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MoCo Chooses Planning Board Members

The Montgomery County Council today selected a community activist and a developer to fill two vacancies on the Planning Board that sets land-use policy, oversees parks and reviews development plans.

Clarksburg community activist Amy Presley replaces Republican Allison Bryant, whose term expired this month. Joseph Alfandre, who developed the Kentlands in Gaithersburg, replaces Democrat Gene Lynch, who died in January.

Alfandre was backed by Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson, whom he has known since the 1970s when Hanson served an earlier term on the board with Alfandre's father. Alfandre said he pioneered the planning practice of including public officials, civic activists, residents, businesses and others in designing the Kentlands, one of Montgomery's first "new urbanist" communities.

Presley, who helped bring to light construction irregularities in Clarksburg, had the backing of a broad cross section of the community, including the Montgomery County Civic Federation and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.

The council unanimously backed Presley in its first round of voting. Alfandre was chosen after a series of votes in which council members also nominated transit activist Ben Ross and former Prince George's County parks director MaryeÖ Wells-Harley.

By Anne Bartlett  |  June 24, 2008; 6:40 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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You mean we have an all-white Planning Board and no one from the Silver Spring area? Who did Valerie Ervin support?

Posted by: Woodside | June 24, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

She didn't say or do anything. She just sat there!

Posted by: Downtown SS | June 24, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Valerie Ervin voted for Ben Ross, Mark Elrich voted for Joe Alfandre, the Kentlands developer! George Leventhal was for Ross too. Neither of them are from Silver Spring. Alfandre was the choice of Royce Hanson.

Posted by: Transit Guy | June 24, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

While I do acknowledge the concern, I can't help but wonder why the people of Silver Spring seem so upset at being in the same position that many other communities have long been in -- no one from their home community on the Board. MoCo is a large place, and it's time to start having more geographically diverse representation throughout the government.

Posted by: Puzzled | June 24, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Ervin is a disappointment. Everybody knows she's in the pocket of the unions and the developers. She could have stood up for her District.

But I wonder if Elrich is taking money from the developers now. He was the "no developers' money" guy when he ran for the Council.

Posted by: Downtown SS | June 25, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I was supporting Ben Ross since I'm the transit guy! But I heard from Council staff that Allen Bowser was the most impressive at the interviews. He's from Silver Spring. I heard that Mike Knapp supported Amy Presley because he didn't want her to run against him for Council in 2010. And evidently Royce Hanson wanted a developer on the Board.

Posted by: Transit Guy | June 25, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"Corrupt" -- you have once again taken your personal opinions too far. There are lies and defamation in your post, and this type of unfounded blather needs to stop. Why do you think it's appropriate? You've disrupted meetings, you've been thrown out, and still you insist that you're right. Consider that your dislike of an answer does not indicate its invalidity.

Posted by: Enough Already | June 25, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I think it is time that the Maryland State Board of Ethics got involved in the CTCAC/Council connection. The ultimate mistake that was made in this whole issue is the county ever empowering the shrews of Clarksburg in the violation debate. Berlage, Perez, and Duncan should have never allowed it go as far as it did. These unemployed and uneducated housewives should have been put in their place immediately. As a result of the county leaders fearing their big mouths, everyone lost. Now, we have a serious and questionable interview process which resulted in the least qualified candidates being appointed to an important board in our county. As for meeting attendance, the only person I have ever witnessed being escorted out of a meeting was Presley's husband who shouted at least one very strong profanity at the Newland group, and fortunately the police were there to remove him. Other members of the group were asked to control their horrific behavior. The MD Board of Ethics will not base their rulings on personal opinions, only facts, something CTCAC has a problem with. Judge Howe only ruled on facts as well, and the Judge has ruled against CTCAC. Yet, one may wonder why the mediation was ever held behind closed doors, something rather surprising from a group who wants "all violations out in the open". Guess this demand is waived when the violations are about suspected misdoings by the CTCAC group. I know that some of the other candidates, who were used in this Alfandre/Presley charade are also filing complaints with the ethics board. I think it long past time that the Inspector General investigated all the allegations in the most recent CTCAC lawsuit. It is Clarksburg citizens who begged the council not to appoint Presley, Clarksburg citizens who have started the petition, and Clarksburg citizens who are organizing against CTCAC to push through the retail center. It is also Clarksburg citizens, along with the rest of the county residents, who find the alleged request for money from CTCAC most offensive.

Posted by: MD Board of Ethics | June 25, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I also attended the meeting where Presley's husband was removed. The behavior of the CTCAC group was so vicious toward anyone who spoke in support of the retail center that one resident was reduced to tears. The planning board is in for a very rough ride, and I hope the staff realizes that they don't need to be belittled by Presley. For those of us who want to see our community completed, CTCAC is a ball and chain we cannot seem to free ourselves from. Hopefully, with the appointment, Presley will have to resign and remove herself from CTCAC activities. With her finally gone, we might be able to move forward with completing our town.

Posted by: Bad Form and Poor Behavior | June 25, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

No one who has one semester at a community college over 20 years ago is qualified to be on the Montgomery County planning board. This is particularly true when you have hundreds of thousands of degreed people available to choose from. There has been no rebuttal of the questionable items from Presley's resume, including lack of education, the Arkansas Leglislature, Walton Family Foundation, and Mensa. The council now claims all documentation which shows which council member recommended which applicant for a public interview has been destroyed. These records are vital to a public review of the process, and it is most disturbing to see records destroyed. This is a public job and ALL records should remain public, not shredded. At whose direction were these records destoryed, Mike Knapp? I think the financial statements of both Presley and Alfandre should prove to be most interesting, particularly when compared against public court records. One "reference" we interviewed concerning Presley described her as someone who works better with animals and people. After describing how Presley nearly had him banned from a racetrack he had been a member of for over 28 years, he described her much like a wound on a horse's leg. "You can bandage up the wound", he said, "but if you don't get inside and clear out the bacteria, the would will still fester and infect the horse, even underneath the new skin". I think this about sums things up.

Posted by: Open Wound in the County | June 25, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I for one am distressed that the County Council did not appoint one of the minority candidates to the Planning Board since they had two excellent candidates.

Montgomery County is larger and much more diverse than ever, and the Council missed an opportunity to bring some diversity to the Board. You would have thought that Valerie Ervin, at least, would have said something about that. Or Marc Elrich or George Leventhal or Phil Andrews or...

Posted by: Distressed | June 25, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I heard Elrich wanted Alfandre all along. I don't think he even considered an African American candidate. Alan Bowser was so qualified, and this was his third time trying to get on the board. Personally, I think Royce Hanson doesn't want anyone on the board who might challenge his intelligence. Bowser certainly would have done that. Hanson represents the old MoCo, and he should be removed. I hope Alan Bowser considers running against Elrich for at-large in 2 years. He'd be much better on the council than Elrich.

Posted by: Elrich and Diversity | June 25, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Distressed. Alan Bowser was so qualified for the spot, but I don't think Hanson and Elrich could stand someone obviously smarter than eithr of them. An all white planning board is just plain stupid in 2008. I hope Bowser decided to run for at-large on the council in 2 years. I, for one, would love to support a campaign for such a terrific guy. The county has lost big time by passing up Bowser for Alfandre. Shame on you, Elrich.

Posted by: Elrich and Diversity | June 25, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Amy Presley on the Planning Board? How is this not a conflict of interest? She is part of a lawsuit to stop the approval of Clarksburg Town Center plans - and now she is elected to the same board that will vote on it? Joe Alfandre's company also submited a bid to develop the retail center that was reject by Newland - the Alfandre bashed Newland in the press. So he's going to be voting on the plans too? Wow.

