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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council Appoints Temporary Acting Planning Board Members to Ensure Continuity of Service

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 27, 2022

Five experienced and diverse leaders will reset operations, support Park and Planning staff, and provide a bridge to the next Montgomery County Planning Board

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 27, 2022 — Today the Montgomery County Council appointed five temporary acting Montgomery County Planning Board members. The Council selected Jeffrey Zyontz as temporary acting chair and Amy Presley as temporary acting vice chair. Cherri Branson, David Hill, and Roberto Piñero were appointed as temporary acting Planning Board members.  The temporary Planning Board members reflect Montgomery County’s diversity in their backgrounds, experience, and party affiliations.

“Given the unprecedented challenges at the Montgomery County Planning Board, the Council has selected a diverse group of experienced leaders, who will reset operations, support the Park and Planning staff, and provide a bridge to the next Planning Board,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz. 

“Restoring trust in the agency is job one. The Council is confident that this group of dedicated individuals will immediately hit the ground running and work collaboratively with Acting Planning Director Tanya Stern and Park and Planning staff to restore the public’s confidence in the agency. They will perform the critical functions of the Planning Board and move planning projects and services forward for residents.

"The Council was fortunate to have many qualified individuals who applied to serve as temporary acting members of the Planning Board. We extend our gratitude to our civically minded community members for their commitment to public service and willingness to engage in this process. We encourage the applicants, who were not selected, to consider applying to become members of the Planning Board once the new Council takes office.” 

The next Montgomery County Council will be charged with selecting the new Planning Board members, who will serve out the remaining terms of the members. Once the new Council is inaugurated on Dec. 5, the process will begin to fill three Planning Board positions, which is expected by March 1, 2023, and the remaining two positions, including the chair, which is expected by June 14, 2023. The incoming Council will determine the final schedule.

Information about the five temporary acting Planning Board members is below.

Jeffrey Zyontz started his career at Montgomery Planning in 1974 and held various positions at the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission, including serving eight years as chief of the Countywide Planning Division. He also is a former legislative attorney at the Council, where he worked on countless land use and planning issues and was instrumental in helping the Council review the Planning Board’s rewrite of Montgomery County’s Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Zyontz is a Democrat and lives in Rockville.

Amy Presley is a former member of the Montgomery County Planning Board, where she set policies on growth, transportation, and environmental protection. She became involved in planning through her community activism as president of the Clarksburg Town Center Advisory Committee, Inc. She is the managing partner of Trusted Estate Partners. Ms. Presley is a Republican and Clarksburg resident.

Cherri Branson is the former director of Montgomery County’s Office of Procurement, where she managed a staff of 37 employees and oversaw a $4.4 million budget. She is also a lawyer and a former member of the Montgomery County Council, where she served nearly one year to complete the term of former Councilmember Ervin. Ms. Branson is a Democrat and lives in Silver Spring.

David Hill served on the City of Rockville’s Planning Commission for a decade, and prior to that he was a member of the city’s Board of Appeals. He currently works as a senior systems analyst at Westat. Mr. Hill is an unaffiliated registered voter and a Rockville resident. 

Roberto Piñero has been a senior analyst focused on housing, financial markets, and community investment in the U.S. Government Accountability Office for nearly 20 years. He also is a former Housing Opportunities Commission member. He has stepped down as a member of Montgomery County’s Board of Appeals to become a temporary Planning Board member. Mr. Piñero is a Democrat and lives in Silver Spring.

The Montgomery County Planning Board serves as the Council's principal adviser on land use and community planning. Planning Board members also serve as commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. 

No more than three members of the Planning Board may be from the same political party, and each member must be a resident and registered voter of Montgomery County when appointed. The chair of the Planning Board is a full-time position. Planning Board members are part-time positions. 

Some of the Planning Board's responsibilities concerning planning include the development of the County's General Plan, master plans, and functional plans, the formulation of subdivision regulations, and the preparation of, or recommendations on, text amendments to the Montgomery County Zoning Code. 

The Planning Board also sits as the Park Commission. It approves the annual Parks Department operating budget and capital improvements program and reviews and approves land acquisition contracts, major development contracts, and development plans for individual park facilities. 

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Release ID: 22-367
Media Contact: Sonya Healy, Lucia Jimenez