Friday, September 21, 2018

Apply Now for County Board of Appeals- Application Deadline is Wednesday, October 10 at 5:00 p.m.

Get your application in by October 10. Here's the full press release:


ROCKVILLE, Md., September 21, 2018—The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for a four-year term on the County Board of Appeals.  The term of Edwin Rosado (Unaffiliated) will expire in September 2018.  He does not plan to apply for reappointment.  Applications for the position must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10.

By law, no more than three members of the Board shall be from the same political party.  This position can only be filled by a Republican, a voter who is unaffiliated with a party, or a voter who is a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections. 

In addition to Mr. Rosado (Unaffiliated), current members of the Board include Chair John Pentecost (Democrat), Stan Boyd (Democrat), Katherine Freeman (Democrat) and Bruce Goldensohn (Republican).  Members of County Boards, Committees and Commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time. 

Members of the Board receive $15,365 annually, with the Chair receiving $21,715.  Salaries are adjusted annually each December to reflect 50 percent of the change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index.

Duties of the Board of Appeals include hearing and deciding requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance; hearing appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by County government agencies; and hearing oral argument on and deciding appeals from decisions of the Hearing Examiner on conditional uses.  The Board also considers and decides requests for modifications of special exceptions.


The Board normally holds weekly hearings all day Wednesday and worksessions every other week.  If necessary to accommodate an extended caseload or continued hearings, the Board schedules hearings on other weekdays.  Members are expected to prepare for the hearings by reading the cases to be heard and to share the workload of drafting and editing opinions or to follow-up on investigations on specific cases.  Members work approximately 15-25 hours a week.

The principal jurisdiction of the Board of Appeals (concerning variances, special exceptions and conditional uses under the Zoning Ordinance) does not include the municipalities of Barnesville, Brookeville, Gaithersburg, Laytonsville, Poolesville, Rockville and Washington Grove.  The normal Council practice is not to appoint residents of those municipalities to the Board, however, exceptions to this practice may occur.

Letters expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, political party affiliation, home and office telephone numbers and an email address, should be addressed to:  Council President Hans Riemer, County Council Office, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850 or can be emailed to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov.  Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on October 10.  It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline.  After the application closing date, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and may select applicants to interview.

Letters of application and resumes are made public as part of the appointment process. Any interviews held are open to the public and will be televised.  A financial statement of assets, debts, income and family property interests will be required of all applicants.  Only the appointed candidate will be required to make the financial statement available to the public.

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 Board+of+Appeals-Applicants-+Release+9-21-18.doc

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Apply Now to Merit System Protection Board - Application deadline is Wednesday, September 26 by 5:00 p.m.


We're accepting applications from qualified voters of the County for appointment to a three-year term on the Merit System Protection Board. Generally, the Board is expected to oversee the Merit System and to protect employee and applicant rights guaranteed under the County Merit System. Here's the full press release:

ROCKVILLE, Md., September 5, 2018 - The Montgomery County Council is accepting applications from qualified voters of the County for appointment to a three-year term on the Merit System Protection Board. The term of Angela Franco (Republican) will expire on December 31. Ms. Franco has indicated that she plans to apply for reappointment. Applications must be received in the Council office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 26. 

In addition to Ms. Franco, current members of the board are Michael Kator (Democrat) and Harriet Davidson (Democrat). By law, no more than two of the three members of the Merit System Protection Board may be of the same political party. The appointee for this position may be a Republican or a voter who declines to affiliate with a party, or a voter who is a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

Generally, the board is expected to oversee the Merit System and to protect employee and applicant rights guaranteed under the County Merit System. There are two methods in which the board processes appeals:
• A written decision issued after a review and discussion of a written record.
• A written decision issued after a pre-hearing conference and a formal hearing in cases involving a suspension, demotion, or dismissal.

The Board, on a periodic basis, also conducts special studies, audits, or inquiries of the administration of the merit and retirement pay systems and, in this effort, may compel the attendance of witnesses. Written reports of its findings and recommendations are filed with the County Executive and the County Council. The Board also provides comments on any proposed changes in Merit System law or regulations.
 
