AGENDA ITEM 4B
October 4, 2016
Introduction
MEMORANDUM
September 30,2016
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
h.
Jeffrey
L.
zyontzk.'nior Legislative Attorney
Introduction:
Bill 41-16, Community Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer
Bill 41-16, Community Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer, sponsored by Lead Sponsor
Councilmember Berliner and Co-Sponsor Councilmember Hucker, is scheduled to be introduced
on October 4,2016. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for October 25 at 1:30 p.m.
BilI 41-16 would replace provisions for a Peoples Counsel with provisions for a Community
Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer. In the sponsor's opinion, the development approval
process can be overwhelming for those responding to the plans of others. A Community Zoning
and Land Use Resource Officer would provide an independent source of information to educate
residents on how, when, and where they may participate in the public approval process for sketch
plans, subdivisions, site plans, conditional use applications, and variances.
Under Bill 41-16, the primary function of the Community Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer
would be to: 1) meet with community members to inform them of critical decision points in the
process; 2) educate community members individually or in group meetings on how to develop
effective testimony before decision making bodies; and 3) answer questions concerning zoning
and land use from community members or community organizations. Bill 41-16 would prohibit
the Resource Officer from being a direct participant in any proceeding in the development process.
This packet contains:
Bi1l41-16
Legislative Request Report
Circle #
1
8
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Bill No.
41-16
Concerning: Community Zoning and
Land Use Resource Officer
Draft No: 1
Revised:
9/24/16
Introduced:
October 4, 2016
Expires:
April 4, 2018
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date:
---=....:.No=n~e=---____::__---_
Ch, _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsor: Council Vice President Berliner
Co-Sponsor: Councilmember Hucker
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
replace provisions for a Peoples Counsel with provisions for a Cornmunity Zoning
and Land Use Resource Officer; and
generally amend the law relating to a Community Zoning and Land Use Resource
Officer,
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter lA, Structure of County Government
Section lA-203 and lA-204
Chapter 2, Administration
Section 2-150
Chapter 33A, Planning Procedures
Section 33A-15
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill,
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act.'
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BILL
No.
41-16
1
Sec. 1. Sections lA-203, lA-204, and 33A-15 are amended as follows:
lA-203. Establishing other offices.
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3
* * *
(b)
Legislative Branch.
These are the offices of the Legislative Branch:
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Office of the County Council (Charter section 101 et seq.)
Office of the Inspector General
Office of Legislative Oversight [section 29A-5]
[Office of the People's Counsel] Community Zoning and Land Use
Resource Officer
Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings
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* * *
lA-204. Supervision of offices and appointment of heads.
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*
(b)
Legislative Branch.
* *
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*
(3)
Resource Officer.
*
*
[Office ofthe People's Counsel] Community Zoning and Land Use
(A) The County Council may employ, as a term merit system
employee, a [Office of the People's Counsel] Community
Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer. The Council may,
by a resolution adopted by an affirmative vote of six
Councilmembers, remove a [people's Counsel] Community
Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer during the
Counsel's term for good cause. Alternatively, the County
Council may retain as an independent contractor [one or
more attorneys, along with support staff, consultants, and
expert witnesses,] to provide the services of the [people's
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o
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BILL
No. 41-16
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Counsel] Community Zoning and Land Use Resource
Officer under Section 2-150. The contract may be canceled
at any time by a resolution adopted by an affirmative vote
of six Councilmembers.
(B)
[Any attorney employed or retained as the People's Counsel
must:
(i)
be a member of the bar of the Court of Appeals of
Maryland;
(ii)
have at least five years experience in the practice or
teaching of law; and
(iii)
have substantial experience with land use legal issues
and procedures.]
[(C) Any attorney employed or retained as the People's Counsel
must not represent any client, other than as People's
Counsel, in any matte.r involving land use in Montgomery
or Prince George's County.]
[(D)] Any [attorney] person employed or retained as the [people's
Counsel] Community Zoning and Land Use Resource
Officer must not, within one year after [the attorney's]
service as [people's Counsel] the Community Zoning and
Land Use Resource Officer ends, represent any party in any
proceeding involving zoning or land use in the County.
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* * *
Article XII [People's Counsel] Community Zoning and Land
Use
Resource
Officer
2-150.
[People's Counsel] Community Zoning and Land
Use
Resource
Officer-Functions.
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BILL No. 41-16
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(a)
Purpose.
[Infonned public actions on land use matters require a full
exploration of often complex factual and legal issues.
An
independent
People's Counsel can protect the public interest and promote a full and
fair presentation ofrelevant issues in administrative proceedings in order
to achieve balanced records upon which sound land use decisions can be
made. In addition, a People's Counsel who provides technical assistance
to citizens and citizen organizations will encourage effective participation
in, and increase public understanding of and confidence in, the County
land use process.]
The development approval process can be
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overwhelming for those responding to the plans of others. Meaningful
participation
Qy
affected neighbors can lead to better decision making
Qy
public bodies. A Community Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer
will provide an independent source ofinfonnation to educate residents on
how, when, and where they may participate in the public approval process
for sketch plans, subdivisions, site plans, conditional use applications,
and variances.
