The Montgomery County Council tentatively agreed yesterday that it should develop a policy of reviewing growth every year to provide a status report on approved building permits, mark trends in real estate transactions and establish thresholds for growth.
The unanimous vote, which must be affirmed during a regular council meeting, was the sole agreement from a session that was mired in rhetoric and in which an attempt was made to tackle the same issues of growth -- including the need for a building cap and the need for a fee or tax to be placed on development -- that lured hundreds of residents to a public hearing this week.
Council member Esther Gelman repeatedly said at yesterday's meeting that she needed more fiscal data before she could vote on a proposed building cap, a measure originally suggested by council member David Scull to limit growth in certain areas for three years.
A tentative vote on the issue split the council along the same lines as had previous building cap proposals in the past year. Scull, Gelman, Scott Fosler and Neal Potter voted to enact a building cap; William Hanna and Michael Gudis voted against the proposal; Rose Crenca abstained. Gelman said later that her vote did not indicate how she would vote on the issue of the cap but rather was an attempt to stall for time to study finances.
Budget director Jacqueline Rogers presented a report that appeared to answer some council questions. According to Rogers' data, a three-year building cap could result in a loss of revenue of up to $54.4 million. Two proposals that would tax development differed sharply on the revenue they would produce.