Council President's Update: Feb. 3, 2020

Sidney Katz Banner

Dear Resident,

Last week I presented a proclamation on behalf of the entire Montgomery County Council recognizing Lunar New Year. This holiday is an opportunity for many Asian American residents, who represent more than 15 percent of the population of Montgomery County, to celebrate with loved ones and mark a fresh start to the new year with hopes of good fortune, happiness and longevity. I would like extend a sincere thank you to the esteemed leaders of the Asian American community who joined us for the proclamation, and to all of the Asian American residents who help make our County a wonderful place to live.



Here’s a look at what’s coming up at tomorrow’s 9:30 a.m. Council meeting:

Bill 35-19, Personnel – Collective Bargaining – Certified Representative – Duty of Fair Representation

The Council is scheduled to vote on Bill 35-19, which would amend the duty of fair representation for a certified representative of County employees and authorize a certified representative to impose the reasonable costs of filing a grievance or pursuing arbitration on an employee who does not pay membership dues or the equivalent. Councilmember Tom Hucker is the lead sponsor. The goal of this legislation is to permit a union to receive payment for filing grievances on behalf of an employee who chooses not to pay union dues. Read more here.

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-09, Prohibited Roof Signs – Exceptions

The Council is scheduled to vote on ZTA 19-09, which would allow roof signs in Red Policy Areas as identified in the most recent Subdivision Staging Policy. Councilmember Andrew Friedson is the lead sponsor. Each area in the Subdivision Staging Policy Map has been given a category which is used to assess impact fees. These categories are green, yellow, orange and red. The map can be viewed here. Some buildings in high density areas are constructed with glass walls, and signs that block windows are impractical. The Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) recommends approval of this ZTA as introduced. Read more here.

Germantown Plan for the Town Sector Zone

The Council will review and hold a public hearing on the Germantown Plan for the Town Sector Zone. The purpose of this master plan is to replace the existing Town Sector zoning with current zoning classifications for the Churchill Village community of Germantown. The master plan recommends appropriate zoning and ways of protecting the community’s open space and recreation areas, while maintaining the predominantly residential character of Churchill Village. The plan recommends new zones related to three goals developed during the community planning process: maintain the residential core, protect open space and recreation areas and support neighborhood-serving commercial uses. Casey Anderson, chair of the Planning Board, and Gwen Wright, director of the Planning Department, are among those expected to attend the meeting. Read more here.

Bill 1-20, Bodywork Establishments – Licensing – Amendments; and Resolution to Adopt Bill 1-20 as a Board of Health Regulation

The Council will hold a public hearing on Bill 1-20 and on a companion regulation to adopt Bill 1-20 as a Board of Health Regulation. Councilmember Craig Rice and Council Vice President Tom Hucker are the lead sponsors. I am a cosponsor along with Councilmembers Nancy Navarro, Gabe Albornoz and Hans Riemer. This legislation would repeal code provisions concerning massage establishments and expand the scope of bodyworks establishments to include massage establishments. The goal of this legislation is to prevent owners of bodyworks establishments from using unqualified employees and to ensure compliance with the County’s licensing requirements. Read more here.

You can see everything on the Council’s and our six Committees’ agendas, find Council staff reports and stream Council and Committee meetings here. Check out our Council Coming Attractions for a preview of what’s in store at the Council.

Pedestrian Safety Town Hall

I would like to invite you to join my colleagues and I for a town hall meeting about pedestrian, bicycle and traffic safety on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. at Wheaton High School (12401 Dalewood Drive). We will be joined by representatives from the Maryland State Highway Administration, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, the Vision Zero Initiative, and more. So far in 2020, there have been three pedestrian deaths in the County, and two of these deaths occurred on Maryland Route 355 (Rockville Pike). In 2019, 13 pedestrians and one bicyclist were killed in crashes. We have to ensure that the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists are addressed. This town hall meeting is an important opportunity for us at the Council to hear directly from residents about improvements they would like to see in their communities. Please RSVP here.


Commemorating Black History Month

Next Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 9:30 a.m. the Council will hold a special program to commemorate Black History Month, focusing on the importance of preserving and honoring African American communities in Montgomery County. Many of these areas retain their strong cultural identification associated with generations of families. We honor their legacies and look to learn lessons from their struggles. My colleagues and I invite you to join us in celebrating our County’s diversity, which is one of our greatest strengths. 

Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful week.

Kind regards,

Council President Sidney Katz