County Council Meets on Dec. 12 to Vote on the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan and the Suicide Awareness and Firearm Education (SAFE) Act

Per Montgomery County: Also on Dec. 12: Update on the County’s Fiscal Plan and vote expected on a special appropriation to implement Bill 15-23 Landlord-Tenant Relations – Rent Stabilization

The Montgomery County Council will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will begin with an update about the County’s Fiscal Plan, which provides a high-level overview of the County’s fiscal condition. At 11:30 a.m. the Council will sit as the Board of Health to hold public hearings on Bill 42-23, which would require places of public accommodation to provide menstrual products in certain public restrooms at no charge to users and on the accompanying resolution to adopt Bill 42-23 as a Board of Health Regulation.

More detail on each agenda item is provided below.

Fiscal Plan

Update: The Council will receive an update about County’s Fiscal Plan, which provides a high-level overview of the County’s fiscal condition. The update will include revisions to the County’s revenues based on actual collections to-date, assumed additional revenue that the County will receive in the coming months and estimated annual expenditures based on spending in the first quarter.

District Council Session

Zoning Text Amendment 23-11, Regulatory Approvals – Conditional Use

Introduction: Lead sponsor Council President Andrew Friedson will introduce Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 23-11, Regulatory Approvals – Conditional Use, which would streamline the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearing’s (OZAH) processes.

This ZTA would take certain uses that are conditional and make them limited, as well as combine other uses to streamline applications that are reviewed by OZAH. This ZTA will be introduced in conjunction with Subdivision Regulation Amendment (SRA) 23-02, Preliminary Plan – Approval Procedures.

A public hearing for this ZTA is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2024.

Subdivision Regulation Amendment 23-02, Preliminary Plan – Approval Procedures

Introduction: Lead sponsor Council President Friedson will introduce SRA 23-02, Preliminary Plan – Approval Procedures, which would allow concurrent review of a preliminary plan and conditional use application. The preliminary plan approval will be a “conditional approval” contingent on the approval of the conditional use.

This SRA would simplify the review process conducted by OZAH for any development projects requiring a preliminary plan, which include large development projects and subdivisions.

A public hearing for this SRA is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2024.

Zoning Text Amendment 23-06, Fenton Village Overlay Zone – Site Plan

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on ZTA 23-06, Fenton Village Overlay Zone – Site Plan, which would remove the site plan requirement for certain projects in the Fenton Village Overlay Zone. Under the current zoning ordinance, site plan approval is required for any development in the Fenton Village Overlay Zone. ZTA 23-06 will exempt minor developments from site plan approval, including any addition, reconstruction or exterior alteration that is one-story, up to a maximum of 15 feet and/or that changes the gross floor area by less than 1,000 square feet. The minimum setbacks in the underlying zone will also need to be met.

Councilmember Glass and Vice President Stewart are the lead sponsors of this zoning measure. The Planning, Housing and Parks (PHP) Committee recommends enactment of the zoning measure.

Resolution to adopt the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a resolution to adopt the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan. The plan is an update to a portion of the 1997 Fairland Master Plan, and it would establish a clear vision for an equitable, just and prosperous future for the Fairland community, mirroring the County’s long-term priorities, which includes a vibrant economy, equity for all residents and a healthy environment.

The master plan boundary consists primarily of property and neighborhoods of Fairland and Briggs Chaney along the U.S. 29 Corridor near Paint Branch on the south and toward Greencastle Road on the north. The update will examine and provide policies and recommendations on existing and future land uses and zoning, housing inventory and needs, transportation systems, historic preservation opportunities, area park facilities and the environment.

Legislative Session

Bill 45-23, Property Tax Credit – Individuals 65 and Above, Retired Military Service Members, and Disabled Military Service Members

Introduction: Lead sponsor Council President Friedson will introduce Bill 45-23, Property Tax Credit – Individuals 65 and Above, Retired Military Service Members, and Disabled Military Service Members, which would update the eligibility criteria for the property tax credit available to individuals 65 and above and to retired or disabled military service members and their spouses. It would also progressively alter the amounts of the property tax credit and generally amend the property tax credit for individuals 65 and older and for retired or disabled military service members and their spouses.

A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2024.

Expedited Bill 46-23, OPT/SLT Bargaining Units – Pension and Retirement Adjustments

Introduction: Lead sponsor, Councilmember Sidney Katz will introduce Expedited Bill 46-23, OPT/SLT Bargaining Units – Pension and Retirement Adjustments. Bill 46-23 would extend from Jan. 4, 2024, to Aug. 7, 2024, the deadline for eligible County employees enrolled in Groups E and J of the Employees’ Retirement System to elect to purchase credited years of service with their existing Retirement Savings Plan or Guaranteed Retirement Income Plan balances.

A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2024.

Bill 36-23, Sale of Firearms or Ammunition – Suicide Awareness and Firearm Education (SAFE) Act

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Bill 36-23, Sale of Firearms or Ammunition – Suicide Awareness and Firearm Education (SAFE) Act, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop literature about firearm safety, suicide prevention and conflict resolution. The bill would require sellers of firearms or ammunition to display and distribute the literature at points of sale and enable DHHS to enforce the display and distribution requirements.

