About 50 people are expected to testify starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, as the Montgomery County Council continues a second public hearing on proposed changes to the County's Zoning Law. The hearing will address proposed changes to the law recommended by the County’s Planning Board and by the Council's Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee. The hearing will give residents a further opportunity to comment on Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 13-04 and District Map Amendment (DMA) G-956.
About 100 people overall have signed up to testify at the public hearing. Half of them testified at the first half of the public hearing on Tuesday evening, Nov. 12.
Thursday’s public hearing will be held in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. Like the first night of the hearing, it will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and will be streamed through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov
The PHED Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Floreen and includes Councilmembers Marc Elrich and George Leventhal, held worksessions every week in June and July, and on several occasions in September, on the Planning Board’s recommended Zoning Law Rewrite. The committee is expected to recommend amending many aspects of the text and map, but until it completes its worksessions in December, its recommendations are tentative.
The Council introduced the Planning Board’s recommendations on May 2 following years of the Planning Board’s extensive work and discussion with community groups and other stakeholders. The Council heard from more than 50 speakers at a public hearing on the Planning Board’s recommendations in June and has received extensive email and other correspondence from County residents as the committee continues to do its work.
The Zoning Law has not been comprehensively updated since 1977 and has grown to more than 1,200 pages over the last 30 years. The goal of the Rewrite is to reorganize and simplify the Zoning Code. Rewriting the code in plain language and reorganizing it into rational sections will enable residents to more easily participate in key land use decisions, and courts and agencies will have clearer rules to apply.
Although the County Charter calls for only one public hearing, the Council decided to hold a second public hearing because it recognizes the significance of the proposed text and map changes. Few changes are proposed for single-family residential properties, but non-residentially zoned properties and their neighbors could be affected. ZTA 13-04 would implement the text changes to the Zoning Law, and DMA G-956 would update the zoning for each property to apply a new zone. The proposed rezoning in DMA G-956 is designed to mirror each property's current zoning as much as possible.
Residents can see the proposed Zoning Rewrite, along with the tentative changes being considered by the PHED committee, at www.zoningmontgomery.org
On the Web site, residents also will find an interactive map that enables users to determine the existing and proposed zoning for every property in the County. Clicking on a particular property will display the development standards (density, height limits and setbacks) for the existing and proposed zone.
Written testimony or comments about the proposed zoning changes can be mailed to County Council / 100 Maryland Ave. / Rockville, Md. 20850 or emailed to all Councilmembers at firstname.lastname@example.org
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