Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Development Oversight Coordinator Approved for Future Montgomery Projects

County Executive Will Be Required to Appoint Coordinator for Development Districts and Intensive New Developments

ROCKVILLE, Md., October 19, 2010—The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved amended Bill 1-10 that will require a development oversight coordinator be appointed by the County Executive for future development districts and each geographic area where a newly revised master plan or sector plan has authorized intensive new development or redevelopment. The bill would require a coordinator be assigned for the proposed Clarksburg Town Center Development District (unless that district is terminated, as a resolution before the Council provides) and for implementation of the White Flint Sector Plan development.

The chief sponsors of Bill 1-10 are Councilmembers Duchy Trachtenberg and Mike Knapp. Councilmembers Phil Andrews and Roger Berliner were co-sponsors.

Bill 1-10 was introduced before the Council in January. The bill amends the County’s laws governing coordination of development and “provides further coordination and oversight of master-planned development … and further coordination and oversight of development districts.”

The bill directs the County Executive to designate an employee in the Office of the Executive or in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer as the development coordinator for each planning area for which a newly revised master or sector plan has authorized intensive new development or redevelopment.

The coordinator would monitor the financing and development of County infrastructure and associated State and private infrastructure in the planning area. The coordinator also would serve as the primary point of contact for residents and businesses located in the planning area and the developer of any development located in the area.

In addition to the White Flint Sector Plan and the Clarksburg Town Center Development District—which has been approved, but not implemented—another plan likely to warrant assignment of a development oversight coordinator is the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan approved earlier this year by the Council. The bill would not require coordinators for the two existing Germantown development districts because the required County infrastructure for those districts has been completed.

“This is important legislation for Montgomery County because there will be oversight of funding of the projects and it will allow for faster and more reliable implementation of plans that have been approved,” said Councilmember Trachtenberg. “We need a central point of contact in the Executive branch to ensure that our development efforts are focused and expeditious. Having a designated person to coordinate our complex development and financing efforts will increase the comfort of our neighbors, businesses and our development partners that this activity will move forward, with vision and purpose—something that we owe to our County’s residents.”

The bill does not require the County Executive to create a new position unless the Executive decides that no current employee or employees can perform the required functions.

“Our experience with large scale development in a concentrated area of the County strongly suggests that we need an effective oversight mechanism that is efficient and accountable,” said Councilmember Knapp. “This legislation will provide neighboring residents and the business community with the assurance the County is minding the store 24/7. As we work through the complexities of the new plans for White Flint and the Great Seneca Science Corridor, it is clear that this legislation is necessary.”

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