The Board generally holds hearings during the day, which may take the full day, with any additional proceedings normally scheduled for subsequent days or evening(s). The Board normally meets once per month during the day for approximately two hours. Additional time is also required for preparatory work. 

Members of the Board currently receive $7,929 per year, which is adjusted annually to reflect 50 percent of the percentage change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index. The Chair receives $10,170 per year.
 
Boardmembers are restricted in political activity while serving. Section 403 of the County Charter states, in part: “No member shall hold political office or participate in any campaign for any political or public office during the member’s term of office.” 

Members of County Boards, Committees and Commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

Letters expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, political party affiliation, home and office telephone numbers, and an email address should be addressed to: Council President Hans Riemer, County Council Office, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850, or can be emailed to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov. Letters of application must be received no later than 5 p.m. on September 26, 2018. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline. After the application closing date, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and may select applicants for interview.

Letters of application and resumes are made public as part of the appointment process. Any interviews held are open to the public and will be televised. A financial statement of assets, debts, income, and family property interests will be required of all applicants. Only the appointed candidate will be required to make the financial statement available to the public.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Holiday Schedule For Labor Day

Here's the holiday schedule for Labor Day on Monday, September 3:


  • County Offices – closed; 
  • Libraries – closed; 
  • DLC Liquor & Wine Stores – all stores will be open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.;
  • Recreation – Bethesda, Germantown, Western County, Wheaton/Glenmont and MLK outdoor pools will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Olney Indoor Swim Center will be open normal hours. All other indoor aquatic facilities and the Long Branch and Upper County outdoor pools will be closed. Recreation centers, senior centers and administrative offices will be closed.
  • Montgomery Parks - for special programs, events and operating schedule, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks and tennis centers, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org;
  • Ride On – Sunday Schedule; 
  • Metrorail – Information available at www.wmata.com;
  • Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com;
  • TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – open;
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – closed; 
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup – no collection. The collection will slide by one day. For information on the slide schedule go to montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/holidays/;
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – closed;
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free;
  • State offices and courts – closed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Montgomery County Agricultural Fair

Mark your calendar for the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair on Friday, August 10 through Saturday, August 18 at the fairgrounds located at 501 Perry Parkway in Gaithersburg. This showcase of farm life in Montgomery County features live animals, carnival rides, a variety of entertainment, food and fun activities for all ages. Kids especially enjoy the opportunity to see all kinds of farm animals up close, including prize-winning goats, sheep, pigs, dairy cattle and horses. Live entertainment includes monster trucks, demolition derby and much more. You can also purchase home-made items including clothing, canned goods, baked goods and vegetables from local farmers and enjoy arts and crafts exhibits. Learn more about the fair and the daily events schedule here.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study

Last night I attended  the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Workshop for the I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study.  MDOT provided an update on the study status and  proposed schedule. We received an overview of the study's Purpose and Need and the range of alternatives under consideration. We also participated in small working groups with MDOT technical staff so residents could provide comments and ask questions.

Your voice counts and MDOT wants your feedback. If you couldn't attend one of the workshops you can still provide your comments.  You can visit the program website to participate in a virtual workshop or, here's a list of other ways to stay informed:

• Contact the study team via email at
495-270-P3@sha.state.md.us

 Call the study team toll free at 833-858-5960

• Sign up for email notifications on the
website at www.495-270-p3.com

 Read the Study Newsletter

Submit a comment  by mail to:
 Maryland Department of Transportation
State Highway Administration
I-495 & I-270 P3 Office
707 North Calvert Street, Mail Stop P-601
Baltimore, MD 21202



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Council Approves Legislation to Increase the Number of Affordable Homes

Good news, yesterday Council unanimously approved my bill to increase the supply of affordable homes. Bill 34-17, Housing - Moderately Priced Dwelling Units - Amendments is the first legislation in 13 years to update the  County's rules for the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) Program. Bill 34-17 modernizes our MPDU program so it can provide even more affordable homes to meet our ongoing and growing demand. Here's the full press release:

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 25, 2018—On July 24 the County Council approved legislation introduced by Councilmember Nancy Floreen, Chair of the Planning Housing and Economic Development Committee, to increase the supply of affordable homes. This bill is the first effort in 13 years to update the County’s rules for the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) Program. Bill 34-17, Housing – Moderately Priced Dwelling Units – Amendments, adds tools to increase the number of homes that are affordable for families with moderate income.

