New Planning Board Member Plans to Share Others’ Perspectives

Tina Patterson | Facebook

Tina Patterson, the new member of the Montgomery County Planning Board, said people should expect her to sit in the back of the room just listening to the opposing sides on an issue.

“I want to make sure I know the antecedents,” she said Friday. “I solely can’t do anything, but I can share others’ perspectives and make sure those perspectives are heard.”

The Montgomery County Council selected Patterson on Thursday in an 8-1 vote. She replaces Marye Wells-Harley who is about to complete two four-year terms and is ineligible for reappointment.

The board’s website says Wells-Harley will remain on the board through July 27, which is the board’s last meeting before its August break; Patterson, who will serve a four-year term, will be sworn in thereafter. The position pays $30,000 a year.

Patterson, 54, lives in Germantown, and has lived in Montgomery County for 11 years, not including a couple of years in the late 1980s. She owns Jade Solutions, a 3-year-old management consulting firm. She has experience in mediation and arbitration.

The Planning Board, which serves as the County Council’s land-use adviser, consists of five people. Patterson would be the only member who lives north of Rockville. She said she would look for comments from upcounty residents, but from other areas of the county as well.

“I’m willing to go out and hear what people say,” Patterson said.

She said the county needs to talk more about the intersection of economic development and planning, and what the county can do to make it more attractive for work and play.

“What I find interesting in this entire process, people want to work as a collective on the planning board. I’m going to listen. That’s the most important thing right now — upcounty, down county, east county,” she said.

Patterson’s appointment came with a bit of controversy. The law requires the board to have no more than three members from one political party. The board currently has three Democrats — Wells-Harley, Chair Casey Anderson and Natali Fani-Gonzalez. The other members, Norman Dreyfuss and Gerald Cichy, are both Republicans.

With Well-Harley coming off the board, the County Council could appoint someone from political background. Patterson has declined to affiliate with a party.

Councilmember George Leventhal refused to vote for her Thursday because it would mean Democrats would have a minority on the board, which he could not support. Other councilmembers said they didn’t believe politics should play a role in the Planning Board’s land-use decisions.

Patterson said she hoped to serve as a “catalyst” to better educate on the planning process. She said she wanted to encourage discourse in the process.

“There continues to be a perception that the process is for only a select few. I firmly don’t believe that. We all as residents have — not a right, but the opportunity to weigh in is there. And it may be that we need to educate people they can and there’s no repercussion for doing so,” she said.

Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

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