ALERT: Proposed Forest Conservation Legislation

that could have a significant effect on development moving forward

Forest mitigation banks are an off-site method commonly used to meet certain environmental requirements under the Maryland Forest Conservation Act (the “Act”).  A recent Office of the Attorney General opinion established that off-site existing forests encumbered with a protective easement do not qualify as forest mitigation banks.  This strict interpretation of forest mitigation banks has the potential to have significant effect on development moving forward, particularly for developers in heavily urbanized jurisdictions.  House Bill 991 was recently introduced in an … Continue Reading

Update: Silver Spring Downtown & Adjacent Communities Sector Plan

Stacy SilberStacy Silber, Principal

On February 18, Park & Planning Staff briefed the Planning Board on its existing conditions analysis regarding the Silver Spring Downtown Plan Area.   Staff reported that there currently is approximately 24 million square feet of development in downtown Silver Spring and 40 million square feet of currently mapped density through the existing zoning, leaving approximately 16 million square feet of unbuilt capacity.   Staff is beginning to grapple with why there remains such a wide range of unused density, and how … Continue Reading

Update: Thrive Montgomery 2050

Stacy SilberStacy Silber, Principal

The Montgomery County Planning Board continues to consider changes to the County’s General Plan – or what they are calling Thrive Montgomery 2050.  The Plan’s goal is to shift from the former Wedges and Corridors Plan to one that “recognizes the County’s assets. . . [and] focuses on remedying our shortcomings and harnessing growth to create economically competitive, environmentally resilient and socially equitable communities.”  See Staff Report.  

The Plan is ambitious, but also includes guidance regarding implementation, including … Continue Reading

ALERT: Proposed Housing Related Legislation in Montgomery County

Bob HarrisBob Harris

County Councilmember Will Jawando has introduced two pieces of legislation relating to affordable housing.  One is aimed at expanding housing development potential in certain areas, while the other would impose rent control measures for various properties.  Both were the subject of a County Council hearing on February 11.

Zoning Text Amendment 20–07 would allow owners of R-60 zoned property, located within 1 mile of a Metro Station, to build duplexes, townhomes and multifamily structures provided the construction remains within the … Continue Reading

Attorney Marrisa Rose Joins Lerch Early’s Land Use Practice

Land Use GroupLand Use Group

Lerch Early is pleased to welcome attorney Marrisa Rose as an associate in the Land Use/Zoning practice.

“Lerch Early’s Land Use Practice Group is excited to welcome Marrisa,” said Christopher Ruhlen, chair of the Land Use practice. “We’re looking forward to her becoming an important part of the team serving our clients and the firm.”

Marrisa earned her law degree from The George Washington University School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Policy from the … Continue Reading

UPCOMING EVENT ON FEBRUARY 4: Housing Production and The Impact on Regional Economic Competitiveness

AvatarElizabeth Rogers, Attorney

Last fall, the Land Use Group at Lerch, Early & Brewer held a Regional Housing event, focused on the state of the housing market in the DMV.  The event explored how the Region’s housing market was responding to the housing shortage identified by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the associated housing targets established by local jurisdictions (like Mayor Bowser in DC and the Montgomery County Council), especially in light of COVID-19. 

Lerch, Early & Brewer Land Use Attorney Liz Rogers … Continue Reading

Montgomery County Council to Expand in 2022

Councilmanic Districts to be Revised to Add New Members

Chris RuhlenChris Ruhlen, Principal

In the 2020 General Election, Montgomery County voters approved a fundamental change to the structure of the Montgomery County Council, the legislative branch of the County’s government.  By approving “Question C,” voters have initiated a process whereby the County will create two new councilmanic districts, adding two new members to the Council’s legislative body.  Significantly, this will represent the first change to the Council’s composition in more than 30 years, affecting the disposition of certain land use matters that come … Continue Reading

WEST HYATTSVILLE – QUEENS CHAPEL SECTOR PLAN UPDATE

Vincent BiaseVincent Biase, Attorney

The Prince George’s Planning Department has officially initiated its West Hyattsville-Queens Chapel Sector Plan Update. The public planning process began in October, when the Prince George’s County Council adopted Resolution CR-102-2020 to effectively authorize initiation of the Sector Plan Process. Shortly after, the Planning Department held its virtual Kickoff Meeting for the Sector Plan Update to outline general themes and objectives of the Plan update. Some of the key objectives, themes, and takeaways from the Kickoff Meeting are listed below:… Continue Reading

2021 Real Property Taxes:

Deadlines Approaching for Appeals of Latest Triennial Reassessments

Chris RuhlenChris Ruhlen, Principal

This week, certain Maryland real property owners –those who own real property in “Assessment Area 3” of each county in the State – will begin receiving reassessment notices for the 2021 reassessment cycle from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. For assessment purposes, each county is divided into three geographic areas, which the State comprehensively reassesses on an alternating three-year basis. The Reassessment Areas by county can be found here.  

In Montgomery County, Assessment Area 3 includes significant commercial … Continue Reading

Thrive Montgomery 2050

Stacy SilberStacy Silber, Principal

The Planning Board held its first worksession, on December 17th, on the “Thrive Montgomery 2050” Plan (i.e. the update to the County’s General Plan). An overview of the Plan can be found here, in our prior blog post.  The Board supported Staff’s recommendations to significantly reorganize the Plan to emphasize (1) Economic Performance and Competitiveness, (2) Racial and Social Equity and Inclusion, and (3) Environmental Resilience and Sustainability.   The Plan will also be updated to … Continue Reading