montgomery county civic federation, inc.


Links to current issues covered by all MCCF committees appear below.

Education Committee

Environment Committee

Legislation/Committee for Montgomery

Parks and Recreation Committee

Planning and Land Use Committee

Public Safety Committee

Public Finance Committee

Transportation Committee

Utilities Committee

Current Issues:  Planning and Land Use

Planning Department 30-Year General Plan Update, ‘Thrive Montgomery 2050’

■  09/14/20 An MCCF resolution on Montgomery County’s General Plan, Thrive Montgomery 2050, was adopted at General Meeting #915 of the MCCF.

■  12/12/19 Planning Department ‘Meeting in a Box’ Tool is designed for use by civic and neighborhood associations and community groups to share their ideas for the future of Montgomery County.

■  12/12/19 Planning Department Draft Framework and Issues for General Plan Update

■  10/14/19 Planning Department Presentation to MCCF

2020 Update to County’s Subdivision Staging (Growth) Policy

■  09/20 Testimony on Proposed 2020-2024 Subdivision Staging Policy by MCCF President also covered two bills on taxation:  (1) Bill 38-20, Development Impact Tax – Transportation and Public School Improvements; and (2) Expedited Bill 39-20, Recordation Tax – Amendments

■  12/1/19 MCCF Article

■  12/9/19 Planning Department SSP Presentation to MCCF

■  12/9/19 MCCF’s Brian Krantz Presentation on community generated ‘CIP Super Tool’ on MCPS enrollment projections

■  MCPS CIP Super Tool produced by Brian Krantz

2019 Development Impact Taxes and Exemptions/Waivers

■  12/9/19 Presentation includes Impact Tax Rates and Exemption Categories

■  3/20/19 Memo shows in 2018 County collected $37 million in development impact taxes, waived $64 million in development impact taxes, and projects another $47 million to be waived for projects in the pipeline for a total of $111 million in waivers in 2018–2019

ZTAs for Cell Towers in Residential Zones

■  MCCF testified in a public hearing before the Montgomery County Council on November 19, 2019, on Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07, “Telecommunications Towers, Limited Use.”  View that testimony here.  This is MCCF’s fourth time before the Council on this issue (see others below) and we continue to oppose the ZTA’s reduction of due process for residents.

■  COUNTY ZTA 18-11 to allow cell towers in residential zones with reduced setbacks and no public hearings.  View here.  September 25, 2018, 7:30 p.m., Council hearing.
■  September 2018 MCCF Planning and Land Use Committee Recommended Proposal for Small Cells [View PDF here].

Below are the presentations from our June 12, 2017, meeting on Zoning Text Amendments for cell towers in residential zones within Montgomery County:
■  Mitsuko R. Herrera, Director, ultraMontgomery Program, Dept. of Technology Services, Montgomery County, Md. [PDF]
■  Theodora Scarato, Director of Educational Programs and Resources, Environmental Health Trust [PDF]
■  Sue Present, a County resident who wrote a four-part series in the January–April issues of the MCCF newsletter regarding the regulatory review of cell tower applications in Montgomery County [PP]
■  Article Evaluating the Latest Proposed ZTA and Suggestions for Changes
The County will hold two more public meetings on their proposed changes before sending the new proposed ZTA to the County Council for a public hearing.  Community meetings are planned for Monday, September 18, 2017, at the Silver Spring Civic Center and Tuesday, September 19, 2017, at the Montgomery County Germantown Campus.
■  The new proposed Draft ZTA is here.
■  The summary of the new Draft is here.
■  The County has also created a special page for submitting comments.
■  You can also follow any new developments at the County’s Tower Committee page.

Abolishment of the Office of People’s Counsel

MCCF opposes Bill 41-16, “Community Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer,” which was proposed (without consultation with communities) to permanently abolish the Office of the People’s Counsel from the County Code and replace it with a Resource Officer who would not be allowed to participate in hearings.  At its 10/10/16 meeting, MCCF passed an emergency resolution opposing this Bill which was just introduced on 10/4/16.  A Community Resource Officer would be no comparison to the responsibilities of the Office of People’s Counsel, which is an attorney responsible for representing the public interest in land use and zoning matters.
■  MCCF pushed hard to establish this office and it was finally placed in the County Code in 1990.  The funding for the OPC in 2008 was $246,000 for 1.8 positions.  In 2010, the County Council removed funding for this important office ostensibly for fiscal reasons.
■  Three development ombudsmen/coordinator positions ($577,000) have been funded — with MCDOT CIP funds — since the time that the OPC was defunded, essentially using debt service to pay for public positions that assist developers, but the Council has not restored funding to the position that is supposed to represent the public interest.
■  View MCCF’s 11/1/16 tesimony here.

