The County Executive released his Recommended Operating Budget on March 17, and now it is up to the County Council to consider his proposals and approve a final budget at the end of May. We will hold our public hearings on the budget at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8; at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9; and at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 10. To sign up to speak, call 240-777-7803. If you can't make the hearings, you can also let us know your views by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check the Council's Web site for regular budget updates.
The Montgomery County Planning Department invites you to give feedback on the comprehensive District Map Amendment proposed for Montgomery County. There will be several open houses held throughout the County this spring and all are invited to attend. The new Zoning Code was approved by the County Council in March 2014 after months of worksessions and discussions. The new zoning code will modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations and create new tools to help achieve goals in community plans.
Although the new code has already been approved, it cannot go into effect until a new zoning map has also been adopted, since the zoning on many non-residential properties is changing. Over the next few months, Planning Department staff will be focusing their attention on the proposed zoning map and are seeking feedback from affected property owners as well as from residents. Staff will be available and will have interactive maps at each of the open house events to help answer questions about the proposed zoning.
After the spring open houses, staff will bring a revised version of the proposed zoning map to the Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee for review. Once the PHED committee completes its review, the full County Council will evaluate the proposed zoning map. It is anticipated that the map will be adopted by Council in the summer or early fall, and that the new code will become effective on October 30, 2014. Learn more.
I am pleased to welcome Ruthann Eiser to my team as the legislative aide in charge of the master calendar and constituent services. Ruthann is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County and proud graduate of Northwood High School and the University of Maryland, and even prouder mother of graduates of Kennedy High School. She brings experience from the corporate world, where she spent more than a decade as a major account manager for Xerox Corporation, as well as some years in the IT staffing and health information management industries. She has also been an avid volunteer with the Montgomery County Public Schools as well as a board member of several community organizations. Her sunny optimism, professional skills, and wisdom born of experience are already serving this office and the county well.
Thanks to all for the overwhelming number of nominations for the Golden Shovel Awards. This program recognizes Montgomery County residents for their selfless acts of civic kindness towards their neighbors and community by shoveling sidewalks and driveways or by clearing streets of snow. The nomination period closes today, March 31. Winners will be honored on Tuesday, April 22 at 9:30 a.m. at the County Council session. Thanks also to The Gazette for printing the nomination form in the newspaper.
Check out Montgomery County's new initiative to support the innovation economy. The MOVE (Make Office Vacancies Extinct) Program is designed to attract life sciences, IT, cybersecurity and green technology businesses to Montgomery County. These are the technology-based sectors critical to the County’s economic future.
The program will reduce Class A and B office vacancies by offering a $4 per square foot rent assistance for year one on new commercial leases of at least three years and at least 2,000 square feet to companies that are newly formed in or relocate to the County. Learn more.
Apply now to fill a position on the Montgomery County Planning Board for the expiring term of Françoise Carrier. Her term will expire on June 14, 2014. Ms. Carrier, who serves as the Planning Board Chair, has indicated that she will not apply for reappointment.
The Planning Board serves as the Council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning. Planning Board members also serve as Commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The Council will designate a new chair in conjunction with the appointment process by designating either the appointee or another sitting Board member to be the chair. If a current member of the Board is designated chair, the new appointee will serve as a board member. Send your application by 5 p.m. on April 7. Learn more.
Apply now for a Keep Montgomery County Beautiful grant for beautification projects that help improve the appearance of communities. The grants pay 50 percent of the total cost, up to $500, on a competitive basis to any non-profit community association. Volunteer hours spent on the project are valued at $7.25 an hour.
Since 2000, KMCB has helped 65 communities fund beautification projects to plant flowers, shrubs, or trees; landscape a community entranceway or traffic circle; convert weed fields to wildflower meadows; screen highways; and beautify schools. Grants must be used for new projects that improve community aesthetics or serve to protect the environment. Construction and general maintenance projects or those that have already been completed do not qualify. Learn more.
The groundhog may may have eked out every moment of his six more weeks of winter, but spring is upon us, and along with it…gardening and lawn care. As you undertake your beautification projects this spring, I encourage you to consider our water quality, wildlife, pets and children (particularly those with asthma), and please limit your use of pesticides.
Pesticides are defined as substances to prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate the effects of any pest ranging from insects, animals and weeds to microorganisms such as fungi, molds, bacteria and viruses. Pesticides are regulated at the federal, state and local level, and they are considered hazardous waste. Learn more.
Did you find something useful in this e-letter? Some people have asked me if they can use the material from my newsletter in their own civic association or HOA newsletters. The answer is yes. I provide this information to help residents find what they need and participate in the legislative process, so feel free to use it.