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Montgomery County Council to vote on resolution opposing new Potomac River bridge and approving Bethesda Overlay Zone

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Montgomery Council scheduled to vote on resolution

opposing new Potomac River bridge and

approving the Bethesda Overlay Zone

Also on Tuesday, July 18: Briefings on Viva White Oak project and County rental housing issues, plus a public hearing on removing the financial incentive for exhibiting wild animals


ROCKVILLE, Md., July 17, 2017—On Tuesday, July 18 the Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution, introduced by Council President Berliner and cosponsored by Councilmembers Riemer, Elrich, Floreen, and Leventhal, formally opposing a new Potomac River bridge crossing. The proposed project would include extending Route 28 in Virginia to the portion of the Intercounty County Connector (ICC) that is in Montgomery County.  The Council is also scheduled to vote on the Bethesda Overlay Zone and receive briefings on the Viva White Oak project and rental housing issues.  A public hearing will be held on Bill 23-17 that would provide protections for wild animals that are exhibited as performance animals. 

The resolution opposing a new Potomac River bridge crossing will be voted on, at approximately 10:50 a.m., during the Council’s regular weekly meeting that will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The Council meeting and five public hearings, which are scheduled to run consecutively starting at 1:30 p.m., will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM). The channel can be viewed on Cable Channels 996 (high definition) and 6 (standard definition) on Comcast; Channels 1056 (HD) and 6 (SD) on RCN; and Channel 30 on Verizon.

The session also will be available live via streaming through the Council web site at . The meeting will be rebroadcast starting at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 21.

The resolution opposing a new Potomac River bridge crossing can be viewed at: .

“Urgent action is needed to dissuade the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) from supporting a study of a new Potomac River bridge,” according to Council President Berliner.  “Montgomery County has long opposed another Potomac River bridge crossing from Northern Virginia to Montgomery County because of the severe negative impacts such a project would have on our environment, our Agricultural Reserve, established residential neighborhoods and for promoting sprawl.” 

Starting at approximately 10:55 a.m., the Council is scheduled to vote on Zoning Text Amendment 16-20, otherwise known as the Bethesda Overlay Zone.  Earlier this year, the Council approved the Bethesda Downtown Plan that will guide development in downtown Bethesda over the next two decades. The Bethesda Overlay Zone addresses details on how to implement the plan.  The staff report can be found at: .

Executive staff will brief the Council, at approximately 11:30 a.m., on the progress of the Viva White Oak project, including the developer’s proposed sketch plan for the 280-acre site located in East County. The Council approved the Declaration of No Further Need for the disposition of Site II by in 2017.  During its early review of the terms for the disposition of Site II, the Council requested this briefing prior to the developer submitting the sketch plan to the Planning Board. The staff report can be viewed at: .


The County is hosting a pre-submittal meeting to receive comments from the community about the sketch plan for the Viva White Oak project on July 18, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., at the White Oak Community Recreation Center.

One of Tuesday’s public hearings will be on Bill 23-17, Animal Control – Performance Animal – Violations, which prohibits a person or business from exhibiting or financially benefiting from the exhibition of any performance animal.  Chimpanzees, lions, tigers, bears, and elephants are just some of the animals that would be protected by this bill.  Councilmembers Rice and Leventhal are the lead sponsors of Bill 23-17.  Councilmembers Katz, Navarro, Riemer, Elrich, Hucker, and Council President Berliner are cosponsors.  A public Safety Committee meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 11 at 9:30 a.m.  The staff report can be viewed at: .


The Council will conclude its afternoon session with a briefing on rental housing issues and the economic trends that have exacerbated the rental housing shortage.  With Council approval, the Planning Department’s Research and Special Projects Division (RSP) coordinated with the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to conduct a rental housing study to assesses how the County can best meet the needs of residents across the income spectrum. Study partners include DHCA, RKG Associates, and an Advisory Committee representing diverse perspectives from the public and private sectors. The full report can be viewed at: Release ID: 17-232
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 2407777926, Delphine Harriston 2407777931