November 23, 1951 - March 7, 2018
It is with overwhelming sadness that we say goodbye to our friend and colleague, Larry Gordon. To the people at Shulman Rogers, Larry has meant many things. He was a partner, a genial colleague, a teacher, a mentor, the Dean of Shulman Rogers University, a creative strategist, a resource on the law, a kind and caring supervisor, an open door, a sounding board, a great writer and editor, a bad pun maker, and a friend. His office was always a place of laughter but was also a place of refuge and serious conversation whenever needed. His door was always open and he was ready to help anyone, anytime. As a zoning attorney, he had a courageous career pulling out many miracles and doggedly pursuing wins for his clients who loved him and the project team members who loved working alongside him. You will be missed, Larry, but never forgotten.
Larry Gordon is known as “a lawyer’s zoning lawyer.” His creative problem solving skills in land use law are sought by clients and colleagues alike. He brings more than 35 years of experience to the complex legal issues that frequently arise in his land use and development practice.
Larry has represented a wide array of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional developers and builders. His strategic approach emphasizes the building of community and political consensus necessary to obtain governmental approvals for land development projects throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area and nearby jurisdictions. He has represented municipal and non-profit clients including the cities of Annapolis, MD and Chesapeake, VA.; the Resolution Trust Corporation; and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
A former land planner with the Fairfax County, Virginia Park Authority, Larry brings multi-disciplinary knowledge and experience to his practice. His Masters degree in city planning adds credibility to his recommendations to government officials, urban planners and clients.
As a litigator of administrative land use appeals, he has handled landmark Maryland Court of Appeals cases regarding vested rights, municipal estoppel, transfer of development rights and adequacy of public facilities. Examples of these cases include, Permanent Financial Corp v. Montgomery County, 518 A.2d 123 (“801 Wayne Avenue”) and West Montgomery Citizens Assoc. v. M-NCPPC, 522 A.2d 1328 (“Avenel”).
Larry’s passion for educating future lawyers is reflected in his serving as Adjunct Professor of Land Use Law at the George Washington University Law School for nearly 30 years. His extensive experience as an educator and lecturer keep him current with the law and enhance his communication skills, thereby maximizing his effectiveness as an advocate for his clients.
- Successfully litigated case in Court of Appeals of Maryland establishing Maryland law on municipal equitable estoppel and its use as an alternative to vested rights claims.
- Pro bono land use counsel to developer of first Maryland playground that is fully accessible to children with physical and mental disabilities. This facility served as a prototype for similar playgrounds subsequently built throughout the United States.
- National Land Use Due Diligence Coordinator for the U.S. Resolution Trust Corporation. Organized and edited due diligence reports for RTC real estate assets throughout the country, each valued at over $5 million.
- Served as land use counsel for the corporate world headquarters of an international religious organization located in Silver Spring, Maryland.
- Served as land use and litigation counsel for a nationally recognized mixed use residential/golf/equestrian community in Potomac, Maryland. Project included extensive use of transfer of development rights (TDR’s) and a PGA Tour golf course.
- Successfully annexed a property from Montgomery County, Maryland (where it was undevelopable due to a traffic moratorium), into the City of Rockville. Once annexed, obtained zoning and special exception approval for development of one of Rockville’s largest and most profitable automobile dealerships.
- Obtained eleven (11) separate land use variances for a row of commercial retail stores in Friendship Heights, Maryland, in close proximity to Washington, D.C.
- Drafted shared use parking model legislation for the Urban Land Use Institute that has served as a prototype for cities and municipalities throughout the nation.
- Drafted substantial revisions to new Montgomery County Rural Cluster zone that opened large segment of County to environmentally sensitive residential development.
- Drafted and successfully lobbied for amendment to liquor license laws that allowed for outdoor alcohol service on street-side of sidewalks. The amendment helped facilitate substantial restaurant and retail redevelopment in the Smart Growth/New Urbanism Bethesda Row neighborhood of Bethesda, Maryland.
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- Adjunct Faculty Member and Professorial Lecturer in Land Use Law, the George Washington University Law School 1988 – Present
- Guest Lecturer, University of Maryland, National Center for Smart Growth Leadership Program 2005 – Present
- United States Information Agency Academic Expert in Land Use and Environmental Planning and Law to Argentina's Professional Council on Architecture and Urban Development
- Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Guest Lecturer on Planning in the Context of Market Forces, Shanxi Institute of Planning, Taiyuan, People's Republic of China
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Leadership Montgomery, 1991 Graduate; 1992 – 1997 Board Member and Vice President; 1998 – 2013 General Counsel; Creator of annual Youth Community Awards Program
- Distinguished Leader of the Year Award, International Community Leadership Association, 2001
- 25 Year Adjunct Professor Certificate, the George Washington University Law School, 2013
- American Planning Association, Planning and Law Division, Former National Program Chair
- Montgomery County Friends of Recreation, Founding Chair
- Citizens Advisory Committee to the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services, Former Chair
- U.S. Lacrosse, Vice President, Potomac Region Chapter