Text Box: 2008-2009 LOCAL PROGRAM
League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, MD, Inc.

Every winter Montgomery County League members meet to begin planning the League’s program for the following fiscal year.  Local resource committees are asked to submit their ideas about issues they would like to follow and topics they would like to study.  Members may also suggest topics of interest for committees to monitor or study.  The Program Coordinator prepares a report of the planning meeting(s) to present to the Board.  The Board determines what program studies to recommend to the general membership at the Annual Meeting held in the spring.  At the Annual Meeting, members vote on the studies that they would like the League to conduct in the following year. 

 

Studies result in fact sheets that are presented at Units.  These fact sheets may be for education only or they may contain questions about the topic in order to find out if League members have consensus on the answers to those questions.  Answers to the questions are analyzed using a specific process (outlined in the Board Members Handbook) to determine if consensus has been reached.  New positions are approved by the Board and reaffirmed by the membership at Annual Meeting.  League positions are the basis for League advocacy on issues.  Without a position on an issue, reached through consensus, the League may not testify, write letters, or formally participate in lobbying for or against the issue.

 

Once a study has been completed and positions have been adopted through the concurrence process they become what is called the League “Program”.  Local program must be re-affirmed every year.  Resource committees present an outlook for work as part of the adoption of current local program at Annual Meeting.  This outlook for work often describes how the League plans to use its positions in the coming year.  Resource committees may continue to study issues of interest to them even if formal studies on the topic were not adopted at Annual Meeting and they do not plan to produce a fact sheet.

 

PROGRAM STUDIES ADOPTED AT ANNUAL MEETING 2008

 

Readoption of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Study

Study of Gangs and Gang Activities in Montgomery County

Study of Campaign Finance Practices in Montgomery County Government Elections

 

LWVMC  POSITIONS FOR ACTION

 

Budget Process

Charter and County Government

Child Care

Children’s Services

Corrections

Education

Elderly

Election Process (new, to be approved at the 2009 Annual Meeting)

Fire and Rescue Services

Health Care (update*, to be approved at the 2009 Annual Meeting)

Housing and Public Accommodations (update*, to be approved at the 2009 Annual Meeting)

Land Use Planning

Local Revenue

Police Services

Transportation (update*, to be approved at the 2009 Annual Meeting)

 

      * updates to the position are underlined.

 

 

 

 

BUDGET PROCESS

 

We support continued improvement of Montgomery County budget procedures and budget documents with emphasis on increasing citizen understanding and input. Support for:

      1.   The county government looking into techniques and procedures for improving the budget process and making the budget document more understandable. (1977)

      2.   The county government involving citizens early in the budget process to help establish priorities. (1977)

      3.   The County government providing information on program cost measured against results. (1977)

      4.   Liaison between the Board of Education, County Executive, and County Council in the budget-making process. (Local Revenue, 1970)

      5.   No major changes in the Board of Education/County Council/Executive fiscal relationships: (1970)

            a)   adequate provision for involvement of citizens in the Board of Education budget-making process continuing

            b)   the County Council not being able to increase the dollar figure beyond what the Board of Education has requested

            c)   the County Council not making line item allocations to the Board of Education budget.

                  (Fiscal Relationships, 1979)

 

 

 

 

CHARTER AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT

 

We support the continuation of the charter form of government for Montgomery County with improvements to insure responsive and responsible government.

Support for:

Separation of Powers

      1.   Separation of powers in the county government with an elected executive heading the executive branch and the County Council forming the legislative branch.

            (1963, reaffirmed 1965, revised 1967)

      2.   Powers and responsibilities of the County Council and the County Executive to be balanced and defined with preference for the following:

            a)   the Executive should prepare and administer the budget, represent the county before other bodies; exercise the veto (with provision for overriding), and appoint an administrative head to supervise the departments and department heads to be confirmed by the Council and to serve at the pleasure of the Executive (1967)

            b)   the Council should pass laws and ordinances, adopt the budget, levy taxes, confirm appointments of administrative heads and department heads (1967), and stipulate by law how boards and commissions should be chosen unless provided by charter or state law. (1967)

County Council

      3.   A Council composed of nine Council members. (2006)

      4.   A County Council composed of a combination of members elected at-large and members elected from councilmanic districts.  (No consensus on the division of at-large and district members.) (2006)