(b)
Authority; duties.
[To protect the public interest and achieve a full and
fair presentation of relevant issues,
th~
People's Counsel may participate
in
a proceeding before:]
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[(1)
the Board of Appeals if the proceeding involves a variance or a
special exception;]
[(2)
the County Council (solely for oral argument) or the Hearing
Examiner for the County Council ifthe matter involves a local map
amendment, a development or schematic development plan
approved under the zoning process or a special exception; and]
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BILL
No.
41-16
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[(3)
the Planning Board if the proceeding involves action on an
optional method development, a subdivision plan including a
subdivision plan for a cluster development, or a site plan.]
[The People's Counsel may also file a complaint under Section
59-G­
1.3(b)
alleging failure to comply with a special exception, or may seek a
modification of a special exception under Section
59-G-l.3(c)
or a
revocation of a special exception under Section
59-G-l.3(e).]
The Community Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer must:
ill
ill
ill
ill
ill
keep informed on pending development decisions;
keep informed on changes to the development process;
attend pre-application community meetings concerning significant
projects when the Officer becomes aware of such meetings;
meet with community members to inform them of critical decision
points in the process;
educate community members individually or in group meetings on
how to develop effective testimony before decision making bodies;
and
®
(c)
answer questions concerning zoning and land use from community
members or community organizations.
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Restrictions.
[The People's Counsel must not participate in any
legislative proceeding, or in any proceeding before a board or agency of
any municipality in the County.] The Community Zoning and Land Use
Resource Officer must not:
ill
ill
give testimony in any proceeding before any public body either as
~
representative
or in individual capacity:
act as personal attorney for any community member or association;
or
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BILL No. 41-16
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ill
(d)
represent the County, any government agency, or any private
~
in any proceeding.
[Participation.
The People's Counsel is a party in a proceeding under
subsection (b) once the People's Counsel files a notice of intention to
participate. After the notice is filed, the People's Counsel is entitled to all
notices to a party and may participate by making motions, introducing
evidence, calling witnesses, examining and cross-examining witnesses,
and making arguments as the law and the evidence in the proceeding
warrant. The People's Counsel may file and argue an appeal the same as
any other party to the proceeding.]
[(e)]
Independent status.
[The People's Counsel must not represent the
County, any government agency, or any private party in any proceeding.]
The [people's Counsel] Community Zoning and Land Use Resource
Officer is not subject to the authority of the County Attorney of any
County Department or State Agency.
[(f)
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Notice.
If the People's Counsel intends to participate in a proceeding, the
People's Counsel must give all parties a notice of intention to participate.]
[(g)
Discretion.
In
the People's Counsel's discretion, the People's Counsel
may withdraw from, or decline to participate in, any proceeding in which
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the Counsel may participate under subsection (b). The People's Counsel
is not liable to any person for participating in, or declining to participate
in, any proceeding.]
[(h)
Technical assistance.
Without becoming a party to any judicial or
administrative proceeding, and subject to available time and resources,
the People's Counsel may provide technical assistance to any person
about a proceeding listed in subsection (b). When providing technical
assistance under this subsection, the People's Counsel must inform the
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BILL
No. 41-16
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recipient that the People's Counsel is not acting and cannot act as a
personal attorney for the recipient.]
[(i)]
W
Coordination.
The [people's Counsel] Community Zoning and Land
Use Resource Officer must coordinate the services ofits office with those
offered by land use information staff in the Council, Board of Appeals,
and Planning Board, to avoid inconsistency and duplication and to
maximize the assistance offered to citizens.
[G)]
ill
Annual report.
of the office.
The [people's Counsel] Community Zoning and Land
Use Resource Officer must annually report to the Council on the activities
*
33A-15. Subdivision Staging Policy.
*
*
*
*
*
(b)
Duties o/the County Planning Board.
Every fourth year, in the second year of a Council term, the Planning
Board must produce a recommended subdivision staging policy.
*
(3)
* *
The Board must promptly make available to the CountY Executive,
other agencies (including the Office ofZoning and Administrative
Hearings [and the People's Counsel] Community Zoning and Land
Use Resource Officer), and the public copies ofthe staff draft and
the Board's recommended subdivision staging policy.
*
Approved:
*
*
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160
Nancy Floreen, President, County Council
Date
(j)
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
41-16
Community Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer
DESCRIPTION:
This Bill would replace current provisions for a People's Counsel with
provisions for a Community Zoning and Land Use Resource Officer
position.
The County's development approval, zoning code, and master plan
process is complex. Residents living in proximity to proposed
development or a new master plan need assistance in understanding
and communicating relevant facts to decision makers at the appropriate
time and place.
The amendment will create a position that serves as a community
resource and facilitates participation in the development process
without adding a direct participant in that process.
Planning Department, the Office of Zoning and Administrative
Hearings, and'the Board of Appeals
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Planning Department, the Office of Zoning and Administrative
Hearings, and the Board of Appeals
To be researched.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOlTRCEOF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Not applicable.
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