Outgoing Planning Commissioner Saluted For 24-Year Stint

Outgoing Planning Commissioner Saluted For 24-Year Stint
At this week’s planning commission meeting, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan presented key to the city to outgoing member Lauren Taylor. Photo by JR Harmon

OCEAN CITY — Long-time resident, business owner and Planning Commission member Lauren Taylor was feted this week by her colleagues and the mayor for her 24 years of service.

Taylor has served on the planning commission for nearly a quarter of a century, helping ushering Ocean City through two decades-plus of significant growth and change while keeping a watchful eye on the resort’s traditional look and feel and the quality of life for residents.

Taylor’s 24 years of service on the planning commission is trumped only by Planning Commission Chair Pam Buckley, who has sat at the dais in the council chambers with her for decades. Planning commissioners have come and gone over the years, but Buckley and Taylor, along with other current members Palmer Gillis and Joel Brous, for example, have been constants.

Before the commission delved into the handful of rather innocuous site plan approval requests on Tuesday’s agenda, Buckley said she wanted to take a few minutes to recognize her long-time colleague.

“First, we’re going to be honoring one of our very loyal and very good members of this commission for 24 years, Lauren Taylor,” she said.

Planning Commissioner Palmer Gillis said he also appreciated Taylor’s service and the knowledge he has gleaned from her during his long service on the commission.

“I appreciate the knowledge I have obtained from you while working on the planning commission,” he said. “Whether you were sitting in the audience on a few occasions or sitting on this side of the table, it’s been a pleasure. I’m pretty sure we didn’t agree on some things. At least there was a lot of respect from this side going that way. I’m not going to attest if it came back the other way.”

Buckley said Taylor brought a unique perspective to the planning commission and praised her colleague for bringing her extensive knowledge of the history of the resort to the table.

“There have been many, many times over the years when you’ve stepped up and taken the lead up here,” she said. “It’s been a pleasure for all of us who sit up here and worked with you. I wish you all the best because you have given a lot over the years, not just on this commission, but on the many committees and boards and other organizations, and, of course, your philanthropy.”

Mayor Rick Meehan was also on hand on Tuesday and presented a key to the city to Taylor. Over the course of 24 years on the commission, Taylor and her fellow board members have reviewed countless site plans, development project, proposed code changes and other tasks, often long into the night on occasion.

“Lauren, on behalf of the Mayor and Council, I’d like to thank you for 24 years of service to the town of Ocean City,” he said. “When you look back at 24 years on the planning commission, it’s not all just site plans and things like that. It’s comprehensive plans, it’s taking a look at the entire city and mapping out the future. That’s a Herculean task and it’s something you’ve done so well for 24 years.”

Meehan also praised Taylor for her service on numerous other boards and commissions and her vast contributions to the town in so many other ways.

“You brought a lot of history to the board too, and what you know about Ocean City and your family being here for so many years,” he said. “It’s important that we continue to move forward, but it’s also important to look back and see where we were. That’s very important, but sometimes that gets lost and you really helped bring that perspective to this commission.”

For her part, Taylor also said having grown up in Ocean City and her family’s history, she brought a unique perspective to the commission.

“It’s been a pleasure and an honor to serve the citizens of Ocean City,” she said. “My family has been here since 1882 and I have saltwater in my veins. It’s been a pleasure to help develop his city in a responsible way that benefits the citizens and contributes to the quality of life.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

Alternative Text

Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.