Posted by: CTC Resident | June 25, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Shame on that unhappy woman writing the above posts as "Corrupt" "MD Board" and "Bad"... She's the same agitated person who was removed from public meetings for racial slurs, bigoted remarks, and rudely shouting down the normal persons in attendance.

Amy Presley and Joe Alfandre are wonderful people. Brilliant in their achievements and known widely for their grace and compassion. The Planning Staff, current Board members, the County Council, and the Executive's office each have excellent relationships and mutual respect for both Presley and Alfandre. Both individuals also happen to enjoy solid relationships across the board with MANY builders and developers. (Just not the ones caught breaking the law and cheating the county!)

Sour grapes by ne'er do wells from outside the affected communities is just noise. That nasty lady from Damascus is not welcome in Wheaton, Kensington, Gaithersburg, and I'm sure now - also not in Clarksburg. And who cares if someone graduated college or not? That's not the true measure of a woman, nor a man.

This is exactly what the planning board needs, and I for one am pleased they made the right choice. Go Joe! Yay Amy!

I hope to be around to see the PB move into their new offices when it's done.

Posted by: Wheaton Guy | June 25, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I am SO tired of blogger complaints because they voted for a white guy and not a minority. I'm in the minority - I'm proud of who I am, and damn happy. This is my MoCo, too. Believe me, not every committee or board or public office can be 1/4 white, 3/5ths Latino, 9/13ths black, 42% woman, 17% native american, and 9% asian all at the same time!

Give a brother a break. Let's judge them by the content of their character (and performance) just like I am judged at my work - and not by the color of their skin.


Posted by: Minority Racer | June 25, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

That nasty lady from Damascus is not welcome in Wheaton, Kensington, Gaithersburg, and I'm sure now - also not in Clarksburg.


Posted by: go home "Pain" | June 25, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I live in the CTC and just want to say: "boo-hoo" to you mean people who are so drastically lambasting the CTCAC in the press. Those neighbors did an amazing job representing me and others who live here.

They pointed out lots of ways the builders were cheating us, they are responsible for very REAL impactful improvements to Fire Safety in Clarksburg, as well as all of montgy county. The firetrucks couldn't even come down my street - and I'm thankful CTCAC stood up for me and our neighborhood and made a difference.

I know I'm in the silent "majority" when I say that this town will be a wonderful place for us to live all due to the few neighbors who stuck together and took the cheaters out of the dark into public.

So what if there's a lawsuit? I think it'll all blow over before no time at all. The roads will be done, the stores will be here, and my kids will have a fun park and library. If you don't live here, be sure to come by and see it now, so you can compare it with the finished product. We have a great new Farmers Market on weekends!

Posted by: CTC JoggerMom | June 25, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Since when was Wheaton a hotbed of culture? These childish posts obviously orchestrated by CTCAC are futher proof no one from that redneck area should be serving on any board or commission. I've seen those wicked witches of Clarksburg. Believe me, they are all off their meds.

Posted by: Guy in Wheaton | June 25, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I am an attorney in Chevy Chase, and I watched the whole planning board selection process. It was a pedestrian venture. CTC Resident is absolutely right. Neither of the two that were selected meet the criteria of the ethics code for conflicts of interest. If the county residents choose to pursue this issue, and I hope they do, both Joe and Presley will be forced to resign in disgrace. Their selection was not thought out and is a poor representation of good government. I find it curious that the CTCAC group resort to childish personal remarks rather than stick to the facts. That may work in your little group meetings, but in the real world, your petty behavior does not bode well for either your judgment or intellect. I began following this issue only a few weeks ago, but I must admit the allegations against both new planning board members are very serious and warrant further probing. As a civil rights activist, I too am bothered by the all white board. I am also used to being singled out with name calling and personal hits, particularly when I am telling the truth and those who have been found out can't stand the heat. The CTCAC comments are designed to harass and intimidate and reflect their intolerance for any dissenting opinions. I pity Newland homes for having had to deal with them, but I particularly feel great sympathy for the Clarksburg residents who are trying to complete their community, not make a name for themselves at the expense of others. Mark my words, there is more to this Presley woman than meets the eye. I predict her resignation will be swift and be an embarassment for the entire council.

Posted by: Resign in Disgrace | June 25, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Enough. No matter how many aliases you invent, your allegations are still false and are libelous. They are disruptive to no end other than your own ego.

Posted by: Fed Up with Pain | June 25, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

So what's up with Marc Elrich voting to put a developer on the Planning Board?

Posted by: WTF? | June 25, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Obviously Elrich has sold out. He's a one term councilmember.

Posted by: WTF is Right | June 25, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

The Planning Board appointment is an important one. We expect our elected officials to appoint qualified candidates who, among other things, reflect the diversity of the community, especially important given the rapid demographic changes. In this case, they punted. That's all I'm saying. I expected more from Marc Elrich, and I agree with "Downtown" that Ervin and Leventhal are big-time disappointments. It was a missed opportunity. The eastern county should be represented. If not now, when?

Posted by: Woodside | June 25, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm African American and I wanted some minority representation on the Planning Board.

That's important to me and why I voted for Valerie Ervin. But I won't do that again.

And they could have appointed someone from Silver Spring too.

What was she thinking? It seems she wasn't. A vote is a terrible thing to waste!

Posted by: Silver Springer | June 25, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow, look at all of this. Who thought anybody cared about the Planning Board appointments. Looks like some new fallout for the County Council and Planning Board. It will be unfortunate for all of us if the new members haven't been forthcoming with their disclosures. We don't need that now.

Posted by: Kensington Observer | June 25, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey Puzzled, it's important to have someone from the East County because 1. it is the largest, densest and the most rapidly growing population center in MontCo; 2. it is the most diverse; 3. it has the oldest neighborhoods and the oldest infrastructure; 4. it has critical transportation and housing issues; 5. it is very poorly represented on the Council and 6. it has zero representation of the Planning Board. Those are all good reasons, right?

Posted by: In the East County | June 25, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

All good reasons, but all also very similar to those issues faced in the far upcounty, too. There are many homes there with failing septic and no available sewer or ability to put in a new field; there is no transit available but growth rates in the 140% annual range; there is a critical lack of infrastructure in many upcounty neighborhoods. Not saying the concerns of the East county aren't valid, just pointing out that in some ways they are very similar to those faced in the upcounty.

