The following were among actions actions taken at Tuesday's meeting of the Montgomery County Council. For more information, call 251-7900.

INCINERATOR -- A divided council, following months of often-emotional debate, voted to build a $170 million trash-to-energy incinerator in the rural area of Dickerson, in western Montgomery County.

The 4-3 decision came after six hours of discussion and 15 years of wrangling with the tough environmental and political questions of how and where to dispose of county trash.

The council admitted that building the facility in Dickerson would be more expensive than to place it near the Shady Grove Transfer Station near Gaithersburg, a heavily populated area. At the Dickerson site, the county will be forced to transfer all its garbage 18 miles by rail from the Shady Grove Transfer Station.

Both former County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist and County Executive Sidney Kramer endorsed locating the mass-burn facility at Dickerson.

A 4-2 straw vote taken two weeks ago by the council also selected Dickerson. Neal Potter, who suffered a heart attack in May and has been absent from the council, returned Tuesday to argue against the Dickerson site. Council member William E. Hanna Jr., joining Potter and council president Rose Crenca in voting against Dickerson, said the cost of Dickerson as compared to Shady Grove ruled it out as a "logical choice." Council members Michael E. Gudis, Michael Subin, Bruce Adams and Isiah Leggett voted to build the facility at Dickerson.

The cost of transporting the trash from Shady Grove to Dickerson is estimated at $10 million annually, or about $24 per household.

Crenca and Hanna told council members that they believed the vote was political and an attempt to appease residents and businesses in the heavily populated Gaithersburg-Shady Grove area.

Adams said, "You don't put a heavy industrial facility like this in a populated area. I don't see a trash incinerator as a gateway to our I-270 high-tech corridor."

PLANNING BOARD -- The council delayed its scheduled vote on a Planning Board appointment and ordered an investigation into allegations that nominee John B. Hewitt knew of and condoned racially segregated facilities at a park maintenance yard while serving as parks director from 1957 to 1971.

Following the vote for the delay, the council unanimously approved assigning the county Office of Legislative Oversight to investigate charges against Hewitt. The office is scheduled to report back to the council by July 21. A final vote on Hewitt's nomination is set for July 23.

The controversy over Hewitt stems from complaints and letters about him sent to the council, including one from a parks employe. The Montgomery County NAACP had called for an independent investigation into Hewitt's record.

The council voted 5-2 to delay the vote on Hewitt, with Council President Rose Crenca and Vice President Michael Subin voting against postponement. Subin, urging a final vote at the meeting, said, "We've tortured him. We've tortured the process."

The board did unanimously confirm County Executive Sidney Kramer's appointment of Olney civic activist Carol Henry to a four-year term on the Planning Board. The board has the authority to approve subdivision, site and master development plans. Henry will receive $12,600 a year.