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Montgomery County Council Extends Validity of Subdivision Approvals by Additional Two Years

Real Estate Law Update

With little fanfare but nevertheless great impact, the Montgomery County Council (sitting as the District Council) on March 19 adopted Ordinance No. 17-31, granting Subdivision Regulation Amendment No. 13-01, which legislatively extends the validity of preliminary plan and adequate public facilities approvals for an additional two years.

This legislation is a reprise of similar legislation originally adopted in 2009 and repeated in 2011 that recognizes the effects of the economic crisis and financial stagnation on the ability of applicants to implement development approvals. This two-year statutory extension is granted to all of the specified approvals that are valid as of April 1, 2013. (This includes those approvals that remain valid because of similar extensions from the 2009 or 2011 legislation.)

Preliminary plan and adequate public facilities approvals that were valid as of March 31, 2013 now will remain valid until March 31, 2015. The legislation covers two classes of approvals: (a) existing approved plans and (b) plans approved for the first time between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2015.

For existing preliminary plan approvals and adequate public facilities approvals, the legislation extends the validity period of each by an additional two years from their current expiration dates. This two year extension may be tacked on to the successive two year extensions already granted in 2009 and then in 2011.

As a result, a preliminary plan that normally would require a plat to be recorded within three years in order to be valid will now have five years in which to record that same plat. Similarly, an adequate public facilities approval that normally would be valid for five years would now be valid for seven years.

New approvals granted during the life of this legislation (April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2015) are given an additional two years in the basic validity period for their approval. Thus, a developer who had a preliminary plan approved between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2015 may have five years to record the corresponding plat(s) for the property. Similarly, that preliminary plan approval could be given an adequate public facilities validity period between seven and 12 years (rather than the standard five to 10 years).

Notwithstanding this statutory extension (or the extensions granted by the predecessor legislation), the owners of all valid approvals retain their ability to seek any available individual extensions under the code for their specific circumstances, at such time as the statutory extension expires.

Spearheading the introduction and processing of this legislation were Steve Robins and Bill Kominers. The proposal garnered support of seven of the nine Council members as co-sponsors. In the final vote, only Councilmember Elrich dissented from the favorable vote.

If you have any further questions on this legislation, please contact Bill Kominers at (301) 841-3829 or wkominers@lerchearly.com or Steve Robins at (301) 657-0747 or sarobins@lerchearly.com.

Bill Kominers is a land use attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer in Bethesda, Maryland who navigates governmental processes to help companies use their properties. He practices in the areas of land use, land development, zoning, real estate, administrative and municipal law.

 

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