Inclusion | Opportunity | Innovation

Council Update — winter storm resources and accessory dwelling units

Dear Resident,

As we are all working to bounce back from the snowstorm’s impact, check our Winter Storm Information Portal or reach out to my office if we can provide assistance, and check out the list of the Best Hills for Sledding in Montgomery County Parks!

On Tuesday, the Council will begin 2019 with a busy session. View the full agenda.

I will be introducing a zoning amendment that makes several needed changes to the County’s accessory dwelling unit (ADU) rules.

ADUs are seperate dwelling units — think “in-law suite,” “tiny house,” etc — on the same lot as a house. Usually they are inside a house, but they can also be a smaller separate house. They have a separate entrance, full kitchen, and bathroom. Many people find that ADUs are a great housing solution for the parents or grandparents of a family, adult children and relatives, adult children with special needs, caregivers, and just generally. They provide more affordable housing in parts of the County where housing has become prohibitively expensive.

Unfortunately, the County’s rules treat this housing type as a nuisance to be avoided rather than a resource to be welcomed. This zoning change aims to change that framework. For details, please take a look at the fact sheet and the text of the zoning change.

To gather input from residents and experts, I will host a policy forum on ADUs on Saturday, January 19 from 10am-Noon in Rockville. If you are interested in learning more about ADUs and the changes I am proposing, please RSVP.

The Council public hearing on the ordinance will be take place in late February.

Following are some additional highlights of the Council’s week:

Public hearings on zoning changes related to Montgomery Mall, the Purple Line, and Farm Alcohol Production
The Council will hold public hearings on three zoning changes that I authored. The first relates to the redevelopment of Montgomery Mall. The second allows higher fence heights for residents adjacent to the Purple Line. The third allows farm breweries and wineries to locate in certain large lot residential zones.

Discussion on financial controls to prevent fraud and theft
In the wake of the recent conviction of a Montgomery County employee for theft of public money, the County Inspector General and executive branch staff will brief the Council on a report that outlines how the theft happened and that recommends countermeasures to prevent this from happening again. The County has already implemented or begun implementing these countermeasures.

Independent Investigation of officer involved death legislation
I have co-sponsored legislation set to be introduced on Tuesday by Councilmember Jawando that would require an independent investigation of every police officer involved death. The goal of the bill is to promote public confidence in these investigations. A public hearing will occur in early March.

Thank you for reading, and please let me know if you need assistance with County services.

Stay safe out there!

Hans Riemer Signature
Hans Riemer
Councilmember, At-large

Wheaton Public Safety Task Force

As a long-time supporter of redevelopment in Wheaton, I have worked to ensure our County government continues to make Wheaton an important priority. Today, I am pleased to announce that the county is considering launching a Wheaton Public Safety Task Force.


When it comes to Wheaton’s future, we envision a safe and vibrant town bustling with community activity. An integral component of this is the provision of public safety. I understand some of our community members are hesitant to frequent Wheaton due to concerns about crime. Although Wheaton has experienced positive changes since the Wheaton Public Safety Audit of 2004, I firmly believe there is more work to be done.


In early April, Councilmember Nancy Navarro and I, requested the Montgomery County Police Department to establish a Wheaton Public Safety Task Force. This task force would focus on the following goals:


1.) Enhance public safety in Wheaton’s Central Business District
2.) Solicit community concerns about public safety and prepare responses/recommendations
3.) Work alongside other County agencies to improve safety for downtown retail and residential activity
4.) Engage residents and business owners as part of ongoing public safety efforts
5.) Improve public perception of Wheaton’s Central Business District
6.) Review, update, and implement any remaining recommendations from the Wheaton Public Safety Audit of 2004.

Last week, we received a letter from MCPD’s Chief of Police, J. Thomas Manger, calling a public safety task force “a good starting point for us working together. We look forward to getting this important initiatiave going soon and please get in touch with me if you would like my office to provide you with more information. Stay tunes for announcements.