Compromise reached on landmarks panel

Council, executive to split picks, focus on expertise

May 01, 2002|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

Members of the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission and the County Council ironed out their differences yesterday over a plan to change the way commission members are appointed.

Councilman Wayne M. Skinner, a Towson Republican, proposed giving council members the power to appoint one member each to the commission, leaving eight appointees for the county executive. The executive now appoints the whole commission, which serves an advisory role.

Eleven of the 15 members of the commission signed a letter last week objecting to the plan, saying that it could create a body less committed to historic preservation.

Skinner met yesterday morning with four people who signed the letter - David Goldsmith, H. Rosita Hill, W. Boulton Kelly and Arthur N. Rogers III - and worked out a compromise.

Under the new scheme, council members would be given the appointment powers as proposed by Skinner. However, all appointees would be required to "possess demonstrated interest, knowledge or training in historic preservation, history, architecture, conservation or related disciplines," Skinner said.

Also, amendments to the bill will specify the areas of expertise for five of the executive's eight appointees.

The executive would have to appoint a representative of a group active in historic preservation, a registered architect from the county, a representative of the homebuilding industry, a member of the planning board and someone actively engaged in agriculture.

"We believe the language being introduced here meets our needs," Goldsmith told the council at its work session yesterday. "We think it's a win-win situation."

The current law provides strict specifications for who may be appointed - one must be an architect, one must be a historian, one must be involved in agriculture, for example.

Commissioners complained that in its original form, Skinner's bill would have dropped those qualifications and allowed council members to fill commission vacancies with people who had no interest in preservation.

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