A full two-thirds of the speakers at this afternoon's public hearing on the Bethesda Downtown sector plan will be representing developers. Taking into account the 7:00-9:00 PM hearing, developers will account for 50% of the total speaking slots.
Found yourself shut out of the opportunity to speak at the hearings, and told to submit written testimony instead? You may understand why after studying the speakers lists.
Of course, I am not suggesting landowners and developers shouldn't have their say. To the contrary, they have the right for their interest to be heard. The decisions made by the Montgomery County Planning Board will have direct implications for their property values and redevelopment rights.
But should developers and citizens have to share an arbitrarily limited number of speaking slots? Development attorney Bob Dalrymple, for example, will speak for 27 straight minutes during this afternoon's 2:00-5:00 PM hearing, occupying 9 consecutive speaking slots.
The hearings will be held at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Services Center in downtown Bethesda.