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Planning Board Chair Will Step Down In June

by Aaron Kraut — January 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm 0

Francoise Carrier, via Montgomery County Planning BoardFrancoise Carrier, chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board, will not seek a second term in the role.

Carrier announced she will step down in an email to Planning Department and Montgomery Parks staff on Thursday evening. Her term ends on June 14.

“It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you I have decided not to seek a second term as Planning Board Chair,” Carrier wrote. “It has been wonderful working with such fine people, and I will always love this agency, but for me, one term feels right.”

Carrier, a North Bethesda resident, started the job in June 2010 with unanimous support from the County Council. She previously was a director and hearing examiner for the county’s Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings, which rules on zoning issues in court-like proceedings.

As chair of the Planning Board, Carrier had a big hand in decisions about density in the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan and the master plan that allows for a bus rapid transit network. She also helped spur the Bethesda Purple Line Minor Master Plan Amendment, an unresolved attempt at a more accommodating Bethesda Purple Line Station.

The full-time position required Carrier be the face of Planning Department recommendations on controversial issues at the County Council and in Council committee hearings. She also led the Planning Board’s work, which beyond large-scale master plans also include decisions on specific development plans.

During development hearings, Carrier has shown a no nonsense approach to prickly issues. At a hearing on Thursday about a townhouse development neighbors oppose, Carrier repeatedly jumped in to keep both residents and representatives of the developer on topic.

Last April, when Congressional Country Club was brought to the Board to answer for its failure to meet a tree protection plan, Carrier got straight to the point in her questioning.

“Is there a reasonable chance of a higher level of actually achieving compliance,” Carrier asked an attorney for the prestigious club.

The Club and the Board agreed on a new plan to assure the tree protections.

The County Council must appoint a replacement.

Photo via Montgomery County Planning Board

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