January 30, 2019
Re: Support for reappointment of Casey Anderson as Chair of the Planning Board
Dear President Navarro and Councilmembers:
The Coalition for Smarter Growth has committed to supporting sustainable and equitable development, housing, and transportation in Montgomery County, funding a dedicated staff-person to work in the community for the past seven years. We are excited by the opportunities ahead for Montgomery County under your leadership, but we also recognize that the county faces significant challenges in economic development and access to jobs, housing supply and affordability, and affordable and accessible transportation. For these reasons, we strongly support the reappointment of Casey Anderson as Chair of the Planning Board.
The reappointment of Casey would provide important continuity of leadership at the Planning Board at a time when the county needs to ensure plans are in place that can ensure the county’s economic development and competitiveness, and equitable access to opportunity. Based on recent experience, mixed-use, mixed-income, walkable, transit-oriented development (TOD) is essential for ensuring the county’s economic competitiveness and growth in the commercial tax base, and Casey has done much to advance TOD in the county in partnership with the Council.
Marriott’s move from Rock Spring to Bethesda is a testament to the value they see in TOD. Similarly, Amazon’s selection of a TOD location at Crystal City/Pentagon City, Choice Hotel’s location in Rockville, Nestle’s in Rosslyn, demonstrates the need to accelerate TOD in Montgomery County in order to attract and retain major companies. When combined with strong MPDU policies, and additional transit investments, TOD – both at the Bethesda/Silver Spring scale and at medium density scale — can improve access to jobs by transit, reduce combined housing and transportation costs, and grow the economy without increasing overall traffic.
Among his important initiatives, Casey shepherded through the new Subdivision Staging Policy which incentivizes and prioritizes TOD, transit, biking and walking; the award-winning Bicycle Master Plan; and the complex Bethesda Master Plan, including the establishment of market-oriented system for allocating development capacity and park impact payments to raise funds for open space. It is for these reasons that we awarded Casey Anderson our 2017 Prince Livable Communities Leadership Award.
Casey Anderson has led the Planning Board and its heavy workload with great skill – listening, and running the agenda and discussions smoothly and without acrimony. He knows how the agency works, knows the staff, and knows the government process. With the impending Countywide Master Plan update, Mr. Anderson provides the critical experience and record of success necessary to ensure the plan update goes smoothly and is developed in a timely manner. Developing a new Master Plan and continuing to advance TOD projects and other mixed-use development, along with developing innovative approaches to provide a range of housing types affordable to all levels of the workforce, are critical to the future of the county and its people.
For all of the reasons enumerated here, Casey Anderson has earned our strong endorsement for reappointment as Chair of the Planning Board.
Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director