Per Montgomery County: Today the Montgomery County Council appointed Artie L. Harris, Jr. as the new Montgomery County Planning Board chair and Josh Linden as a Planning Board member. The Planning Board serves as the County’s principal land use and planning advisor. Planning Board members also serve as commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
“The new Montgomery County Planning Board reflects Montgomery County’s diversity across backgrounds, experience and party affiliations,” said Council President Evan Glass. “The Council’s public selection process has led us to make twocritical appointments today. Artie Harris and Josh Linden have the combined experience, leadership and listening skills that are necessary to engage with community members and the Council about land use and planning issues. These individuals will play an integral role in establishing a vision for the future of our County.
“On behalf of the Council, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to outgoing acting Planning Board Chair Jeff Zyontz and acting Planning Board Member Roberto Piñero. Each worked collaboratively to reset operations, movedthe essential work of the organization forward and supported the Park and Planning staff.”
Harris has served as vice president of real estate at Montgomery Housing Partnership, Inc. (MHP), which is a nonprofit real estate development organization based in Silver Spring where he has worked since 2009. Prior to joining MHP, he was the vice president at Bozzuto Development Company. He has 30 years of experience developing multi-family housing and retail facilities, and an additional nine years of experience as a civil engineer managing design and construction projects for commercial high-rise and industrial buildings and power plants. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue University. Harris also holds a certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Linden is a planner and analyst for BERK Consulting where he provides comprehensive plans, housing needs assessments, climate vulnerability assessments, equity analyses, pricing and more for housing, transportation and planning projects. He currently also serves as a board member for The Street Trust based in Portland, Oregon. Prior to his current role, he worked as a transportation planner at Jacobs Engineering. He holds a master’s degree in government from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Portland State University.
Planning Board members generally serve four-year terms and are limited to two full terms. No more than three members of the Planning Board may be from the same political party, and each member must be a resident and registered voter of Montgomery County when appointed.
Harris, who is a Democrat, and Linden, who is an unaffiliated voter, both begin new terms on the Planning Board. They join Planning Board members James Hedrick, who is a Democrat, Mitra Pedoeem,who is an unaffiliated voter, and Shawn Bartley, who is a Republican.
The Planning Board’s responsibilities include preparing and proposing amendment to the Montgomery County General Plan, master plans and functional plans, proposing amendments to the subdivision regulations and preparing and making recommendations on text amendments to the Montgomery County Zoning Code. The Planning Board implements area master plans and the subdivision process by reviewing and approving preliminary plans, site plans and other plans for development and provides advice about the planning implications of capital facilities and other infrastructure.
Moreover, the Planning Board comments, under its mandatory referral authority, about plans for public facilities of local, state and federal agencies and proposes the work program and annual operating budget for the Planning Department and the Commission’s bi-county offices.
The Planning Board also sits as the Park Commission and proposes the annual Parks Department operating budget and capital improvements program and establishes park policies and fees. Land acquisition contracts and major development contracts for parks development plans and park facilities are approved by the Planning Board.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich must approve or disapprove the Planning Board appointments within 30 days. If no communication is received, the appointments are approved. Once the Planning Board members are sworn in, they will begin their work on June 15, 2023.