Council Vice President Friedson Introduces Legislation to Create an Urban District to Revitalize Friendship Heights

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County: Today, Council Vice President Andrew Friedson introduced Expedited Bill 13-23, Montgomery County Urban Districts – Friendship Heights Urban District, which would create an urban district located in the Friendship Heights area of the County.
“With its central location across D.C. and Montgomery County right at a Red Line Metro station, Friendship Heights has virtually unlimited potential to be a prime location to live and work, play and stay,” Council Vice President Friedson noted. “By bringing together businesses and residents on both sides of Western Avenue through the Friendship Heights Alliance, we can create an attractive and cohesive sense of place that serves the day-to-day needs and desires of both residents and businesses.” 

The bill would establish the urban district to provide funding for, and support the work of, The Friendship Heights Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works on behalf of businesses and residents in Friendship Heights to further economic vitality and strengthen community in the area.  This legislation dovetails with legislation proposed by Washington, D.C. Ward 3 Councilmember Matthew Frumin to develop a Business Improvement District on the D.C. side of Friendship Heights. 

“The bi-jurisdictional Friendship Heights Alliance, strengthened as a D.C. BID and Maryland Urban District, will support a robust recovery for the Friendship Heights commercial district,” said D.C. Councilmember Frumin. “I look forward to partnering with the Montgomery County Council and the Friendship Heights Alliance to support the local business community along the Wisconsin Avenue Corridor.” 

The bill will also establish a five-member Friendship Heights Urban District Advisory Committee, expand the purposes of urban districts in the county, create a commercial district charge as an additional mechanism to fund an urban district, and generally amend the law concerning urban districts in the county.  

The Friendship Heights Urban Advisory Committee members must be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the Council. The proposed five-member committee would include two commercial property owners nominated by the Friendship Heights Alliance, one residential renter in the district, one residential property owner and one business owner nominated by the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce. 

Montgomery County currently has urban districts to serve Wheaton, Bethesda and Silver Spring. 

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 14 at 1:30 p.m., with an Economic Development Committee worksession to be scheduled at a future date. The urban district boundaries and more information on the proposed legislation can be found here 


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