Montgomery County Council

Council Committees Meet on Sept. 9

photo water main breakThe Montgomery County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T and E) Committee and its Public Safety Committee will meet jointly at 9 a.m. on Sept. 9, for a work session on the circumstances of the water main break in March that severely impacted the Chevy Chase Lake community. Representatives of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) will brief the committees on what they have learned about the causes of the break.

The T and E Committee, which is chaired by Roger Berliner and includes Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer, and the Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Phil Andrews and includes Councilmembers Berliner and Marc Elrich, will meet in the Third Floor Conference Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed through the county’s website at

WSSC Chair Gene Counihan and Jerry Johnson, the WSSC general manager and chief executive officer, are among those expected to address the Council committees about the March 18 incident in which a 60-inch pre-cast concrete cylinder pipe broke at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Chevy Chase Lake Drive in Chevy Chase. About 200 homes temporarily lost water service as the break resulted in the loss of approximately 60 million gallons of water. The pipe was equipped with acoustic fiber optic monitoring equipment, which was installed in 2010, but it failed to signal a warning of a potential problem.

The committees also will discuss with WSSC representatives the agency’s overall emergency preparedness.

At 10:30 a.m., the T and E Committee will meet to discuss Bill 2-13, which would require a five-year schedule of road and sidewalk reconstruction and resurfacing. The bill is aimed at having better coordination with road and sidewalk work performed by the Department of Transportation and work done by other agencies and utilities that may require breaking into pavement. Councilmember George Leventhal is the chief sponsor of the bill, which is cosponsored by Councilmembers Berliner, Elrich, Riemer and Craig Rice.

The committee also will address the use of pesticides around the County. Councilmember Leventhal asked for a discussion of pesticides after the City of Takoma Park and the District of Columbia recently implemented new requirements regarding pesticide use that go beyond federal regulations. The discussion will not involve pesticides with regard to farming and agricultural uses.

At 2 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Floreen and includes Councilmembers Elrich and Leventhal, will hold a work session on establishing procedures for Class 3 accessory apartments. In February, the Council approved Bill 31-12 that established standards for the issuance of accessory apartment licenses if the apartment meets certain requirements. The County Executive in May issued temporary regulations regarding accessory apartments. The committee will look at proposed permanent regulations.

The committee also will hold a worksession on Bill 19-13 that would expand the authority of the County’s Commission on Common Ownership Communities to award attorney’s fees to a prevailing party in certain disputes between property owners and their respective homeowner’s association.

At 2 p.m. in the Third Floor Conference Room, the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Navarro and includes Councilmembers Riemer and Valerie Ervin, will discuss the Office of Legislative Oversight report on Best Practices in Open Data Initiatives. Open data refers to making information publicly and easily available to individuals without the need for a request to the government. Councilmember Riemer, who is the Council’s lead member for digital government, has pushed for programs that provide more information to the public.


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