Baltimore County zoning chief Lawrence Schmidt is resigning

September 16, 2004|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County Zoning Commissioner Lawrence E. Schmidt is resigning to enter private law practice.

County Executive James T. Smith Jr. accepted the resignation yesterday. Schmidt was the county's longest-serving zoning commissioner.

Smith has nominated William J. Wiseman III to succeed Schmidt. Wiseman has served as an assistant county attorney for 24 years, providing counsel on -- among other things -- the development and implementation of land-use programs.

Schmidt, 51, a Timonium resident, said he will form a private law practice specializing in land-use issues with Baltimore attorney David Gildea. He has been zoning commissioner since 1991.

"It's been a long time, and I just felt I was ready for a new challenge," he said.

Wiseman was not immediately available for comment after last night's announcement by Smith's office. However, he said in a statement that he is "honored and excited" by the opportunity.

The zoning commissioner presides as an administrative law judge over zoning cases and is the designated hearing officer in the county's development review process.

Wiseman's nomination will require confirmation by the County Council. Two council members contacted last night -- Joseph Bartenfelder and Kenneth N. Oliver -- said they will support the nomination.

"I've known Bill Wiseman for 20 years," said Bartenfelder, a Fullerton Democrat. "One thing he's not is controversial."

Schmidt and Wiseman are both graduates of the University of Baltimore Law School. Wiseman has been a Hunt Valley resident for 26 years.

For six years before becoming zoning commissioner, Schmidt was a member of the county's board of appeals.

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