Vaccination update — pre-register for an appointment

Dear resident:

This week saw a big shift in the state’s vaccination strategy.

On Monday I wrote to you about why we needed to revise the strategy to start administering more doses. I called for the Governor to open up eligibility to age 75+.

Thanks to the Governor’s Thursday announcement, going forward:

  • Residents age 75+ and education sector employees are now eligible (1B).
  • Hospitals, some of which have unused inventory, are now directed to provide doses to 1B eligible residents in the community.
  • Additional retail pharmacies will begin administering doses (though this will be very limited to start).

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Vaccination update

Dear resident,

The prioritization strategy for COVID-19 vaccinations is carefully thought out, from the Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidance, through the State of Maryland down to Montgomery County.

But so far the results are mixed.

This past week the County received 8,600 Moderna doses and administered 6,485 in our County clinics. That leaves 2,115 doses on the shelf, despite the heroic efforts of our Public Health team.

Evidently early stage groups are not showing up at the rate expected; whether because outreach hasn’t been strong enough, people just need time to schedule, or they are hesitant. But the outcome is clear and untenable.

That is why I am urging County officials to open up Group 1B and begin making vaccination doses available to residents over age 75.

This will require coordination with the State Department of Health, so today I am reiterating that call, and asking Governor Hogan to direct his health team to revise the state strategy.

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Montgomery County Vaccination Update

Dear resident,

On Monday I called on the State and County to release more information about who is in tier 1A, 1B and 1C, and tiers 2 and 3.

The County health department responded to my request by sharing draft information with the County Council. You can read more details here. Governor Hogan published more state level information at his press conference yesterday at 5pm (as his communications staff responded to my tweets that they planned to do). Here is more information from the state.

Vaccination Phases
Maryland’s priority populations and phasing for vaccinations

I have asked the County Executive to share more clear public information about the County’s tiers and processes. Here are more details based on what information I have at this time.

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New poll shows 69 percent of Montgomery County voters and 85 percent of Democrats support farm solar

Riemer: “It’s time for Council action. Legalizing 1,800 acres of farm solar arrays would be our biggest step yet to address the climate emergency”

ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 15, 2020—A new poll released today by Chesapeake Climate Action (CCAN) finds overwhelming support among Montgomery County voters for a proposal that is before the Montgomery County Council to legalize a limited amount of solar arrays on farm land in the County.

The zoning proposal, Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-01, authored by Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee (PHED) Chair Hans Riemer and Transportation and Environment Committee (T&E) Chair Tom Hucker, would allow solar arrays for community solar and aggregate net metered installations on land in the Agricultural Reserve zone. These solar installations are capped at two megawatts of energy generation, which generally requires about 10 to 12 acres of land. Community solar projects have a strong low-income component and aggregate net metered arrays are limited to local government, non-profit or agricultural entities. The zoning change would limit installations to a maximum of 1,800 acres in the more than 90,000 acre reserve. The land would be required to continue supporting agricultural uses through pollinator-friendly plant cultivation, food crop production or herd grazing. The plan also has strong forest, runoff and other environmental protections that exceed what is otherwise required for farm land.
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Why the Council voted to override the veto of the Metro smart growth plan

Dear resident:

On Tuesday, the County Council voted to override County Executive Elrich’s veto of the “More Housing At Metro” Act, a smart growth plan adopted by the Council a week earlier.

Read the op-ed I wrote about it in the Washington Post

Our County’s 9 Metro station properties could be delivering enormous benefits to the County — including substantial tax revenues — but instead they are a drag. From a real estate perspective, some are nearly “brownfields” due to the overwhelming expense of building above a station.

The Council has a plan to break the status quo and generate some economic momentum. The legislation, vetoed by the County Executive, would provide a highly targeted property tax abatement exclusively for high rise construction on these 9 Metro station properties.

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