Zoning change, budget hearings to highlight council’s week

Stella B. Werner Council Office Building. Montgomery County photo.

A change in zoning regulations to attract large companies and a series of operating budget hearings highlight this week’s County Council business.

County Executive Ike Leggett requested that the council introduce Zoning Text Amendment 18-05, Uses, Use Standards, and Regulatory Approvals – Signature Business Headquarters, which would revise the review process for large businesses.

“It’s a proposal that would allow any large employer come in and build under certain terms,” said Council President Hans Riemer (D-At Large) in a video posted by Montgomery Community Media.

“So it’s something that would be continued in the zoning code and even if Amazon didn’t come, if there’s a really large company that wanted to locate in the Washington region, we would have that available as an incentive to come to Montgomery County,” he continued. “Obviously, it is fashioned so that we are competitive in the pursuit for Amazon, no question about that.”

The ZTA, if passed, would add reliability, predictability and a streamlining of the county’s approval process, Riemer said. It would help assure a company that needed to build multiple buildings that one wouldn’t get stuck somewhere in the process.

The proposal would expedite the process for a headquarters or a primary place of business of a single commercial or industrial organization that will locate at least 25,000 employees in a single metro policy area, reducing the regulatory review period from 120 to 60 days, according to a council press release.

The change would not affect any existing master plan recommended densities but would allow more flexibility for possible changes in allocations between residential and commercial uses.

The ZTA, which will be introduced today, would expedite the review process specifically for a headquarters, or a primary place of business of a single commercial or industrial organization, that will locate at least 25,000 employees in a single metro policy area, and would reduce the regulatory review period from 120 to 60 days.

It also would permit building heights to be increased to up to 300 feet under certain circumstances.

The council also will hold five public hearings on the FY2019 Operating Budget.

The hearings will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10; at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11; and at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 12. All hearings will be held in the third floor hearing room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. 

County Cable Montgomery (CCM) also will televise the hearings live on Channels 996 (high definition) and 6 (standard definition) on Comcast, Channels 1056 (HD) and 6 (SD) on RCN and Channel 30 on Verizon and via streaming on the council’s website

In addition, comments may be submitted online or via email; by sending regular mail to County Council, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850; or by calling the council’s budget hotline at 240.777.7802.

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