At this year's Maryland Association of Counties Winter Conference, I was asked to speak to our role as legislators in leading the charge for smart growth. As I thought about this presentation, I asked myself what is the biggest lesson I have learned over the past eight years as we in Montgomery County have sought to implement smart growth principles. And the answer I would offer is simply this – change is hard, and changing a deeply rooted culture is even harder. The whole speech can be found here.
Councilmember Berliner Calls on County Executive to Not Drive Uber & Lyft Out of County
Today, I urged County Executive Leggett not to drive away Uber, but to use this moment as an opportunity to embrace the innovation that Uber has started, and give all taxi companies in the county the ability to compete and to improve service for consumers and drivers. My committee will hold hearings this fall on how we can create policies in Montgomery that support successful and innovative taxicab service for the 21st Century.
Bethesda Downtown Plan
After 20 years, the Bethesda Master Plan is getting a fresh new look. With the help of residents, businesses, and community groups, the Montgomery County Planning Department is looking to create a more modern Downtown Bethesda, while enhancing what has made this part of of our community such a success. The work on the Plan will be organized around three themes: social sustainability, economic sustainability and environmental sustainability.
To begin this undertaking, the Planning Department and Parks Department collected information on the existing conditions found in Downtown Bethesda, including the environmental conditions, the historic resources, demographics and market/economic data (Which can be found in the Bethesda Briefing Book). With all of this information, the Planning Department will create a work plan and determine the scope of the work needed to properly meet the needs of all parties involved. Throughout the Spring of 2014 the Planning Department held public workshops & community meetings in order to take the current pulse of Bethesda residents, business owners, & stakeholders
Coming in June 2014, the Planning Department will release its initial staff recommendations. After the initial set of recommendations are completed, the staff will create a draft for the Downtown Plan. After both of these documents are released, public comment will be solicited to help shape the collective vision of Downtown Bethesda. A helpful schedule of these proceedings can be found here.
Once the Planning Board reviews and approves a Draft Plan, it will go to the County Council for review. In its review process, the Council will hold another set of Public Hearings in order to hear your thoughts on the plan before the Council. After the public hearings and the review processes of the Executive & Council, the Council will vote on adopting the Master Plan.
For more information on the Bethesda Master Plan visit BethesdaDowntownPlan.org.