      5.   A local commission to continue to draw the councilmanic districts. (2006)

      6.   Equitable redistricting of councilmanic districts for Council members so that each district will be compact, contiguous, and of approximately equal population. (1965)(edit 2006)

Charter Review

      7.   A process for mandatory periodic review of the charter but no permanent or standing commission for that purpose. (1974)

Non-merit Positions

      8.   Establishment by charter amendment of a limited number of non-merit positions for aides to elected officials in addition to those specifically enumerated. (1974)

 

Opposed to:

      9.   An automatic increase of the size of the Council in response to population increase. (2006)

 

 

 

 

CHILD CARE

 

In order to ensure a range of high quality child care and early education programs accessible to all children of low and moderate-income families, we support:

Child Care Programs

Support for:

            1.   Regulating child care facilities and programs continuing to be the responsibility of state government.  (1990)

            2.   Publicly funded incentives for child care providers, such as financial aid, tax and other retention incentives, training and technical assistance. (2005)

            3.   Adequate county subsidies for families, such as the Working Parents Assistance (WPA) program, and if necessary, supplements to the state Purchase of Care (POC) allowing parents to continue working and afford quality child care. (2005)

            4.   Child care quality enhancement and accreditation services, including early childhood mental health consultation. (2005)

            5.   A range of quality child care/early education programs, including home visiting, and emphasizing all day programs, transportation and parent involvement such as: Head Start, Community based pre-K models, MCPS pre-K and Judy Centers. (2005)

Opposition to:

            6.   The county government setting minimum salaries for private child care center staff or registered family care providers.  (1990)

Family Leave

Support for:

            7.   The county government encouraging employers to have a family leave policy (e.g., by providing information about model programs, such as the government=s own policy).  (1990)

 

 

 

 

CHILDREN’S SERVICES

 

We support a comprehensive range of child-centered services to ensure all children a chance to grow toward stable productive adulthood. (1995) Support for:

            1.   Meeting the needs of children being a high priority of the Montgomery County government.

            2.   Effective support services for children, including:

a)  collaboration across departmental and agency lines to provide seamless services for children

b)    community-based points of entry where families at risk can apply for multiple services

c)     consumer-oriented service centers sited in easily accessible neighborhood locations (such as schools) with hours convenient to families

d)    a compatible computer system, with appropriate safeguards for confidentiality, connecting county agencies to allow more open collaboration and provide comprehensive resource listing

e)     a non-categorized contingency fund, with rational limits and clear accountability, available to line workers dealing with crisis situations

f)     early intervention to prevent later crisis

g)     result-oriented, long-term evaluations of programs and services based on measured outcomes.

 

 

 

 

CORRECTIONS

 

We support a rehabilitative correctional system in Montgomery County for adults and juveniles.

Support for:

Guiding Principles

1.   Rehabilitation as the primary role of the Montgomery County correctional system.

      (1970-1971, reviewed and reaffirmed 1983)

2.   Protection of the rights and dignity of the individual in the correctional system.

      (1971 and 1972, revised 1984)

Adult Correctional System

3.   The adult correctional system providing an initial diagnostic evaluation of the individual’s problems and needs. (1971, reviewed and reaffirmed 1983)

4.   Coordination of the entire range of community services with the adult correctional system. Individuals entering the system should be informed of the availability of alcohol and drug programs; medical, educational, recreational, and mental health services; family and individual counseling; job training and referral; and financial assistance. (1971)

5.   Alternatives to incarceration which should include: (1971, revised 1983)

      a)     speed-up of trial and sentencing procedures

b)    improvements in the bail and bond systems, including pre-trial supervision

c)     halfway houses in the community for both sentenced and unsentenced individuals

d)    improved parole and probation services

e)     expanded work-release opportunities.

6.   Corrective facilities for adults which are accessible, without need for cars, to visitors, workers, and inmates on work-release. (1971, reviewed and reaffirmed 1983)

7.   Montgomery County Detention Center, which is limited in use.  It should be used as a facility for serving short sentences and as a pre-trial diagnostic and holding center.  Individuals should be detained there pre-trial only for their own protection or that of the community.

      (1971, revised 1983)

8.   Individuals in the Detention Center housed according to classifications which promote their own safety. (1971, revised 1983)

Juvenile Correctional System

9.   For the child entering the juvenile court process: (1971 and 1972, revised 1984)

a)   written guidelines which permit flexibility

b)   a juvenile counselor always available to help the child and parents

c)   mandatory notification of available services and financial assistance

d)   more options available in the county for individualized short-term care such as counseling programs, halfway houses, and foster and group homes (including homes for those with special problems).

