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

Planning and Land Use

Public Safety

Public Finance



Archived Issues:  Planning and Land Use Committee

The following is a list of archived issues tracked by this Federation committee on which action is completed, in chronological order from the oldest date of completion to the most recent.

‘Big Box’ Stores

Package of legislation on “big box” stores introduced in Council on 1/31/12 (ZTAs 12-01 and 12-02, and Bill 4-12); Council public hearing held 3/20/12; PHED Comm. worksession held 3/26/12
■ [View ZTA 12-02 to permit combination retail stores in C-2, C-3 and C-4 Zones if in regional shopping center or within 1/2 mile of a Metro station, and allow them by Special Exception in same zones in other locations; or Bill 4-12 re large retail stores meeting wage and health insurance requirements under certain circumstances, or click to view MCCF testimony at Council hearing)
■ On 4/10/12 Council approved ZTA 12-01.

Mixed Use CR (Commercial/Residential) Zone

Zoning Text Amendment 09-08, creating mixed use CR (Commercial/Residential) Zone, approved by County Council on 3/2/10.  [View MCCF testimony and position document delivered at 10/27/09 hearing, or ZTA approved by Council 3/22/10.]

CR Zoning Amendments

To require fewer public amenities/benefits in exchange for full density for mixed use projects on smaller properties; discussed in Council PHED Committee in October 2009, and at Planning Board sessions in March and May 2010
■ Draft proposed CR amendments approved by Planning Board on 12/2/10 for transmittal to Council for introduction; would allow “fewer amenities process” for properties with master plan recommendation for such process.  [View transmittal letter and draft ZTA.]
■ On 12/9/10, Planning Board Chair Carrier announced draft CR amendments ZTA the Board had just sent to Council would not be introduced; staff directed instead to draft alternative for 1/6/11
■ (click to view 12/9/10 Board Chair discussion pulling first draft ZTA    
■ in 2/1/11 letter to Planning Board Chair Carrier, Council President Ervin requested draft ZTA to amend the CR zones (& create new CR Town & CR Neighborhood Zones) prior to Council work on Takoma/Langley, Wheaton or Kensington Plans (see page marked circle 3 of Council packet.]
■ Planning Board held worksessions on new draft ZTA to create CR Neighborhood and CR Town Zones to add to “family of CR zones” on 1/6/11, 1/13/11, 1/20/11, 2/3/11, 2/10/11, 2/17/11, 3/3/11 and 3/10/11.
■ 1st worksession on Jan. 6, 2011 on new staff draft ZTA.
■ 2nd worksession on Jan. 13 — work on Sections 59-C-15.1, 15.2, and 15.3 of draft ZTA.  [View clean version of draft ZTA, and staff PowerPoint of issues to consider.]
■ 3rd worksession on Jan. 20 — continued on Sec.s 59-C-15.1, 15.2, and 15.3 (working from Jan. 10 draft ZTA and Jan. 13 staff PowerPoint presentation).
■ On Jan. 21, staff released clean version of Sec.s 1, 2, and 3, and a redline version showing changes Board made from the original staff draft.
■ 4th worksession on Jan. 27 CANCELLED due to snow; rescheduled for Feb. 3.
■ 4th worksession on Feb. 3 — work on Sections 59-C-15.4 and 15.5 of draft ZTA.
■ 5th worksession on Feb. 10 — work on Sections 59-C-15.6 and 15.7 of draft ZTA; planned to also work on 15.8 but did not get to it.
■ On Feb. 15, staff released clean version of Sec.s 1 to 7 with Board changes, and a marked up version of Sec.s 1 to 7 showing additions/deletions to existing law, and a slide show overview.
■ 6th worksession on Feb. 17 to hear public comments and, if time, to work on Sections 59-C-15.8 and 15.9.
■ 7th worksession on Mar. 3 to review public comments, consider additional changes recommended by staff to sections already reviewed by Board, and work on Sections 59-C-15.8 and 15.9.
■ 8th worksession on Mar. 10 to review text of draft ZTA prior to sending to Council for introduction.  View Planning Board approved draft ZTA clean version transmitted to Council).
■ On 4/12/11, CR Zone amendments ZTA 11-01 introduced in Council; changes made in Board
draft by Council ZTA Advisers group.  View introduced version of ZTA 11-01.]
■ Planning Board public hearing on ZTA 11-01 held 5/12/11; Council public hearing on ZTA 11-01 held 5/17/11 (click for MCCF testimony to Council); PHED Comm. sessions on 6/13, 22, 23, 27,
30, July 11, 14, 18, Sept. 19
.  View staff packet for first 8 worksessions, or packet on public benefits, or staff packet for 9/19 — see pg. 10 for current zones CR zoning could eventually replace)
■ Council worksessions on 9/27/11.  View packet ), on 10/4/11, and on 10/11/11.  View packet or 9/30/11 MCCF memo to Council recommending language limiting CRN as only CR Zone that could be applied next to property zoned single-family residential — MCCF language was not adopted).
■ On 10/11/11 Council approved ZTA 11-01, after adopting additional amendments proposed by Councilmember Floreen that were not published in the staff packet for that day (cllick to view approved ZTA.]


