Tuesday, December 6, 2016

White Flint Committee supports BID legislation

The following letter was provided to the Montgomery Country Delegation, the Honorable Nancy King and the Honorable Shane Robinson, by the the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee on December 5th, 2016. 

Dear Senator King and Delegate Robinson,

I am writing to you on behalf of the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee to express the Committee’s strong support for MC 12-17, to alter the approval requirements to create and expand a Business Improvement District (BID) in Montgomery County. We thank Delegate Will Smith for his leadership on this important legislation.

The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee was charged by the County Executive and County Council to make recommendations on the eventual establishment of an urban services district in the White Flint Sector Plan Area, also known as the Pike District. Our committee includes local residents, businesses, and property owners.

After reviewing the tools available to accomplish this, we believe BIDs are a proven model to supplement existing government services and enhance public safety, marketing and events, neighborhood beautification, and infrastructure. BIDs are the future of economic development and have swept across the nation in the last few decades. BIDs are successful because they place these important services in the hands of local stakeholders. Unfortunately, the current 80% approval requirement makes forming a BID a daunting task and none have been formed in the state since the original legislation in 2010.

The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee strongly supports MC 12-17 because it will facilitate the formation of BIDs in Montgomery County and provide the County a real mechanism to compete with D.C. and Virginia in terms of economic development, marketing, and place-making.

MC 12-17 changes the approval requirement to 51% of individual property owners AND 51% of the assessed value within the proposed district. This lower requirement puts us in line with BIDs in the District of Columbia and Virginia. Additionally, the bill allows rental residential properties – a commercial use - to benefit from BID services.

In addition, we respectfully request two edits to improve the governance provisions in the legislation. The legislation currently specifies that a BID would have five (5) Board members, with three (3) Board members required for a quorum. We think this should be revised to allow flexibility in determining the appropriate size of a Board based upon specific circumstances, as follows:

1. Sec. 12-605(B)(1) currently provides that a Board “consists of five members.” (See Page 4, Line 22). We would propose that a Board “consists of a minimum of five members.”

2. Sec. 12-605(D)(1) currently provides, “Three voting members of the Board are a quorum,” (See Page 5, Line 3). We would propose, “A majority of members of a Board are a quorum.”

Thank you for your consideration.


Thomas D. Murphy

Robert M. Schwarzbart

In Memory Of

Robert Schwarzbart

The Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory board is saddened by the passing of Board member Bob Schwarzbart, who passed away on Friday, November 18, 2016, with his loving wife Sandra at his side. He is also survived by wonderful cousins and friends.

He was born and raised in New York City. A graduate of NYU and Brooklyn Law School, he served in the U.S. Army for two years prior to a 44 year legal career, mostly at the National Labor Relations Board; assuming progressively more responsible positions, including Assistant Regional Attorney. He was very active in the community.

He was appointed as Administrative Law Judge at the Board in Washington DC in 1975 and proudly served in that position for 27 years until he retired in 2002. Then he greatly enjoyed participating in local community and government activities, including 13 years as an elected member of the Friendship Heights Village Council. His ever enduring love of books and literature is legendary.

"Let his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life"

Annual Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights

 The Annual ZooLights exhibit is open late through the holidays so make sure to stop by with your families!

The National Zoo's annual exhibit of 500,000 lights, which decorate zoo walkways, trees and buildings and in sculptures featuring elephants, giant pandas and other popular zoo residents, is open 5-9 pm through January 1. The Kids' Farm, Reptile Discovery Center, Small Mammal House, Think Tank (orangutans) and Great Cats exhibit also are open in the evening. Free, but there are charges for tubing, train rides and carousel rides. Limited parking is available for $22. 

Resultado de imagen para zoolights washington dc

Friday, December 2, 2016

Local Writing Contest!

Writing Contest

The Bethesda Urban Partnership and Bethesda Magazine have partnered to honor local writers at the Bethesda Literary Festival, April 21-23, 2017. All essay and short story contest winners will be published on the Bethesda Urban Partnership and Bethesda Magazine websites and honored at a special event during the festival. The deadline to apply for the essay contest is Friday, January 7, and Friday, January 22 for the short story contest. There are separate contests for adults and high school students and monetary awards in each category.

You can find more information at the Bethesda magazine Website!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Minutes and Agendas

Looking for the minutes and agendas of the WWMCCAB and the WFDAC? Look no further! Just click the link below.  

 here for minutes and agendas


What is a BID?

A Business/Community Improvement District (BID) is a public/private partnership in which property and business owners collaborate to maintain, develop and promote their local commercial district. There are over 1,000 BID’s across the country. They are organized, funded and operated in a wide variety of ways.

How does BID work?

A BID delivers services in the public and commercial areas of commercial districts. While subject to some government oversight, a BID is successful because it can operate like a private entity to deliver these services in a timely, responsive and cost-effective manner. The BID’s principal stakeholders are property and business owners in the district. These stakeholders have a direct say in the BID budget and business plan.
The most successful BID’s benefit from a high degree of private sector participation. BID’s are locally funded through a wide variety of formulas that include assessments against stakeholders within a district.
*New Orleans created the first BID in the U.S. in 1974

What services can a BID provide?

1.      Safety and Information - Staff on the street help direct visitors, and assist police.
2.      Streetscaping - Uniform enhancements to with landscaping and unique improvements to create a sense of place and branding of the community.
3.      Cleaning and Maintenance - Routine cleaning, street sweeping, trash collection, landscaping maintenance to ensure the area is free of debris.
4.      Marketing/Special Events - Let the neighborhood, region, and visitors know what’s special about the area through signature events, a destination website, and social media.
5.      Business Assistance/Development - Help small businesses and property owners solve problems. Resource for market information.
6.      Government Navigation - Assist with resources available through various County and community agencies.

What is the White Flint Development Advisory Committee?

The White Flint DAC was established by the County Council to advise County departments on public services in the Pike District, and to coordinate activities that promote business interests and a sense of community. The White Flint DAC is also specifically tasked with transmitting to the County Executive by 2017 the committee’s recommendations for a BID or similar entity to be established within White Flint Sector Plan area, and possibly within White Flint 2 Sector Plan area as well. 

Eventually, the Pike District BID could provide maintenance of streetscape and related amenities; provide additional public amenities such as plantings, seating and public art; promote the commercial and residential interests of the area; and coordinate area marketing community activities.

Examples of Local BIDs
·         Washington D.C. BIDs - www.dcbidcouncil.org
·         RosslynBID - www.rosslynva.org
·         Golden Triangle BID - www.goldentriangledc.otg
·         Bethesda Urban Partnership - www.bethesda.org