County Council Approved Shady Grove Master Plan Minor Amendment

Marrisa RoseMarrisa Rose

On April 6, 2021, the Montgomery County Council approved the Fall 2020 Shady Grove Minor Master Plan Amendment.  The Shady Grove Master Plan was originally approved in 2006 (the “2006 Master Plan”) and has not been updated since that time. Over the past 15 years, Montgomery County has undergone significant changes in their land use planning policies and practices, particularly with the approval of the comprehensive Zoning Ordinance re-write and County-wide re-zoning in 2014, the approval of the 2020-2024 Growth … Continue Reading

UPDATE: The Maryland General Assembly Passes the Forest Mitigation Bank Bill With Significant Environmental Protections Attached

In a 100 to 38 favorable vote, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 991 in both chambers with amendments aimed at addressing environmental concerns raised by environmental advocacy groups. HB 991, now renamed the “Tree Solutions Now Act of 2021”, appropriated government funding to a series of programs designed to preserve tree canopies and other forest protections. The amendments made significant technical changes to the bill, particularly modifying any use of the term “preservation” to be replaced with the … Continue Reading

Stacy Silber to Moderate NAIOP Webinar on MoCo Planning’s 30-year Vision

Land Use GroupLand Use Group

Land use attorney Stacy Silber will moderate NAIOP DC|MD’s “A Seat at the Table” webinar talking about the Planning Commission’s Vision for the next 30 years, and its recommended Thrive Montgomery 2050 Outcomes of promoting Economic Health, Equitable Communities and Environmental Resilience.

The webinar takes place from 8:30 AM-9:30 AM on Wednesday, May 5. Stacy will be joined by Montgomery County Planning Director Gwen Wright and Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson. You can register here: https://www.naiopdcmd.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1509818.

Stacy Silber is a … Continue Reading

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