10.   Juvenile records accessible only to those dealing with the child in the social/legal process.  They should be available to others only with waiver by the judge with mandatory notification of the child and parents. (1972, revised 1984)

 

 

 

 

EDUCATION

 

We support quality public education and equal educational opportunity for all. Support for:

Board of Education and Staff

1.   Members of the Board of Education chosen in non-partisan elections. (1966, 1971) Terms should be staggered so that approximately half the members are elected at one time. (1982)

2.     Ensuring quality professional personnel by: (1982)

a)   adequate financing to maintain salary schedules designed to attract and hold teachers

b)   effective supervision and opportunities for further education

c)   vigorous evaluation of professional personnel and appropriate follow-up action

d)   implementation of the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) process to evaluate and support MCPS instructional staff. (2000)

3.     Protection of the personnel of the school system and of the Board of Education in the exercise of their exclusive responsibility for the selection of instructional materials and textbooks. (1954, 1971, 1978)

Budget

4.     Adequate financing for:

a)   art, music (including instrumental music), and physical education programs in elementary schools (1963, 1971)

b)   textbooks, instructional materials, and school libraries (adequate school libraries within two years of opening) (1960, 1971)

c)   plant facilities, with planning for dual-purpose schools (1961, 1971)

d)   desirable class size. (Reaffirmed 1963, 1971)

Innovative Practices

5.     School board policies which guide the use of innovative practices throughout the school system, with the following guidelines: (1971)

a)   evaluation standards should be continuously applied to all innovative practices. These standards should be reviewed periodically

b)   the dissemination of information about new programs and their evaluation to all administrators, teachers, students, and parents is essential

c)   teachers should be provided with the necessary training and support (including adequate resource and supervisory staff) to carry out innovative practices effectively

d)   principals should be provided with exposure to new ideas and be able to initiate innovative practices in their schools

e)   a choice of teaching approaches (instructional practices) should be available for students

f)    necessary procedures which allow for flexibility should be established, and lines of responsibility should be clearly understood.

Counseling  (1972)

6.     Secondary school counselor maintaining confidentiality and being readily available to the student, parent, principal, and teacher as a liaison and consultant. Responsibilities should include:

a)   orientation for students and parents new to the school

b)   career planning — vocational and/or college

c)   academic guidance — course selection, curriculum planning, scheduling

d)   personal guidance — relationships with parents, teacher, and students within the school setting

e)   referral — meeting specific problems through the use of school and community resources.

7.     Counseling services in all elementary schools with emphasis on early identification of problems.  Counseling needs should be met in a variety of ways, with emphasis on more in-service training of classroom teachers.

Career Education  (1974)

8.     Career education as a combined responsibility of parent, school, and community with the schools serving as the focal point:

a)   the career education program should offer all students a knowledge of the world of work and the widest possible awareness of career choice

b)   career education in the schools should begin in kindergarten

c)   students should have the opportunity to acquire a salable skill, but such a skill should not be required for graduation

d)   the vocational education aspect of career education should be expanded.

Programs for At-Risk Students  (1990)

9.     MCPS programs to reduce the incidence of underachievement and failure for those students who, without intervention, are likely to emerge from school unprepared for further education and unprepared for the demands of a changing workplace.

10.     Programs which include:

a)   prevention

b)   early intervention

c)   in-school services where possible (2000)

d)   small, individualized programs as needed (2000)

e)   collaboration with other public and private resources

f)    access to core subjects taught by qualified teachers to meet requirements for graduation (2000)

g)   access to a variety of services that address academic, social, mental health, and emotional needs. (2000)

Special Education

11.     Special education programs incorporating the concept of “mainstreaming” with recognition that to be successful, mainstreaming requires special training for classroom teachers and sufficient supportive staff. (1975)

12.     Emphasis on early identification, with cooperation between public and private sectors. (1975)

13.     A full range of supplementary programs and services for all students with special needs, including the gifted and talented: (1976)

a)   funding should be provided by the county and the state

b)   services should be provided through a combination of public and private programs with the county continuing to contract with private agencies for some services.

Programs for Limited-English-Proficient Students (1984) and Adults (2007)

14.     A variety of programs (since no single instructional approach will meet the needs of all limited-English-proficient students) designed to assure that these students:

a)   receive an educational opportunity, regardless of linguistic background

b)   are offered instruction that helps them learn English as quickly as possible to allow for success in school and in future employment

c)   are assessed and placed in appropriate programs.

