Friday, February 26, 2016

Apply Now for Planning Board

Here's the full press release:

ROCKVILLE, Md., February 26, 2016—The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy on the Montgomery County Planning Board. The second term of Amy Presley (Republican) will expire on June 14, 2016, and she is therefore not eligible for reappointment.

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20.

Members serve four-year terms and are limited to two full terms. No more than three members of the Planning Board may be from the same political party, and each member must be a resident and registered voter of Montgomery County when appointed. Since three Democrats are currently serving on the Board, this position must be filled by either a Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party, or a member of another party officially recognized by the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

In addition to Ms. Presley, current board members are Chair Casey Anderson (D), Norman Dreyfuss (R), Marye Wells-Harley (D), and Natali Fani-Gonzalez (D). Annual compensation for board members is currently $30,000. The chair currently earns $200.000.

The Planning Board serves as the Council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning. Planning Board members also serve as commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The Planning Board’s responsibilities with regard to planning include preparation and amendment of the County General Plan; preparation and amendment of master plans and functional plans; formulation of subdivision regulations; preparation of or recommendations on text amendments to the County Zoning Code; implementation of the subdivision process by reviewing and approving all preliminary plans, site plans and other plans for development; advice on the planning implications of capital facilities and programs of the County government, Montgomery College, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission and Montgomery County Public Schools; commenting, under its mandatory referral authority, on plans for public facilities of local, state and federal agencies; and approval of the work program and the annual operating budget for the Planning Department and the Commission’s bi-county offices.

The Planning Board sits as the Park Commission and approves the annual Parks Department operating budget and Capital Improvements Program (CIP); land acquisition contracts and major development contracts for parks; development plans for individual park facilities; policies for park operations; and park user fees.

The Planning Board meets all day, including into the evening, every Thursday and will schedule other meetings, as needed. The entire Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission meets the third Wednesday of every month. On average, a Planning Board member may spend two full days a week in scheduled and informal meetings. Additionally, substantial time is required for preparatory work and other activities related to Planning Board responsibilities.

Letters of application expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, should be addressed to: Council President Nancy Floreen, County Council Office, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Applications can also be submitted via email to

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline. After the closing date, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and select applicants for interviews to be held soon thereafter.

Letters of application and resumes are made public as part of the appointment process, and are available for public review. The interviews are conducted in public and will be televised. A resume of professional and civic experience should be included with each letter of application. A financial disclosure statement of assets, debts, income and family property interests will be required to be filed by each applicant. Only the ultimate appointee will be required to make the financial disclosure statement available to the public.

Council President's Letter in Support of Drunk Driving Bills

February 23, 2016

Senator Nancy J. King
Montgomery County Senate Delegation Chair
11 Bladen Street
223 James Senate Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21401

Delegate Shane Robinson
Montgomery County House Delegation Chair
6 Bladen Street
223 House Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21401

Dear Senator King, Delegate Robinson and the Montgomery County Delegation:

As we are all painfully aware, one of our Police Officers, Noah Leotta, was struck and killed by a drunk driver less than three months ago. Officer Leotta was one of nine people killed in Montgomery County last year as the result of a drunk driver.

The Montgomery County Council joins our Police Chief in calling for the State of Maryland to strengthen our laws against drunk and impaired driving. There are several pieces of legislation that have been proposed that would stop impaired individuals from driving in the first place as well as act as a real deterrent for those drunk drivers who are endangering every other motorist.

On behalf of the entire Montgomery County Council, I am asking for your complete support of the four Montgomery County-sponsored DUI-related bills that are being championed by Chief J. Thomas Manger and are being heard this session. Those bills are:  HB 345, HB409, HB 735, and HB 1342 (and their cross-files). We believe that these bills are the strongest legislation pending and need unanimous support by our delegation.

As you deliberate these bills, please consider these sobering facts:

  • Last year 20,000 people were arrested for DUI in Maryland. Research has shown that a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a car, impaired, 80 times before they are caught by police.
  • Convicted drunk drivers frequently drive even though their license is suspended.
  • The best way to stop convicted drunk drivers from driving impaired is to mandate an ignition interlock system after their first arrest. This device prevents impaired drivers from being able to start their car if they have had alcohol. Last year, an ignition interlock system prevented impaired drivers from starting their cars 18,000 times.
  • Two Wootten High School students died last year in a drunk-driving crash. The parents who hosted an alcohol party and provided the liquor to underage kids faced only a fine after being responsible for these two deaths.
  • Officer Noah Leotta was killed by a three-time repeat drunk driver. The driver had a blood-alcohol level that was nearly three times the legal limit for intoxication. Despite his callous indifference to the law and the safety of others, this driver will likely spend only a few years in jail.
  • Businesses that serve underage drinkers and over-serve drunk individuals in their establishments currently do not face civil penalties if someone gets killed or injured by a drunk driver. Maryland is one of only a few states left that does not hold businesses liable for illegal alcohol sales.
Once again, we ask for your support of HB 345, HB409, HB 735 and HB 1342 to help provide a safer environment for everyone.


