The Montgomery County Council today voted to end the controversial "Pay and Go" program under which developers are able to pay a fee upfront to expedite their projects without regard to possible traffic congestion problems. The Council voted to continue the current Annual Growth Policy with minor changes and postponed action on the proposed Countywide Development Impact Tax.
The vote on the motion by Councilmember Phil Andrews to end all future "Pay and Go" projects and carry on with the current Annual Growth Policy was 5 to 4. Voting in favor were Councilmembers Marilyn Praisner, Betty Ann Krahnke, Blair Ewing, Nancy Dacek, and Andrews. Opposed were Councilmembers Isiah Leggett, Michael Subin, Derick Berlage, and Steven Silverman.
"Weíve taken action today for sustainable growth that makes sense for our neighborhoods," said Councilmember Andrews. " Worsening traffic congestion is more of a threat to our communities than a supposed lack of development."
"We should continue to look at the impact tax and growth policy changes," said Councilmember Praisner, "but these are complex, interrelated issues. We have to get it right the first time and avoid any unintended consequences."
Other Councilmembers agreed.
"Traffic congestion is our major issue -- allowing development proposals to go forward without developers paying their fair share to relieve that congestion is wrong," said Councilmember Nancy Dacek.
"This vote means we are once again committed to carefully planned, sustainable growth that can occur where and when it should Ė without adding still more to traffic woes and congested highways," added Councilmember Blair Ewing.
"Today, we have preserved sensible planning in the County," said Councilmember Betty Ann Krahnke. "A year ago, in defending our growth policies, I said I was one of the few who didnít suffer from Virginia envy. We certainly donít want to end up with their transportation nightmare."