Approved by Council in 2009, 2010, and 2011:
■ Bill 28-09, to prohibit on-street parking of recreational vehicles except under certain circumstances; approved by Council on 6/30/09.
■ Bill 23-09, pertaining to storage of unused vehicles; approved by Council on 10/6/09.
■ Zoning Text Amendment 09-03, pertaining to home based occupations and residential off-street parking; approved by Council on 10/26/10.  [View MCCF testimony from 6/9/09 Council hearing.]
[NOTE: ZTA 09-03 requires Use and Occupancy Permit be issued by Dept. of Permitting Services for new single-family detached home construction.]
■ Bill 22-09, Violations – Appeals, introduced in Council 5/4/09; hearing held on 6/9/09.  [View MCCF testimony.]  At 10/3/11 session, PHED Committee voted to recommend approval with amendments; Council approved w/amendments on 10/18/11.

Housing Chapter of General Plan

Revision county’s master plan transmitted to Council by Planning Board in 2009, Council public hearing held 12/1/09 and referred to PHED Committee.  [View 5/21/09 MCCF testimony to Planning Board and 12/1/09 MCCF testimony to Council.]
■ Council received a briefing on 1/25/11 on rewrite of the Housing Chapter of the General Plan and on Housing Policy.  [View staff packet for the Council briefing, which includes Housing Element from 1993 General Plan, Board proposed rewrite, and 2001 Housing Policy.]
■ Council PHED Comm. held worksessions on Housing Chapter rewrite on 1/20/11, and on 3/7, 3/14, 3/15 and 3/21/11; replaced “allow accessory apartments by-right” language with “review whether uses...currently approved by special exception uses should be allowed by right if appropriate conditions and standards are in place,” and added back neighborhood protection strategies.
■ On 3/29/11, Council approved PHED recommended version of Housing Element rewrite, with three minor alterations.  [View final Council approved Housing Element rewrite.]

Suburban Hospital Expansion

In 2008, Suburban Hospital in Bethesda submitted application to Board of Appeals for a Modification of existing Special Exception to accommodate plans for expansion of facilities, which included the proposed closing of a portion of Lincoln Street.
■ At its December 8, 2008, meeting, the Civic Federation adopted a resolution authorizing Wayne Goldstein, member of MCCF Planning & Land Use Committee, to participate in the case on behalf of MCCF and in opposition to the application for Special Exception Modification as submitted.
■ On October 13, 2010, the Board of Appeals approved Suburban Hospital’s application for Special Exception Modification; the Board’s decision is being appealed in Circuit Court.
■ On January 27, 2011, County Executive Leggett signed the public hearing officer’s report and recommendations for abandonment of a portion of Lincoln Street and transmitted it to the County Council, which has the final say on the street closure.
■ On February 7, 2011, Civic Federation sent letter to Councilmember Roger Berliner, Chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) Committee, asking Council to defer action on abandonment of a portion of Lincoln Street awaiting outcome of court case challenging approval of the hospital expansion plans.  [View MCCF letter to Berliner.]
■ On June 21, 2011, the Circuit Court Judge Carver ruled from the bench upholding Board of Appeals approval of Suburban Hospital’s expansion plan that would entail closing off Lincoln Street access from Old Georgetown Road.
■ On July 19, 2011, the Council approved abandonment of portion of Lincoln Street in the first block off Old Georgetown Road, to accommodate hospital’s expansion (Resolution 17-220).