15.     Free or low cost basic English language instruction should be available for Montgomery County adult residents who are not proficient in English. (2007)

a)   Local, state and federal governments should have a role in funding this instruction.

b)   Local, state, and federal governments should provide safety net funding to ensure maintenance of services.

c)   Local and state governments should work with non-profits, foundations and businesses to assure coordination of services, provide information and referral and assist in areas such as securing grants, training personnel and evaluating programs.

d)   Local government should establish a non-profit that can deliver the services described in 15c.

Community College  (1965, 1971)

16.     A publicly supported comprehensive community college education in Montgomery County with an “open door” admission policy and a commitment to upholding standards of academic excellence.

Testing Criteria

17.     The appropriate goal of testing in the schools is for the evaluation of student achievements.

18.     Testing for the purpose of accountability is appropriate.

19.     A broad range of tests is important: oral, essay, multiple choice, and true/false. (2002)

20.     State-wide testing of all high school students prior to graduation.

21.     The right of a student to take the tests as many times as necessary to pass the tests.

22.     The tests’ scores should be reported to the students in time to take advantage of remediation.

23.     That remediation should be available at no cost to the students and should be funded by the government level that imposed the mandate for testing.

24.     There was no agreement in the Montgomery County LWV that the High School Assessment tests should be required for a high school diploma.

 

 

 

 

ELDERLY

 

We support a wide range of services and facilities to meet the needs of the elderly in Montgomery County. (1975) Support for:

Role of County Government

1.   The county government taking prime responsibility for planning for the needs of the elderly and for coordinating the various services, as well as acting as a catalyst in providing programs

2.   The Commission on Aging as the advocate for the elderly in the county.

3.   Expanded publicity and outreach pertaining to all programs for the elderly.

4.   Involvement of the elderly in planning and operating programs in participation within the community.

Housing

5.   Availability to the elderly of a variety of housing providing options for the individual, including different levels of care ranging from independent living to institutionalization, with stress on

            semi-independent living (i.e., sheltered and congregate housing, domiciliary care, foster care, etc.)

6.   Special facilities provided in group housing including meal availability, transportation, health services, recreation, and socialization.

Nutrition

      7.   A variety of nutrition programs (including congregate dining programs and home-centered programs such as Meals-on-Wheels) available in Montgomery County to serve elderly people in economic need, people with nutritional problems, and those needing socialization.

Senior Centers

      8.   Multi-purpose senior centers providing recreational, social, and cultural activities; transportation, medical, social, and nutritional services.

Home Care

      9.   A comprehensive home care program provided by a combination of public, voluntary, and private agencies including health care, social services, homemaker and chore needs, transportation and nutritional services, with the client charge on a sliding scale basis.

 

 

 

 

ELECTION PROCESS

 

Election Criteria

1.   We believe it is important that election systems:

a)   produce representation that reflects community sentiment,

b)   help increase voter participation by encouraging a broader range of candidates and  more civil campaigns and

c)   are feasible to implement. 

2.   We also prefer election systems that: 

a)   are easy for the voter to understand, both in terms of how to vote and how their vote is counted,

b)   help ensure minority views and interests have some influence in selecting elected officials,

c)   help raise the level of political campaigns by encouraging a focus on the issues and discouraging negative campaigning,

d)   maximize the power of each voter’s vote and

e)   help promote more openness and responsiveness between candidates and constituents.

Election Systems

3.  We support the option to use Instant Runoff Voting for single seat or executive office elections, both at the county and local level.  This would require the winner to receive a majority of the votes cast.  

a)  To fill vacancies in any county offices, when special elections are held, we support a single election requiring a candidate to receive a majority of votes (using Instant Runoff Voting) instead of conducting both special political party primaries and a special general election.

b)  In addition, we support using a single election, instead of both a primary and general, which requires a candidate to receive a majority of votes (using Instant Runoff Voting) in order to be elected to the nonpartisan Board of Education.  The election should be concurrent with the general election.

4.  We support the continued use of plurality voting system in our elections.

5.  We do not support Limited Voting as an alternative voting method.

Election Equipment

6.   We believe all newly acquired voting equipment (hardware and software) for use in Montgomery County should allow alternative ways of casting and counting ballots and be usable for all county and municipal elections.  (NOTE:  In 2008, this includes support of Instant Runoff Voting and Single Transferable Voting for Takoma Park city elections.)

