Council names Mariani to Planning Board Confirmation ends without rancor

October 07, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Despite his stormy confirmation hearing two weeks ago, Daisy resident Theodore Mariani has been unanimously and unceremoniously confirmed as a member of the Planning Board.

The council grouped Mr. Mariani with eight other nominees to various boards and commissions, and it approved all nine simultaneously Monday night.

The unanimous yeses, uttered in dull monotones, contrasted sharply with the shouts exchanged between council members and Highland activist John W. Taylor on Sept. 21, when Mr. Taylor urged the council to reject Mr. Mariani.

Mr. Taylor was highly critical of Mr. Mariani's chairmanship of the Rural Land Use Study Commission, alleging that Mr. Mariani, an architect in Washington, put his own interests ahead of the commission and was likely to do the same on the Planning Board.

The shouting began after Councilman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, characterized Mr. Taylor's testimony as "an unfair rewriting of history," and Councilman Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, said it was "pretty slanderous."

Mr. Feaga and Mr. Taylor are political rivals, having competed in the September 1990 primary. Mr. Feaga won that race by 201 votes.

Mr. Taylor was the only person to speak against Mr. Mariani at the Sept. 21 hearing. He said he was offering his testimony on behalf of Howard Countians for Responsible Growth.

Mr. Taylor did not attend Monday night's session.

Mr. Gray said that after receiving some questions about Mr. Mariani's appointment, he called him and received assurances that Mr. Mariani "is not now or in the future planning to develop in Howard County."

Mr. Mariani also assured Mr. Gray that if a conflict arose, he would excuse himself or resign, Mr. Gray said.

"I want to commend him again for carrying out his responsibilities [as chairman of the land use commission] so admirably," Mr. Gray said.

Following his confirmation, Mr. Mariani said, "Anyone in the public arena takes shots once in a while. I have always focused on the common good.

"What I have been able to accomplish in the last few years on a volunteer basis shows what I am like. You don't change overnight."

In unrelated action, the council unanimously approved a bill requiring the planning department to notify eligible residents and community associations of new development in their neighborhoods.

To become eligible to receive the biweekly notification, residents and community associations would have to register with the planning department and pay an annual fee to cover mailing and processing expenses.

"What this does is inform people of what's going on in their communities so they can make comments, if they want, that can be part of the record," said Councilwoman Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, the bill's sponsor,

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