Posted by: Puzzled | June 25, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

There is no question that extremist groups often resort to harassment and intimidation to attract the attention of the public when they feel powerless. What has been happening in Clarksburg, and the outrageous behavior of CTCAC, appears to be a calculated strategy to use lies and threats to perpetrate their acts with the media at the forefront of their tactics. They have revealed themselves to be political terrorists, and anyone who might disagree with them will be branded as racists or bigots. This is how terrorists have always conducted themselves, by disrupting public meetings, spreading misinformation, and ultimately reducing their enemy to tears. Those of us who attended the Clarksburg meeting reported in today's Post, saw CTCAC utilize the political terrorist manual to its ultimate end. The game plan is simple, create chaos by inflicting harm to any dissenting opinion, thus ensuring the terrorist organization can reap low-risk, highly visible payoffs and take no prisoners in the process. What CTCAC has been conducting in this county is information warfare, coupled with violent outbursts, ultimately crippling their enemy, which in this case is their own community. Labeling all who oppose them as malicious is another weapon of the political terrorist. In the case of Clarksburg, nothing and no one is off limits to attack. CTCAC attacks the developer, the citizen, surrounding communities, and the legitimacy of any government, ideology, or policy which contradicts them with facts. Facts are not important to the political terrorist, only methodology and manipulation. By getting the leader of a group (CTCAC) who specializes in the systematic use of harassment and intimidation to create a general climate of public fear appointed to a position of authority within the government they so detest, that leader now feels empowered to influence a population or government policy. As CTCAC has always been devoted to the pursuit of a political rather than community objective, they believe Presley's appointment on Tuesday fulfills their ultimate goal of silencing the opposition. However, those of us who believe in a democratic society, realize that political terrorists must be exposed if we are to maintain the right balance between civil liberties and civil society. Those of us who work as true activists are basically information warriors who combat political terrorism on every front. Americans, who understand the constitution, don't "ban" fellow citizens from communities for having dissenting opinions. We don't harass others with personal attacks. We don't use lies to bury the facts. When political terrorists use these tactics they display their illegitimacy for all to see. What began as opposing sides in Clarksburg has turned into a full scale conflict between political and economic forces. Newland homes just wants to complete the community and move on. CTCAC desires almost a continuation of what has now become psychological warfare between economics and politics. However, CTCAC's strategy of divide and conquer may well be ultimately defeated by the strength of numbers in the rising opposition. Meetings in Clarksburg are now being attended by residents of Laytonsville, Boyds, Hyattstown, Damascus, Poolesville and Gaithersburg. For the Clarksburg residents who are looking for their community to be completed, these diplomatic relationships will play a great role in the progression of winning this war in September. Consequently, these same alliances may well prove the vital component to the collapse of the CTCAC agitation strategy. Thus far, Clarksburg and the council has fallen victim to the political terrorist aggression of CTCAC. Will these new diplomatic relationships unite the Upcounty and assist Clarksburg to fulfill its town center? Or will the planning board be the next victim of political terrorism?

Posted by: Unite or Divide? | June 26, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

There is a well-known agitator who cannot accept that her/his premise is mistaken and has been shown to be such involved in the posts here. Name calling and libelous attacks by this agitator continue to be posted but do not eliminate the truth: Newland Communities broke the law. CTCAC members exposed that and continue to call for the enforcement of the penalties that were imposed by Montgomery County due to those violations. It's as simple as that.

Posted by: Agitator go home | June 26, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't CTCAC ever address the facts? What are you guys hiding? There have been some very serious allegations made against this group and under oath. Yet, they continue to respond as if they were in kindergarden. Why doesn't CTCAC grow up and address the facts?

Posted by: Facts | June 26, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

There were no "allegations made under oath" -- the only allegation came from an attorney in a leading question -- NOT from someone under oath. There has never been "under oath" testimony that supports anything that's been alleged.

Posted by: Here's A Fact | June 26, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Mr. D. Brown ... With regard to Mr. Fischer's statement about all of these so-called findings of fact that you made, there is nothing in your reconsidered decision that constitutes the kind of finding of fact that he says that you made. I just want to read you from your decision. What you said was if,
if the monies were demanded and were to be in exchange for an approval of a site plan, it is an unlawful request. That is a hypothetical statement.

Arbitrator Howe: It was.

Mr. D. Brown: You did not make a statement that monies were demanded and you did not make a finding that Amy Presley demanded monies in exchange for approval of a site plan.

Arbitrator Howe: What I've indicated is that all of that is very ambiguous. That's what I've indicated.
I didn't --you're right. I did not make that finding of fact. Go ahead with your next point. I did not make that as a finding of fact.

From the May 14 transcript.

Posted by: Here's Another Fact | June 26, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Amy Presley under oath:

Q. Who else did you talk to?

A. I spoke to Mr. Alfandre, Joe Alfandre.

Q. Why?

A. He said well, I'm surprised you called me because I was going to call you. And I said you were going to call me? He said well yes, he had been speaking with Royce Hansen, and he started to tell me about the fact that Royce Hansen and he were friends, and I could tell he was going to be leading toward the question of was I interested in serving on the planning board as a commisioner.

And people think there wasn't a preset deal between Hansen, Alfandre, Presley and Knapp? Yoo Hoo! Ethics Board where are you?

Posted by: Preset Appointments | June 26, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Fisher:

Q. Ms. Presley, would you please turn to Exhibit 36 in the book. I would like to ask you to turn to page two. I would like you to read, do you see the last two lines at the bottom of page two where it say, and 300,000.00 to CTCAC for its work and expenses. CTCAC estimates that given a projected balance of 900,000.00 in the landscape budget, the amount Newland will be absolved of will be 500,000.00.

Mr. Brown: Objection, Your Honor.

Mr. Fisher: Isn't that what it says?

Mr. Brown: I thought we had ruled on this.

Witness: That's ok. Should I go ahead and answer.

Arbritor Howe: He's still asking his question.

Mr. Brown: He's covering settlement proposals.

Arbritrator Howe: This is impeachment, Mr. Brown, if you'll have a seat.

(April 2008 transcript)

Posted by: More Amy Under Oath | June 26, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This was a piece of the testimony in response to Newland's assertion that there was no response to their RFP for the agreed-upon center site plan, as submitted in April 2007. Joe Alfandre's company was listed as "no response" by Newland's employee, which was proven in under-oath testimony to be untrue. Mr. Alfandre was called as part of CTCAC research into the evidence that was turned over late to CTCAC in advance of the April 21 arbitration. Barbara Howe drove the exhibits to CTCAC from Baltimore at midnight on Saturday and was paid by Newland to do so, in effect acting as their courrier/agent. CTCAC had less than one business day to research the claims being made by Newland, and still it came out that there were a number of misleading and false statements made by Newland about the response to the original 2007 site plans. They have mischaracterized the response, mischaracterized their consultant's recommendations, and mislead the community. I'm not surprised that a developer who has been in MoCo for decades would be known to the Planning Board Chairman -- who would expect them to be strangers? That would be unlikely.

Posted by: Another Fact | June 26, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Barbara Howe made it very clear in the May 14 Arbitration that she had made no ruling, no finding of fact that Amy or CTCAC had done anything illegal. That, obviously, was after the April arbitration -- and don't forget, CTCAC won the April arbitration. Ms. Howe ruled that Newland could not insert a marketability clause, and could not change the contract provisions they had signed on to, to provide the center as CTCAC understood it to be.

Posted by: And you're mixing it up again | June 26, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I am not sure what the big fuss is over Amy and Joe being on the Planning Board. I doubt they would be able to vote on the plans for Clarksburg Town Center since they have been involved. So where is the conspiracy?

Posted by: Blogweary | June 26, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

This is beyond rediculous. Both the CTCAC and Newland need to shut up and stop this nonsense. The ACs original intentions may have been good, but they are no longer acting in the best interest of the neighborhood. They are acting like children who aren't getting their way. So, the retail area isn't going to be built to their exact specifications. Oh well, that's life. If they were really acting on behalf of the community they would do what it takes to get construction started again, drop the suit, and approve the plan.

Posted by: CTC Resident | June 26, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I like Marc Elrich

Posted by: Marc Elrich | June 26, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

they shoulda had a minority from germantown. can they increase the size of the board to nine?

Posted by: g-town expat | June 26, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

There are several extremely well qualified transgendered individuals in the Montgomery County academic community. I hope they will pursue the next available planning positions that will open. I am not represented equally in this county.