 

 

 

 

FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES

 

We support fire and rescue services that protect the health and safety of Montgomery County residents. (1992, 1997)  Support for:

      1.   Services delivered by both career and volunteer personnel.

      2.   Retention of Emergency Medical Services within the Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

      3.   Ambulance service without fees.

      4.   Changes in the fire and rescue services system: (1996)

a)     the administrative power of the county over the independent fire and rescue corporations

should be strengthened (1997)

b)    the Fire and Rescue Commission should be the policy-making body and a Fire Administrator should be charged with carrying out its policies (1997)

c)     the Fire and Rescue Commission should include two members representing the career service, two the volunteer service, and three the community (1997)

d)    the Fire Administrator’s assistants (such as career and volunteer chiefs) should be specified in the law. (1997)

Opposition to:

5.   Mandatory installation of sprinkler systems in existing residences.

6.   Changes in the fire and rescue services system by charter amendment. (1996)

 

 

 

 

HEALTH CARE

 

We support the improvement of public health services and facilities for Montgomery County. Support for:

Public Health Services

      1.   The prevention of physical and psychological disorders as a major role of the Department of

Health and Human Services. (1974, revised 2000).

      2.   In the area of preventive care, health education as the most cost-effective method of improving basic health care.  Of special concern are the areas of immunizations and nutrition. (1977)

      3.   In the area of curative care, increased access to 24-hour medical services. (1977, revised 2000).

      4.   Expansion of the services of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to include access to treatment and well-child care. (1974, revised 2000).

Making Services Accessible

      5.   Information about services available from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services fully disseminated to the public. (1974, reworded 2000)

      6.   Better coordination of services within the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and with other county agencies. (1974, reworded 2000).

      7.   Better utilization of existing facilities such as schools and shopping centers for provision of health services (Ex., School-Based Health Centers). (1974, revised 2000).

      8.   Transportation upgraded to provide easy access to all county health services. (1974)

      9.   County extension of financial assistance eligibility parameters to include those with incomes above the cutoff to qualify for Medicaid other government programs but too low to afford private medical care. (1974, revised 2000)

Prenatal Care

      10. Efforts to ensure that prenatal care be a high priority of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (1991, reworded 2000)

      11. Supplemental nutrition programs with county funding as necessary for pregnant women, infants, and children up to five years. (1991)

      12. A variety of outreach programs to improve prenatal care for the needy. (1991)

Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents

      13. Provision of the following public and mental health services for children and adolescents: (2000)

a)   prevention and early intervention

b)   culturally sensitive and bi-lingual providers

c)   comprehensive range of treatment services

d)   respite care.

      14. Appropriate and timely compensation for providers, particularly reimbursement for case management. (2000)

      15. Montgomery County ensuring that adequate mental health services are available and accessible to children in all parts of the county: (2000)

a)   seeking additional funds from the state as needed

b)   supplementing state funding with county funds, if necessary

c)   maintaining a safety net for underserved children and those with the most complex problems

Mental Health Services for Adults

16. The League supports provision of the following public mental health services for adults:  (2004)

a)   a range of treatment services including in-patient, out-patient, residential, home and community-based crisis intervention, and pharmacy.

b)   culturally sensitive, diverse, multi-lingual providers

c)   case management with coordination and continuity among agencies including in-patient


institutions,  shelters and the correctional system.

      17. Montgomery County should do the following to ensure an accountable and reliable system for mental health services:  (2004)

            a)   develop a comprehensive mental health plan

b)   define professional standards and best practices for all providers to observe

            c)   provide oversight of contracted services

      d)   develop an information technology system that will collect data and define standards for inter-agency sharing and collaboration, while safeguarding patient privacy

e)   work collaboratively with the state to ensure appropriate and timely payment of providers and streamlined administrative systems.

18. Montgomery County should do the following to ensure that adequate mental health services are available and accessible to adults in all parts of the county:  (2004)

            a)   seek more realistic funding from the state to provide comprehensive care

            b)   supplement state funding with county funding when needed

            c)   identify and pursue additional funding such as federal or private grants

            d)   maintain a safety net of public mental health services

      e)   increase availability of housing for the mentally ill homeless through a range of housing possibilities, including group homes, “safe havens,” and personal living quarters.

