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Press Releases - County Council

Council to continue its review of local bills for the 2021 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly at virtual meeting on Jan. 25

For Immediate Release: Friday, January 22, 2021

The Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee also meets at 9:30 a.m. to review zoning measures and COVID-19 business assistance programs

The Council will meet virtually on Monday, Jan. 25 at 12:30 p.m. The Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will meet virtually at 9:30 a.m.

Council staff reports and additional information on items scheduled for Council review can be viewed at: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/ondemand/index.html.

The Council meeting schedule may change from time to time. The current Council agendas can be viewed at: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/ondemand/index.html.

On the guidance of Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services Dr. Travis Gayles, there is currently no public access to the Council Office Building. The virtual Council meeting will be streamed live on the Council’s web page via YouTube and on Facebook Live and can be watched on County Cable Montgomery on Xfinity/RCN 6 HD 996/1056 and Fios 30.

State Legislative Program
The Council will continue its discussion of state legislation and potential Council positions on local and bi-county bills for the 2021 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly. The meeting will begin with an update on Governor Larry Hogan’s fiscal year 2022 budget request and an update on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Those expected to provide information at the Council meeting include: Melanie Wenger, director, Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR); Kathleen Boucher, special assistant to director, OIR; Leslie Frey, legislative analyst, OIR; Sara Morningstar, federal relations coordinator and legislative analyst, OIR; Amy Samman, legislative analyst, OIR; and representatives from County departments.

The Council staff report includes a summary chart for each of the bills to be considered at the meeting and can be viewed here.

Meeting: Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee
Time: 9:30 a.m.
PHED Committee: Councilmembers Hans Riemer (Chair), Andrew Friedson (Lead for Parks) and Will Jawando
Topics:

ZTA 20-03, Townhouse Living - Conditional Use Standards
The PHED Committee will review ZTA 20-03, which would amend the standards for allowing townhouse dwelling units as a conditional use. Townhouses are allowed as a conditional use in the RE-1 (rural estate) and R200, R-90 and R-40 residential zones. Councilmember Hans Riemer is the lead sponsor. Conditional use approval allows a density of up to 15.7 townhouses per acre for developments, where all structures meet livability standards for accommodating disabled residents, including where all parking spaces are designed to have eight-foot access aisles. ZTA 20-03 would eliminate the requirement for public bus service abutting the site; increase allowed distance from recreation facilities to 1,500 feet; clarify that the distance to a Metro station is measured as a radius; and require an access aisle for one of every four parking spaces.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

ZTA 20-04 - Farming Defined - Accessory Mulching and Composting
The PHED Committee also will review ZTA 20-04, which would allow an increase in the percentage of off-site material that can be used in accessory composting and mulching uses from 20 to 50 percent. Currently, mulching and composting are allowed as accessory uses to farming, if material trucked from off-site locations is limited to 20 percent. The County generates a tremendous amount of yard and food waste. Recycling that material is preferable to generating waste. The goal of this zoning change is to allow the agricultural industry to use more yard and food waste. Councilmembers Evan Glass, Andrew Friedson, Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice are the lead sponsors of ZTA 20-04. Councilmembers Hans Riemer, Gabe Albornoz, Will Jawando, Sidney Katz and Council President Tom Hucker are cosponsors.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

Review of the County’s COVID-19 Business Assistance Programs
The PHED Committee will close out its meeting with a review of the County’s COVID-19 business assistance programs. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an uneven recession with certain industry sectors more impacted than others. Hospitality, leisure, restaurants and retail businesses have seen the largest decline in economic activity. Much of this decline is due to state and county health orders that restrict gathering size to limit the spread of the virus. While there was some expectation that the health orders and restrictions would be short-term measures, the reality is the pandemic has required that these orders remain in place for months. The Council created many new business assistance programs for the impacted industry sectors to respond to this uneven recession. These new programs were funded and administered by the county or its partners. The Council has appropriated more than $60.5 million for these programs, and as of the latest Jan. 2021 report, this funding has reached 5,281 awardees. A breakdown of this funding can be viewed on page two of the Council staff report.

This Council staff report contains a summary for each program implemented and can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 21-023
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931