Councilwoman Liz Walsh is being asked by lawyers representing a development she once publicly opposed to recuse herself from proceedings dealing with the development.
Councilwoman Liz Walsh is being asked by lawyers representing a development she once publicly opposed to recuse herself from proceedings dealing with the development. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun file)

The testimony came 43 days after Liz Walsh announced she would run against an incumbent for County Council.

Walsh, then simply a resident of historic Ellicott City, spoke in opposition to a development that would bring 127 townhouses and 281 apartments to 34.97 acres in Elkridge.

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Her testimony, which was given during a 2018 zoning board hearing, has put Walsh, who now sits as head of the zoning board, in a precarious position, lawyers representing the development argued during a public meeting earlier this week. So much so they are asking Walsh to recuse herself from proceedings dealing with the development.

“Principals of due process and fundamental fairness mandate the recusal/disqualification of [Walsh] from participation in these proceedings,” wrote attorneys for Elm Street Development in court documents.

The “interest,” attorneys allege, was made apparent during an April testimony where Walsh criticized the fiscal analysis provided by developers to the county.

The document surmised the development would bring 74 kids, Walsh said.

“That is not a reasonable position to take,” Walsh said, later dismissing the analysis as “bunk math.”

“And it is probably the basis for a lot of overdeveloped, overdense developments that have overcut our schools,” Walsh said. “I simply ask that you do require this development … [to] show the true expenditures that will be incurred by the county.”

Lawyers labeled Walsh as an “interested party opponent” and said she could not “sit in judgment of this Petition without actual bias or prejudice, or at a minimum the appearance of bias or prejudice.”

Though Walsh is a public official, the law disallows her from speaking with the press about her role in specific cases before the zoning board. Spokeswoman Julia Singleton in an email said, “There has not been any decision made concerning this request.”

Another meeting addressing the recusal and the property in general is slated to be rescheduled at a later date.

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