VILLAGE OF FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS

The Montgomery County Council will hold a public hearing Jan. 28 on whether Friendship Heights and parcels of land adjoining the village should become a municipality.

The hearing is the latest development in the village's decade-long effort to incorporate and gain new independence from the county government.

Currently, much legislation passed by the Village Council requires the approval of the County Council. If it were incorporated, that legislation would not need county approval. The village of nearly 5,000 residents, now classified as a special taxing district, has the right to levy its own property taxes.

Last fall, more than 700 registered voters signed petitions in favor of incorporation. A total of 526 signatures, or 25 percent of the village's 2,104 registered voters, were necessary for the County Council to begin considering the incorporation issue.

After the hearing, the council will decide in a work session whether to allow Friendship Heights voters to participate in a referendum on the incorporation question.

Among those opposing incorporation are some residents of the exclusive Somerset House and the Geico insurance company, both of which border Friendship Heights and could be included in the new municipality. Incorporation could result in higher property taxes for the annexed property.

CITY OF TAKOMA PARK

The City Council will hold its next regular session at 8 p.m. Monday at the Municipal Building, 7500 Maple Ave. At the meeting, the council is scheduled to vote to fill the council vacancy created when Edward F. Sharp was appointed mayor last month. {See related story in today's Maryland Weekly.}