9/12/16 MCCF Program on 2016 Update to the County’s Subdivision Staging (Growth) Policy

Here is the video of the MCCF September 12, 2016, meeting, held in the Lobby Level Auditorium of the Executive Office Building in Rockville.  The three speakers were (from left):  Eric Graye, Planning Supervisor, Montgomery County Planning Department [blue shirt]; Glenn Orlin, Deputy Administrator, Montgomery County Council [green shirt]; and Pamela Dunn, Division Chief, Montgomery County Planning Department. View their presentation, broken into two parts:
■  Part 1
■  Part 2

Rock Spring Community Meeting 10/28/15 @ 7pm

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is inviting residents, business owners, and anyone with an interest in the Rock Spring area to attend a community meeting hosted by the Rock Spring Master Plan team on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m.  [RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.  RSVP for the 11/28/15 Rock Spring Community Meeting.]  The 10/28/15 community meeting follows the 9/17/15 joint meeting with the Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Master Plan teams which focused on MCPS facility concerns in the Walter Johnson High School cluster. The 9/17/15 meeting, which drew about 100 residents, was held to begin the dialogue about how to address school facility issues in this cluster.  During the upcoming master plan process for Rock Spring, Planning Department staff and MCPS staff claim they will collaborate with the community to ensure that land use and zoning recommendations are coordinated with the corresponding recommendations for educational facilities.

Transit Station/Residential Zone Change

Zoning Text Amendment 14-08, to expand geographical applicability standard of the Transit Station-Residential (TS-R) Zone, was introduced on 7/8/14 by Councilmembers Berliner and Andrews.
■ On 9/2/14 Council held hearing, and ZTA subsequently withdrawn by sponsors as a result of MCCF testimony explaining the legislation was a “special law for a special case” (as it would impact only one property in the county), and thus prohibited by the State Constitution.  [View MCCF testimony.]

Mobility Assessment Reports

2009 Highway Mobility Report
Failing Intersections Analysis, prepared 4/6/10 by Civic Federation PLU Committee from the 2009 Highway Mobility Report.  [View MCCF PLU Committee Analysis or 2009 Highway Mobility Report (18 MB) file from Planning Department’s website.]

2011 Mobility Assessment Report
Formerly “Highway Mobility Report.”  Approved by Planning Board on 10/27/11 for transmittal to County Council.  Report was required to be submitted to Council as part of 2012 Growth Policy discussion, now called Subdivision Division Staging Policy.  [View staff memo or link to Board agenda for 10/27/11 where you can download full Report and Appendix (see Item 8 on agenda).
■ On 10/31/11 Council T&E Comm. held worksession on the report.

2014 Draft Mobility Assessment Report
Discussed by Planning Board at 4/17/14 session.  Report now includes intersection and road congestion data, as well as transit ridership, pedestrian, and bicycle usage.  [View report.]

Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Project

■ [Click to access Planning Department’s Zoning Code Rewrite Project webpage  that includes a list of meeting dates for the Zoning Advisory Panel.]
■ Code Studio, consultant, released draft Agricultural and Residential zoning in Oct. 2010
(click to view proposed District Conversion chart)
■ Development Patterns section (Div. 4-4) of draft Residential District pulled for long-term study on Dec. 7, 2010.  View email from Planning Department)
■ Code Studio released draft Ag/Res Districts "Use and Use Standards" and "Definitions" sections on Dec. 8, 2010
■ Council briefing on Project on 1/18/11.  View packet with Planning Director’s memo)
■ In July 2012 Planning staff released a Consolidated Draft of the proposed new Zoning Ordinance for review by the Zoning Advisory Panel prior to submitting to Board.  View Consolidated Draft)
■ Planning Board to hold series of public hearings/worksessions on parts of Draft through end of 2012.
■ Final public hearing held by Board on 4/23/13, followed by clean-up worksession prior to transmittal to County Council.  Board continued work on process to implement new Code, when approved.
■ On 6/11/13, Council held hearing on ZTA 13-04 and District Map Amendment G-956.  View MCCF written comments to Council)
■ Council PHED Committee work sessions held 6/14, 6/21, 6/28, 7/2, 7/12, 7/19, 7/30, 9/13, 9/20 and 9/27/13.
■ Council held second public hearing 11/12 and 11/14/13.  View MCCF testimony), following which PHED Comm. has scheduled work sessions for 12/2 and 12/9/13 prior to transmitting recommended version to full Council for worksession 1/14, 1/15 & 1/16/14 (NOTE: at 12/2 session PHED agreed to split the DMA from the zoning code rewrite, and consider DMA later in 2014.)
■ 1/14 & 1/15/14, Council held worksessions on Code Rewrite, agreed to postpone action on DMA.
(on 14th, improperly adopted Floreen amendment to CR Zones as a Committee recommendation, to allow height and density limits to be exceeded to accommodate MPDUs--click for Federation Corner column on this change); Council & Planning staff crafting text to reflect changes Council made to new Code, due mid-Feb.
■ 3/4/14, Council adopted ZTA 13-04, new Zoning Code as amended (effective on adoption of DMA).
■ July 15, 2014 - Council approved District Map Amendment, applying new Code to properties throughout county--new code and DMA zoning take effect 10/30/14.
(click to access Council approved version of new Zoning Code and the revised zoning map)
[NOTE: existing area Overlay Zones are contained in "59-4. Euclidian zoning" section of new code]
(click to download Zoning Conversion Table listing existing zones and the new zones proposed to replace them)

