Messenger resigns Board of Appeals seat

N. Laurel lawyer has been at center of clashes over development plans

April 02, 1999|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

After a monthlong controversy, Donald B. Messenger has resigned from the county Board of Appeals, effective June 1, unless a replacement can be chosen more quickly.

"The sooner they get someone the better," said Messenger, a 63-year-old Republican lawyer from North Laurel who has been at the center of several board clashes over development proposals.

The Howard County Council, which appoints the five board members, asked Messenger to resign in a letter in late February. His five-year term expires in January 2001.

Although he said that he had been thinking about resigning, Messenger resisted the council for several weeks, seeking to meet with members to discuss the situation. Then, late Wednesday afternoon, Messenger had a resignation letter delivered to the council as members met behind closed doors to discuss the case. They quickly accepted the resignation, members said.

"We're grateful for his service," said council Chairman C. Vernon Gray, a Columbia Democrat. He added that the council met only long enough to approve the resignation. Gray said the council will advertise for a new member for the board, which reviews special exceptions and variances from the zoning code and appeals from administrative decisions by other county agencies.

Although Messenger has publicly blamed Jerry L. Rushing, the board chairman, for persuading the council to ask for his resignation, he refused to discuss the situation yesterday, except to say that he has had "a bellyful of the whole business" and has "no regrets. The county more than got their money's worth out of me."

Rushing praised Messenger as someone who "put in uncounted hours. Don Messenger is a fine man," he said.

Pub Date: 4/02/99

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