Montgomery County Council Meets on Feb. 4, Agenda Preview
The Montgomery County Council will hold a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 on the proposed White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan. The plan would guide major transformation of the area around Route 29 in White Oak.
The public hearing will conclude a full day for the County Council and its committees. The Council’s weekly session will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The morning and afternoon sessions; a joint meeting of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee and the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee on Clarksburg/Ten Mile Creek issues starting at 1:35 p.m.; and the evening public hearing will all be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcasts also will be streamed through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council.
The vision of the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan includes: White Oak’s major centers at Hillandale, White Oak and the Life Sciences/FDA Village. These areas could evolve from conventional, auto-dependent suburban shopping centers, business parks and light industrial areas into vibrant, mixed-use, transit-served communities. Redevelopment of the centers would be carefully integrated with existing residential neighborhoods and designed to enhance the entire area’s quality of life, appearance and walkability. The plan includes connecting the centers to each other and the broader region through a transit system with a Bus Rapid Transit system as an integral component.
On Sept. 20, 2013, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission transmitted its draft of the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan to the County Council. However, the Council asked the Planning Board to continue working on the plan and further address transportation issues. On Dec. 20, the Planning Board submitted revisions to its initial draft. The PHED Committee is tentatively scheduled to begin reviewing the plan on March 3.
During the morning session, Councilmember Phil Andrews will introduce his proposal to allow candidates for County Council and County Executive to use public financing for their campaigns. Bill 16-14—the first of its type for County elections in Maryland—has the eight other Councilmembers as co-sponsors. If approved, it would take effect starting with the cycle leading to the 2018 County elections.
Also during the morning session, Council Vice President George Leventhal will introduce a resolution that would have the County Council urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to go beyond an environmental assessment and to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement for the Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas terrninal located in Calvert County.
The resolution reads, in part: “Dominion Resources, a Virginia-based company, seeks to build a $3.8 billion ‘liquefaction’ plant at Cove Point in Calvert County, Maryland. The purpose of this facility which will include construction of a 130-megawatt power plant to run industrial-scale compressors and a heat-exchange system—is to convert natural gas received from hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ to liquid form at a temperature of minus 260 degrees F. It would then be shipped by tanker ship more than 6,000 miles to India and Japan. Once fully operational, the Cove Point facility could become Maryland’s largest single trigger of greenhouse gases in terms of ‘life-cycle’ emissions from drilling, processing, piping, liquefying, shipping to Asia, re-vaporizing and end-use combustion.
“Construction of this facility will most likely lead to higher demand for gas recovered from ‘fracking,’ particularly from the Marcellus Shale basin that extends into Maryland. There are also four other gas basins in Maryland where fracking induced by rising gas prices could occur in the near future . . . ”
At approximately 9:50 a.m., the Council is expected to confirm interim Fire Chief Steven Lohr as the County’s permanent fire chief.
At approximately 11 a.m., the County’s Hearing Examiner will deliver his report and recommendation regarding the proposed Limited Master Plan Amendment for the Ten Mile Creek Area of Clarksburg. Attorneys representing the applicant and a group concerned with the plan will both have 20 minutes to present their arguments to the Council. One issue they will address is whether the proposed development would negatively impact water quality in the area.
The afternoon joint committee worksession on the Ten Mile Creek Area Limited Amendment will address the general policy issues the committees should consider before making land use and zoning decisions, presents options for property specific land uses and addresses the fire station and parks recommendations. The committees also will have before it a proposal that Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich and Hans Riemer sent to their colleagues this afternoon that calls for a limit on the imperviousness of properties in the development area.
At 12:30 p.m., the Council will continue its series of informal meetings with the directors of the County’s Regional Service Centers. That meeting will be held in the Sixth Floor Conference Room. It is open to the public, but will not be televised.