Montgomery County Council Committees to Hold Meetings on Police Staffing and the Creation of a New County Animal Services Advisory Committee on Monday, January 31

by Patrick Herron

For Immediate Release: Friday, January 28, 2022

Committees will receive an update on police staffing, discuss a recent OLO report on state aid for school construction, receive an overview of the FY23-28 MCPS Capital Improvements Program, review zoning changes for biohealth facilities and more

The Public Safety (PS) Committee will meet on Monday, Jan. 31 at 9:30 a.m. to discuss Bill 37-21, Animal Control – Services Advisory Committee – Established and receive a briefing on police department staffing.

The members of the PS Committee include Chair Sidney Katz, Council President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmember Tom Hucker.

The Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. to discuss Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 21-09, Office and Professional – Biohealth Priority Campus and Subdivision Regulation Amendment (SRA) 21-02, Administrative Subdivision -Biohealth Priority Campus. In addition, the Committee will receive a briefing on the Master Licensing Agreement for 5G deployment.

The members of the PHED Committee include Chair Hans Riemer and Councilmembers Andrew Friedson (Lead for Parks) and Will Jawando.

The Education and Culture (E&C) Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. to receive an update on OLO Report 2021-12, State School Construction Aid Eligibility and Funding of MCPS Capital Projects. In addition, the Committee will discuss the Montgomery County Public Schools FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program.

The members of the E&C Committee include Chair Craig Rice and Councilmembers Will Jawando (Lead for Libraries) and Nancy Navarro.

More detail on each agenda item is provided below.

Bill 37-21, Animal Control – Services Advisory Committee – Established

Review: The PS Committee will review Bill 37-21, Animal Control – Animal Services Advisory Committee – Established, which would establish a new County Animal Services Advisory Committee to improve operations of the County Office of Animal Services (OAS).

The proposed committee would have 11 voting members representing different stakeholders and three non-voting ex officio members from OAS. All Committee members would be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council. The committee would work with OAS to advise the Executive and the Council on issues related to animal care and welfare, rescue, fostering and adoption, population control, disease and bite prevention, public education about wildlife, best practices and volunteer recruitment for the County animal shelter and the operation of OAS.

The lead sponsor is Council President Albornoz. Councilmembers Navarro, Hucker, Katz, Jawando, Rice and Riemer and Council Vice President Glass are cosponsors.

Thomas Koenig, executive director, Office of Animal Services will attend and provide information.

Police Department Staffing

Briefing: The PS Committee will receive an update on Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) staffing. The briefing will include information on increased recruitment and retention challenges and details about how staffing shortages impact the provision of public safety services to the community.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Marcus Jones, chief, MCPD; Darren Francke, assistant chief, Management Services Bureau, MCPD; and Captain David Smith, director of personnel, MCPD.

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 21-09, Office and Professional – Biohealth Priority Campus

Review: The PHED Committee will discuss ZTA 21-09, which would create a streamlined regulatory process for biohealth facilities. The ZTA creates a new definition for a Biohealth Priority Campus that includes life sciences, research and development or medical, scientific manufacturing and production.

In addition, the ZTA would allow a speedier regulatory process for biohealth facilities of 150,000 square feet or more and for existing biohealth facilities already located in the County that are expanding by 50,000 square feet or more. If approved, this new use will be allowed in the commercial/residential and employment office zones and for developments within or adjacent to a red policy area, within an opportunity zone or within one-half mile of a planned or existing Bus Rapid Transit route.

The lead sponsor is Councilmember Friedson. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Casey Anderson, chair, Montgomery County Planning Board; Gwen Wright, director, Planning Department; Robert Kronenberg, deputy director, Planning Department; Jason Sartori, chief, Countywide Planning and Policy, Planning Department; Benjamin Berbert, planner coordinator, Countywide Planning and Policy, Planning Department; Ehsan Motazedi, deputy director, Department of Permitting Services (DPS); Victor Salazar, division chief, Zoning, Well and Septic and Code Compliance, DPS; and Mark Beall, zoning manager, Division of Zoning, Well & Septic and Code Compliance, DPS.

