Montgomery County voters who want to spot a pro-development candidate will get some guidance July 31 in an instant "Breathalyzer" test that will help determine which members of the county council are governing under the influence.
The test has two parts -- two companion pieces of legislation introduced before the council on behalf of the same developer. So antisocial are these two little-known bills that any council member who votes for either of them is unquestionably beholden to the developers. Neither proposal has the slightest redeeming virtue to justify an affirmative vote.
One bill (Zoning Text Amendment 90004) would let a commercial developer put a septic field, storm-water management facility, sediment-control facility or a well on his adjoining residentially zoned land without even seeking a special exception to the zoning ordinance. That amounts to de facto rezoning, beyond county control. Zoning laws and court decisions all across the nation forbid this practice; so do Montgomery County laws. The planning board staff warned that the change would undermine the very foundation of zoning; the planning board unanimously rejected it.
The other proposal is Subdivision Regulation Amendment 90-2. This would excuse that same developer from obeying a Montgomery County law requiring new subdivision plans to comply with the county master plan.
Why would the council do this? The excuse is that the council passed the law in 1988 without the developer's knowledge, while he was planning his commercial subdivision. But, in fact, it has been the law in Montgomery County since 1982 that subdivision plans must conform to the master plan. But this developer says it's new, and he shouldn't have to comply with it.
These two proposals run directly against the public interest. Voters should watch and see which, if any, council members vote for these proposals in contempt of the public trust. ROSCOE C. BORN Brinklow