Approving Record Plats Process

Proposed changes to process of approving Record Plats.  On 12/10/13 Council member Riemer sponsored Subdivision Regulation Amendment 13-03, to eliminate responsibility for Dept. of Permitting Services to approve plats, and Bill 31-13, to remove Dept. of Transportation responsibility in plat approval process; Council hearing held 2/4/14; subsequently, PHED Comm. action postponed.

minor master plan amendments

As part of their approval of the Planning Department work program outlined in the Spring 2012 Semi-Annual Report of the Planning Board, the County Council on April 10 approved a new application process for minor master plan amendments.  Property owners and community groups in the county interested in addressing issues of land use, zoning or other community priorities in their neighborhoods may now submit applications for minor master plan amendments to be considered by the Planning Board and County Council.  [View press release or access online application form)
■ On 7/31/12, Council approved adding 2 minor master plan amendments--Pooks Hill Marriott and Sandy Spring/Ashton Village Center Overlay Zone--to Planning Board work program for FY2013, and left a space in FY2014 work program for Halpine Apartments (or could be folded into Aspen Hill master plan revision coming forward in next Council)
■ In FY14 County Operating Budget, adopted 5/23/13, Council approved inclusion of 3 minor master plan amendments in the Planning Board work program: Apex Building in Bethesda, Aspen Hill employment area (site proposed for WalMart & surrounding area), and Sandy Spring Village Center.

Development Projects Pipeline

The pipeline of development projects approved by the Planning Board but not yet built was compiled by Planning Department in March 2012.  [View Dept.’s pipeline webpage or to view pipeline packet with breakdown of projects by planning area.]

development impact tax

On 1/24/12 MCCF testified before County Council in opposition to Bill 39-11, to exempt from development impact tax (for transportation) and school impact tax certain multifamily residential projects.  [View staff packet including estimate that Bill could cost the county $57 million, or to view MCCF testimony.]

Healthy and Sustainable Communities

Healthy and Sustainable Communities: A Framework for Action, a report from the County Department of Environmental Protection and the Planning Department, released September 2008.  [View report); Planning Board discussed progress on indicators 7/14/11.  View memo.]

County Housing Policy Revision

The county Department of Housing and Community Affairs sponsored two public meetings (November 30 & December 1, 2011) to hear from residents and organizations interested in contributing to the update of the 2001 Housing Policy.  For those unable to present comments in person, DHCA accepted written comments through 12/15/11.  The Department expected to transmit their recommended 2012 Housing Policy to the County Council in January, after which the Council was to have scheduled a public hearing.
(click to view November 21st DHCA press release, which includes information on submitting written comments, or to view written comments submitted by MCCF)
- The County Executive’s proposed revision of the county Housing Policy is to be presented to the Council’s PHED Committee at a committee worksession on 7/19/12--item was deferred.

