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Conflicts on rezoning

County resident Sam White alerted the county to another possible conflict of interest Davis might have in regard to the ongoing discussions of wind turbines and the proposed zoning text amendments. White also raised the allegation against Bill Duvall, commission chairman. ...The Frostburg resident [David] has owned about a half-acre of land with a trailer for nearly 30 years. The property is adjacent to the current planned wind turbine project atop Dan's Mountain. In addition, Davis' employer has listings in the nearby Harwood subdivision.

Two hot-button issues in front of the Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission will have fewer board members to hear those ongoing discussions to an evident or potential conflict of interest.

Wes McKee, planning commission counsel, said Monday that board members Lois Crossland and Bill Davis both appeared to have a conflict of interest in the rezoning request submitted by Braddock Construction. The construction company had requested rezoning of 104 acres about a mile south of the Mountainview Landfill on the opposite side of state Route 36.

Owners Kristin and Dave Weimer own the business and the property and intend to build a hot-mix asphalt plant, an office building, a maintenance shop and a rubble landfill area.

The board was asked at its Sept. 17 meeting by Matt Brewer of Bennett, Brewer and Associates about potential conflicts of interest among board members.

McKee said Crossland either owns property adjacent to the 104-acre site or has relatives that do. McKee said Crossland had indicated, through an attorney, her intent to recuse herself from any discussion on the issue. She did not attend a 1 p.m. visit to the location by five board members and others nor did she attend... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Two hot-button issues in front of the Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission will have fewer board members to hear those ongoing discussions to an evident or potential conflict of interest.

Wes McKee, planning commission counsel, said Monday that board members Lois Crossland and Bill Davis both appeared to have a conflict of interest in the rezoning request submitted by Braddock Construction. The construction company had requested rezoning of 104 acres about a mile south of the Mountainview Landfill on the opposite side of state Route 36.

Owners Kristin and Dave Weimer own the business and the property and intend to build a hot-mix asphalt plant, an office building, a maintenance shop and a rubble landfill area.

The board was asked at its Sept. 17 meeting by Matt Brewer of Bennett, Brewer and Associates about potential conflicts of interest among board members.

McKee said Crossland either owns property adjacent to the 104-acre site or has relatives that do. McKee said Crossland had indicated, through an attorney, her intent to recuse herself from any discussion on the issue. She did not attend a 1 p.m. visit to the location by five board members and others nor did she attend Wednesday's meeting.

Davis, too, could have a conflict of interest. McKee said he met or spoke with all seven commission members after the Sept. 17 meeting. In the interview with Davis, the former Frostburg mayor indicated the real estate agency for which he works has a professional relationship with Braddock Construction. McKee said Davis had no listings for Braddock Construction but other agents within the same office did. Davis said he, too, would recuse himself from any discussion on the rezoning request or any future issues related to the future use of the property.

McKee said both issues warranted him sending a letter to the Allegany County Ethics Commission to see if, in fact, there is a conflict of interest on either issue.

County resident Sam White alerted the county to another possible conflict of interest Davis might have in regard to the ongoing discussions of wind turbines and the proposed zoning text amendments. White also raised the allegation against Bill Duvall, commission chairman.

McKee said he found the allegations against Duvall "without merit" and that Duvall's employment with the Western Maryland Central Labor Council does not constitute a conflict of interest.

"He's not paid on commission through his employment," McKee said.

Davis' situation "was a little more problematic," McKee said. The Frostburg resident has owned about a half-acre of land with a trailer for nearly 30 years. The property is adjacent to the current planned wind turbine project atop Dan's Mountain. In addition, Davis' employer has listings in the nearby Harwood subdivision.

McKee said he doesn't believe that constitutes a conflict of interest but that Davis said he would recuse himself from any further wind turbine discussions as well. McKee accepted Davis' recommendation.

Phil Hager, county planning coordinator, said he didn't believe either member's recusal would interrupt the flow of information or dialogue on either issue. Both issues, he said, are guided by code and regulation and not a particular member's knowledge or experience.

While the proposed hot-mix asphalt plant is a relatively new issue before the planning commission, wind turbines have been discussed regularly since March. Hager said the idea that Davis didn't mention a possible conflict of interest is not cause for concern.

Davis, he said, "has been our most aggressive proponent for ethics training," Hager said.


Source: http://www.times-news.com/l...

OCT 7 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/17387-conflicts-on-rezoning
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