CBD Zones Amendment

On 6/14/11, MCCF testified on ZTA 11-04, CBD Zones amendment, to allow space provided for government facilities to meet Optional Method project requirements for public use space and public amenities.  [View MCCF testimony.]  Council approved 6/28/11.]

Master and Sector Plan Revisions

View list of existing Plans on Planning Dept. website.

Sector Plan revision approved by County Council in December 2007; after which Planning Board approved accompanying Design Guidelines.

Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan revision approved by County Council in July 2008; Planning Board approved accompanying Design Guidelines on March 11, 2010.

White Flint I
Sector Plan revision approved by County Council on March 23, 2010.  [View MCCF testimony and position document delivered at 10/20/09 Council hearing); awaiting Planning Board action on Design Guidelines??
■ White Flint I District Finance Plan approved by County Council on 11/30/10.

Gaithersburg West
AKA Great Seneca Science Corridor, Master Plan revision approved by County Council on May 4, 2010.  [View MCCF testimony delivered at 9/15/09 Council hearing); after which Planning Board approved Design Guidelines.]

Clarksburg Master Plan
Council consideration of move to Stage 4 implementation of Clarksburg Master Plan is pending, report of Ad Hoc Water Quality Working Group that was to have been released by end of February 2010 was issued on July 16, 2010 — action pending.  [View Report of Group, plus Appendix A and Appendix B and Cover Letter.]
■ Council PHED Committee received an update from the Group on October 18, 2010.
■ On 5/5/11, Planning Board held hearing on revision to Stage 3 to allow other retail to proceed before Town Center retail.
■ On 6/28/11, Council adopted Resolution 17-188 amending Clarksburg Plan.  [View Resolution.]

Wheaton CBD
Sector Plan revision in Planning Board worksessions; final session and vote on draft was scheduled for 1/6/11 (schedule was delayed due to work on proposed new CR Zone amendments); final Board session held 3/31/11, then transmitted to Council.
■ Council held public hearing 7/19/11.  [View MCCF testimony.]  PHED Committee worksessions began September 26 — held 9 sessions, ending October 31.
■ On 10/13/11, Planning Board held session on fully drafted Design Guidelines.
■ On 11/15/11, full Council held worksession; voted to approve Plan on 11/29/11.

Kensington Sector Plan
On 2/1/11, Council denied the Kensington Sector Plan and sent it back to Planning Board to add proposed CR Neighborhood and CR Town zoning.  [View Resolution packet, including Council President Ervin’s memo re the planned process.]
■ On 4/28/11, Planning Board held public hearing on revised draft plan.
■ On 6/14/11, Planning Board approved revised draft plan and submitted to County Council
■  On 7/24/11, Planning Board held public hearing on draft Design Guidelines  [View MCCF testimony.]
■ On 10/11/11, County Council held hearing on revised draft Kensington Sector Plan.  [View MCCF testimony  or MCCF follow-up memo.]  PHED sessions began 11/21/11 (Council dates below).
■ On 10/13/11, Planning Board held session on fully drafted Design Guidelines.
■ Full Council held worksessions on 2/28 & 3/6/12; approved Resolution on 3/20/12.

Sector Plan revision (University Blvd. and New Hampshire Ave. area) sent to County Council in summer 2010; Council public hearing held 2/1/11 — see following note.
■ Letter from Council President Ervin to Planning Board Chair Carrier noted intent to hold a second Council hearing in mid-May, once the Plan has been amended to include the new CR zones currently being created.  [View schedule on pg. marked circle 3 of Council packet.]
■ On 4/7/11, Planning Board held session on application of new CR zones in Plan.
■ Council held 2nd hearing on 5/24/11; PHED Committee worksessions began June 20.
■ On 10/6/11, Planning Board held session on fully drafted Design Guidelines.
■ Full Council held worksession on 3/27/12 and took straw vote to approve; Council adopted Resolution approving Sector Plan on 4/24/12.

Commercial Crossroads Neighborhood Planning Study first public meeting held 11/30/10; Planning Board approved project scope on 1/13/11; additional public meetings held March and May 2011; Council shifted Study to a Sector Plan in Master Plan work program approved Spring 2011.
■ On 5/3/12, Planning Board approved staff draft; held public hearing on June 7, 2012.
■ On 9/18/12, County Council held public hearing; approved Plan on 12/4/12.