Posted by: Disenfranchised | June 26, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The lawsuit is not holding anything up. The new plans have gone to the county. The various county agencies held a review of those plans on Monday. Many issues, including those relating to public safety, were identified. The county will provide all the comments to Newland in written form and Newland will have to respond to all of them. If any changes have to be made, then the plans will go back to DRC for yet another review.

Posted by: Blogweary | June 26, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I like Marc Elrich too! And I like Valerie Ervin! They're friends of mine.

Posted by: Alan Bowser | June 26, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

CTCAC's Reasons For Withholding Consent

Mr. Delano's testimony at trial established that Newland cooperated in good faith with CTCAC to make it aware of the fact that the design of the retail center did not meet industry standards and the attempts that Newland was making to address this fact. First, Mr. Delano met with Ms. Amy Presley and explained the responses to the RFP and the interviews with the grocers. Mr. Delano stated that Newland intended to hire Mr. Gibbs to analyze the problem. Further, as Mr. Gibbs was undertaking his analysis, Newland arranged for him to meet with representatives of CTCAC. Once Mr. Gibbs completed his analysis an made his recommendations, Newland arranged for him to meet again with CTCAC to explain his recommendations. On April 11, 2008, Newland delivered to CTCAC site plans which showed Mr. Gibbs' revisions to the retail center.

CTCAC refused to approve the site plans reflecting Mr. Gibbs' revisions. Extensive testimony was introduced at the hearing as to why CTCAC withheld its approval. Mr. Delano testified that CTCAC would agree to approve the site plans with the Gibbs changes only if Newland made a $300,000 payment to CTCAC officials.

Mr. Delano testified (T. 140-42):

Q. Did you have a meeting with Amy Presley at which you discussed the Gibbs recommendations with her?

A. Yes

Q. And did you ask her - let me ask this. What did you say to her at that meeting?

A. I don't recall my exact words. In general it was we need to move forward, we need to make some changes if this project is going to be successful and go forward.

Q. And what if anything did Ms. Presley say to you about CTCAC's demand if they were to approve the Gibbs changes?

A. It was at that meeting that Amy put on the table the proposition that Newland would pay CTCAC $300,000 to compensate them for their planning contribution towards coming up with the program.

Q. And did she indicate any source that she thought that $300,000 paid to CTCAC should be paid from?

A. Yes. She indicated that they were going to have, quote, leftover monies as part of the landscape review, and rather than putting it into site improvements, they suggested that Newland could pay them out of that fund.

Q. And how did you respond to Ms. Presley on that point?

A. I indicated that I didn't think that would be very well received.

Q. Very well received by whom?

A. That's exactly what Amy asked me and I said number one, by the community, and she indicated that the community wouldn't know about it, it would be confidential.

(Court Transcripts, Exhibit 2, 05/02/08)

Posted by: "Community Wouldn't Know About It" | June 26, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I like Marc Elrich also.

Posted by: Elrich Doppelganger | June 26, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The Planning Board Appointment process was way below the standards of Montgomery County. And Council President Knapp who is also chairman of the PHED subcommittee of the council is to blame.
l. The Council press release announced that the interviews of certain applicants would be "public." There were two seats---one for a Democrat and one for a non-Democrat.

2. Yet, after an applicant for the non-Democrat seat had sat in on two hours of interviews for the Democrat seat, with Knapp's knowledge, Knapp announced that the application of that non-Democrat would be "disqualified," because that applicant had attended the "public," interviews. Thus, Knapp, as Council President, let it be known that some members of the public may attend a public meeting, while others may not. Who will he ban or try intimidate next in violation of Open Meetings Laws?

3. Despite the Council's policy of making recorded votes, Knapp ordered the votes of individual council members as to which Planning Board applicants should be given public interviews by the entire council, be destroyed. Three council members had to approve givng any applicant an interview by the entire council.

Posted by: Robin Ficker, Broker Robin Realty | June 26, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

if the above poster is really Robin Ficker...i believe he is really talking about himself in his post. i do not think any of the other candidates for the position sat in on each others interviews. nor would they expect to i assume. there are planning board positions up each year for the next few years. you/he can run again.

Posted by: Blogweary | June 26, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Ruling from Judge Howe

"I am making a determination here that CTCAC has withheld approval of plans submitted to it in an unreasonable manner to the extent that it has refused to approve plans submitted to it for approval. . . ."

I hope we all think about this ruling the next time we travel to Germantown to shop with gas over 4.00 a gallon. We don't have a retail center because of CTCAC, and nothing more.

Posted by: CTCAC Withheld Approval | June 26, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ruling from Judge Howe

"I am making a determination here that CTCAC has withheld approval of plans submitted to it in an unreasonable manner to the extent that it has refused to approve plans submitted to it for approval. . . ."

I hope we all think about this ruling the next time we travel to Germantown to shop with gas over 4.00 a gallon. We don't have a retail center because of CTCAC, and nothing more.

Posted by: CTCAC Withheld Approval | June 26, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The plans were supposed to be submitted to the county in April. Newland asked for and got a May extension(with CTCAC backing). The plans were submitted to the county in May and are going through the process.

Newland's orginal plans from 2006 that everyone in CTC was urged to support had already gone through the initial DRC process about a year ago. Newland did not bother to address the DRC comments on those plans.

Posted by: Blogweary | June 26, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The press was at the interviews as were staff of applicants. Plus, copies of recordings of the first day of interviews were available to anybody who had a later interview, a week after. This process was tainted.

Posted by: Press and staff | June 26, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I think Sweeney Todd should open a shop in the new Clarksburg Town Center!

Maybe he could give CTCAC members a special opening day discount. Maybe then we could get our town center built!

Posted by: A Close Shave | June 26, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The CTCAC's response to everything is "Newland broke the law". Agreed Newland didn't follow the original master plan and poor county oversight let them get away with things. But ultimately things came to a halt because the advisory committee (ie: 5 residents acting alone) didn't like the design for the shopping center. They've stopped at nothing to get their sole vision for a retail center made into reality. They do not speak for the community, only themselves. The rest of the neighborhood has suffered for the past 4 years with piles of dirt, uncompleted roads, no amenities and no retail because of the CTCAC's actions. If they had not interfered and let Newland built what they originally intended, Town Center would have been completed by now.

Posted by: Angry Neighbor | June 26, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

hey "There Aren't Any Legal Fees"
if you are going to call out Fantle, please identify yourself in this instance and i am sure she will address your comments.

Posted by: who's_there | June 26, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

here is how i understand the chronology

CTCAC was elected at a community meeting at the Hyattstown firehouse to work with the developers to come up with a better plan that fit what residents had been promised in the first place.
Things came to a halt because the county executive ordered a stop work order until things were settled with the violations that were found. Some of these violations included buildings that were built too tall and setbacks that were not far enough. While this may seem inconsequential, if one's home were to burn down, there is a possibility that they would not be able to rebuild it the same way since it was too tall or set back improperly to begin with.
Once the violations were found the county essentially ordered CTCAC and Newland into closed door mediations to come up with something. One of the results was the Compliance Plan and Program. The plan lists key elements that must be present in any plan that is to be developed. The plan is considered binding law. In 2006 with the help of expert architects DPZ(Kentlands) and Torti-Gallas(Kingfarm), CTCAC and Newland presented a plan to the community urged the community to back the plan. Newland submitted the plan and it went to DRC in 2007. DRC is an initial step in the approval process. Newland was presented with comments on the plan, but did not respond to them, In May 2008 Newland submitted a revised plan. The new plan went to DRC in June 2008. The county has found many issues with this revised plan. Some are even what they consider life/safety issues.

