The Katz Update: Solar and the Ag Reserve


February 26, 2021



This week the Council passed a zoning text amendment to allow limited solar in the Agricultural Reserve (ZTA 20-01). The Council amended the original zoning  proposal to prohibit solar panels Class II soils (Class I soils prohibited by the original ZTA) and to require conditional use approval. The Council also added a requirement that the Planning Department produce an impact report. 

Councilmember Reimer and I convened a stakeholder engagement group last November with members of the agricultural community and solar industry to work out a compromise on this ZTA. The group met weekly and debated many important issues. I want to truly thank all the members of the stakeholder group as well as all the residents that made their voices heard. The ZTA is scheduled to take effect on March 23.


At the County Council this week - 

  • I was honored to present a proclamation Recognizing Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month. I was joined by County Executive Marc Elrich. The proclamation asks the community to recognize the pervasive problem of teen dating violence, to engage in education and prevention efforts, and to spread the word about help available through the Montgomery County Family Justice Center. Here is the link.
  • The Council received a briefing on the Planning Board draft of the

    Shady Grove Minor Master Plan Amendment. The Plan makes recommendations for land use and zoning within the Shady Grove Sector Plan Minor Master Plan Amendment plan area, as well as recommendations intended to improve overall circulation, pedestrian connections, and the network of bikeways for approximately 2,000 acres.

  • The Council passed a resolution reaffirming Montgomery County’s commitment to combat hate and extremism. With this proclamation, Montgomery County is reaffirming its commitment to root out hatred, political exploitation and mistruths in all political and civil institutions.
  • The Council introduced Bill 9-21, Streets and Roads – Sidewalk Snow Removal. The bill would define certain terms relating to sidewalks, establish an exception to the requirements for removal of snow and ice on private property, and require removal of snow and ice by the County from certain sidewalks and paths. I am a proud co-sponsor.  


I am proud to be the Chair of the Public Safety (PS) Committee and a member of the Government Operations (GO) Committee.

  • The PS committee received a briefing on two new programs implemented by the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS). Both programs are designed to avert certain patient transports to Emergency Departments.
    • Telehealth program  - MCFRS has contracted with a physicians group, US Acute Care Solutions (USACS), to provide telehealth services to qualifying patients.
    • Alternative Destination Transport (ADT) program is to transport certain stable, low acuity patients to urgent care centers rather than to hospital-based Emergency Departments.
  • The GO committee held a worksession on the FY21 Savings Plan. The GO Committee considered and made recommendations about the Executive’s recommended savings for several local government departments.



Some scammers are claiming on social media that they have COVID vaccines for sale. Others are calling, emailing, or texting to offer a chance to jump the appointment line. Also, there are phishing schemes — emails that look like legitimate contact tracers or vaccine pre-registration forms. Some tips to follow:  

  • Contact a trusted source for information. 
  • Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine. 
  • Ignore sales ads for the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Watch for unexpected or unusual texts. 
  • Don’t open emails, attachments, or links from unknown sources.
  • Don’t share your personal, financial, or health information.

More information about scams can be found at the County COVID-19 information website at



Rockville Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD)

380 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD 20850

Solid and substantial, the RVFD has occupied a prominent site on Hungerford Drive since its 1966 dedication. Popularly known as “The Big House” or “The Rock,” RVFD is Rockville’s flagship station, responding to thousands of calls each year throughout the City. Completed during Rockville’s urban renewal era, RVFD was built to serve the needs of the postwar population boom and was designed to meet the standards of modern design, firehouse construction and firefighting technologies.



From Slave Ship to Harvard : Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family - Virtual

Friday, February 26, from 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Celebrate Black History Month with Author Jim Johnston. Yarrow Mamout was a Fulani Muslim who came to Maryland on a slave ship in 1752. Jim's book follows later generations of the family through Robert Turner Ford, who graduated from Harvard in 1923.

Saving and Investing for Beginners - Virtual

Wednesday, March 3, from 6:00 pm -7:00 pm

Suzanne McGovern of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy will discuss the important elements of saving and investing for your financial future. Topics will include investment products, risk tolerance, investment diversification, asset allocation,  investment professionals, and ways to protect your investments.

Separation and Divorce: What Do I Need To Know?

Wednesday, March 3, from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Join the Montgomery County Commission for Women as local family law attorneys walk through the "ins" and "outs" of going through a separation and divorce in Maryland. You will learn about: Methods of Dispute Resolution, When and Where to File, Types of Divorce and Grounds, Financial Statements, Alimony, Property and Equitable Distribution, Role of the Attorney, and more! 

Beyond the 19th: The Equal Rights Amendment - Virtual

Thursday, March 4, from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

In observance of Women's History Month, join Ranger Susan Philpott of the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument to explore the evolution of the ERA--and the concept of equality--over the past century.




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