Long Branch
Sector Plan revision (Piney Branch Rd. and Flower Ave. area) drafted by Planning Department staff; Board held hearing at Long Branch Library on 12/9/10.
■ 11/19/13, Council approved.

Sector Plan public meetings and Planning staff work began April 2011.
■ 11/5/13, Council approved.

Chevy Chase Lake
Sector Plan project scope was approved by the Planning Board in July 2010; first of two anticipated public meetings held on 1/10/11; Planning Dept. unveiled staff draft plan at 6/18/11 community meeting.
■ On 7/30/13 Council approved, with amendments.

Clarksburg Master Plan Ten Mile Creek Amendment

Planning Board held hearing on 9/10/13.  [View MCCF testimony.]; Council held hearing 12/3/13.  View MCCF testimony.]
■ 4/1/14, Council approved.

Purple Line Station

Bethesda Purple Line Station Limited Plan Amendment approved 2/14/14.

Accessory Apartment

On 5/3/12, Planning Board held hearing on proposed ZTA on Accessory Apartment prior to sending to Council for introduction.  [View staff packet including text or MCCF written comments.] But deferred action awaiting revision of proposed ZTA.  [View MCCF position adopted 5/14/12.]
■ Planning Board held hearing on revised proposed ZTA language on June 21, then transmitted recommended version to Council for introduction.  [View MCCF testimony.]
■ On 7/24/12, ZTA 12-11 introduced in Council at request of Planning Board; Council held hearing 9/11/12 at 7:30 pm.  [View introduced version of ZTA 12-11 or MCCF testimony.]  PHED Comm. held worksessions on 10/8/12 and 11/5/12.
■ On 11/13/12 Council introduced Bill 31-12, Accessory Apartment Licensing; Council hearing held 12/4/12.
■ On 1/15/13 full Council held worksessions on ZTA 12-11 and Bill 31-12.
■ On 2/5/13, Council approved Bill 31-12 and ZTA 12-11 [view] as recommended by PHED, with two amendments to the ZTA offered by Councilmember Berliner — 1) to limit size of AAs to 1,200 sq. ft. (not 2,500 sq. ft.); and 2) home must be at least 5 years old before AA application is made (8-1; Floreen voting no).

2012 Subdivision Staging Policy

Formerly known as the Growth Policy.
■ Planning staff recommendations on Schools Test and Adequate Public Facility approval transfer to be presented to the Planning Board on May 31, 2012.  [View staff packet for 5/31.]
■ On 6/28/12, Planning Board held hearing on draft Subdivision Staging Policy for the upcoming four years, prior to sending its recommendation to Council for consideration. [View staff packet or approved 2012 Planning Board draft SSP.]
■ 8/18/12, Council held public hearing.  [View MCCF testimony.]  PHED Comm. worksessions held on 9/24, 10/8, 10/15; full Council worksessions were held on 10/23, 11/5, and 11/6.
■ 11/13/12, Council voted to approved amended 2012 SSP [Note: the approved fee schedule will collect less from new development to pay for needed transportation improvements than the previous policy did, and will collect more from residential development than commercial.]

Automobile Filling Stations

On 4/17/12, Zoning Text Amendment 12-07 introduced in Council re Special Exceptions for Automobile Filling Stations, requiring those that dispense over 3.6m gallons of fuel per year be at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks, playgrounds, hospitals, and certain other land uses.
■ On 6/19/12 Council held hearing on ZTA 12-07.  [View MCCF testimony.]. On 7/9/12 PHED Committee held worksession, voted 2-1 to oppose approval (Floreen & Leventhal opposed approval, Elrich supported approval of ZTA); Council vote scheduled for 7/24/12; after PHED session and prior to Council vote, county attorney filed opinion that ZTA 12-07 would be unlawful and four ZTA co-sponsors on Council still supporting approval filed a reply.  [View county attorney’s opinion and Council reply.]
■ On 7/24/12 Council approved ZTA 12-07 with amendments: reduced distance to 300 ft.; etc.

