Montgomery County Council Enacts Zoning Text Amendment Affording Development Flexibility to R&D Facilities

On July 26, 2022, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed ZTA 22-02, which allows for additional height and development flexibility for research and development (“R&D”) and medical/scientific manufacturing facilities in the Commercial Residential, Life Science Center, Employment Office, and Moderate Industrial zones. For qualifying properties, subject to Planning Board approval, the ZTA allows for additional height and flexibility for R&D and medical/scientific manufacturing facilities as follows:

  1. On properties where the maximum zoned height is 100 feet or less, building height for a R&D or medical/scientific manufacturing facility may be increased by 5 times the maximum zoned height provided that the maximum height does not exceed 150 feet.
  2. R&D or medical/scientific manufacturing facilities may average height across a single building or multiple buildings within a R&D or medical/scientific manufacturing development project.
  3. Residential density permitted by a property’s zoning may be converted to non-residential density so long as the project does not exceed the overall maximum density permitted by the property’s zoning.

To qualify for the additional height and development flexibility described above, the property must be in one of the above-listed zones and:

  1. Be located within a Red Policy Area[1] or Opportunity Zone[2], including contiguous properties separated from the red policy area or opportunity zone only by a public right-of-way; or within ½ mile of a planned or existing Bus Rapid Transit route including the Corridor Cities Transitway;
  2. Front on a street classified as an arterial roadway or higher classification; and
  3. Not abut or confront land in an agricultural, rural residential, residential detached or townhouse zone that is vacant or improved with residential or agricultural use.

In addition, the building(s) constructed must be adaptable to other future uses.

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[1] Defined in the 2020–2024 Growth and Infrastructure Policy

[2] Defined in State and Federal Law.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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