery County offers a wide variety of urban, suburban, and rural communities. Anderson's appointment suggests that the county's ready to embrace its urban areas while preserving the suburban and rural ones, providing a greater variety of community types and transportation choices for an increasingly diverse population.

Dan Reed is an urban planner at Nelson\Nygaard. He writes his own blog, Just Up the Pike, and serves as the Land Use Chair for the Action Committee for Transit. He lives in downtown Silver Spring. All opinions are his own. 

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Excellent news

by jnb on Jul 15, 2014 2:02 pm • linkreport

Wow.

by Richard Layman on Jul 15, 2014 2:23 pm • linkreport

Awsome. He will be a great advocate for moving us to the future rather than Elrich & Co. who seem to think putting on the brakes will magically solve all our problems.

by Thayer-D on Jul 15, 2014 2:40 pm • linkreport

Agree 100%, Thayer-D. The next term will be critical for the Rockville Pike corridor.

by Crickey7 on Jul 15, 2014 2:53 pm • linkreport

Excellent news. He was the obvious choice. Of all the board members he was by far the most passionate about promoting economically and environmentally sustainable smart growth in the county, especially in high density mixed-use centers (large and small) around transit stations. Carrier was a very good chair overall and was very firm, but she would sometimes squeeze developers more than necessary and nitpick. At the same time I've found no problems would Anderson and always felt that he would make an excellent chair.

by King Terrapin on Jul 15, 2014 3:03 pm • linkreport

I met Casey when he and I were on the Washington Area Bicyclist Association board. He's a thoughtful person with good ideas and was a pleasure to work with.

Great news.

by Randall M. on Jul 15, 2014 5:06 pm • linkreport

Excellent choice.

by David C on Jul 16, 2014 12:17 pm • linkreport

If he doesn't throw out BRT for Georgia and Randolph, he's useless.

by asffa on Jul 19, 2014 11:06 pm • linkreport

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