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County Council Takes First Step to Kill M83, Sort of, But Not Really

The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved that something should be done, but nobody really knows exactly what that something will look like but it will provide a path forward.

The something is a resolution. A resolution which will come from members of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development, or PHED, Committee. The resolution will convey the County Council’s desire for the Planning Board to disregard the portion of the County’s Master Plan which calls for the extension of Mid-County Highway or M83 from Gaithersburg to Clarksburg, as it pertains to future decisions on development in the UpCounty. However, M83, which was estimated to cost $357 million in 2015, will remain in the Master Plan.

The majority of the current sitting members on the Council are opposed to M83 and wish to have it removed from the Master Plan. However, they were thwarted by a study released in February saying the roadway would be beneficial, which makes it a bit harder to remove the roadway from the Master Plan. So, the next best option, is to instruct the Planning Board to ignore it.

While the resolution will not remove the controversial roadway which has been part of the County Master Plan since the 1960s, the resolution will be worded in a way by members of the PHED committee, which consists of At-Large Councilmembers George Leventhal, Hans Reimer, and Nancy Floreen, to instruct the Planning Board to disregard M83 when it comes to new projects in the county.

During her report to the County Council, Marlene Michaelson, Senior legislative analyst for the County, told the Council during Monday’s meeting, “[The PHED] committee majority recommends that there be a resolution indicating that as the Planning Board takes up future master plans that could rely on M83, that there not be an assumption of M83 as they consider changes or increases in density that might rely on M83. That resolution is something that will follow sometime in the summer or fall.”

After Michaelson gave her report, a brief discussion of the vague and, as yet, unwritten resolution, which would affect the long term fate of the roadway followed.