Plan Maryland

On 28 April 2011, Maryland Dept. of Planning released draft “Plan Maryland,” for future growth of state; 8 public forums held during public comment period that ran through Sept. 1. [View state website with access to full draft plan.]
■ September 2011 the Dept. released a revised draft of Plan Maryland.  View revised draft)
■ On 10/27/11 staff briefed Planning Board on draft revision changes in response to comments provided by the bi-county Park & Planning Commission; Board agreed to join County Executive and Council President in signing a Joint Letter to state.  View staff packet )
■ On 10/28/11 County Executive, Council President & Planning Board sent Joint Letter on revised draft version of Plan Maryland to state Dept. of Planning (last 2 pages of Board staff packet above)

Planning Board Semi-Annual Reports

Semi-Annual Reports of Planning Board presented to County Council -- includes schedule for work on master plans and other major projects, which Council must approve
(click to view Spring 2011 Report, or Fall 2011 Report -see pg.12, or Spring 2012 Report, or Fall 2012 Report, Spring 2013 Report, Fall 2013, Spring 2014 or schedule change approved by Council in May 2014, or Fall 2014

Code Enforcement Legislation

Code Enforcement Legislation pending in Council (see Archives for enactments)■ Bill 24-09, Building Permits and Inspections, introduced in Council 5/4/09; hearing held on 6/9/09.  View MCCF testimony); PHED Comm. held worksession 10/3/11 and decided not to report out bill for full Council action, since ZTA 09-03 as approved now requires Use and Occupancy Permits for single-family detached home construction--see Archived Issues

Urban Noise Ordinances

On 6/14/11 MCCF presented County Council our concerns on Bill 16-11, Noise Ordinance amendments for urban areas.  View MCCF testimony)

Transportation Policy Area Review

Draft of new Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR) transmitted to Council in April 2010; action pending.  The TPAR tests would replace the current Policy Area Mobility Review (PAMR) and be used in growth policy — now called the Subdivision Staging Policy — to determine how much new development can be accommodated by roads and transit in each county planning area. .  View PowerPoint presentation on draft TPAR given to Planning Board on July 15, 2010)
■ Planning Board held overview and hearing on 2012 Draft TPAR on April 19, 2012 with worksessions on May 3 and 10.  View MCCF written comments to Board on Draft TPAR)

Master and Sector Plan Revisions

[View list of Existing Plans on Planning Dept. website.]

Lyttonsville Purple Line Station / White Flint / Gaithersburg East / Montgomery Village
On pg. 61 of proposed FY12 M-NCPPC Budget in Brief, Planning staff recommends work efforts begin in FY12 on Lyttonsville (Brookeville Road) Purple Line Station Sector Plan, White Flint Phase II Sector Plan, and Gaithersburg East/Montgomery Village Sector Plan

Aspen Hill/Sandy Spring
Limited Master Plan Amendments underway at Aspen Hill Employment Area and Sandy Spring Village Center

Westbard (South Bethesda)
Westbard (south Bethesda) Sectpr Plan public meetings started 9/23/14

Greater Lyttonsville
Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan public meetings restarted 5/6/14; mtgs set for 6/2, 9 & 16.
Bethesda CBD Sector Plan public meetings began Spring 2014; concept plan unveiled by staff at 5/17/14 meeting at B-CC High School.

White Oak
White Oak Science Center Gateway Master Plan project scope was approved by the Planning Board on 3 February 2011; Board transmitted Draft Plan to Council at end of July 2013; but in a letter dated 10/2/13 Council remanded Plan back to Board for further work on land use balance and other needed changes; Board held worksessions in December, 2013, prior to retransmittal to Council.
■ 2/4/14, Council hearing.(click to view MCCF testimony)
■ 7/18/14, MCCF memo to Council prior to their 7/22 worksession & straw votes [See MCCF memo.]
■ 7/29/14 Council approved Plan w/minor amendments (8-0-1, Elrich abstaining); also approved amendment to Subdivision Staging Policy labeling area as "urban" with transit, which increased acceptable levels of traffic congestion at signalized intersections in the area
■ 9/16/14, Councilmembers Floreen, Navarro and Rice introduced Subdivision Staging Policy Amendment 14-02, which would weaken the LATR traffic test for White Oak area only by not counting trips generated by approved-but-unbuilt projects (i.e.; "background traffic") except for those that had pulled a Building Permit; on 10/7 Council held hearing on SSPA 14-02.  View MCCF testimony); on 10/16 Floreen sent memo to fellow Councilmembers offering an amendment to SSPA 14-02 in the nature of a substitute.  View Floreen memo); on 10/20 PHED Committee held worksession but deferred further action until 11/25, when recommended changes to the Floreen substitute are expected from Council, Planning Department and county Department of Transportation staff

White Flint
White Flint II Sector Plan: Planning Board held scoping session with staff on 4/26/12.

Click to view Archived Issues tracked by this committee.