The town’s charter calls for three Commissioners to be elected to two-year terms, with elections taking place on the first Monday in May of every odd-numbered year. Commissioners are not paid and serve as volunteers. Among themselves, the Commissioners choose one person to act as “President of the Commission,” informally known as the Mayor. The town has one part-time paid employee, known as the Town Clerk, who manages the day-to-day affairs of the town.
Mildred Callear was elected as a Commissioner in 2011 and became
mayor in 2017. Her professional experience is in international investment. She and her husband Jim moved to Barnesville in 1988 and their daughters joined them in 2001. They raise cattle, sheep, chickens, rabbits and numerous cats and dogs on their farm.
Mildred is a member of the Planning Commission and focuses her efforts for the Town on traffic and pedestrian safety, as well as community connections. Improving safe access to all points in the town and to the train station with additional sidewalks has been her goal.
Holly Larisch was elected as a Commissioner in 2017. Her professional experience is in the field of Affordable Housing. She has lived in Barnesville since 1992 with her husband Mike and their daughter.
As a Commissioner, Ms. Larisch has worked on Community Events with the Community Events Committee, the Tidbit newsletter, and stormwater management issues.
Ms. Larisch also has served on the Executive Board of the Montgomery Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League.
Audrey Morris was elected as a Commissioner in 2017. Her professional experience is in finance and real estate. She moved to Barnesville in 2011 and raises a small spinner’s flock of sheep on her property.
As a Commissioner she has focused on the condition of the town’s finances and has worked on the development of Lillard’s Corner, the new town park.
She is also co-chair of the Sustainable Barnesville committee.
Our small Town has unique legal powers that are the envy of more populated neighborhoods. We have the ability to determine how the land within our borders can be used. Larger “towns” such as Silver Spring, Bethesda or Germantown rely on the Montgomery County Council to make those determinations, but we do it for ourselves.We have planning and land use powers because Barnesville is a municipality, a status granted by the State of Maryland in 1888.
Within Barnesville, our three elected officials have the final say on all land use rules, and those officials rely on a 5-member Planning Commission for guidance. Planning Commission members are appointed, not elected, and serve as volunteers.
Here are some examples of topics where the Planning Commission offers its advice to the Town’s elected officials:
What is the Town’s long-term vision for growth and sustainability (i.e., next twenty years)?
What changes are needed in the Town’s Zoning Ordinance? In Subdivision Rules? In the Forest Conservation Ordinance?
What fees should the Town require for various land use permits and applications?
Is a particular building permit application ready for approval?
Does Barnesville need new sidewalks or other town-owned facilities? Where should they be located? How should they be paid for?
Current members of the Planning Commission are: Woody Bailey, Chair; Mildred Callear; Cynthia Jennings; Meg Menke; and Judy Stone.
BOARD OF APPEALS
Another group of Town officials with powers and duties established in the Zoning Ordinance is our 3-member Board of Appeals. The members serve as volunteers and must be Barnesville residents. The Board's duties are in three categories:
Hearing and deciding on situations where a resident alleges that an error in procedure, ruling, order, etc. has been made by the President of Commissioners or the Planning Commission
Hearing and deciding on requests from a property owner for a Special Exception to a use, size limit or other standard upon which the Board is required in the Zoning Ordinance to make a judgment.
Granting variances from the standards/requirements of the Zoning Ordinance or other Ordinance, when a property owner requests, and when the action requested will not be contrary to the Public Interest.
The Board of Appeals has the authority to adopt rules of Procedure for each type of request shown above. Every case brought to the Board of Appeals requires a public hearing, during which all interested parties, including the Planning Commission, are invited to testify.
After a ruling is issued by the Board, an applicant, or another aggrieved person or group, may disagree with that decision. In these instances, the Zoning Ordinance outlines procedures for filing an appeal. Ultimately, appeals not resolved at the Town level are heard by the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Members of the Board of Appeals are Brian Capaldo, Mike Karns, and Paul Lepine.