Why the Moratorium is a Good Idea
Calm down, Dan.
Yes, the Montgomery County Council is now considering a building moratorium. This is after a solid decade of growth in the county, with new buildings popping up all over like... well... Poppies . Some of those projects have been hugely successful, and a boon to the community, like the redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring. Some have been a burden on the county, putting additional stress on congested roads, over-crowded schools, and the county's streams and wetlands. Some of the projects have even been built outside, above, or around the limits imposed on them by a planning board that was too understaffed, underfunded, or just too distracted to notice.
And lately, there's been too much of the latter and not enough of the former.
Which is why it makes sense to pause briefly, take a deep breath, and figure out how we want our county to grow in the future. Growth is, after all, inevitable. The county government needs to figure out what our priorities are, how to achieve those priorities through the planning process, and how to make sure Clarksburg never happens again. That is what's called responsible government.
It's not, as some might have you believe, a result of marauding crowds of NIMBYs laying siege to the County Council building. Nor is it an attempt to toss aside a forty-year legacy of innovative planning (and I assume here that we're referring to innovations by county planners rather than by those who found innovative ways to build homes in Clarksburg). Nor, as others would have it, is the County Council taking the bat to churchgoing grandmothers and the poor - who don't, by the way, really benefit from McMansions, despite propaganda to the contrary.
It's an attempt to amend and extend the county's planning so we can avoid runaway development. The council wants to move towards developing transit-oriented, sustainable communities with functional schools and roads rather than a county of houses on highway off-ramps. A year to breathe, and then back to a healthier version of growth than in the past.
Breathe, Dan, breathe. The sky isn't falling.