John B. Gontrum

John B. Gontrum

PARTNER
jgontrum@wtplaw.com
TOWSON
T: 410.832.2055
F: 410.339.4058



Mr. Gontrum is director of the Towson office of the firm and is co-chairman of the Real Estate Section and also the Real Estate Development, Leasing and Land Use Industry Group.  He has over 35 years of experience representing industrial, commercial and residential developers, businesses, institutions and individuals on a wide variety of land use, zoning and development issues.  His practice concentrates on Baltimore County land use and development with particular attention to issues arising in eastern Baltimore County and waterfront development.

Recognitions

  • AV Peer Review Rated: Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, published by Chambers and Partners, 2017-present
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2010-present
    • Best Lawyer's "Lawyer of the Year" in the areas of Land Use and Zoning Law and Litigation: Land Use and Zoning, 2016
  • Listed in Maryland Super Lawyers: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Hall of Fame Inductee: Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce
 

Memberships & Activities

  • Past President: Baltimore County Bar Association, 2004-2005
  • Board Member: Baltimore County Bar Foundation
  • Past Member: Baltimore County Revenue Authority
  • Fellow: Maryland State Bar Foundation
  • Past Chairman: Franklin Square Hospital Board of Directors
  • Treasurer: Friends for Grace C. Connolly, Baltimore County Register of Wills
  • Member: MBIA Land Development Council
  • Past President and Board Member: Essex-Middle River-White Marsh (Chesapeake Gateway) Chamber of Commerce
  • Past-President and Board Member: Eastern Baltimore Area/ Dundalk Chamber of Commerce
  • Past Member: Advisory Board Baltimore County Critical Area Commission
  • Past District Chairman: Boy Scouts of America, Chesapeake District
  • Past Chairman: Essex - Middle River Renaissance Steering Committee
  • Past Member: Baltimore County Planning Office Advisory Committees: Executive Committee - Essex Community Conservation Committee; Chairman - Greater Kingsville Community Conservation Committee; Southeastern Economic Development Plan
  • Best Lawyers Designation
  • Chambers and Partners Designation

Land Use, Zoning and Development Issues

  • Community planning including participation on various economic and industrial planning committees for eastern Baltimore County
  • Land use zoning including comprehensive and site rezoning, zoning special exceptions, variances and special hearings
  • All phases of development  plan proposals including subdivision, industrial and commercial development including Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) involving community input, development hearings and appeals  and residential subdivision
  • Environmental impacts including percolation testing, forest conservation and forest buffers, Chesapeake and Coastal Bay Critical Area Law, and waterfront development
  • Adequate public facilities including water and sewer plan amendments, open space and county reservation
  • Landmark preservation issues and Agricultural and Conservation Easements
 

Real Estate Transaction Issues

  • Negotiating, drafting and reviewing contracts, leases, easements as well as researching and reviewing title documents
  • Review and drafting of condominium and homeowners' association documents
  • Property tax negotiation and appeal

ARTICLES

The Changing Impact of Comprehensive Planning on Zoning

Recent decisions from trial and appellate courts have marked a major point in the evolution of importance of comprehensive plans to zoning decisions.   Although there has always been a close relationship between comprehensive plans and development regulations, the relationship between comprehensive plans and land use or zoning regulations has been less close.  That may be changing and could have major implications for local zoning decisions including comprehensive re-zonings. 


Don't Put Off That Development Project

Years ago a Baltimore County employee told me that no matter how onerous I thought the development regulations might be, if I waited a while they would get worse. 

That cautionary statement is applicable to today’s marketplace.  The State of Maryland has become very involved in local land use decisions, and the Maryland Department of the Environment, along with numerous non-profit environmental groups, has become very aggressive in planning for and regulating both current pollution levels and future pollution levels.


“Sustainable Growth” Goes Into Effect

The implementation of the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act enacted in the 2012 session of the General Assembly has begun. While the Act received a lot of publicity for restrictions on private septic systems in rural areas, it does much more with respect to planning for future growth. Local jurisdictions are beginning a mapping process, which will become part of their master plans, to identify areas for future public sewer systems and future septic systems.


Baltimore County Master Plan 2020 and Comprehensive Zoning

Last month, the Baltimore County Council adopted a new Master Plan to guide the growth and development of the county and the provision of county services for the next decade. State law (Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland) requires local jurisdictions to review, and if necessary, amend or revise master plans and describes twelve "visions" which local jurisdictions are required to implement through the adopted master plan.


2010 Plan Maryland

Secretary Hall, what is "Plan Maryland," and why now after all these decades of authority to create a state Master Plan, is the State preparing a plan to address the development and growth of the State?


EVENTS

NEWS

Chambers Honors Whiteford in 11 Practice Areas

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is pleased to announce that Chambers and Partners has once again ranked the firm highly in its 2019 list of leading firms and business lawyers.

57 WTP Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2019, Four Named "Lawyer of the Year"

57 lawyers from Whiteford, Taylor & Preston have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2019 (copyright 2018 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken S.C.). The lawyers selected are based in the firm’s Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington offices. Client comments are posted on the U.S. News & Best Lawyers web site.

59 WTP Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2018, Two Named "Lawyer of the Year"

59 lawyers from Whiteford, Taylor & Preston have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2018 (copyright 2017 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken S.C.). The lawyers selected are based in the firm’s Maryland, Washington and Virginia offices. Client comments are posted on the U.S. News & Best Lawyers web site, at bestlawfirms.usnews.com.

In addition, two lawyers were selected as “Lawyer of the Year” for their particular areas of practice.