The County’s MPDU law changed the housing landscape when it became law in 1974. However, the County’s development patterns and housing industry changed throughout the years. Councilmember Floreen’s bill adds needed flexibility to this landmark program to bring it in line with current needs.

Bill 34-17 makes several changes to the County’s MPDU law.  The legislation creates a new requirement for new housing developments between 11 and 19 homes to make a payment to the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF). It also broadens the authority of the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to accept Housing Initiative Fund payments in lieu of including MPDUs in a development.

Experience has shown that the County can achieve more MPDUs, in certain circumstances, if affordable homes are provided in different locations. The funding can be used to strategically increase needed rental units in place of condominiums with unaffordable fees. Restrictions apply so that the off-site housing remains in the general vicinity of the original development. These new sources of revenue will support the County’s efforts to increase affordable units for the residents who need them the most.

Bill 34-17 would authorize the Director of DHCA to calculate the MPDU obligation by square feet, if the result is more homes or homes better sized to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income residents.

“We know and understand the increased demand for affordable homes within the County,” said Councilmember Floreen.  “Bill 34-17 modernizes our MPDU program so it can provide even more affordable homes to meet our ongoing and growing demand.”  

“As co-sponsor of the bill, I’m pleased with its passage today as our county needs to continue to improve and expand our supply of affordable housing while providing the flexibility needed to truly meet the various needs of our residents,” said Councilmember Craig Rice.

Bill 34-17 also removes obsolete provisions and provides several technical changes to the MPDU law. In addition, the legislation confirms the Council’s authority to increase the required percentage of MPDUs on a community by community basis during each master plan review.

Master plans guide development and land use in the County.  The Council reviews, revises and approves master plan recommendations made by the Planning Board.  Currently County law requires 12.5 percent of housing developments to be MPDUs, but, in some areas, the Council has determined that 15 percent is a more appropriate minimum requirement.

Councilmember Floreen’s bill contains many other provisions designed to update the MPDU program, make it more responsive to the needs of today’s residents and, most importantly, produce more homes for families.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale - July 28-29

Celebrate our agricultural heritage, visit local farms and indulge in seasonally fresh food at Montgomery County's Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale the weekend of July 28-29. The Farm Tour gives you the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants and other local products. Several farms have hayrides, pony rides, music, demonstrations and other fun and educational activities planned for people of all ages.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Fourth of July Events

Montgomery County will again host two fireworks displays on July 4--Germantown Glory at the South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds and Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Road, Kensington. Both fireworks displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.
In addition to these two displays, several municipalities are hosting celebrations and fireworks. Check out Visit Montgomery for a full list of fireworks and other activities.
To find out what's open and what’s closed as well as parking and trash pick-up information for the County, see the holiday schedule for the Fourth of July on my blog.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Holiday Schedule for The Fourth of July

Here's our holiday schedule for the Fourth of July:

County Offices – closed
Libraries – closed
DLC Liquor & Wine Stores (DLC) – all stores will be open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Recreation – Aquatics facilities open until 6 p.m., except the Germantown Indoor Swim Center, which will close at 3 p.m.  All other classes and programs are canceled. Administrative office, senior centers and recreation centers are closed;
Montgomery Parks  - for special programs, events and operating schedule, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks and tennis centers, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
Ride On – Saturday Schedule 
Metrorail – Information available at www.wmata.com
Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com
TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – open
TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – closed
County Refuse/recycling pickup – No collection. Collection will slide by one day.  For information on slide schedule go to  https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/holidays/ 
The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station –  closed
Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
State offices and courts – closed

Monday, June 25, 2018

Primary Election Day - Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Tomorrow is Primary Election Day. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. You must go to your assigned polling place to cast a ballot.

