Friday, December 28, 2012

What's In and What's Out for 2013

OUT – Smoking: Secondhand smoke is classified as a “known human carcinogen,” and it is responsible for about 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults in the U.S. each year. That’s why I proposed a ban on smoking on property owned or leased by Montgomery County. We will have a public hearing on my plan on January 15, so you still have time to weigh in.

IN – Business: The Montgomery Business Development Corporation named Holly Sears as its first president. The quasi-public, nonprofit organization seeks to engage executive level business leaders to establish a vision for the County’s long-term economic future; to develop and articulate strategies to achieve that vision; to advocate for strategic changes in practices and policies; and to set performance metrics and report on its achievement. It delivered its first report to the County Council in October.

IN – Bicycles: With bikeshare coming to Montgomery County, I am advocating for more bike lanes.

OUT – Complicated Zoning: Planners at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission have undertaken an ambitious effort to rewrite the Zoning Code to modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations and create new tools to help achieve goals in community plans. The County Council will consider the revised code in the early 2013.

OUT – Rip Offs: Residents made a lot of home improvements this year thanks to the derecho and superstorm Sandy. Many turned to these twelve tips for hiring a home improvement contractor for guidance.

IN – Wheaton: The Wheaton Redevelopment Program will guide revitalization of Wheaton’s downtown area with more than $66.1 million committed to create a civic core in the heart of downtown Wheaton. This plan gets Wheaton moving by providing a new employment presence, green space and a long-term commitment to doing what it takes to make Wheaton shine.

IN – Kensington: The Kensington Sector Plan will guide the long-term redevelopment of the Town of Kensington and surrounding area. Because of collaboration among neighbors, planners and municipal and county elected officials, we created and approved a plan that will achieve the two goals everyone agreed on—revitalizing the area’s commercial core and preserving residential communities.

IN – New County Council Districts: As an at-large Councilmember, I still represent you if you live anywhere in Montgomery County. However, you may have a different district Councilmember.

IN – Girl Power: Thanks to the Talk With a Teen Girl Today forum put on by Crittenton Services, we now have clearer insight into the real lives of girls who live in our community. I was proud to serve on the discussion panel with Crittenton participants and board members.

OUT – Light Rail on the CCT: We changed our recommendation from light rail to bus rapid transit for the Corridor Cities Transitway in response to a study showing a greater economic benefit to the County if the project is built sooner.

OUT – Delays: The good-faith, collaborative, cross-agency effort to streamline our complicated and unwieldy development approval process makes it easier to do business in the county.

IN – Maintenance of Effort: Although MOE was on my out list last year, our analysts project that new State maintenance of effort requirements will mean that spending for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and County Government will have to be reduced by 4.9 percent next year.

IN – Size: With a population of 971,777, Montgomery County isn’t just the biggest county in Maryland. It also boasts more residents than many states, including Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota and Vermont. In fact, our county is nearly twice as populous as Wyoming which is home to just 563,526 people.

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