Posted by: Blogweary | June 26, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Your timeline may be correct with the execption of the beginning. Newland formed an Advisory committee to get residents input on the kinds of stores they wanted in the retail area. A contracts was already signed at that point with Giant Foods. Presley and company discovered it was a strip-mall modeled after Fallsgrove, which they didn't feel matched marketing materials. They did not want a grocery store, just mom&pop type shops. Newland ignored them and proceeded with plans. Using the fact that Newland hadn't completed the pool and rec center on schedule, the AC started digging thru old plans to find whatever they could to halt the process. That's when the county stepped in.

Posted by: To Blogweary | June 26, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Presley and company never had an issue with having a grocery store. The Master Plan calls for one. They fully support the Master Plan(to my knowledge). The issue was the size of the grocer and the lack of retail that Newland was going to provide. Newland had promised more, and the plans as is would have had a huge grocer taking up most of the space wit a reduced amount of retail.
My recollection is that Newland asked residents to form a group because residents expressed extreme displeasure with the Falls Grove type of center, when they had been sold a Kentlands type. The contract was signed with Regency Centers. I am not sure they ever confirmed it would be a Giant. But, it was presumed to be.

Posted by: Blogweary | June 26, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Blogweary is the correct one here. You do not have your timeline or your events in the correct sequence. The grocer was never at issue; it's a MP requirement. The original plan had many neighbors upset because it took up a very high percentage of the available retail space. CTCAC has always stood for responsible development, not in the way of development.

Posted by: to "to blogweary" | June 26, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to post the lengthy commentary from Newland's attorney, identify it as what it is -- very biased commentary and not in any way a "fact."

Posted by: Tired of Newland Editorial | June 26, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

All I remember hearing back in 2004 was that the Giant grocery had to be stopped. Advisory Committee members were sending emails around to neighbors saying they wanted a small Trader Joes type grocery with numerous other small mom & pop type stores (a deli, a butcher, flower shop, etc). THEY did not want a large grocery store. The next thing we know, they were demanding peoples homes be torn down for being over master plan height guidelines.

People can try to revise history however they want - the root of all of this was a few homeowners were unhappy with the original retail center plans. If Newland had planned a Kentlands style main street from day 1, the advisory committee would never have cared to look into any site plan violations or seek "responsible development".

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Many neighbors have advocated for a small grocery store -- but CTCAC has never taken a position on any grocer over another. It was more than "a few" homeowners who were upset with the original plans, 150 attended the first meeting to oppose the proposed center. That's not revisionist, it's the truth.

There are no Master Plan height guidelines other than near the Historic District. There are, however, approved heights in the plans for each development. CTC's were altered using a black Sharpie by Wynn Witthans, a part-time employee of Park and Planning. Newland argued this was a legitimate change. CTCAC and the law did not agree with that.

One thing that many do not understand about the height and setback violations is this: without CTCAC's calling attention to them, any house that burned down could not legally be rebuilt without a lot of time and expense of the individual homeowner to replat and correct the land records. The house could only be rebuilt according to the plans/plats on file -- and for most homes in CTC, that would mean they were not rebuildable should they be destroyed, by fire, flood, or weather because the land records did not match the built environment. This sort of thing is also why there is a lack of trees throughout CTC -- there is simply not enough space in many locations to put a tree and accommodate the utility easements.

Posted by: unsigned and incorrect | June 26, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

It is important to note that nothing was ever found to be illegal in Clarksburg. Where the residents lost out is when the decision was made to enter into closed door negotiations. For a group that has made a career out of uncovering "violations", it seems odd CTCAC would participate in any meetings that the entire community was not informed about. Thank God the CTCAC greed got the best of them and they filed the lawsuit. That action allowed all these court transcripts to become public. The more we find out, the more we are going to distrust CTCAC.

Posted by: Greed | June 26, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Greed -- there were hundreds of violations of Maryland and MoCo code found in Clarksburg. Site Plans and Planning Board documents are living legal entities. It's incorrect to think anything else. The mediation was closed-door and on the direction of the County, not CTCAC. Finally, the documents were released by Newland Communities, not CTCAC. Stop spreading misinformation.

Just a few from the Planning Board website:

The Planning Commission has already held three hearings with respect to alleged violations in Clarksburg Town Center. On April 14, 2005, the Board voted 4-1 (with Commissioner Wellington dissenting) to approve a motion that no violation had

On July 7, 2005, the Board held another hearing to reconsider the height issue and to consider whether violations had also occurred with respect to front setbacks. At the conclusion of that hearing, the Board unanimously found height and setback violations.

On October 6, 2005, the Board considered three additional violations: amenities phasing, the location and timing of Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs) and timeliness of site inspections.

The Board ruled by a 5-0 vote that the developer was in violation of the requirement that community-wide recreation facilities within Phase One of the project were to be provided prior to the release of the 540th building permit for the project as a whole.

Posted by: incorrect Greed | June 26, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

The money greed was what caught them. Now they are exposed for what they always were. The town center will be built, and CTCAC will be resented for decades to come.

Posted by: 300,000 Examples of Greed | June 26, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

From the Plan Of Compliance: "Resolution of Violations -- The staff recommends that the Plan of Compliance, with its proposed new amenities and facilities as well as other enhancements be accepted as an appropriate alternative to imposing fines or monetary penalties in accordance with Section 59-D-3.6 (a) (4) of the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance. "

Why would there need to be an alternative or fines if there were no violation? Why would go to mediation? The answer: there were violations, they did act outside the code of the County; they built without permits, they built without approvals, they built inappropriately; there were platting inconsistencies, there were fire code issues; there were falsified documents. They acted outside of the law.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

No one is arguing there were violations. That was resolved. The issue NOW is we are about to get hung up in more delays over a lawsuit because the CTCAC doesn't like minor changes to the plan that will make the retail area more consumer friendly. The parking, sidewalk and footprint changes are not worth fighting over. The overall feel and concept is still intact. Approve the plan and move on.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

All the items mentioned are elements of the Compliance Program and are actually required to be in a site plan put forward by Newland or they will not meet the program set forth by the board. Argue all you want, it's in black and white in the Board Resolution of 2006. It's not about "minor" changes when they're worth tens of millions of dollars...and it's not about what CTCAC "likes" -- it's about what is required to be there.

Posted by: On the Contrary | June 26, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Paralysis by analaysis is not the answer in Clarksburg. The people are already here.

As an independent real estate broker who has visited every home in Clarksburg more than once, I know a few things in this time of gasoline headed to $5 a gallon with the stock market tanking:
l. The people of Clarksburg want a shopping center with grocery store built in Clarksburg before 2012.
2. The people of Clarksburg want a shopping center with grocery store built in Clarksburg before 2011.
2. The people Clarksburg want a shopping center with grocery store built in Clarksburg before 2010.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | June 26, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Robin, you need to read the Compliance Program -- it requires the completion of Town Center before June 15, 2010. CTCAC has always and continues to advocate for the enforcement of the total picture of the Compliance Plan -- including the deadline.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

CTCAC is asking only for enforcement of the Compliance Program, which is the legal document that "resolved" the violations. If the Compliance Program is not followed, the violations are not resolved. Newland waived its ability to change any of the program's elements in 2006 per the language in the Resolution, just as CTCAC waived its ability to continue to pursue the hearings for the remaining categories of violations in exchange for the CP. The Compliance Program/Plan is what set aside both the hearings and Newland's ability to dictate unilaterally what goes into site plans. It was a voluntary, binding proffer that was put forth with the specific intent to resolve the violations of code (law) by Newland. It carried the promise and requirement that the elements be provided by Newland and the understanding that they were required in exchange for CTCAC's waiver of additional hearings. The county accepted it and adopted it as a binding resolution in 2006 that carries the full force and authority of the law behind it. The program has been underway since 2006; two phases have been completed/or underway and it's not possible to go back and delete elements now because of that -- it would mean the undoing of the other phases.