Subdivision Regulation Amendment (SRA) 21-02, Administrative Subdivision -Biohealth Priority Campus

Review: The PHED Committee will discuss Subdivision Regulation Amendment (SRA) 21-02, which would allow the Planning Director to approve an administrative subdivision plan for biohealth facilities under an expedited process.

This is an accompanying SRA to ZTA 21-09, Office and Professional – Biohealth Priority Campus, which was introduced by Councilmember Friedson on Oct. 19, 2021 and would create a streamlined regulatory process for biohealth facilities. Without an accompanying SRA, a biohealth priority campus would be subject to the preliminary plan of subdivision, which takes additional time and may conflict with the expedited process created for this use by ZTA 21-09.

The lead sponsor is Councilmember Friedson. Council President Hucker is a cosponsor of the legislation.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Casey Anderson, chair, Montgomery County Planning Board; Gwen Wright, director, Planning Department; Robert Kronenberg, deputy director, Planning Department; Jason Sartori, chief, Countywide Planning and Policy, Planning Department; and Benjamin Berbert, planner coordinator, Countywide Planning and Policy, Planning Department.

Master Licensing Agreement for 5G deployment

Briefing: The PHED Committee will receive an update from the County Executive’s office on the status of the master licensing agreements for 5G deployment. Master licensing agreements provide a process and fee structure for carriers to attach 5G wireless equipment to County-owned infrastructure.

The Council approved zoning reforms to allow the deployment of 5G infrastructure in commercial areas with the enactment of ZTA 18-02 in 2018 and deployment in residential areas with the enactment of ZTA 19-07 in July 2021.

OLO Report 2021-12, State School Construction Aid Eligibility and Funding of MCPS Capital Projects

Briefing: The E&C Committee will receive an update on OLO Report 2021-12, State School Construction Aid Eligibility and Funding of MCPS Capital Projects. The report presents background information and analysis of the state’s contributions to MCPS capital construction projects. The report further identifies key challenges facing the County and MCPS and identifies possible action items to help increase the State’s share of MCPS capital construction expenditures.

As part of the FY22 OLO Work Plan, the Council directed OLO to chair an interagency working group to assess which state aid eligibility criteria have the greatest effect on capital project funding received by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). In addition, the Council asked that the working group identify possible modifications to state policies and MCPS practices that would increase school construction aid to MCPS. OLO Report 2021-12, is the final product of the working group.

The working group convened in September 2021 and consisted of representatives from MCPS’ Department of Facilities Management, the County Government’s Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR) and County Council central staff.

Melanie Wenger, director, Office of Intergovernmental Relations will attend and provide information.

Montgomery County Public Schools FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program

Review: The E&C Committee will review the FY23-28 MCPS Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The discussion will include a review of of MCPS enrollment and demographic trends, the County Executive’s Recommended FY23-28 CIP for MCPS and the Board of Education’s FY23-28 Proposed CIP.

Enrollment changes are one of the biggest drivers of both the Operating Budget and CIP for MCPS. Enrollment increases drive an immediate need for relocatable classrooms and consideration for additional permanent classrooms and core space improvements.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Adrienne Karamihas, director, Division of Capital Planning, MCPS; Seth Adams, director, Department of Facilities Management, MCPS; Mary Beck, CIP manager, Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and Veronica Jaua, fiscal and policy analyst, OMB.

The Committee meeting schedule 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 and committees are meeting via Zoom because of ongoing construction and technology upgrades in the Council’s Hearing Room and the inability to conduct meetings in a socially distant way in other areas of the Council Office Building with television broadcast capacity. Councilmembers continue to hold meetings in their offices by appointment.

The virtual Council and committee meetings will be 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.

Release ID: 22-039
Media Contact: Sonya Healy, 240-777-7926 , Benjamin Sky Brandt 240-777-7884

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