Councilmember Elrich Visits the Chamber

Posted Date: 
November 13, 2012

Vice-Chair Gus Bauman welcomed the members at the meeting and introduced Councilmember Marc Elrich, a member of the Council's Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee.
Councilmember Elrich spoke about the zoning-code rewrite. He expressed his concern over a having a blanket replacement of the zones and substituting many of them for the Commercial-Residential (CR) zone. Elrich described how a "One size fits all" model for zoning is not viable.
Mr. Elrich discussed the trend in new federal standards for office space, reducing from 235 feet per employee to 90 feet per employee. The implications of this change are that federal agencies will have more employees absorbed within the County's existing square footage. This reduction could add many additional jobs without the additional infrastructure to move people there, and there may not be extra funds in impact fees and other development costs to offset the effects of having many additional employees in the same place. According to the Councilmember, the reduction in employees per office space may mean that new buildings may not be filled.
Councilmember Elrich spent time discussing transit and the County's proposed BRT network. He said that the discussion about the issue is moving slowly and our regional competitors are also planning to integrate BRT into their transit networks. Elrich talked about the Park and Planning recommendations for the system and their suggestion about replacing lanes to have dedicated lanes for BRT. The problem will be getting from the recommendations to seeking Council approval on BRT.
Mr. Elrich fielded questions from MCCC Members about the subdivision staging policy, new home building, and further questions about the economic direction of Montgomery County.
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