Westfield Wheaton Plaza

County signed Economic Development Agreement with Westfield Wheaton Plaza in March 2011.  In early March 2011, County Executive Isiah Leggett and Dept. of Economic Development Director Steve Silverman signed an agreement with Westfield Corporation (aka Wheaton Plaza Regional Shopping Center LLP)) for the county to give a $4 million Conditional Grant ($2 million in FY12 and $2 million in FY13) for use in preparing the old Hecht’s store site as location for a new Costco store.  Council approved $2m funding in the FY12 County Operating Budget and $2m in FY13.

Hotels in PD Zones

On 6/12/12, ZTA 12-09 introduced in Council to relax standards for allowing hotels in certain PD (Planned Development) zones. [View introduced ZTA 12-09.]
■ On 7/12/12, the Planning Board held its public hearing on ZTA 12-09.  [View MCCF comments to Board.]
■ On 7/17/12, Council held public hearing on ZTA 12-09.  [View MCCF testimony.]
■ On 7/30/12, Council PHED Committee held worksession on ZTA 12-09 and voted 3-0 to recommend Council disapprove.  [View PHED staff packet or MCCF follow-up comments to PHED.]
■ On 9/11/12, Council deferred action on ZTA 12-09.

Commercial Kitchens Allowed

On 1/24/12 MCCF presented County Council our concerns on ZTA 11-08, to allow commercial kitchens as accessory use to certain service uses allowed without Special Exception in R-60 and R-90 residential Zones.  [View MCCF comments.]
■ PHED Comm. held worksession on ZTA 11-08 on 6/11/12; Council approved on 6/26/12.

Chelsea School Site Rezoning

Limited Map Amendment G-892.  The school stated its intention to relocate and sell the property at 630 Ellsworth Avenue, Silver Spring, and a developer contracted to purchase the site and requested rezoning of the property from the R-60 to RT-15 (townhouse) to allow 76 townhouses in addition to the existing historic home on the site.  The neighborhood association requested MCCF support in opposing the rezoning.  On 4/20/11, the MCCF Executive Committee voted unanimously to oppose.
■ On 5/19/11 the Planning Board held a hearing and, on a 4 to 1 vote, recommended County Council approve the rezoning with conditions.  [View MCCF testimony.]
■ Hearing Examiner held hearings on 5/26, 6/6, 6/27, 6/30 and 7/18/11; MCCF testimony to Planning Board was included in record and PLU Committee Chair Jim Humphrey testified on 6/6 as an individual; Hearing Examiner recommended Council remand back to HE for project redesign.  [View Humphrey testimony.]
■ On 10/18/11 the Council heard Oral Arguments from Applicant and opposition; voted 5 to 4 to remand back to HE to revise project plan “to have less density and more breaks in the massing” in order to be more compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, and to consider the appropriate size of the environmental setting for the historic Riggs-Thompson House located on the site.
■ On 6/12/12 the Council approved the rezoning with a revised project plan.

Urging Planning Director Resignation

The Civic Federation sent a letter to county officials urging the resignation of the Planning Director.
■ On March 12, 2012, the Montgomery County Civic Federation sent a letter to the Planning Board Chair Francoise Carrier and other government officials, urging the resignation of Rollin Stanley as Planning Department Director.  The issue was prompted by offensive remarks made by Mr. Stanley as reported in the March-April issue of Bethesda Magazine, the latest in a pattern of behavior which has troubled members of the Federation for years.
[View the MCCF letter or view Federation Corner column “Problems with county Planning Director,” or follow-up column “More on the Planning Director.”]
■ Posted 3/21/12 on Planning Department website homepage:  “Planning Director retraction:  Director Rollin Stanley addresses recent statements printed in Bethesda Magazine and emphasizes the need for public discussion in planning.”
■ [View Planning Director’s retraction.]  Stanley resigned effective mid-May 2012.

West Germantown Developers Reimbursed Twice

The Inspector General claims West Germantown developers were reimbursed twice for building pumping station and water main.
In a report released March 14, 2011, Inspector General Tom Dagley asserts Artery and Arcola, the developers of subdivisions in the West Germantown Development District, were reimbursed twice for building required water infrastructure — once by WSSC and once by the county, via issuance of a bond to be repaid by property owners through a development district tax. [View IG report.]