May 20, 2019
Re: Support for appointment of Partap Verma to the Planning Board
Dear President Navarro and Councilmembers:
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is committed to supporting sustainable and equitable development, housing, and transportation in Montgomery County. We are excited by the opportunities ahead for the county, but we also recognize the significant challenges in economic development and access to jobs, housing supply and affordability, and affordable and accessible transportation. To meet these challenges, the Planning Board must continue to prioritize inclusive, transit-oriented growth. For that reason, we strongly support the appointment of Partap Verma to the Planning Board.
Partap has the issue area expertise and passion to be an effective member of the Planning Board. He is a proven local leader on affordable housing, pedestrian safety, and transit access. He has promoted civic engagement among his neighbors in Forest Glen, leading community planning and advocacy efforts. He has hosted successful dialogues and events, helped to found civic organizations, advocated for transit infrastructure, held a chair position on the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board, and volunteered as a mediator/panel attorney for HOA disputes.
From these experiences, Partap has shown an impressive ability to connect with and listen to the needs of Montgomery County residents, an invaluable trait for a member of the Planning Board in an increasingly diverse county. He is an advocate for the needs of underserved and marginalized communities, and provides a voice for Montgomery’s growing foreign-born/first-generation and LGBTQIA+ communities. As a dedicated federal employee and husband of a U.S. Army veteran, he also understands the importance of public service.
Looking forward, Partap will be able to provide a critical voice during upcoming and important conversations about the way Montgomery County will grow, including updates to the Subdivision Staging Policy and the Countywide Master Plan. His vision will help create the mixed-use, mixed-income, walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented places that the county needs in order to further equity, environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness, and growth in the commercial tax base.
For the many reasons enumerated above, Partap Verma has earned our strong endorsement for appointment to the Planning Board.
Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director
Jane Lyons, Maryland Advocacy Manager