News: In the News

Rules would impact what Frederick's elected officials can do outside public proceedings

Attorney David Severn Featured in Frederick News Post

The Frederick Board of Aldermen is set to vote Thursday on ground rules for what elected officials can talk about outside the record of certain public proceedings.

The proposed resolution would establish rules and procedures for quasi-judicial hearings, when the mayor and board serve as judge and jury on matters subject to appeal.

The proposed action comes on the heels of the aldermen’s recent 3-2 decision not to rezone property for the Monocacy Gateway project. The decision is under appeal.

During that rezoning hearing on Feb. 16, Dave Severn, an attorney representing developer Clustered Spires Property Group, publicly accused Alderwoman Kelly Russell of illegally engaging in ex parte, or outside, communications with project opponents.

On Friday, Severn questioned the timing of the proposed quasi-judicial resolution, which includes definitions and guidelines for ex parte communications.

“It’s kind of ‘out of the blue’ how that came up that they all of a sudden proposed a change to the rules and procedure to address all the things we were objecting to at the hearing,” Severn said sarcastically.

Severn and other representatives of Clustered Spires Property Group also attended a workshop Wednesday when aldermen discussed the proposed quasi-judicial resolution.

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ABOUT DAVID SEVERN | 240.772.5114

David A. Severn has been practicing law in Frederick MD, since 1980 and focuses his practice on land use, development and real estate. He represents clients in all aspects of the zoning and land use process appearing regularly before planning commissions, boards of appeal and legislative bodies of Frederick County, Washington County and their municipalities. He has served as lead counsel in numerous large and complex development projects including “Carroll Creek Park” a mixed use, public-private partnership re-development project in historic downtown Frederick modeled on River Walk in San Antonio, “Frederick Crossing”, the first large mixed use commercial retail/employment center in Frederick County and the redevelopment of the Frederick Towne Mall. David also works for the public sector in serving as legal counsel to the Town of Walkersville, the City of Brunswick, Frederick County and Washington County Public Schools for real estate and land use matters.


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