Comments sully integrity of planning commission members

Friday, Feb. 15, 2008

I spent 10 years as a member and vice chairman of the Charles County Planning Commission and the article, ‘‘All but Hodge vote against Waldorf rezoning” [Maryland Independent, Feb. 13], concerns me deeply.

Commissioner Hodge is quoted as saying that he ‘‘was not provided an adequate reason for rejecting the plan and that the planning commission had failed to respond to two requests for additional information.”

During my tenure on the planning commission, I can assure you that we, along with the hard-working staff who supported us, examined in-depth every request for rezoning for townhouse construction, and unless we could provide clear rationale for approval or disapproval, we did not approve it for sending to the commissioners until we could. I simply cannot believe that any requests for additional information from the commissioners was simply ignored by the planning commission or the staff that supports them. The planning commission is composed of ‘‘citizen planners” who come from the community and are appointed by the county commissioners and serve at their pleasure.

They work very hard at their jobs and walk a thin line between the issue of property rights of land owners and the what is best for the citizens and the community at large. For Commissioner Hodge to suggest that a request for additional information was simply ignored sullies the integrity of both the planning commission members and the staff that supports them.

I have no idea why he would make such a statement but at best he should clarify the record as to what further information he was denied and explain this innuendo.

Ernest D. Cruea, Waldorf