Montgomery County Planning Board candidate Partap Verma. Image by MCmedia used with permission.

The Montgomery County Council will vote soon to select a new member of the influential Planning Board, as well as for its chair. We think the council should re-appoint chair Casey Anderson, and for the open seat, select Silver Spring resident Partap Verma.

Contributor Dan Reed recently outlined the views of the six finalists: Brandy Brooks, Julian Haffner, Charlie Kauffmann, Bill Kirwan, Jennifer Russel, and Verma. Verma has earned the support of the Montgomery County Sierra Club, Action Committee for Transit, and Coalition for Smarter Growth, as well as being one of two recommended by the Chamber of Commerce. The GGWash Advocacy Committee has added us to that august list.

Verma would prioritize transit, like the Purple Line and Bus Rapid Transit, over new highways around the county, and would like to see more “missing middle” housing to offer people affordable choices of where to live, especially near transit. He doesn’t support a moratorium on new housing, which just makes the county off limits to people who want to live there and deprives it of needed tax revenue.

If appointed, Verma would also be the board’s first Asian and first openly gay member, helping fulfill the council’s commitment to consider racial equity in all of its decisions. He also has been a past Greater Greater Washington contributor.

Casey Anderson, meanwhile, has been a strong supporter of these same GGWash values in his years as chair, and deserves to be re-elected for a second term.

Councilmembers will be deciding on their votes this week and voting on June 25. If you live in Montgomery County, please email your councilmembers to ask them to choose Partap Verma and Casey Anderson.

Tell MoCo Council: Partap for Planning

Doug Ryan has spent his entire career in affordable housing, working in federal and local housing programs in NYC and the DC area. His current work focuses on accessing and sustaining homeownership for low- and moderate-income families through policy and program development. He is an adjunct at American University. He lives in Bethesda.

Tracy Hadden Loh loves cities, infrastructure, and long walks on the beach looking for shark teeth. She holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UNC-Chapel Hill. By day, she is a data scientist at the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University. By night, she is an activist, a law enforcement spouse, and the mother of a toddler. She served two years representing Ward 1 on the Mount Rainier City Council in Prince George's County, MD.