Cover chosen to head county's office of planning

January 09, 1995|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Steven R. Cover, who coordinated some of the Redskins' planning for the team's proposed football stadium in Laurel, will be the new director of Anne Arundel County's Office of Planning and Code Enforcement.

County Executive John G. Gary was to announce the appointment of Mr. Cover, former head of the county's subdivision section, today. Mr. Cover will begin work Jan. 26.

In his new post, Mr. Cover, 38, will oversee development of the county's new master plan and comprehensive rezoning, as well as the drafting of new laws and enforcement of building regulations.

He replaces Robert Dvorak, acting PACE director and the county's chief administrative officer. The county's environmental community had condemned Mr. Dvorak's decisions regarding development.

"My emphasis is going to be on consistency in decisions," Mr. Cover said. "I expect a high level of competence and professionalism from employees. It is going to be a department of integrity."

Mr. Cover, director of planning at John E. Harms Jr. & Associates Inc., a land use consulting firm in Pasadena, said he oversaw some aspects of site design and environmental considerations during Jack Kent Cooke's failed effort to win zoning exceptions for a 78,600-seat stadium.

Mr. Cover said that because of his experience with the Redskins, he "probably would have to withdraw from any considerations" that have to do with the stadium. He also said he will discuss the matter with county ethics officers.

The stadium issue has moved mostly out of the administrative arena. In October, the county's administrative hearing officer ruled against the $160 million stadium. Mr. Cooke has since turned to the county's Board of Appeals, which will begin a hearing March 27.

Mr. Gary has said he will support the stadium only if the Redskins prove to him that it would make money for the county, and if the team can resolve problems the county hearing officer ** found in their plan.

If the team meets these conditions, Mr. Gary has said he will propose a property tax break so the team's tax bill would be figured as if the land were unimproved, and he would allow the Redskins to use the county's AA bond rating to borrow money at reduced interest rates.

Mr. Cover is the county's former administrator of the Office of Planning and Zoning's development division and is considered particularly knowledgeable about critical area planning.

In 1981, he received master's degrees in city planning and architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

He has worked as a senior urban designer in Atlanta's bureau of planning. From 1983 to 1985, he was chief of the Annapolis city planning division, where he reviewed and processed subdivision plans, developments and conditional uses. He also prepared land use and urban design studies.

From 1985 to 1988 he directed planning for Development Facilitators Inc., a consulting firm in Severna Park. From 1988 until 1992 he directed planning and land development for KCI Technologies Inc. of Laurel, designing a variety of developments.

In 1992, he was recruited by the county. At the time, Ardath M. Cade, county planning and zoning officer, praised his "familiarity with Anne Arundel County and its development processes and extensive knowledge of the public and private sector."

But he lasted one year. County government was shrinking, and the prestigious Harms firm offered him a key position.

Mr. Cover is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

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