Per Montgomery County: The Planning, Housing and Parks (PHP), Public Safety (PS) and Economic Development (ECON) Committees will meet on Tuesday, March 14 at 9:30 a.m. to receive a briefing from the Department of Permitting Services (DPS) to discuss fire inspections and fire code compliance. The PHP Committee will meet at 11 a.m. to receive a briefing on housing code enforcement and troubled properties from the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA). The members of the PHP Committee include Chair Andrew Friedson and Councilmembers Natali Fani-González and Will Jawando. The members of the PS Committee include Chair Sidney Katz and Councilmembers Dawn Luedtke and Kristin Mink. The members of the ECON Committee include Chair Fani-González, Councilmember Marilyn Balcombe, Council President Evan Glass and Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles. More detail on each agenda item is provided below.
Briefing: The PHP, PS and ECON Committees will receive a briefing from DPS to discuss fire inspections and fire code compliance. DPS will give an overview of current enforcement efforts, challenges faced and potential solutions. Discussion is expected to include the process to install sprinklers in the County and what progress buildings have made to reach the 2033 state deadline for all buildings to have fire sprinklers installed.
There are 80 buildings in Montgomery County that currently are not yet retrofitted with sprinklers. DPS serves as the regulatory body for fire codes that are adopted from the national and state level. According to County Code, a building permit cannot be issued for the construction or reconstruction of a residential building without a fire sprinkler system. The County Code also provides a property tax credit for any residential building where a fire sprinkler system was not legally required, if installed on or after July 1, 2000.
In 2018, the state code was changed to require all buildings to have installed sprinklers by 2033. In addition, the state code requires all buildings to have manual pull fire alarms, but there is no requirement for automatic building-wide alarms. Many of the buildings that still need a sprinkler system are old and updating to an automatic sprinkler system could require asbestos abatement, installing pipework and other infrastructure needs. These factors may require extended timelines for installation. Information about the different ways the requirements can be met can be found on the DPS website.
Housing Code Enforcement and Troubled Properties
Briefing: The PHP Committee will receive a briefing on housing code enforcement and troubled properties from DHCA. The department will discuss recent code enforcement activities as well as updates on troubled properties. These properties are defined as rental housing which, because of the severity and quantity of violations, is subject to annual inspections by DHCA and requires the development and implementation of a corrective action plan.
The Montgomery County Council will meet on Tuesday, March 14 at 1 p.m. and the meeting will begin with two proclamation presentations. The first, presented by Council President Glass, will recognize Sigma Gamma Rho’s Centennial Celebration. The second, presented by Councilmember Gabe Albornoz, will recognize Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week.
The Council will hold the following public hearings at 1:30 p.m. Residents can visit the Council website to learn about the multiple ways to provide testimony.
Expedited Bill 13-23, Montgomery County Urban Districts – Friendship Heights District
Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on Expedited Bill 13-23, which would create an urban district located in the Friendship Heights area of the County, expand the purposes of urban districts in the County, create a commercial district charge as an additional mechanism to fund an urban district, and establish a Friendship Heights Urban District Advisory Committee. The lead sponsor is Council Vice President Friedson.
Bill 14-23, Late Night Business Safety Plan
Public hearing: The Council will hold a public hearing on Bill 14-23, which would require that certain businesses obtain an approved late night business safety plan before operating in certain areas of the County, authorize the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) to review and approve a proposed late night business safety plan and authorize MCPD to establish the requirements of a late night business plan. The lead sponsor is the Council President at the request of the County Executive.
Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY23 Operating Budget, Department of Police, FY23 Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) Police Accountability and Community Transparency (PACT) Grant Award $498,060
Public hearing and vote expected: The Council will hold a public hearing and is expected to vote on a $498,060 Supplemental Appropriation to the Fiscal Year 2023 Operating Budget for the Police Accountability and Community Transparency Grant, which would fund enhancements to the MCPD Body Worn Camera Program. The increase is needed because MCPD was awarded funding from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to enhance the program. The lead sponsor is the Council President at the request of the County Executive.
Supplemental Appropriation to the County Government’s FY23 Operating Budget, Office of County Executive, Purple Line Light Rail Project Business Grants, $815,000
Public hearing and vote expected: The Council will hold a public hearing and is expected to vote on a $498,060 Supplemental Appropriation to the Fiscal Year 2023 Operating Budget for Purple Line Light Rail Project Business Grants, which would fund grants to eligible small businesses in the County impacted by the construction of the Purple Line Light Rail Project. The Maryland Department of Commerce is awarding Montgomery County $815,000 to administer the grants for eligible small businesses. The lead sponsor is the Council President at the request of the County Executive.
Each item on the Council’s Consent Calendar can be found on the Council agenda for Tuesday, March 14, which is available on the Council website.
Proposed Closed Session
At 3:30 p.m., the Council will vote to hold a closed session to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice pursuant to Maryland Code, General Provisions Article §3-305(b)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice; and §3-305(b)(8) to consult with staff, consultants, or other individuals about pending or potential litigation. Topic is all pending litigation involving the County.
The Council and committee meeting schedules 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 recommends that residents, who choose to attend in-person Council meetings, get fully vaccinated to protect themselves and others against COVID-19. If this is not possible, virtual participation is encouraged.
Council and committee meetings are 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.