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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council and Committees Hold Virtual Meetings on Nov. 18 Starting at 12 p.m.

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Committees will hold interviews for the Bethesda Urban Partnership Board of Directors, review the Make Office Vacancies Extinct Program and legislation to help increase affordable housing; Council will hold a second public hearing on proposed Council district boundaries

The Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee will meet on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 12 p.m. to hold interviews for the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) Board of Directors and continue to discuss the Make Office Vacancies Extinct Program (MOVE).

The members of the PHED Committee include Chair Hans Riemer and Councilmembers Andrew Friedson (Lead for Parks) and Will Jawando.

The joint Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) and PHED Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. to review Bill 26-21, which would help increase affordable housing in Montgomery County.

The members of the GO Committee include Chair Nancy Navarro and Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Sidney Katz.

The Council will meet at 7 p.m. to hold a second public hearing on Bill 41-21, Elections Council Districts - Boundaries, which is the enabling legislation that would revise the boundaries of the Council districts as recommended by the map proposed by the Montgomery County Commission on Redistricting.

More detail on each agenda item is provided below.

Bethesda Urban Partnership Board of Directors

Interview: The PHED Committee will conduct interviews with three applicants for the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) Board of Directors. The applicant would fill the seat held by Deborah Michael’s, whose second term expired in Oct. 2021 and is not eligible to apply for reappointment. The vacancy needs to be filled by a representative from a neighborhood adjacent to the BUP.

The BUP is responsible for the maintenance of streetscape and streetscape amenities, the promotion and implementation of special events and marketing initiatives and other similar activities. The board directs all aspects of the Urban District program including management of the contract for the County to run the Transportation Management District and serves the community in the provision of Urban District services.

The individuals who will be interviewed include Lauren Lefkowitz, Sean Oberle and Dan Schlaff.

MOVE Program

Review: The PHED Committee will continue its review of the Make Office Vacancies Extinct Program (MOVE). The County provides financial incentives to businesses primarily through the Economic Development Fund (EDF) to assist private employers who are located in, plan to locate to or will substantially expand operations in the County. The Committee held its initial review of the program on Nov. 8, 2021.

The MOVE Program, a subprogram within the EDF, is an entitlement program to assist businesses by offsetting some costs of the first year of the company’s lease when relocating to the County. Businesses that qualify for the MOVE Program received $8 per square foot of the executed lease, up to $80,000. To qualify, businesses must be new to the County, which is defined by executing its first lease for Class A or B office space in the County. In addition, the lease must be for a period of at least three years and cannot exceed 20,000 square feet.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Laurie Boyer, economic development manager, Office of the County Executive; Peter McGinnity, manager, Business Development, Finance; Ben Wu, president and CEO, MCEDC; Bill Tompkins, executive vice president and COO, MCEDC; and Brad Stewart, senior vice president of business development, MCEDC.

Bill 26-21, Taxation - Payments in Lieu of Taxes - Affordable Housing –Amendments

Review: The joint GO and PHED Committee will review Bill 26-21, Taxation-Payments in Lieu of Taxes-Affordable Housing-Amendments, to help increase affordable housing in Montgomery County. The legislation would establish a minimum payment in lieu of taxes for a housing development owned or operated by the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) and for any other housing development with at least 25 percent of the dwelling units built under a government regulation or binding agreement limiting the rent charged for at least 15 years.

Bill 26-21 also would repeal the annual maximum aggregate amount of all payments in lieu of taxes approved under this law. The lead sponsors of the bill are Councilmembers Riemer and Friedson.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Aseem Nigam, director, Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA); Frank Demarais, deputy director, DHCA; Dennis Hetman, discal manager, Department of Finance; Roderick Simpson, senior planning specialist, DHCA; and Vickie Gaul, associate County attorney, County Attorney’s Office.

Redistricting, Expedited Bill 41-21, Elections - Council Districts – Boundaries

Public hearing: The Council will hold a second public hearing on Bill 41-21, Elections Council Districts - Boundaries, which is the enabling legislation that would revise the boundaries of the Council districts as recommended by the map proposed by the Montgomery County Commission on Redistricting. The Council received a briefing from the commission on Nov. 9, 2021 about their recommended redistricting map that creates seven new Council districts and held its first public hearing on Nov. 16, 2021.

Residents can view the commission’s proposed map here. The commission’s report to the Council can be viewed here. There are federal, state and county laws governing the approval of voting districts, and these legal requirements are included in the commission’s report.

Before 2020, the Charter required the County to be divided into five Council districts. The new requirement for seven districts applies to the 2022 elections, and the Council will consist of eleven members in total in Dec. 2022. Seven district Councilmembers will be selected by registered voters who live in each district and four at-large members will be selected by all voters across the County.

The Montgomery County Charter, as amended by the voters in the 2020 general election, states that the County shall be divided into seven Council districts. Each district must be compact in form and composed of adjoining, contiguous territory. Moreover, the populations of each district must be substantially equal.

The lead sponsor is Council President Hucker at the request of the Commission on Redistricting.

The Committee meeting schedule may change from time to time. The current Council and Committee agendas, 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 and committees are meeting via Zoom this fall because of ongoing construction and technology upgrades in the Council's Hearing Room and the inability to conduct meetings in a socially distant way in other areas of the Council Office Building with television broadcast capacity. Councilmembers will continue to hold meetings in their offices by appointment.

The virtual Council and committee meetings 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, Fios 30, and on the CCM live stream.

Release ID: 21-473
Media Contact: Sonya Healy, 240-777-7926 , Benjamin Sky Brandt 240-777-7884