The lead sponsor of the SAFE Act is Councilmember Glass. Council President Friedson and Councilmembers Albornoz, Stewart, Sayles, Katz, Balcombe, Jawando and Luedtke are cosponsors. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee recommends enactment with amendments.

Supplemental Appropriation #24-36 to the FY24 Capital Budget Montgomery County Government, Office of the County Executive, Business Center Life Sciences and Technology Centers (No. 789057) $400,000

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a $400,000 supplemental appropriation to convert vacant office space to wet labs at the Germantown Incubator on Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus. In FY22, the Council approved a project to convert the vacant office space; however, the appropriation is needed due to delays and accompanying cost increases in the project.

Prior County efforts and studies, including the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation’s Bio Lab Pilot Project and the Planning Department’s work on the Great Seneca Corridor, have highlighted the need for additional small wet lab space at a time when the demand for office space has decreased. While there is significant demand for wet lab space, it is very difficult for small life sciences businesses to finance the capital costs of wet labs. The availability of rental space at a reasonable cost will help foster the growth of emerging businesses in this sector.

The joint Economic Development (ECON) and Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee recommends approval of the supplemental appropriation.

Special Appropriation #24-37 to the FY24 Operating Budget Montgomery County Government, Office of Food Systems Resilience and Department of Health and Human Services Food Security Initiative, $11,060,000 (Source of Funds: General Fund Undesignated Reserves) and Amendment to FY24 Operating Budget Resolution 20-184, Section G, FY24 Designation of Entities for Non-Competitive Contract Award Status: Capital Area Food Bank, Inc.

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a more than $11 million special appropriation for food security initiatives. The appropriation provides $6.5 million for the Capital Area Food Bank, Inc. contract to support 51 food assistance providers to source shelf-stable food and pre-packed produce boxes for distribution in Montgomery County. An additional $90,000 for the Department of Health and Human Services will support contract staffing to act as a trainer and point of contact for Montgomery County Public Schools and Parent Community Coordinators. More than $4.4 million in additional funding for the Office of Food Security Resilience will support implementation of the strategies identified in the Strategic Plan to End Childhood Hunger.

The joint GO and Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee recommends approval of the special appropriation.

Special Appropriation #24-39 to the FY24 Operating Budget Montgomery County Government, Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Respite Center for Arriving Migrants Grant Program, SAMU Foundation (d.b.a. SAMU First Response), $2,261,663

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a more than $2.2 million special appropriation for the OEMHS Respite Center for Arriving Migrants Grant Program. The appropriation is needed to support services offered by SAMU First Response, which is a nonprofit organization providing immediate humanitarian relief. The funding supports the County’s efforts to assist with the short-term needs of migrants through non-profits and community organizations.

This special appropriation will allow SAMU First Response to continue to provide respite services, including emergency shelter, food and transportation services for migrants arriving in Montgomery County. The organization’s current funding, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program will end on Dec. 31, 2023.

The joint GO, Public Safety (PS) and HHS Committee recommends approval of the special appropriation.

Special Appropriation #24-14 to the FY24 Operating Budget, Montgomery County Government, Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Rent Stabilization Bill – $1,374,470

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on a more than $1.3 million special appropriation needed to implement Bill 15-23 Landlord-Tenant Relations – Rent Stabilization. As part of the bill’s requirements, the Department of Housing and Community Affairs will be responsible for reviewing and approving certain rent increases, grant exemptions and generally managing the program. This request will fund a new Rent Stabilization Office and an online website related to all rent stabilization matters, including landlord petitions and tenant complaints and an online portal for landlords to report the mandated rent increase data.

The joint Planning, Housing and Parks (PHP) and GO Committee recommends approval of the special appropriation.

Council Sitting as the Board of Health and Public Hearings

The Council will hold the following hybrid public hearings at 11:30 a.m. Residents can visit the Council website to learn about the multiple ways to provide testimony.

Bill 42-23, Health and Sanitation – Menstrual Products in Public Restrooms – Required and Resolution to adopt Bill 42-23, Health and Sanitation – Menstrual Products in Public Restrooms – Required as a Board of Health Regulation

Public hearing: The Council will hold public hearings on Bill 42-23, Health and Sanitation – Menstrual Products in Public Restrooms – Required and on the companion Board of Health resolution that would adopt the requirements of the bill as a Board of Health regulation. Bill 42-23 would require places of public accommodation to provide menstrual products in certain public restrooms at no charge to users. Places of public accommodation include, but aren’t limited to, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, retail establishments, theatres and places of public assembly and entertainment. The lead sponsor of Bill 42-23 is Councilmember Jawando.

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AC Milan Soccer Camp at Maryland Soccerplex

AC Milan Academy is hosting a soccer camp at Maryland Soccerplex from March 1st through March 3rd for girls and boys aged 5 to 16 from any club who want to develop their soccer skills and learn the unique methodology of AC Milan directly from AC Milan coaches.

March 1st (Friday) 6pm-7:30pm

March 2nd (Saturday) 6pm-7:30pm

March 3rd (Sunday) 10:30am -12pm and 3:30pm-5pm

Location:18031 Central Park Cir, Boyds, MD 20841

Price: $349 + AC Milan Junior Camp Kit

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