Advertisement

Shaool lives in Washington County, county attorney rules

August 15, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • In this file photo, Sassan Shaool speaks about the details on a change to the Rosewood Village PUD Development plan at a public hearing during the meeting of the Washington County Commissioners and the Washington County Planning Commission. Washington County Attorney John M. Martirano has concluded that Washington County Planning Commission member Sassan Shaool lives in the county, making him eligible to serve.
Herald-Mail file photo

Washington County Attorney John M. Martirano has concluded that Washington County Planning Commission  member Sassan Shaool lives in the county, making him eligible to serve.

Citizens for Protection of Washington County questioned Shaool's residency in a June 30 letter to Martirano.

A county planning commission member must be a county resident.

The Washington County Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 in February to appoint Shaool, the president of Washco Developments, to the planning commission.

In its protest letter, CPWC relied on incorrect information to question Shaool's residency.

The group claimed Shaool testified during a 2005 county zoning board of appeals hearing that he "lived in Bethesda, Md., and only stayed in Hagerstown when he was working late."

Actually, it was Sassan Shaool's cousin, David Shaool, who testified at a 2005 hearing that he lives in Potomac, Md., and stays in Hagerstown when he has evening or morning meetings.

CPWC also alleged that Shaool isn't registered to vote in Maryland.

That also was wrong. Records at the Washington County Board of Elections show that Shaool has been registered to vote since 1996, lives on Shaool Place in Hagerstown and last voted in the November 2010 election.

In a letter to the editor published in Sunday's Herald-Mail, CPWC President James Laird apologized for the group confusing Sassan Shaool with his cousin.

He also wrote that the group couldn't find Shaool's name in voter-registration records in Washington County or Montgomery County, Md., where they suspected that he lived.

Contacted Monday, Laird said he's still not convinced about Shaool's residency, but at least the group posed the question.

In the same letter to Martirano, CPWC asked that the Washington County Ethics Commission consider whether Shaool, as a developer, has a conflict that would keep him off the planning commission.

According to Martirano, the ethics commission has met, but hasn't yet issued a written decision.

On Friday, Shaool met with Laird and another CPWC member, Henrietta Livelsberger.

Shaool, who initiated the meeting, said he explained that he isn't on the commission to side with developers. Rather, he's trying to use his experience to try to shape and improve development plans, and will recuse himself when it's necessary, he said.

He and Laird agreed that the meeting went well and both sides were cordial.

Laird said he liked hearing Shaool say he isn't part of a good-old-boy network and doesn't owe anyone a favor as a planning commissioner.

"He's saying the things that, in my opinion, a planning commissioner should be doing," Laird said, adding that not everyone in CPWC will agree.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|