Nancy Floreen
County Council President

Cc:  Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Maryland President of Senate
        Honorable Michael Erin Busch, Maryland Speaker of House of Delegates

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Now Accepting Golden Shovel Nominations

Did someone you know make your neighborhood safer? Nominate them for a Golden Shovel.

I started the Golden Shovel awards in 2003 to honor residents who lace up their boots to help neighbors shovel out after a snowfall. The awards recognize individuals who go above and beyond in helping clear ice and snow from County sidewalks.

Our seniors, school children, people with disabilities and those who walk to work or use mass transit depend on snow-free sidewalks. This goes beyond convenience--it is a matter of public safety. I certainly hope that residents will nominate for a Golden Shovel those individuals who put the Golden Rule to work. The deadline for nominations is March 25, and awards will be presented at a County Council session in Rockville on Tuesday, April 19. Get the nomination form.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Holiday Schedule for Presidents' Day

Here's our holiday schedule for Presidents’ Day, Monday February 15:

  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed
  • County Liquor stores – closed
  • Recreation – aquatic facilities and community centers open; aquatics programs will meet as scheduled; all other classes and programs cancelled; administrative offices and senior centers closed; 55+ Active Adult Programs are cancelled
  • Montgomery Parks - visit
  • Ride On – Modified holiday schedule - check schedules at
  • Metrorail –Will operate from 5 a.m. to midnight on a Saturday schedule. Off-peak fares all day and free parking at all Metro-operated facilities
  • Metrobus – Will operate on its Saturday supplemental schedule. MetroAccess will operate normal hours with subscription trips cancelled unless specifically requested. Additional information available at
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) - closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection, all collections scheduled on or after the holiday will be made one day later in the week. Monday collections on Tuesday; Tuesday collections made on Wednesday; Wednesday collections on Thursday; Thursday collections on Friday; and Friday collections on Saturday
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - recycling and trash drop-off open with normal hours. Recycling Center and administrative offices closed
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Schools and Administrative Offices – closed
  • State offices and courts – closed

Monday, February 8, 2016

Changes to Tomorrow's Council Schedule

In response to predicted inclement weather tomorrow morning, we have made these changes to the Council's schedule:

  • Cancelled:  Briefing on blizzard of 2016 clean up is cancelled and will be rescheduled for a date in  March.
  • Delayed start:  Council session will begin at 12:30 p.m.
  • Earlier start time:  GO/PHED Committee will begin at 1:45 p.m.
  • Postponed:  The 7:00 pm CIP public hearing is postponed to Wednesday, February 10, at 7:00 p.m.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Debriefing on Storm Response

Winter storm Jonas was certainly one for the record books! With up to 38 inches of snow and gusty winds, we were extremely fortunate that our residents remained safe and that we had no significant power outages. I appreciate the patience and teamwork that our residents showed throughout this historic storm. Community members checked on elderly neighbors, helped stranded motorists, and pitched in to clear neighborhood sidewalks. (We will start taking Golden Shovel Award nominations in March, so stay tuned.)      

For those who have concerns with the responsiveness of the County’s Division of Highway Services, the data provided on the snow map and the MC311 call system, all of these issues and more will be reviewed by the County Council on February 9 at 11:00 a.m. I have requested that Executive staff from all departments involved in storm operations participate in a debriefing with the Council, so we can better understand the decisions made by the department heads and staff who are responsible for these activities. While many aspects of the recovery efforts worked well, some issues need to be addressed. There is always room for improvement. You can watch this meeting live or on demand on County Cable Montgomery.

I want to express my deep appreciation to the men and women who have worked so hard throughout the storm and cleanup to get us back on track. Many Department of Transportation, Emergency Management, Health and Human Services, and MC311 employees, as well as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and many other professionals have worked excruciatingly long shifts with virtually no time off. These are truly the unsung heroes of this historic storm.