Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, August 2017

Council Opposes New Potomac Bridge

farm tractor

The Council passed a resolution reaffirming our opposition to a new Potomac River bridge. We took the action at this time because the Long-Range Plan Task Force of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board recommended further study of a northern crossing. Montgomery County has long opposed a second crossing as a part of our commitment to protecting the Agricultural Reserve, to conserving farmland and to protecting established residential neighborhoods. We also believe our scarce transportation dollars would be better spent on other projects, including solutions on I-270. See the resolution.

Rental Housing Study

In response to concerns raised about affordable housing, and particularly market-rate affordable housing, during discussions of the Long Branch and Glenmont Sector Plans, Park and Planning proposed and the Council funded a county-wide Rental Housing Study. The Planning Department provides this background on the purpose of the study.

The economic trends of Montgomery County and the Metropolitan DC region have exacerbated a rental housing shortage. And providing the appropriate housing stock to meet the demand for affordable housing is a challenge. The purpose of the study is to identify Montgomery County's rental housing issues and needs, and offer holistic and sustainable approaches to meeting them. A goal of the study is to help guarantee long term affordability of rental housing for a diverse range of households. The study will provide recommendations for increasing the availability of affordable rental housing by determining factors that contribute to increased housing costs, identifying best practices that could be implemented to preserve and add to the affordable rental stock, and recommending potential changes to current policies and programs. 

At the July 18 briefing on the study, we learned that 33 percent of all residential housing units are rental units; that 74 percent of renter households earn less than 100 percent of area median income; and that only 19 percent of rental units are affordable to households earning less than 50 percent of area median income. The report also notes that not only is there a shortage in the supply of housing at the lowest end of affordability but also at the highest.

The Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will start looking at these issues and recommendations on October 2. Read the full study or watch the briefing.

Business Portal

Check out the new Business Portal--a gateway to County-government services and information related to doing business in Montgomery County. The portal is modeled after national best practices and is based on input from an extensive survey in 2016 on improving government services for businesses. Integrating information from multiple County departments, the business portal is a single point of entry that aims to further streamline County services and operations to make it easier to start and grow a business here.

Fast Fact

The second Sunday of August to the following Saturday is designated as Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week each year. That means qualifying apparel and footwear $100 or less, per item, are exempt from the state sales tax. This year, the first $40 of a backpack or bookbag purchase is also tax-free. Accessory items, except for backpacks, are not included. The Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week for 2017 is Sunday, August 13 - Saturday, August 19.

Green Tip of the Month

Nancy Floreen and Ike Leggett dumping a recycling box

Be careful about the disposal of household waste materials that could become a fire hazard when discarded in the trash.
Don't put out flammable or combustible liquids (such as gasoline, oil-based paints, or kerosene); hazardous materials (including items such as ammonia, bleach, pool chemicals, pesticides, etc.); canisters containing propellants (like butane or propane); cylinders containing compressed gas (such as propane, helium, oxygen, acetylene, or fire extinguishers); or any unknown substances. Also avoid throwing out rechargeable batteries (which contain heavy metals, including lithium, nickel cadmium, or lead-acid); and ash (from fireplaces, fire pits, or barbeque grills).

When certain liquids or gases mix, there is a risk they could become a fire or explosion hazard. The Household Hazardous Waste program provides an appropriate way for residents to discard many volatile items.

Let's Talk

Is your community organization hosting a public meeting? Please let me know how I can help. I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the political process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you. Send your meeting notices to or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.

August 2017

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