T&E Committee #3&4
June 24, 2010
June 22, 2010
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee
Subdivision Regulation Amendment (SRA) 10-01; Public Utility Easements - Urban
Roads; and Bill 17-10, Public Utility Easement - Urban Roads
SRA 10-01; Public Utility Easements Urban Roads; and Bi1117-10, Public Utility Easement - Urban
Roads, sponsored by Council member EIrich, were introduced on April 13,2010.
Generally, the Planning Board requires a public utility easement (PUE) along the edge of the roadway right
of-way; the PUE is generally in the area between the sidewalk: and the building. The easement gives
utilities the right to access to their service lines. Buildings must be located outside of the easement areas.
This suburban model of development is appropriate for most areas of the County; it is a problem in
pedestrian-oriented areas where it is desirable for the building to be built next to the public sidewalk. Under
permits issues by the Department of Permitting Services (DPS), public utilities are allowed in a Central
Business District's public rights-of-way (ROWs).
is not clear how utilities would be accommodated in urbanizing areas such as White Flint. The design
guidelines call for buildings next to the sidewalk. DPS does not want utilities in the ROW unless it is the
SRA 10-01 would allow appropriate building setbacks by prohibiting public utility easements along urban
The Planning Board would have the authority to allow a public utility easement along an urban road
Utilities would be under brick, concrete, or asphalt. Major repairs require tearing up hard surfaces and disrupting
pedestrians and motor vehicles. Given the cost, time, and inconvenience, utilities would also prefer to
in the right-of-way
as a last resort.
Under §49-32(c)(l) an "urban road" is "a road segment in or abutting a Metro Station Policy Area, Town Center Policy
Area, or other urban area expressly identified in a Council resolution." The current Metro Station Policy Areas include:
Shady Grove, White Flint, Twinbrook, Grosvenor, Bethesda CBD, Friendship Heights, Glenmont, Wheaton CBD, and Silver
Spring CBD. Germantown Town Center is the only designated town center. The other areas identified as urban by resolution
are: Clarksburg, Damascus, Olney, the North Bethesda CommerciallMixed Use area, the Montgomery Hills Parking Lot
District and the Flower/Piney/Arliss Commercial Areas.