Health Care for the Homeless:  (2009)

19. The League supports an integrated system of health care for the homeless including:

a)   primary medical care

b)   behavioral health services

c)   nurse case management in response to the complex health needs of this population.

 

 

 

 

HOUSING AND PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS

 

We support Montgomery County policies and programs to increase the supply of affordable housing, to prevent discrimination in housing and public accommodations and to meet the needs of the homeless.  (1989, 2005, 2008, 2009)

Support for:

1.   Affordable housing:  Comprehensive efforts by Montgomery County to maintain and increase the supply of affordable housing including: (1967, 1968, 1970, 1978, 1985, 1989, 2005, 2008)

            a)   flexible and comprehensive approaches using private, county, and federal funds

            b)   continued reliance on the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission

c)   changes in zoning ordinances and related regulations to require provision for low – and moderate income housing in all residential and mixed – use zones

d)   use of scattered sites and application of the principles of economic diversity in residential zoning categories

            e)   use of inclusionary zoning, such as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU)

            f)    preservation of existing communities where feasible and/or desired

            g)   strict enforcement of housing codes with shift to civil penalties

h)   use of tax structure and policies such as tax abatement to maintain and increase the supply of affordable housing

i)    measures that will increase the supply of workforce housing, defined as from the MPDU maximum to 120% of the median income, including:

                  i)      a combination of incentives, employer assisted housing and mandatory requirements

                  ii)     increased density consistent with smart growth, (2005)

            j)    supportive community services

            k)   permitting accessory apartments with adequate controls to prevent neighborhood deterioration 

            l)    The regulations governing approval of accessory apartments should be changed:*

                  i)      Delete time restrictions on age of home or length of ownership

                  ii)     include a maximum neighborhood percentage

                  iii)    permit an accessory apartment in a townhouse 

                  iv)    allow the Board of Appeals to use discretion in granting waivers in exceptional cases

                  v)     adoption of a streamlined regulatory process, by the County (2005)

            m)  encouragement of increase in the stock of single room occupancy (SRO) housing such as personal living quarters by appropriate means

            n)   permitting use of mobile homes on scattered sites and encouragement of well designed mobile parks

2    Fair Housing

a)   Comprehensive fair housing legislation in Montgomery County covering real estate and lending practices (1966, 1989)

            b)   Continuation of the office of Landlord/Tenant Affairs with quasi-judicial powers (1972, 1989)

c)   A model lease, defined as a mutual contract, which includes a warranty of habitability and protection against retaliatory eviction (1972, 1989)

3.   Special Needs

Montgomery County policies and programs to provide shelter and services to all individuals with special needs, including individuals with special needs due to:

$    mental illness

$    homelessness

$    physical disability

$    developmental disability and

$    age (2005)

a)   Policies and programs include emergency shelters, transitional housing, detoxification centers,

halfway houses and permanent housing and support personnel for people with special needs (1989, 2008, 2009)

i)        Support for programs, designed to address homelessness, incorporating the “Housing First” model

ii)       Establish a formal coordinating mechanism for all County public, private and non-profit programs and services for the homeless

b)   Support residential supportive services for individuals with special needs due to mental illness and for other individuals with special needs requiring residential supportive services (2005)

c)   Support production of barrier free or accessible housing as a voluntary effort on the part of the home-building industry, encouraged by a combination of incentives such as an award program and some mandatory measures. (2005)

4.      Public Accommodations and Human Relations:

a)   Comprehensive legislation to outlaw discrimination in Montgomery County with respect to public accommodations

b)   Adequate financing for the Human Relations Commission so that it can perform the functions authorized in the law (1964,1989)

 

*  See Land Use position #13 (2008)

 

 

 

 

LAND USE PLANNING

                 

We support comprehensive long-range planning for Montgomery County and the Washington Metropolitan Area.  Support for:

Growth

1.   A General Plan for Montgomery County providing for structured growth and including areas of concentrated development, separated by clearly defined areas of open space. (1962, reaffirmed 1973)

2.   Growth in Montgomery County controlled by:

a)   zoning, which should be strictly enforced

b)   making services (such as schools, water supply, sewers, fire and police protection, transportation and roads) available as development proceeds. (1973, 1982, reaffirmed 1985)

Planning Process

3.   The bi-county structure of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission under the Regional District Act. (1991)

