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Vacant Montgomery Planning Board seat filled

Montgomery County

Update, 5:15 p.m.: County Council spokesman Neil Greenberger
said council member Roger Berliner's vote was incorrectly recorded, and that Berliner says he voted in favor of Dreyfuss, which would make the official vote 7 to 2.

Original post:
Norman Dreyfuss, who developed Leisure World, a retirement community in Silver Spring, was selected Tuesday for a vacant spot on the five-member Montgomery County Planning Board.

Dreyfuss, 66, a Republican, will fill out the remainder of the term left vacant by the death last year of Jean Cryor, also a Republican. The vacancy had to be filled by a member of the same political party.

Dreyfuss was approved on a 6 to 3 vote. Council members Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) and Marc Elrich (D-At Large) backed Kenneth Hurdle, who has been active in efforts to build community support for a major redevelopment of the White Flint area.

The part-time position as a planning commissioner pays $30,000. The planning board acts as the land use adviser to the Montgomery County Council, and helps supervise the $100.million planning and parks departments budgets. Commissioners also serve as members of the bi-county Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, with their counterparts from Prince George's County.

-- Miranda S. Spivack

By Washington Post Editors  |  February 9, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Miranda Spivack , Montgomery County  
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I have history with Norman going back to the Development of the Aspen Hill Master Plan; I also fought Norman in a land sale where Norman purchased public land form Montgomery County, however the owner of this property was the WSSC. My understanding is Norman Dreyfuss did not want to go thru an open bidding process, but he wanted to acquire this land that was adjacent to leisure world, it was 18 acres if my memory serves me right, next to shopping, transit and had sidewalks perfect for affordable senior housing.

The Aspen Hill Master Plan addressed and planned for this land for several water tanks to serve the mid county water needs however if not needed it was to be home for as much as 144 affordable senior housing units. Norman didn’t want affordable housing on that site and was able to get Doug Duncan to purchase that property then flip it to him for I believe 2.4 million dollars during the peak of the housing market. No public hearing, no open bidding process, no public benefit to create affordable housing. In fact Norman Dreyfuss then requested a waver from providing affordable housing and rezoned it PRC Planned Retirement Community so he could build 77 million dollar plus senior housing Units.

I fought him ever step of the way and was able to give Oral Argument before the County Council which is rarely given on a rezoning case. I pointed out that a waver not only violated the intent of the Master plan but also the spirit and letter of the MPDU law as a result the County Council forced Norman Dreyfuss to provide the minimum affordable housing on that site. I believe 7 new units and re-designated 8 more inside leisure world as MPDU's a far cry from the affordable housing needed and planned for in the Aspen Hill Master Plan. I see the new direction this County Council has for the planning board as “Developer Driven" .

To this day I am the only person that may not place a political sign at the leisure world shopping center. I accept that as a badge of honor Norman Dreyfuss owns it. What a choice for planning board.

There are dozens of stories that can be told about Norman Dreyfuss and his dealing and campaign contributions in Montgomery County.
Norman Dreyfuss was also a co-author of a Growth Policy amendment years ago that was approved and then killed 6 months later known as Pay and Go, This amendment allowed developers to go forward with their projects in moratorium areas, ( areas that did not have appropriate infrastructure Schools, Roads, Etc) by paying a nominal fee which did not cover their impacts, leaving the financial burden on the public for such needed infrastructure. The public was outraged and forced the County Council at that time to overturn Pay and go. In my opinion the new majority Developer Driven County Council is showing its colors.

Posted by: carylamari | February 10, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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