Be prepared and visit  www.777vote.org to make sure your registration is current, to find your polling place, and for other useful information.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Preliminary Primary Election Returns available on County Website


Here's information to stay up-to-date with Primary Election Day information on Tuesday, June 26:

Up-to-the moment Election Day results for the June 26 Primary Election will be available after the polls close on the website of the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 777vote.org.

Votes cast during Early Voting will be counted on Election Day and released shortly after 8:00 p.m. Known, unofficial, results from Election Day will be available beginning at 9:20 p.m. and will be updated every 25 minutes. Absentee and Provisional ballots will be counted beginning June 28 with complete, unofficial results expected by July 10.

The direct link to the Board of Elections’ Election Night results page is www.777vote.org/electionresults/elec_results.html. Statewide election results will be available at www.elections.maryland.gov.

Our website, www.777vote.org, which can also be accessed at montgomerycountymd.gov/elections, is your one stop source of information about the Primary Election in Montgomery County, including an official polling place locator, a list of all candidates on the Montgomery County ballot and information on voting by mail, maps of districts and precincts, and a media kit on the election, as well as a link to the Maryland State Board of Elections.

For more information, contact Marjorie Roher at 240-777-8625, or via e-mail at margie.roher@montgomerycountymd.gov. You may also call 240-777-VOTE, visit www.777vote.org, the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website at http://elections.maryland.gov, or follow the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Facebook or Twitter.

Your Time, Your Voice, Your Vote!

Media Contact: Marjorie Roher, 240-777-8625

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Council Approves Legislation to Simplify the Senior Property Tax Credit application and to include Surviving Spouses of Veterans.

Today we unanimously approved Expedited Bill 17-18, Property Tax Credit - Elderly Individuals and Retired Military Services Members – Application. This legislation streamlines the application process for elderly individuals and retired military services members to receive the property tax credit, and  removes the requirement for an individual to apply every year that the individual is eligible to receive the credit. Instead, an individual would apply for the credit the first year and would automatically receive the credit for four additional years if the individual remains eligible for the credit. 

This bill applies retroactively so that individuals who missed the April 1, 2018 application deadline for the second year of credit would still receive the credit for the tax year that begins on July 1.

Also included in this bill is an amendment I introduced to implement a recent state law. This law allows a surviving spouse of a veteran eligible for the credit to receive the property tax credit. 

You can read the Council staff report here and check the Council website regularly for updated information. I'll also post more information as it becomes available.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Vote Early - Thursday, June 14, 2018 10:00 am - 8:00 p.m. through Thursday, June 21, 2018 10:00 am - 8:00 p.m.

Here's information about early voting:

Montgomery County will open eleven Early Voting Centers from June 14 to 21, 2018, from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Any registered voter, or new Montgomery County resident, may cast a ballot at any one of these centers on the same voting equipment used on Election Day. Many voters find that early voting is more convenient than voting at their assigned polling place on Election Day.

Early Voting Centers are located at:

Activity Center at Bohrer Park, Gaithersburg
Damascus Community Recreation Center, Damascus
Executive Office Building, Rockville
Germantown Community Recreation Center, Germantown
Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center, Chevy Chase
Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, Burtonsville
Mid-County Community Recreation Center, Silver Spring
Potomac Community Recreation Center, Potomac
Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department (The Oak Room), Sandy Spring NEW SITE
Silver Spring Civic Building, Silver Spring
St. Catherine Laboure Church (Claridge Room), Wheaton NEW SITE

For information on the specific locations of all Montgomery County Early Voting Centers, please visit our website at 777vote.org. To view more information during Early Voting hours of operation, such as wait times for each center - updated hourly - you may visit www.777vote.org.

Did you miss the voter registration deadline? During Early Voting you may register to vote the same day you vote. You must have a valid photo ID and proof of residency to register. Once you register, you will be issued a ballot. This opportunity is not available on Election Day – if you’re not registered yet and would like to vote, visit an Early Voting Center between June 14 and 21. You may not change your party affiliation at this time – this is only for new registrants.