Posted by: To On the Contrary | June 26, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Except that the Compliance Plan was developed with the CTCAC's input and personal goals in mind. Yes, the county approved what the AC and Newland came up with and your arguement is technically correct. However, no one is going to hold anyone to the 2006 Compliance Plan if all parties agree to changes. So, if CTCAC would just put their support behind the new plan, the process could move on.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

To the Advisory Committee- Does it not matter to you that the majority of the neighborhood wants to move on? If you were acting in the best interests of the neigbhorhood perhaps it is time to consider putting your support behind the new plan. All the continuation of this process is doing is villifing your efforts and turning neighbors against each other.

Posted by: CTC Resident | June 27, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

So CTCAC is demanding that the Planning Board require a plan that retailers have rejected as unworkable? That means it won't get built. Oh, wait... if they get $300k, it's ok to change the plan. Thanks for all your selfless hard work for the benefit of the community CTCAC.

Posted by: NotCTCAC | June 27, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

To the majority of neighbors that want to move on: Newland has stalled the process. Newland submitted "new plans" that have serious regulatory problems per the County agencies as told to Newland this past Monday at the Park and Planning DRC meeting. Angled parking is NOT allowed in jurisdictions under MoCo Department of Permitting Services. and to restate, Rockville and Gaithersburg are NOT under the jurisdiction of MoCo. The CTC retail area has a significant parking shortage, again per the County agencies, the plans submitted DO NOT comply with the Board adopted Compliance Program and there are significant encroachments into the Stream Valley Buffer.

Posted by: another CTC Resident | June 27, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Spoken like a typical lawyer. There will be "serious regulatory problems" with ANY plan submitted for approval. The CTCAC-backed Compliance Plan will have problems too if it was submitted exactly as CTCAC wanted. It's a normal part of the process. The issues you mentioned as serious problems can be easily fixed to meet county guidelines.

This process continues to be blocked and stalled at every point by one group only - the CTCAC. And now Amy Presley, CTCAC ring leader, has manipulated her way onto the Planning Board. There is no respect left for the CTCAC or democratic process in Montgomery County.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

to "notCTCAC": do you know how much a land use attorney charges for his/her representation in Montgomery County? do you know how much a Baltimore County Judge charges for his/her time to act as an Arbitrator in arbitration sessions? do you know how much talented Architects charge for their design and review time? do you know how many hours, all the above represents as expenses? I can certainly understand how much easier it is to villify the community members. I don't think you have all the pieces of information to make such a statement, just my outside opinion

Posted by: law clerk | June 27, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The 2007 site plans did go through the same review process -- and did not have the same number of problems. They were not found to be inconsistent with the Compliance Plan. Further, I've seen, and heard from Delano himself that there was a retailer who wanted to build them. That's hardly unworkable. Just like a house, it only takes one...the Post has also reported that there were developers interested. So, to "the majority that just wants to move on" -- why not back the already-submitted, already-reviewed plans that are consistent with the Compliance Plan? We've all seen them before and if there are only "minor" differences -- why not back the plan that CTCAC and Newland agreed to?

Posted by: Still another CTC resident | June 27, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

It is a scandal that the shopping center with grocery store has not been built in Clarksburg. The citizens of Clarksburg need to get together, and march down the middle of Route 355 to the county office building to demand that this get built. There has been way too much chit chat and not near enough skit skat. Knapp has been fiddle faddling.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | June 27, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

" why not back the already-submitted, already-reviewed plans that are consistent with the Compliance Plan?"

It's not that residents don't back that plan. It was deemed unviable by retailers. There was no parking near stores - who wants to park in a parking garage to go grocery shopping? Or park and walk several blocks to make a quick errand? I dont want to have to deal with baby strollers in a parking garage when I could just park outside the store. It didn't make sense for the way people shop.

The original plan was for a high-end outdoor mall but Clarksburg did not meet the demographics those retailers require for success. So, Newland rightly made minor changes to the plan to ensure the retail area would be consumer-friendly and attract the kinds of retail that would be supported by the community.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I've been reading these postings and I finally feel that I have to add my thoughts and concerns. I have lived in Montgomery County for over 30 years and I'm a resident of Gaithersburg. I have close friends that live in the Clarksburg Town Center and through them have followed this very sad situation. They have been on the receiving end of bitter conversations and discussions with the CTCAC group. I accompanied them to two recent community meetings including the the one at Cedarbrook Church on June 18. Quite frankly I was appalled at what I saw. The behavior of Ms. Presley's husband and of the others in the group was shocking. Of course my friends had already told me that this anger and bullying is a tactic they use upon anyone who disagrees with them. Not only did they behave discourteously and unprofessionally inside the church but outside the church they bullied and harrassed their own neighbors - one young lady (who stood up to them in the meeting) was reduced to tears. How sad. After this meeting my friends and I decided to do a little homework and read the court filings from the CTCAC lawsuit. After reading over 800 pages of sworn testimony and other documents it is quite clear what has happened. A group that may have started out with good intentions has now become a group that is ego driven and completely self-directed - ergo the request for the $300,000. Ms Prestley and Ms Shiley conducted themselves in the hearings with arrogance, condescention and disrespect to everyone in the room including the judge. On serveral occasions Ms Shiley had to be admonised by the judge and Ms Presley even used profanity. This is a classic case of narcissism. No matter how CTCAC tries to spin all of this the fact are there in black and white.For those folks that support them you may want to take the time to educate yourselves. My friends that live in Clarksburg Town Center are embarrassed that this group has positioned themselves as the community representatives. To the neighbors that stood up to CTCAC in the meeting and continue to stand up I applaud you. What you did took tremendous courage and you need to keep working to take your community back. To Mr. Knapp I say Shame On You! You have lost my vote and hopefully the votes of my neighbors and friends for whatever office you choose. To the County Council I say that for the first time in my 30+ years I'm embarrased to say that I live in Montgomery County. And finally to the Planning Board I say "God Help You."

Posted by: Gracecat1 | June 27, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Ah, and that's were we've all been duped. The Newland retail expert, Mr. Robert Gibbs, evaluated the "original" designed 2007 plans and stated in his January 11, 2008 report that the demographics DO SUPPORT "a high-end outdoor mall" as you put it. See pg 26. "As a result of GPG's qualitative analysis, this study finds that the proposed retail at the site has an opportunity to create a unique shopping experience for those consumers in Clarksburg as well as in northern Montgomery County. While there are many existing shopping alternatives in the area, the suggested retail at the proposed site will be better positioned to provide a more convenient shopping alternative to the many housing developements at and near the site as well as better appeal to the higher incomes found in the market". pg 27. "It is GPG's professional opinion that approximately 157,000 sq feet of retail and restaurant space is supportable at the proposed site by 2010". pg. 28. "The proposed shopping center should be unique in appeal, and as such, both national and regional retail tenants for apparel and restaurants are recommended. The local retailers/restaurants can be existing retailers and restaurants in nearby communitites that are currently operating space in the greater Clarksburg market".
He gave 5 rationale statements at the end of his report: "1. growing population base; 2. strong "tapestry lifestyles" 3. strong trade area household incomes; 4. limited retail competition appealing to the area's income base and 5. uniques shopping experience: The proposed center will offer a unique shopping experience that will not only serve the needs of the residents located at or near the proposed site, but will also appeal to those with better incomes throughout the Clarksburg market". NO WHERE IN THIS REPORT DID HE MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE DESIGN OF THE RETAIL CENTER OR THE PARKING!

