Skip to the content
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Home / News / Montgomery County Planning Board Receives Dellabrooke Subdivision Final Report From Independent Investigation

Montgomery County Planning Board Receives Dellabrooke Subdivision Final Report From Independent Investigation

Report of Investigation finds Montgomery County Planning staff and officials acted properly, provides three recommendations

Silver Spring, MDAn investigation by independent counsel Douglas M. Bregman, appointed by the M-NCPPC’s Montgomery County Planning Board, has found no evidence of improper conduct on the part of Montgomery County Planning staff and officials regarding the allegations that the approval of the Dellabrooke subdivision in 2000 was the result of faulty information and undue influence.

As a result of a five-month long investigation, Bregman’s 98-page report reached the following two conclusions:

  1.  There was no improper conduct or undue influence in the Planning Board’s approval of Dellabrooke Phase III or the related Category I conservation easement.
  2. Montgomery County Planning officials did not engage in improper conduct in order to suppress or ignore the allegations pertaining to the Dellabrooke area and the community.

The report also provided three recommendations for Montgomery County Planning related to providing service to the public:

  1. Create a centralized system of records maintenance for development applications.
  2. Develop an official, formal policy for assigning addresses.
  3. Consider opportunities to address underlying issues during pending litigation to respond to public need.

The Planning Board will review addressing and street naming guidelines and procedures at their Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19.

“I am very pleased with the thorough and conclusive report which found that Park and Planning staff acted properly,” said Planning Board Chair Françoise M. Carrier, “and we take the recommendations in the report very seriously.”

On the final page of the report, Bregman stated that “despite the public criticism of Park and Planning that precipitated our investigation and the issues noted above, we determined that Park and Planning is a responsible, ethical, competent, hard-working, and professional agency.”

The Planning Board retained senior attorney Douglas M. Bregman of Bregman, Berbert, Schwartz & Gilday, LLC in June 2013 to conduct an independent investigation regarding the Planning Board’s approval of the Dellabrooke neighborhood subdivision in Sandy Spring. Allegations in multiple lawsuits claimed that a historical farm road was eliminated with this development, thereby cutting off access to a number of properties.

The report also states that the historical farm road was never a public road and was not removed from government maps during the regulatory approval process for Dellabrooke.

After a thorough investigation and fact-finding review, Bregman found there was no evidence of  improper conduct by Park and Planning officials before, during or after the approval of the Dellabrooke subdivision.

At a July 18 Planning Board meeting, addresses were granted to the 11 properties located on the north side of Brooke Road, west of the intersection of Chandlee Mill Road in Sandy Spring. The 11 properties are historically significant as land owned by some of the first freed slaves in the state. Addresses could not be issued by Park and Planning until it could be established that the owners had legal access to cross private property to reach a public road.

View the full Report of Investigation

View more information and resources

Bridget Schwiesow
Communication Manager
M-NCPPC Montgomery County Department of Planning or 301.641.0457