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New Zoning Measure Introduced by Councilmember Friedson Would Streamline Creation of New Biohealth Facilities in Montgomery County

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 19, 2021— Today Councilmember Andrew Friedson will introduce Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 21-09, Office and Professional – Biohealth Priority Campus, which would streamline the regulatory process to develop biohealth facilities in Montgomery County. The goal of the ZTA is to attract and retain biohealth companies and continue to build the County’s reputation as a leader in biotechnology.

Expanding upon the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Speed to Market Initiative, ZTA 21-09 would serve as an important economic development tool for the county. It would create a new definition for a “Biohealth Priority Campus” by including multiple STEM industries, including life sciences, research and development, or medical and scientific manufacturing and production. Concurrently, it would allow for a speedier regulatory process for biohealth facilities with a size of more than 150,000 square feet located in Montgomery County, as well as streamline the process for existing biohealth facilities that are expanding by 50,000 square feet or more.

“ZTA 21-09 will provide our county an important economic development tool to help attract and retain biohealth companies. Montgomery County is a premier location for biohealth given our access to the nation’s capital, proximity to prominent federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and our highly educated talent pool. However, we cannot rest on our laurels when it comes to growing our economy,” said Councilmember Friedson.

“We must double down on our efforts to attract and retain companies doing cutting edge work in the biohealth arena. This effort will make it easier for our existing biohealth companies to expand and grow and will ensure that Montgomery County is the best place in the world to start, invest, and grow life-saving and life-altering businesses.

“I commend our Planning Department for their willingness to embrace a new review process in order to advance our economic development goals. By green-taping the regulatory review process, biohealth businesses can focus on their research, product development and trials rather than unnecessary regulatory requirements.”

“The proposed legislation maintains life sciences as an important economic priority and provides for its expansion in Montgomery County,” said Benjamin H. Wu, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC). “The need for the zoning text amendment is reinforced with a landmark report released today from our Economic Advisory Panel that calls out the necessity of streamlining the approval process in our key industry sectors.”

The new zoning use would be allowed in the commercial, residential and employment office zones in the county, as well as for developments in close proximity to Metro and Purple Line stations, within an opportunity zone, or within a half mile of a planned or existing Bus Rapid Transit route. A map detailing the locations of these areas can be found at the end of the Council staff report for ZTA 21-09.

A public hearing for this zoning text amendment is scheduled for Nov. 30, 2021 at 1:30 p.m.

View the Council staff report for ZTA 21-09.

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Release ID: 21-408
Media Contact: Cindy Gibson, 240-620-8571
Categories: Andrew Friedson