4.   The County Council appointing all members of the Montgomery County Planning Board. (1989)

5.   The County Council setting planning priorities through approval of the Planning Board budget and annual work program; the County Executive to make recommendations and veto items in the budget and work program.  (1976, 1985, 1989)

6.   The Planning Board preparing master plans and sector plans and amendments with the County Executive participating fully from the beginning of the process.  The County Executive should not be able to modify the Planning Board’s final draft before submitting it to the County Council. (1989 1991)

7.   The Planning Board approving preliminary plans of subdivision, based on criteria for administering the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) approved by the County Council. (1986, 1989)

8.   The Planning Board appointing the Planning Director. (1989)

9.   A “lead agency” designated to devise functional plans and coordinate input from other agencies as a part of the planning process. (1976, reworded 1985)

Zoning

10.  Zoning ordinances and related regulations requiring provisions for low- and moderate-income housing in all residential and mixed-use zones. (1970, reworded Annual Meeting 1989)

11.  Zoning ordinances that:

a)   have special exception uses that are specifically defined and appropriate to the zone in which they are allowed. (2007)

b)   are written clearly and avoid conflicts and contradictions. (2007)

c)   have sufficient land available for the uses permitted by right in each zone. (2007)

d)   provide for the Board of Appeals to make decisions on special exceptions (1989), but allow decisions on appropriate special exception uses by the Hearing Examiner. (2007)

e)   address issues related to infill and redevelopment in large and/or individual sites. (2007)

12.  Zoning Text amendments should:

a)   not conflict with Master Plans. (2007)

b)   be relevant to more than a specific property. (2007)

13.  Use of standards and licensing in lieu of special exceptions for some uses, such as accessory apartments. (2007)

a)   Standards should be clear, specific, understandable and enforceable. (2007)

b)   Adequate inspection and enforcement is essential. (2007)

14.  The Planning Board preparing zoning map amendments for approval by the Council.  The County Executive should not be able to veto them. (1989)

Financing

15.  County public facilities financed with public funds, but recognition that, in some instances, the use of private funds may be necessary.  Any use of private funding for public facilities should be well regulated by the county government. (1986)

Green Infrastructure

16.  Continued funding by Montgomery County of the Legacy Open Space (LOS) program. (2003)

17.  Purchase of Open Space land for biodiversity hubs and corridors, using flexible funding. (2003)

18.  Consideration of passageways for animal migration in the construction of new roads or intersection improvement. (2003) (edit 2005)

19.  The use and consideration of the concept of Green Infrastructure as a criterion in the planning and zoning processes. (2003)

20.  The inclusion of the concept of Green Infrastructure as a criterion in park acquisition and management plans. (2003)

Agriculture Reserve and Rural Open Space  Agriculture Reserve and Rural Open Space 

21.  The Transferable Development Rights (TDR) program and its goals of conserving farmland, compensating rural land owners for down-zoning and consolidating growth (2002) through:

a)   modifying the TDR easement to permit only agricultural and single family residential uses (2006)

b)   improving the Master plan process for determining potential receiving areas through more intense review of the land and community characteristics prior to designation of receiving areas (2003)

c)   the planning staff’s developing a mechanism for designating receiving areas in CBD, transit stations and town centers (2003)

d)   requiring the use of TDRs for some residential density increase, ie. in floating or mixed use zones (2006)

e)   designating the development (5th) TDR as one for use in commercial, office and R&D development (2006)

f)    adopting a planning goal of no-net-loss of receiving areas (2003)

g)   implementing an improved system for tracking TDR activity and assigning responsibility for compliance with the steps of the process (2003)

h)   on-site afforestation for TDR receiving areas - opposing off-site alternatives in TDR receiving areas. (2003)

22.  Current restrictions on the uses permitted in the Agriculture Reserve (2002) and providing for:

a)   monitoring uses that require a special exception  (2004)

b)   restricting activities and events in the RDT zone that stimulate a need for commercial or industrial development in that zone. (2004)

23.  A policy that considers preservation of productive farmland to be a primary design consideration for development in the Rural Density Transfer (RDT) zone by:  (2004)

a)   emphasizing cluster development  (2004)

b)   modifying the child lot provision to allow zoning density to be exceeded only by child lots (2006)

c)   a minimum 5 year holding period before the title to a child lot can be transferred (2006)

d)   restricting the provision of water and sewer service beyond the established envelope and limiting service to private institutional facilities (PIFs) in the following ways:  (2004)

