The following were among actions taken at the Tuesday meeting of the Montgomery County Council. For more information, call 251-7900.
ANNUAL GROWTH POLICY -- The council voted 5-1 to approve the first annual growth policy for the county. The policy refines the county's existing growth ordinance and sets ceilings for growth in the area of jobs and housing.
The policy, the result of work by the council, County Executive Sidney Kramer and the Planning Board, is intended to provide guidelines for government agencies that have been grappling with ways to deal with the county's booming growth.
It builds upon the county's current Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO), which permits the county to restrict development where existing or planned public facilities such as roads, schools and sewers cannot support additional development. The ordinance is administered by the Planning Board, so the addition of the growth policy by the council -- the legislative branch -- is thought to toughen the county's response to development issues.
A bill passed by the council last year requires the adoption of a growth policy by June 30 of each year, to be in effect for the next fiscal year.
The council's action provides that subdivisions in certain "policy areas" -- geographic areas governed by the APFO -- will not be approved until sufficient roads are built to properly support the development.
According to the policy, both residential and commercial development will be restricted in Damascus, Fairland/White Oak, the eastern portion of Germantown and the northern section of Bethesda. New residential development will be restricted in the western part of Germantown and in the Cloverly area, and new commercial development will be restricted in eastern Gaithersburg. Already approved projects will not be affected.
The council did not include in the new policy any formulas to help determine adequate school capacity of an area to be developed. The council instead established a task force to study ways to determine school capacity.
The council also did not address a recommendation by Kramer that the county loosen APFO policies that require the adequacy of facilities to be determined at the time a subdivision is approved. Kramer suggested the test come later in the process, when developers apply for building permits.
Council member William E. Hanna Jr., who voted against the measure, called his action "a protest vote" and labeled the policy "insignificant." He said his vote was "not intended to be prodevelopment or antidevelopment."
BOARD APPOINTMENTS -- The council declined to vote on the appointments of John P. Hewitt and Carol Henry to the county Planning Board because of confusion over advertisement of when the vote was scheduled to take place. In a breakfast meeting with the council, County Executive Kramer urged members to confirm his appointments quickly, but a council agenda had been mailed out indicating that the confirmation vote would take place July 7.
In order to vote on the appointments before the advertised date, the council needed five votes to suspend the rules. With council member Neal Potter absent, the motion failed on a 4-2 vote. Council members Michael Gudis and Isiah Leggett dissented.