Posted by: one who was duped | June 27, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The CTCAC just doesn't get it. The neighborhood doesn't care anymore if it's a strip mall or Galleria. We just want the retail built and the fighting and delays to end. Call it surrendering to Newland if you want. We just ask that you join us and give up the fight.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

That's great news. If the center is built correctly, it will be successful! Let's go!!!!!!!

Posted by: NotCTCAC | June 27, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Dear Planning Board, County Council and all of MoCo,
We don't want four people representing us anymore. The bit of good they did has turned sour and full of anger. Good bye CTCAC, Go away, Move away, Disappear, and my all time favorite...Adios Amigos

Posted by: Go Away CTCAC | June 27, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Gracecat1: do you know how much a land use attorney charges for his/her representation in Montgomery County? do you know how much a Baltimore County Judge charges for his/her time to act as an Arbitrator in arbitration sessions? do you know how much talented Architects charge for their design and review time? do you know how many hours, all the above represents as expenses? I can certainly understand how much easier it is to villify the community members. I don't think you have all the pieces of information to make such a statement, just my outside opinion

Posted by: law clerk | June 27, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I see a lot of posts asking for the delays to end etc... I would like to ask what delays? the plans are with the county now. they are going through the county process at this point. the ball is rolling(just as it was with the previous plans with less issues). the next step is for Newland to comment on the findings from the county. there will most likely have to be changes to the plans that were recently submitted. for instance, the county was not happy at all about the nose in parking. they do not allow it. that will most likely have to be changed. this will cause the number of parking spots to be reduced, which will create a problem. i assume the comments will be available to the public in the next week or so once they are officially given to Newland.

Posted by: Blogweary | June 27, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

CTCAC - you have lost any support you ever had due to your greed, selfishness, anger, misconduct, lack of respect and meanness. Yor actions speak louder than your words.

Posted by: Lost Supporters | June 27, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

And, I'll ask all of you who are attacking your neighbors why you believe a corporation that stands to gain millions of dollars is more credible than citizens who will be directly affected by the decisions made. You're all acting like schoolyard bullies, but consider this: what would you do if it's revealed that Newland mislead you and tried to bribe CTCAC but CTCAC did not take the bait? Hint: it has already been put into the public record -- go find it.

Posted by: Another CTC resident | June 27, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

notCTCAC: That's the whole point. You said "If the center is built correctly, it will be successful!" Essentially what Gibbs said is if the center is built according to the 2007 plans, it will be successful! That's not what is happening. It is all about Newland greed, not any citizen's. Newland will directly save 8-10 million dollars to not build certain 2007 features/elements. I hope every resident in CTC gets used to walking to and from the grocery, pharmacy and a few shops. Also, Newland is still insisting that every homeowner in CTC pay them 15 million dollars via development district taxes. It is so insane to think Newland is acting in the homeowners best interest. If the 2007 plans had been supported, not the 2008 plans, the retail would be built by 2010 that was the Board imposed deadline.

Posted by: your neighbor | June 27, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The only bullies I see are those who are attacking CTCAC for doing what they've done for four years while you others sat idle. Reading this blog, the only "meanness" or "misconduct" is coming from the people who don't care about the law:

"Yes, the county approved what the AC and Newland came up with and your arguement is technically correct. However, no one is going to hold anyone to the 2006 Compliance Plan if all parties agree to changes."

posted by Anonymous who apparently doesn't regard the Board's ruling as legal, or maybe it's the law that can be discarded;

"Go away, Move away, Disappear, and my all time favorite...Adios Amigos"

by Go Away CTCAC;

the vitriolic defamation by Gracecat;

and on and on. Maybe all of you who are casting aspersions on others -- including the not-so-young lady who defamed CTCAC with little basis by reading pieces of a document she didn't understand and without reading the full record -- should take a step back and ask yourselves why you're so content to launch personal attacks at your neighbors and why you'd ask the County to disregard the law suddenly.

Be honest: you're impatient. You want what you want, and you want it NOW. You don't care what the requirements are -- you've said so openly. The rest of us in the community DO care, and many have worked on the Clarksburg Master Plan vision for over a decade. Your impatience does not warrant the overturning of a legal decision made after nearly a year's worth of hearings, and it doesn't alter the purpose or requirements necessary of the Town Center.

Finally, it does not, under any circumstances, warrant your continual childish attacks. You're bullies and you've made threats and defamed others. Period.

Posted by: schoolyard tactics | June 27, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I was the attorney in a very interesting Federal National Environmental Policy Act case involving Metro. Metro had taken land from Jessup Blair Park without even noting the Park in its NEPA statement. Thus, we citizens had the ability to hold up the building of the Red Line until Metro filed a proper Environmental Impact Statement. Neither side would give in. And the public was suffering.

Judge Kaufman, in his wisdom, put the Metro Attorney and I in a jail cell until we worked out a compromise. We came up with a solution in less than two hours.

The public is being hurt by this CTPAC-Newland Homes standoff and bickering.
Put them in a cell till they work it out. I bet they will come up with a solution to the shopping center-grocery store issue in less than one day. Enough is enough!

Posted by: Robin Ficker, Broker Robin Realty | June 27, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I Like Orange

Posted by: Orange | June 27, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Robin, you're completely MISSING THE POINT! There were 5 months of negotiations and then two years' work on site plans -- and Newland unilaterally deleted elements worth millions of dollars and expects to do so with impunity. I'll accept for a moment that you might think it's ok to delete the element -- but don't you think there should be a quid pro quo to the community since the elements were to be reparations? What is the "quid" here??

Posted by: No Quid for Clarksburg | June 27, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of the name calling and fighting in all directions. It's embarrassing as a CTC resident. I am a CTC resident that just wants a viable, successful center built...So, let's get back to the facts.

Unlike the completely misleading and false claim listed by "one who was duped" above, Mr. Gibbs (a very credible planning expert who, among many other things, was brought in to help design and make the Kentlands viable when it was taken back by the bank and failing), DID, under oath in testimony in the April transcripts state his findings that the Torti plan (that was the original plan from the compliance plan) was, "not likely to support viable retailers, small specialty stores, a grocery store, as it's shown."

Furthermore, Mr. Gibbs continued to testify that the changes he designed...which, among other things DID include changing the supermarket garage to two levels (not three) with no sloped spots, nose-in parking on the main street, AND the removal of the second garage and replacing it with a surface lot...were, what he considered to be, "the absolute minimum changes to make the Torti plan viable."

I completely understand that it is easy to argue Newland only wants these changes because it saves them millions of dollars, but the fact remains, a leading expert in retail design stated that without these changes, the center would not be viable...and then we all lose.

If CTCAC wants to fight for quid pro quo dollar exchanges for those changes, fine...that sounds great...but how is it in the community's best interest to fight to stick to a design plan that was in the compliance agreement if it will not be viable and will fail? All for what...just so we can say we "stuck to the agreement" and had Newland fork out more money for those garages in the originally agreed upon plan? I personally don't care how much money Newland is saving by doing this design...fight for that money separately...but DO NOT try and stick our community with a poor plan simply on principle, please. I just want a successful center built.

