Hanson hasn't made up his mind about County Council bid
Royce Hanson, who recently stepped down as chairman of the Montgomery County Planning Board, is "thinking about" running for the County Council seat that will be vacated later this year by Mike Knapp (D-UpCounty). But he hasn't made a decision either way. Maybe a few days from now, he said Tuesday. The filing deadline is next Tuesday.
Hanson, 78, blasted local lawmakers on his way out the door earlier this month, saying that during his four years as board chairman he often ran into what he described as a "concerted effort" by politicians to diminish the planning agency's role and wrest control from the semiautonomous five-member planning board.
"I had operated under what turns out to be a false assumption: that the planning board is the principal adviser to the County Council on planning matters. It turns out that in many cases, the board is given no more credit . . . than somebody who walks in off the street," he told The Post.
Hanson's term on the board was his second tour as chairman. More than 30 years earlier, he led the effort to protect 93,000 agricultural acres in the county as a development-free zone and helped formulate the law that allows growth if there are enough schools and roads to support it.
Taking the helm again, Hanson put in place a final design for the urbanizing suburb, creating a vision for revamping Rockville Pike into an urban center and leading efforts to create a biosciences community near Gaithersburg. He also tightened environmental enforcement -- although not enough, in the eyes of many local environmentalists -- and stepped up oversight of construction violations. He launched a major rewrite of the county's complicated zoning law and tried to weather substantial budget cuts.
Washington Post Editors
June 29, 2010; 4:55 PM ET
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