For more information, call 240-777-VOTE, visit www.777vote.org, the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website at http://elections.maryland.gov, or follow the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Facebook or Twitter.

Your Time, Your Voice, Your Vote!
Media Contact: Marjorie Roher, 240-777-8625

Monday, June 11, 2018

Apply Now For County Board of Appeals - Application Deadline is Monday, July 2 at 5:00 p.m.


Get your application in by July 2. Here's the full press release:

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 11, 2018—The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for a four-year term on the County Board of Appeals. The term of Edwin Rosado (Unaffiliated) will expire in September 2018. He does not plan to apply for reappointment. Applications for the position must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, July 2.

By law, no more than three members of the board shall be from the same political party. This position can only be filled by a Republican, a voter who is unaffiliated with a party, or a voter who is a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

In addition to Mr. Rosado (Unaffiliated), current members of the board include Chair John Pentecost (Democrat), Stan Boyd (Democrat), Katherine Freeman (Democrat) and Bruce Goldensohn (Republican). Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

Members of the board receive $15,365 annually, with the Chair receiving $21,715. Salaries are adjusted annually each December to reflect 50 percent of the change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index.

Duties of the Board of Appeals include hearing and deciding requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance; hearing appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by County government agencies; and hearing oral argument on and deciding appeals from decisions of the Hearing Examiner on conditional uses. The board also considers and decides requests for modifications of special exceptions.

The board normally holds weekly hearings all day Wednesday and worksessions every other week. If necessary to accommodate an extended caseload or continued hearings, the board schedules hearings on other weekdays. Members are expected to prepare for the hearings by reading the cases to be heard and to share the workload of drafting and editing opinions or to follow-up on investigations on specific cases. Members work approximately 15-25 hours a week.

The principal jurisdiction of the Board of Appeals (concerning variances, special exceptions and conditional uses under the Zoning Ordinance) does not include the municipalities of Barnesville, Brookeville, Gaithersburg, Laytonsville, Poolesville, Rockville and Washington Grove. The normal Council practice is not to appoint residents of those municipalities to the board, however, exceptions to this practice may occur.

Letters expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, political party affiliation, home and office telephone numbers and an email address, should be addressed to: 

Council President Hans Riemer, County Council Office, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850 or can be emailed to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on July 2. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline. After the application closing date, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and may select applicants to interview.

Letters of application and resumes are made public as part of the appointment process. Any interviews held are open to the public and will be televised. A financial statement of assets, debts, income and family property interests will be required of all applicants. Only the appointed candidate will be required to make the financial statement available to the public.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Three Ways to Vote -- Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Here's voting information from the Montgomery County Board of Elections regarding the upcoming Primary Election Day on June 26:

The Gubernatorial Primary Election is June 26 - did you know there are three ways to vote in Maryland Elections?

  • Vote by Mail (Absentee Voting) – If you’re unable to vote in person, you have the option of casting a ballot by mail. Visit our website – www.777vote.org – or call our office – 240-777-8550 – to request an application.  If you receive a ballot by mail, you may then only cast a provisional ballot at the polls – Early Voting or Election Day. Absentee and provisional ballots cast by eligible voters are all counted before the results of the election are certified.

  • Early Voting – Choose where and when you will vote! From June 14-21, between the hours of  10 a.m. – 8 p.m., you may visit one of eleven Early Voting Centers to cast your ballot in person using the same technology available on Election Day. During Early Voting hours, visit our website – www.777vote.org – to see up-to-date wait times at each of the Centers.

  • Election Day – Your last chance to vote will be June 26 when polling places will be open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. You must go to your assigned polling place to cast a ballot.

Be prepared - visit our website – www.777vote.org – to make sure your registration is current and to find your polling place. You’ll also receive a sample ballot in the mail with this information.

Voting made easy in Maryland - not only do you choose who you will vote for, but you may also choose where and when to vote.