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New burial site procedures proposed by Montgomery County Council

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New burial site procedures proposed by

Montgomery Councilmembers
Rice, Berliner and Leventhal
Bill 24-17 would require County Planning Board

to compile of all burial sites so they can be considered

when development is proposed

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 27, 2017—Montgomery County Councilmembers Craig Rice, Roger Berliner and George Leventhal today introduced proposed Bill 24-17 that would require the County Planning Board to establish and maintain an inventory of burial sites in the County. The bill would then require the burial sites to be identified in the inventory to be considered in the subdivision approval process under Subdivision Amendment 17-01.

Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer are co-sponsors of the bill. A public hearing on the bill will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 12.

The proposed bill and subdivision regulation was, in part, inspired by a situation that developed during the approval process for re-development in Westbard community in the River Road area of Bethesda. An African American cemetery thought to be in that area led residents to want the development plan to be reconsidered. The post-Civil War cemetery, which documents indicate was located north of the Westwood Tower Apartments on Westbard Avenue, was apparently paved over decades ago for use as a parking lot.

“If we had this law in place a long time ago, the situation with the Macedonia Baptist Church would never have happened,” said Councilmember Rice.

Council President Berliner, who represents the Council district that includes the church, said: “Everyone regrets the situation that occurred with the Macedonia burial site. We needed a strong and clear measure like this bill that would make sure this County will not encounter similar situations in the future.”

Councilmember Leventhal said: “Sometimes in government, situations arise that no one could have envisioned, and this is one of them. The responsibility of government is then to find a solution to address the problem and find a better way. Bill 24-17 and SRA 17-01 helps our County do just that.”

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Release ID: 17-215
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 2407777926, Delphine Harriston 2407777931