1)   sizing Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) capital projects to serve only the PIF

2)   permitting only a PIF itself to apply for service

3)   denying all requests for service requiring a WSSC pump station

4)   denying all requests for service for new and expanded uses in the RDT zone

5)   providing review by the County Council of requests to provide water and sewer service to properties that abut the sewer main beyond the service envelope.

e)   restricting the use of sand mound technology for sewerage disposal in agricultural zones (2006)

f)    establishing a requirement in the county for purchasers to be notified of the presence of sand mound technology and of the need for scheduling maintenance (2006)

24.  Policies to ensure the viability of agriculture in Montgomery County including: (2004)

a)   agricultural and rural open space preservation programs in Montgomery county  (2002)

1)   including the purchase of agricultural easements on RDT-zoned land based upon the value of building lots offered to be terminated (BLT) if funds are available (2006)

2)   priority to be in order of applications received (2006)

b)   flexible payment options for conservation easements (2004)

c)   enhanced deer management practices  (2004)

d)   a tax policy for agricultural land including the agricultural assessment, the county agricultural land transfer tax (2002) and fuel and energy tax reductions. (2004)

25.  The program of designated Rustic Roads. (2002)

 

 

 

 

LOCAL REVENUE

 

We support policies to strengthen the fiscal structure of Montgomery County.

Taxing Authority

Support for:

1.   The county government having the exclusive right to change the property tax rate.  Property tax rates should not be subject to state limitations or public referendum. (1976)

Opposition to:

2.   Charter amendments which:

a)   require the submission of county bond issues to referendum (1974, revised 1976)

b)   limit the tax rate (1981)

c)   place an absolute dollar ceiling on the levy (1981)

3.   Major changes in the Board of Education/County Council/County Executive fiscal relations. (1970)

Taxes

Support for:

4.   Local revenue sources which are equitable, convenient, certain, adequate, and diverse. (1991)

5.   A local income tax (which should be more progressive than the existing state and local income tax) as the preferred source of revenue, followed by taxes on property, vehicles, and development, in that order.  (1982, 1991)

6.   Continuation of preferential farm assessment, with a deferred tax which recognizes market values when the land is developed. (1982)

Opposition to:

7.   A local sales tax as a potential source of revenue. (1991)

 

 

 

 

POLICE SERVICES

 

We support pro-active/preventive policing in Montgomery County. (1994)

Support for:

1.   Pro-active/preventive policing in Montgomery County (1994)

2.   Increased funding in technical areas to implement pro-active/preventive policing (1994)

3.   Increased funding in personnel to implement pro-active/preventive policing. (1994)

 

 

 

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Support for:

      1.   A balanced system of transportation which includes a rapid transit system. (1962, affirmed 1973)

      2.   Transportation services which are made convenient and accessible by minimizing the time required for a trip, providing frequent and reliable service and adequate parking and charging reasonable fares. (1988)

      3.   Transportation information which is readily available by methods that include efficient telephone

      information, information on buses and at bus stops, and wide distribution of maps and schedules. (1988)

      4.   Solutions to current and future county transportation needs that include the following: (2000).

a)   building a new or improved East-West connection; no consensus on the Inter-County Connector. (edit 2005)

b)   building a transit line, including the Georgetown Branch Trolley, on a right-of-way generally south of the   Beltway-funding priority;

c)   building an outer transit line at some future time

d)   building the Corridor Cities Transitway from the Shady Grove Metro Station to Clarksburg

e)   opposition to the widening of the Capital Beltway.

5.   The concept that when building and rebuilding communities, designs should include incentives for using non-motorized forms of travel, particularly bicycling and walking.

To support this concept, the following elements must be in place: (2008)

a)      Sufficient budget to initiate and sustain education, engineering, and enforcement elements to encourage more people to walk and ride bikes.

b)      Education and outreach to residents in multiple languages through multiple means.

c)      Promotion of continuing driver education after passing the initial licensing exam.

d)      Promotion of bicycle safety education for all age groups.

e)      Increased enforcement through ticketing of dangerous behavior by drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

f)        Better marked cross walks.

g)      Coordination between municipal, county and state agencies and among county departments to support increasing availability of safe pedestrian and bicycle options to vehicular trips.

h)      Consideration by the Planning Board for pedestrian and bicyclist safety in every step of the site plan approval process.

i)        Ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of measures to increase both the numbers of people who are walking and biking for transportation and the safety of these activities.