Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, June edition

Three Ways to Vote in the June 24 Primary

early voting buttons

Don't let summer vacation get in the way of voting in the 2014 Primary Election. The election is earlier than ever this time, but the good news is that there are several easy options for casting your ballot.

Vote by Mail
Any voter can vote by mail. Download the absentee ballot request form and send it to the Board of Elections by June 17.

Vote Early
Early Voting is available June 12–19, 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. at any of the nine early voting sites:

  • Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase
  • Wheaton Community Recreation Center, 11711 Georgia Avenue, Wheaton
  • Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring
  • Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
  • Mid-County Community Recreation Center Social Hall, 2004 Queensguard Rd, Silver Spring
  • Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown
  • Activity Center at Bohrer Park Social Hall, 506 South Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg
  • Damascus Community Recreation Center Social Hall, 25520 Oak Drive, Damascus

Vote on Election Day

Local precincts will be open 7:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24.

Register to vote, change your personal information, or change your party affiliation by June 3 for changes to be in effect for the Primary Election.

FY15 Budget Passed

All nine members of the County Council

On May 22 we took our final vote on the FY15 budget, which takes effect July 1. Overall, this is a good budget that maintains fiscal responsibility while restoring some of the cuts we had to make during the recession, particularly in the areas that serve our most vulnerable.

The really good news is that we were able to provide Montgomery County Public Schools with all the resources it requested. We achieved this through a collaborative effort with the County Executive, the Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools. We also increased funding for Montgomery College to provide for additional staffing and programming, especially in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and biomedical fields.

I’m very pleased that we made economic development and job creation a high priority in this budget. We fully funded the Montgomery Business Development Corporation so that it can continue to provide us with an invaluable business perspective on expanding our economy. We also added new positions in the Department of Economic Development that will allow the department to enhance its programs. With these decisions, we are investing in long-term job growth. Only through job creation will our residents, and our county as a whole, be able to achieve the future we envision.

Also with an eye to helping families and businesses thrive, we decreased the proposed energy tax. While I wish we could eliminate the energy tax increase from FY11 entirely, I’m glad we at least were able to reduce it by seven percent. Times remain tough for many of our residents and businesses, so any relief we can provide will help.

One other highlight--this budget increases spending for roadway and tree maintenance, which I know will make a lot of people happy as these programs really needed the boost.

Thanks to our Council President, Craig Rice, for his steady leadership throughout the budget process. There were a lot of moving parts this year, and he did a great job managing it all. Learn more.

White Oak Master Plan Schedule

Nancy Floreen

We now have the tentative schedule for the Planning Housing and Economic Development Committee and the full Council's consideration of the Draft White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan. The review of the plan will begin on Tuesday, June 17, with an overview presentation from the County Planning Board to the full County Council.

The PHED Committee will tentatively hold five worksessions on the plan, with the first one scheduled for Tuesday, July 1. The full Council is tentatively scheduled to meet on the plan on July 22 and to take action on it on July 29.

The White Oak Plan provides the County Council with the opportunity to shape the long-term goals and objectives for the area that spans Hillandale, White Oak/Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Cherry Hill. When the federal government consolidated the FDA at the White Oak Federal Research Center, it created the catalyst for business opportunities related to the federal agency. The County will re-examine the master plan as a first step toward realizing those opportunities.

There is tremendous economic development potential in the White Oak area. We are going to work as quickly as we can on this plan so that we can start bringing good jobs to that part of the County sooner rather than later.

The Planning Board’s Draft Master Plan envisions the reorientation of the area’s shopping centers from the existing auto-dependent suburban model to a mixed-use area served by transit. Residents there have expressed a desire for expanded dining and shopping opportunities and more jobs closer to home.

The PHED Committee schedule regarding the White Oak Master Plan:

July 1 – Discussion of transportation issues
July 3 – Transportation issues, continued
July 7 – Discussion of land use issues
July 10 – Land use issues, continued
July 16 – Land use issues, continued

The full Council’s schedule regarding the White Oak Master Plan:

June 17 – Planning Board overview of the Draft Plan
July 22 – Full Council worksession
July 29 – Final vote

Get the background information.

Apply Now for Board of Appeals

Apply by July 16 for a vacancy on the Montgomery County Board of Appeals. Catherine Titus’s second term will expire in September 2014. She also serves as chair of the board. The Council will select a new chair from among the current or new members of the board in conjunction with this appointment process.

Duties of the Board of Appeals include making decisions on most applications for special exceptions as provided in the Zoning Ordinance; hearing and deciding requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance; and hearing appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by county government agencies. Learn more.

Council to Interview Five for Planning Board

On July 8 we will interview five candidates for chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board. They are Casey Anderson, Norman Dreyfuss, Mike Knapp, Rose Krasnow and Meredith Wellington. Current Board Chair Francoise Carrier’s term expires on June 14, and she indicated that she would not apply for reappointment. Eighteen people applied for the vacancy.

If we appoint either of the current board members, Mr. Anderson or Mr. Dreyfuss, there would be a vacant seat on the board. In that case, we would conduct a second round of interviews, selecting interviewees from the remaining applicants on the list.

Interviews are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on July 8, in the third floor hearing room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The interviews are open to the public and will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery. The broadcast also will be streamed through the Council Web site at and will be available on demand within 24 hours.

Fast Fact

Congratulations to the 2014 Choose Respect PSA Video Contest winners from Watkins Mill High School. Students Max Soto, Abby Ross and Sam Zahed took first place among 55 submissions in the contest to raise awareness about dating violence. Check out the video and you will see why. Thanks, Craig Rice, for inviting the students to the Council so we could congratulate them in person.

Green Tip of the Month

vegetables in boxes

From now through the end of October, Montgomery County’s farmers’ markets will offer customers fresh, healthful produce and artisanal products at 25 locations across the County.

The markets offer traditional items like fruits, heirloom tomatoes, cut flowers and preserves. Adventurous shoppers will also find unique items including free-range meat, micro-greens, layer cakes and even a fish truck that sells mahi tacos. Chocolate and Tomatoes, a Poolesville farm, plans to sell epazote -- a Mexican herb, indigo rose tomatoes and the shoots of hops.

To ensure access to healthful products, many Montgomery County farmers’ market vendors accept SNAP (formerly food stamps), WIC and senior farmers market nutrition program benefits.

Note to Newsletter Editors

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.

June 2014

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