A native of Chevy Chase, Deborah Vollmer says she has serious concerns about development in nearby Bethesda, which over the years has been transformed from a low-slung shopping district to a bustling urban center lined with high-rises. Many believe developers have been allowed to build too high, too dense, or simply too much, luring new residents who clog schools and roads.

The differences between Marc Elrich and Nancy Floreen, the top two candidates for Montgomery County Executive, have divided many voters along familiar lines: Those who want to tightly control development to preserve quality of life, and those who believe development is essential to the county's future prosperity — even if it comes with some discomfort.

Ballard Spahr land use attorney Emily Vaias doesn't understand why so many people seem to loathe developers. "Everybody points to developers as being bad — that somehow they're more greedy than any other business people," Vaias says. "Developers want to build communities that are successful and make people happy and want to live here. And everybody who lives here lives here because a developer built their house."

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