Council Approves New Zoning Measure to Expand Biohealth in Urbanizing, Transit-Oriented Locations

by MCS Staff

Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Council voted Tuesday to approve a new zoning measure introduced by Councilmember Andrew Friedson that will help attract and retain biohealth companies in Montgomery County and spur economic development, particularly in transit-oriented locations. The new zoning measure continues the Council’s ongoing efforts to support innovation and the biohealth sector, which is an essential part of Montgomery County’s economic engine.

ZTA 22-02 Density and Height Limits, Parking – Biohealth, will allow additional height and increased flexibility in density allocation for urban biohealth facilities in recognition of the unique mechanical challenges of biohealth buildings.

A recent report from CBRE examining the state of the life sciences workforce across the country ranks the D.C. metropolitan region second in the nation, highlighting “the relentless activity from the region’s companies, particularly in Montgomery County’s talent-rich and saturated Interstate 270-corridor.”

“This economic success does not happen by accident,” Councilmember Friedson said. “It takes a series of intentional policy decisions like this one to create an environment in which the life sciences industry can grow and flourish. Through targeted workforce development efforts and the assistance of our partners at the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, we are doing just that and are seeing the benefits of those efforts.”

The new zoning measure will serve as an important economic development tool aimed at accelerating growth in the biohealth field and closely aligns with the County’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, spearheaded by Councilmember Friedson and recently approved unanimously by the Council.

“MCEDC fully supports the Montgomery County Council’s continued focus on accelerating and streamlining the regulatory process for county biohealth facilities. This newest measure will allow greater flexibility in buildouts for urban biohealth growth,” said Benjamin H. Wu, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) President and CEO. “Our strong talent pool, access to federal regulators and zoning changes that improve speed to market will continue to spur growth in the life sciences industry in Montgomery County.”

“MCCC commends Councilmember Andrew Friedson’s leadership and that of the County Council to provide additional flexibility in the regulatory process to better attract cutting-edge biohealth companies,” said Georgette “Gigi” Godwin, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “This industry is an economic and job creation engine for Montgomery County that is competing not just locally, but globally, and forward-thinking policies are economic development imperatives.”

The Planning Board supported ZTA 22-02 as amended by Councilmember Friedson and his colleagues on the Council’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee. Councilmembers Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro, Hans Riemer, Council President Gabe Albornoz and Vice-President Evan Glass are cosponsors.

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