Verbatim: Last Day Motions

Verbatim: Last Day Motions

Councilmembers had one last opportunity to make changes to the Potomac Master Plan before their final vote on Tuesday, March 5. A number of motions were proposed by councilmembers. A majority, or five votes, were needed for any motion or change to pass.

<mh>Setbacks at Cabin John Center

<bt>Proposed by: Howard Denis (R-1)

Proposal would require that setbacks between any redevelopment of the Cabin John Center and the Inverness Knolls townhouses be 100 feet, regardless of proximity to the storm water management pond between the properties. On Feb. 5, County Council voted by a 5-4 vote to allow the Planning Board the option to reduce the setback by the storm water management pond to 50 feet.


Denis: "It seems to destabilize support for the redevelopment plan to have the setback reduced."

Steve Silverman (D-At large): "That area, in effect, has its own buffer built in."


Support motion: Denis, Derick Berlage (D-5), Blair Ewing (D-At large), Phil Andrews (D-3)

Oppose motion: Mike Subin (D-At large), Marilyn Praisner (D-4), Silverman, Isiah "Ike" Leggett (D-At large), Nancy Dacek (R-2)

Tally: 4-5, motion fails

<mh>Housing Units at Cabin John

<bt>Proposed by: Denis

Proposal would limit the number of housing units permitted in any redevelopment of Cabin John Center to 40. The Council voted on Feb. 5 to permit 135 housing units as long as 75 are for elderly or affordable housing.


Dacek: "Much of the discussion on the Potomac Master Plan centered around where senior housing could be planned. I felt that this was an appropriate place where elderly housing could be located."


To reduce the amount of housing: Denis, Ewing, Andrews

To allow 135 housing units: Subin, Praisner, Berlage, Silverman, Leggett

Tally: 3-6, motion fails

<mh>Special Exceptions

<bt>Proposed By: Subin

Subin requested that all special exceptions permitted in the Potomac Subregion be listed in an appendix to the Master Plan. One such special exception granted by the Board of Appeals is the Harbor School, which was granted a special exception to operate its school on Newbridge Drive. The special exception can still be appealed by the Potomac Citizens Association.


Praisner: "We either list all of them or we list none of them. We are either consistent or we are not consistent. There's enough with this plan that is not consistent.

Marlene Michaelson, senior legislative analyst: "Have to recognize that special exceptions are in flux, that they would be listed with the understanding that they were approved as of a certain date."

Subin: "I ask for an appendix that says as of this date, the council recognized that the following special exceptions exist. I find it amazing that those who might object are those who say too many exceptions exist."

Dacek: "Is there another [Master] Plan that includes this?"

Michaelson: "Master Plans frequently make reference to exceptions; we have recognized single cases. This is more thorough."

Subin: "I'd be open to making it a practice in the future."


Support: Subin, Silverman, Leggett, Ewing

Oppose: Praisner, Denis, Berlage, Dacek, Andrews

Tally: 4-5, motion fails

<mh>Ideal Conditions for Affordable Housing

<bt>Proposed by: Denis

Denis requested that the Council reinstate language in the Plan that gives guidance on the "ideal locations" for affordable housing. The original Planning Board Draft of the Master Plan stated that ideal locations include sites: in or adjacent to an activity center, planned as mixed-use centers, well served by public transportation, convenient to shopping, medical offices and other services, and located in priority funding areas and areas served by public water and sewer."


Denis: "Language we're deleting is significant and was recommended by the planner and the Planning Board… It's not an absolute requirement but says what is an ideal location. If this is not in other Master Plans, why not? I think we should start here."

Praisner: "I think it may send guidance but it may send limitations and reasons why affordable housing won't be included in the Potomac Subregion."

Dacek: "I do think that those criteria are used [to determine appropriate sites for affordable housing.] But I also think we had clarification of percentage of affordable housing in the Potomac Subregion. I have no problem with having language in here recognizing that there are serious concerns."

Leggett: "It is not a requirement for affordable housing and that [language] will cause problems in the future. You run a risk that this will be interpreted as a requirement for affordable housing."

Arthur Holmes Jr. (chairman of the Planning Board): "If you look at the phrase, 'not every acceptable site will meet all of those criteria. Ideal sites include… ' you will see it does give some flexibility."

Denis: "It is a misinterpretation to interpret this language to exclude affordable housing."


Support: Denis, Ewing, Dacek, Andrews

Oppose: Subin, Praisner, Berlage, Silverman, Leggett

Tally: 4-5, motion fails


<bt>Proposed by: Denis

Request to include illustrative drawings agreed to by the West Bradley Homeowners Association and attorneys for the owners of Stoneyhurst Quarry.


Denis: "My motion is the same motion I made a couple of weeks ago. We have a carefully worked out agreement between West Bradley and the property owner. I would like us to include both drawings."

Praisner: "There are good reasons why we don't have multiple site drawings in a Master Plan. It sends a message of lack of clarity."


Support: Subin, Denis, Berlage, Silverman, Leggett

Oppose: Praisner, Ewing, Dacek, Andrews

Tally: 5-4, motion passes