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Press Releases - County Council

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Measures led by Councilmember Friedson will accelerate and streamline the regulatory process to develop and spur expansion in biohealth facilities

Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously enacted new zoning measures, led by Councilmember Andrew Friedson, which will significantly accelerate and streamline the regulatory process to develop biohealth facilities in Montgomery County. These changes will help attract and retain biohealth companies and reinforce Montgomery County’s reputation as a leader in the life sciences.

Zoning Text Amendment 21-09, Office and Professional – Biohealth Priority Campus, streamlines the regulatory process for new biohealth facilities 150,000 square feet or larger and for existing facilities expanding by 50,000 square feet or more. To utilize the new expedited review process, Biohealth Priority Campuses must be located in the commercial, residential and employment office areas of Montgomery County and near Metro and Purple Line stations, in an opportunity zone, or a half mile from a planned or existing Bus Rapid Transit route.

All Councilmembers cosponsored this zoning change.

“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.

“Accelerating the process to help biohealth companies expand in Montgomery County is a significant strategic priority,” said Benjamin H. Wu, President & CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. “We strongly support the Council’s passage of the Zoning Text Amendment. For life sciences companies in particular, time is of the essence to move into clinical trials and manufacturing to help improve human health.”

The Council also approved a companion subdivision regulation amendment, which was spearheaded by Councilmember Friedson. SRA 21-02, Administrative Subdivision – Biohealth Priority Campus, creates a Biohealth Priority Campus category under which an applicant can file an administrative subdivision plan in place of a preliminary plan for a Biohealth Priority Campus. This measure enables the Montgomery County planning director to approve an administrative subdivision plan for biohealth facilities under an expedited process.

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

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Release ID: 22-071
Media Contact: Cindy Gibson 240-777-7827
Categories: Andrew Friedson