Posted by: Let's get a successful center built! | June 27, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gibbs did exactly what "one who was duped" said about the 2007 plans -- he recommended MORE retail and said it would/should be unique. And then his testimony didn't match his written report...and the poor man looked like he was going to collapse while giving that testimony. That's in the transcript too...He also said he did NOT recommend reducing sidewalk width, said he did not recommend reducing depth of stores, or any of the effects of garage removal and he did NOT recommend asphalt sidewalks...there's a lot there in the cross-exam by Mr. Brown. So which is it -- the truth when he's talking or the truth when he's writing an official report from his company on its letterhead?

Posted by: Let's Get The Truth Out There | June 28, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Newland had two preeminient retail demographic firms vet the 2007 plans, and both of them said it would be viable and prosper as shown: it's only when Newland realized the Development District money might not come to them (in spring of this year) that they decided to "revise" the plans to save $10 million. It was not about "viability" unless you mean viability for Newland.

Posted by: Another CTC resident | June 28, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

And don't forget: Newland is funded by AIG Global and CalPERS money. They *own* the land of CTC (no note on it) and for the retail center area, they paid less than $1 million.

Posted by: Another CTC resident | June 28, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Newland's response to CTCAC's memo about the money, from their attorney:

"I write in response to Dave's settlement offer of March 29, 2008. I am not going to address all of the exchanges that have occurred in the last several weeks other than to say that I believe all of us have been acting in good faith to resolve difficult economic and planning issues on which our clients have sharply different views."


"Accordingly, in response to Dave's March 29,2008 offer, if CTCAC approves the Gibbs Plan and the revised project plan and the site plans to be provided to CTCAC on April 11, 2008, Newland will agree to the following:

1. Newland will make the changes [requested by CTCAC] to the recreation/pool center under which the lap pool is deleted in favor of the gym and the other improvements shown...

2. Newland will make the changes to the Gibbs Plan drawn by Marina at the March 25, 2008 mediation session, except for the addtional retail facing Stringtown Road...

3. Newland will pay an additional $315,000 into the landscaping fund under paragraph 15 of the Development Terms of the Settlement Agreement. The disposition of the landscaping fund will then be subject to the following:

(a) A total amount of $450,000 of the landscaping fund shall be spent on brick pavers...

(b) A total of $200,000 of the landscaping fund will be placed in an escrow account with Judge Howe in control of the account as trustee and escrow agent. CTCAC may request that Judge How release the $200,000 in the escrow account upon receipt of appropriate documentation or invoices pursuant to the following parameters:

(i) to pay DPZ for services...
(ii) to pay Judge Howe....
(iii) to pay CTCAC officials for services...

4. Under this offer, CTCAC will agree (a) that Newland may submit to the Planning Board the revised project plan and site plans delivered to it by Newland on April 11, 2008, and (b) to support these plans before the Planning Board and in any subsequent proceedings. Further, CTCAC agrees not to oppose or appeal any building permit issuance or other regulatory determination relating to CTC of whatever nature. CTCAC and its counsel further agree not to file any lawsuits, actions, or proceedings in connection with the CTC.

CTCAC did not take this offer -- if they were trying only to get money, why not? The reason is, the development district issue is encompassed in paragraph 4 "in connection with the CTC."

It was never about money for CTCAC officials, but rather money for the community, and the Development District issue could cost Clarksburg over $100 million over the next 30 years if the district is not eliminated. CTCAC stands against the DD -- but could not have done so (and neither could Mr. Brown, who is the attorney of record for over 200 plaintiffs) if CTCAC had accepted this offer, taken the money, and run as some of you have suggested CTCAC members wanted only to do.

Notice, too, that CTCAC had asked for and advocated for a different arrangement than the indoor pool -- one that would be equivalent in value (Newland's proposal fell very short of this); and that Mr. Fischer says both parties had been acting "in good faith." Why would Mr. Fischer say that if he didn't believe it?

I've seen Newland presentations where they allow citizens to think CTCAC was trying only to get money, but why would Newland respond as they do (above) to what would arguably be an illegal act? Why was it never reported to any authority?

...because it was a negotiation about changing the concept and what would need to be provided in exchange to the community, not an isolated demand from CTCAC for money.

Posted by: More Truth | June 28, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

this is the full paragraph (iii) above:

(iii) to pay CTCAC officials for services rendered in connection with the performance of the Settlement Agreement, provided that Judge Howe may not approve the payment of money from the escrow account to CTCAC officials for their services rendered until all building permits and use and occupancy permits have been issued in the retail center and the appeal period has expired without an appeal being taken; and ...

CTCAC was still seeking to pay the the architect, the attorney, other consultants, the aribter, etc. and would have spent all of the suggested money on those, so this clause is a bit strange, unless you view it within the context of paragraph 4 (above) that demands CTCAC silence -- in combination, it looks like Newland wanted to dangle money over CTCAC's head to stay silent while the DD went through and in case Newland wanted to make changes as they desired, at their free will.

CTCAC did not accept this offer.

Posted by: Still More Truth | June 28, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Newlands offer sounds very fair. But why are offers even being made to the Advisory Commitee? They are not elected representatives of the community, nor do they seek the opinion of the community. It's a group of 3-4 residents with their own agendas. Their power is out of control and the county needs to stop giving them any recognition. These issues need to be voted on by the entire community or the residents need to vote on who should act as CTCAC members. No other neigbhorhood lets residents have such an integral part of the planning.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Every time the CTCAC rep posts on here the story changes. It's about parking, it's about sidewalks and outdoor dining, it's about the law, it's about sticking to a legal it's about protecting the Development District opponents.

I'm getting dizzy from all the spin!

Posted by: Who Knows What the Truth Is | June 28, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The story hasn't changed. CTCAC objects to the Gibbs plans due to the effects the changes have -- the sidewalks, impervous surface, costs for the HOA; due to the reduction in store depth and the concurrent number, quality and variety of retails that will happen.

All that's happened is the "why would Newland do this?" part has been fleshed out. CTCAC could not accept any offer that precluded those who already have Mr. Brown as their attorney from representing them. Why is that so "confusing" to anyone? It shouldn't be.

Newland's offer sounds fair to one who doesn't understand what Newland IS obligated to do already and why they would want to silence CTCAC...spin it however you want, it sounds like a bribe that CTCAC did not take.

Posted by: Whatever | June 28, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Read tbe history and the County documents about this -- don't take CTCAC or Newland's word for it. Those two groups were ushered into mediation, with the result being a legal agreement (a contract, you know, one of those things that has the law behind it...) that the County endorsed. It was not, and has never been "about three or four people" but was arrived at with the help of over 100 people -- not three or four. If you don't like the idea of representation, I would ask -- did you submit input in 2005, 2006 or 2007 when it was called for? If not, why not -- and why complain now?

Posted by: There's already an Agreement | June 28, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous!! My guess is Newland will walk on the whole thing -- enough is enough. Thanks, CTCAC.

Posted by: NotCTCAC | June 30, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

That would be the best thing for this place....let Newland walk away! That piece of property is the most valuable in Clarksburg. There are decent developers waiting and wishing they could get their hands on it! And they want to build it QUICKLY according to the requirements of MoCo law! Newland is all about Newland greed and their corporate investors!
Bye bye Newland

Posted by: sounds great | July 1, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

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