Whiteford, Taylor & Preston and 29 Lawyers Honored by Chambers and Partners

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is pleased to announce that Chambers and Partners has once again ranked the firm highly in its 2017 list of leading firms and business lawyers. This year’s recognition includes a record 29 attorneys in 4 states, the District of Columbia and Afghanistan. 


59 Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2017, Eight Named as "Lawyers of the Year"

Fifty-nine lawyers from Whiteford, Taylor & Preston have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017 (copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken S.C.). The lawyers selected are based in the firm’s Maryland, Washington and Virginia offices.

In addition, eight lawyers were selected as “Lawyers of the Year” for their particular areas of practice. 


John Gontrum Honored by Maryland Building Industry Association

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is pleased to note that John Gontrum was named the 2014 "Consultant of the Year" by the Land Development Council of the MBIA, one of eight Excellence in Community Development Awards.  The awards recognize projects and development professionals who "provide superior and creative development projects that are sensitive to the community and make appropriate use of the existing natural elements."


63 Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Four Named as "Lawyers of the Year"

Sixty-three lawyers from Whiteford, Taylor & Preston have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2015 (copyright 2014 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken S.C.). The lawyers selected are based in the firm’s Maryland, Washington and Virginia offices.

In addition, four lawyers were selected as “Lawyers of the Year” in the Baltimore region for their particular areas of practice.


61 Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America; Nine Named as "Lawyers of the Year"

Sixty-one lawyers from Whiteford, Taylor & Preston have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2014 (copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken S.C.). The lawyers selected are based in the firm’s Maryland, Washington and Virginia offices, including the firm's new Roanoke office.

In addition, nine lawyers were selected as “Lawyers of the Year” in their jurisdictions and areas of practice.


Sixty-Four Whiteford Attorneys Named Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is pleased to announce that 64 of its attorneys are listed among the 2013 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in three states.

The firm is particularly proud of the young lawyers who are recognized as “Rising Stars”; the four partners who are listed in the Top 100 in Maryland – Edward Buxbaum, Edwin Fee, William Ryan, and Dwight Stone; and the 16 who are named for the first time this year.


60 Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America Five Named as "Lawyers of the Year"

Sixty lawyers from Whiteford, Taylor & Preston have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2013 (copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken S.C.).

This represents an increase of seven over last year.  The lawyers selected are based in the firm’s Maryland, Washington and Virginia offices.

In addition, five lawyers were selected as “Lawyers of the Year” in their jurisdictions and areas of practice.


WTP Lawyers Contribute Pro Bono Services to "Wills for Heroes"

Six lawyers from Whiteford Taylor & Preston’s Baltimore, Towson and Columbia offices joined lawyers from the Legal Department of Constellation/Exelon and other law firms in the Wills for Heroes (WFH) pro bono clinic on August 1, 2012. The event was held at the Anne Arundel Fire Department Training Academy and served 35 clients without charge.


CorpINTL Names Whiteford Taylor & Preston Real Estate Law Firm of the Year in Maryland

Corporate International Magazine, a British publication targeted at the finance industry worldwide, has announced that Whiteford Taylor & Preston has been selected as the winner of the Corporate Intl Magazine 2010 Legal Awards as Real Estate Law Firm of the Year in Maryland.

The Magazine notes that the Awards recognize law firms that “have shown excellence not only in expertise but in service, and during a difficult global economic downturn.”


WTP to Host Comprehensive Zoning Map Process Seminar

Join us for a half-day seminar on the ins and outs of the upcoming Comprehensive Zoning Map process, which begins in the summer of 2007. Presentations will be made by Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, Jeff Long, and Jeff Mayhew. WTP attorneys G. Scott Barhight and John Gontrum will also be speaking.


WTP Attorneys Appointed to Franklin Square Hospital Positions

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP (WTP) is delighted to announce that G. Scott Barhight was elected as Chair of the Franklin Square Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors, and John Gontrum was voted Chair of the Board of Franklin Square Hospital.


Two Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Attorneys Elected Fellows of the Maryland Bar Foundation

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is pleased to announce that Judith C. Ensor and John B. Gontrum were elected Fellows of the Maryland Bar Foundation at the 2005 Annual Meeting in Ocean City. The Maryland Bar Foundation is a non-profit charitable corporation that has the following purposes: to foster and maintain the honor and integrity of the profession of law; to improve and facilitate the administration of justice; and to promote the study of the law and research therein, the diffusion of knowledge thereof, and the continuing education of lawyers.

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Elects Five New Partners

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.P. is pleased to announce that five attorneys have been elected partners. The firm congratulates John B. Gontrum, Gary W. Kuc, Dino C. La Fiandra, Frank J. Mastro, and Gregory M. Stone.

John B. Gontrum to Lead Baltimore County Bar Association

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.P. is pleased to announce that John B. Gontrum will be president of the Baltimore County Bar Association for 2004 - 2005. He will assume the office on June 24, 2004. Mr. Gontrum is the third Whiteford, Taylor & Preston attorney to serve as president of the Baltimore County Bar Association, joining Ernest Trimble (1981) and J. Norris Byrnes (1995- 96).

John Gontrum, Noted Land Use Attorney, Joins WTP

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.P., is pleased to announce that John B. Gontrum has joined the firm as Counsel in the Real Estate and Land Use practice group. Mr. Gontrum brings over 24 years experience in zoning and land use law in Baltimore County. He has represented developers and land owners in a wide range of projects including, Towson Place Shopping Center and the Perry Hall Farms residential community of about 1,000 units. Scott Barhight, Chair of the Land Use Group remarked "John Gontrum is a tremendous asset to our group.