Montgomery County Council Meets on Tuesday, Jan. 16 to Vote on Legislation to Expand Tree Canopy Conservation and Commemorate Korean American Day

Per Montgomery County: “The Montgomery County Council will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. The meeting will begin with two proclamation presentations. The first, led by Council President Andrew Friedson and County Executive Marc Elrich, will recognize Korean American Day. The second, led by Councilmember Will Jawando and County Executive Elrich, will recognize National Mentoring Month.

More detail on each agenda item is provided below.

District Council Session

Introduction – Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 24-01, Household Living – Civic and Institutional Uses

Introduction: Lead sponsors Council Vice President Kate Stewart and Council President Friedson will introduce Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 24-01, Household Living – Civic and Institutional Uses. The zoning measure, which is also known as the Facilitating Affordable Inclusive Transformational Housing (FAITH) ZTA, would remove barriers to the creation of affordable housing and provide reasonable flexibility in the development standards for multi-unit and townhouse living on properties associated with faith and educational institutions. The ZTA would allow religious assembly use and the educational institution (private) use to build affordable townhouses and apartments in residential detached zones.

Under the current zoning ordinance, multi-unit living is not permitted in residential detached zones. Townhouse living is permitted under certain circumstances as either a limited use or conditional use, except for in the RE-2 zone. ZTA 24-01 would allow the construction of multi-unit living and townhouse living in residential detached zones as a conditional use when associated with religious assembly or an educational institution (private). The ZTA would also establish development standards for compatibility and require certain affordability thresholds for these projects.

Councilmembers Natali Fani-González, Evan Glass, Laurie-Anne Sayles, Kristin Mink, Dawn Luedtke, Marilyn Balcombe, Gabe Albornoz and Sidney Katz are cosponsors of ZTA 24-01. A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 27.

Zoning Text Amendment 23-07, Bethesda Overlay Zone – Park Impact Payments and Downtown Silver Spring Overlay Zone – Civic Improvement Funds

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on ZTA 23-07, Bethesda Overlay Zone and Downtown Silver Spring Overlay Zone – Park Impact Payments and Civic Improvement Funds. The zoning measure would modify the method used to calculate biennial adjustments and set an inflation limit in the Bethesda Overlay Zone’s park impact payments and the Downtown Silver Spring Overlay Zone’s Civic Improvement Fund.

In June 2023, the Council enacted Expedited Bill 25-23, Taxation – Development Impact Taxes for Transportation and Public School Improvements – Amendments, along with an accompanying resolution that modified the calculation for the biennial adjustments for school and transportation taxes. The purpose of ZTA 23-07, as recommended by the Montgomery County Planning Board, is to mirror and adopt the changes made to the impact tax calculation in the County Code.

The Planning, Housing and Parks (PHP) Committee recommends approval with clarifying amendments. The lead sponsor is the Council president, at the request of the Planning Board.

Merit System Protection Board Interviews

Interview: The Council will conduct interviews with candidates to serve on the Merit System Protection Board. The term of Chair Harriet Davidson expired on Dec. 31, 2023. Generally, the board oversees the Merit System and protects employee and applicant rights guaranteed under the County Merit System. The board processes grievance and disciplinary appeals by issuing written decisions following a review of written records or after conducting appropriate hearings.

The current members include Vice Chair Barbara S. Fredericks (Unaffiliated) and Sonya Chiles (Democrat). By law, no more than two of the three members of the Merit System Protection Board may be of the same political party. The appointee for this position may be a Republican, Democrat, someone who declines to affiliate with a party, or a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

Consent Calendar

Each item on the Council’s Consent Calendar can be found on the Council agenda for Tuesday, Jan. 16, which is available on the Council website.

Public Hearings

Unless otherwise noted, the Council will hold the following hybrid public hearings at 1:30 p.m.  Residents can visit the Council website to learn about the multiple ways to provide testimony.

At 1:30 and 7 p.m., the Council will hold public hearings on ZTA 23-09, Farming, Incidental Outdoor Stays and Bill 43-23, Crisis Intervention Team – Established.

Legislative Session

Expedited Bill 1-24, Bond Authorization

Introduction: The Council president, at the request of County Executive Elrich, will introduce Expedited Bill 1-24, Bond Authorization, and its companion resolution. The legislation is required to implement the appropriations approved in the Amended FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). Expedited Bill 1-24 would increase the County’s general obligation bond authorization by more than $2.8 million in certain public facility categories. The companion resolution consolidates the previously approved bond authorizations and increases the total authorization by the amount recommended in Expedited Bill 1-24. Additionally, the resolution allows the consolidated bond authorization to be issued, sold and delivered from time to time as one or more series of bond anticipation notes.

The lead sponsor is the Council president, at the request of the County Executive. A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.

Bill 40-23, Tree Canopy and Roadside Tree Requirements – Fee Revisions

Vote expected: The Council is expected to vote on Bill 40-23, Tree Canopy and Roadside Tree Requirements – Fee Revisions, which would update the laws regarding the tree canopy and roadside tree work to encourage the conservation of trees in Montgomery County. This bill would adjust the fees payable to the Tree Canopy Conservation Account and the Street Tree Planting Fund. The lead sponsors of Bill 40-23 are Council President Friedson and Councilmember Glass. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors.

Under the County’s roadside tree law, a permittee who removes a tree in the County’s right of way generally must pay a fee to the Street Tree Planting Fund maintained by the Department of Transportation. Similarly, under the County’s sediment control laws, an applicant for a sediment control permit must pay a fee into the Tree Canopy Conservation Account.

The bill is needed because the current structure for each of the fees has been insufficient to reflect actual costs of tree replacement, and it does not increase with inflation. The purpose of the bill is to promote tree preservation across Montgomery County and provide for a fee structure that is commensurate with costs.

Bill 40-23 would set the fee payable to the Street Tree Planting Fund at $450 per tree, with a biannual increase based upon inflation. The bill would also set the fee payable to the Tree Canopy Conservation Account at $470 per tree, with a biannual increase based upon inflation.

The Transportation and Environment (TE) Committee unanimously recommends enactment.

Withdrawal of Bills

The Council is scheduled to vote on a motion to withdraw Bill 34-23, County Minimum Wage – Wage Commission – Established, and Bill 35-23, County Minimum Wage – Tipped Employees, from lead sponsor Councilmember Jawando. Bills are withdrawn by a majority vote of the Council.

Board of Appeals Interviews

Interview: At 4 p.m., the Council will conduct interviews to fill two vacant positions on the County Board of Appeals. The partial terms of Ms. Seminario-Thornton (Republican) and Mr. Sternstein (Democrat) expired in September 2023. The current members of the board include Chair John Pentecost (Democrat), Caryn Hines (Democrat), Alan Sternstein (Democrat), Richard Melnick (Unaffiliated) and Laura Seminario-Thornton (Republican).

Duties of the Board of Appeals include hearing and deciding requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance; hearing appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by County government agencies; and hearing oral arguments on and deciding appeals from decisions of the Hearing Examiner on conditional uses. The board also considers and decides requests for modifications of special exceptions.

By law, no more than three members of the board shall be from the same political party. Applicants may be registered to vote in the County as a member of any political party, or unaffiliated with any political party.

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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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