ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GROUP UPDATE JANUARY 26, 2011

NEW THIS MONTH: New Lobbyist Hired – Barbara Wilkins, Senior Counsel at Holland & Knight, has been hired to represent the Chamber’s interests in Annapolis during the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly. She will provide reports to the Chamber tracking bills that may affect businesses and will advise and assist us regarding issues that we may need to address. BCC Moratorium – As of July 1, 2011, no new preliminary plans with a residential housing component may be approved in Bethesda because the projected capacity for Westland Middle School will exceed 120% of current capacity. We have met with MCPS to understand the rationale for the moratorium and discuss potential means to avoid it. The Chamber will be meeting with Roger Berliner in the next week to strategize effective short and long term solutions. Wine Consumption Legislation – Delegate Brian Feldman has submitted legislation that would allow Montgomery County restaurants and hotels to allow patrons to bring and drink their own wine at County restaurants. The legislation would allow restaurants to decide on an individual basis whether or not to allow the practice at their establishment and would grant the restaurant the right to charge a taxable cork fee. The legislation is intended to improve the County’s ability to compete with DC and mirrors legislation that is anticipated to be submitted for Prince George’s County, as well. In December, the Chamber facilitated a meeting with restaurant/hotel members, the Maryland Restaurant Association and Del. Brian Feldman, to discuss the legislation. The Restaurant Association performed a survey of their membership that showed a majority of statewide respondents opposed the legislation. However, Montgomery County respondents were 50% more likely to vote in favor of the legislation as compared to the statewide response. In addition, Bethesda-Chevy Chase respondents were twice as likely to support the legislation. We have written a letter to Delegate Feldman and the County Delegation, supporting the legislation, as it allows a more even playing field with our jurisdictional neighbors and takes a small step toward a greater goal which would allow our restaurants and beer and wine stores the freedom to order labels of their choosing at their discretion. After making minor changes (removing the cap on the corkage fee), this bill is expected to move forward in the next two weeks. Woodmont Triangle Advisory Group (WTAG) – Met with Park & Planning Chair Francoise Carrier and other Park & Planning officials to discuss the Amenity Fund Guidelines and ensure WTAG will have appropriate owner/developer representation. Nutrition Labeling – The Chamber worked with Restaurant Association of Maryland on issue that affects over 800 eating establishments in Montgomery County. Disagreement on who has preemption – County does not agree that the feds have preemption. Of 130 chains affected by this in Montgomery County, only 35 never met the September 15th deadline to provide the county their plans and changed menus. All restaurants should have changes in place by January 1st. The feds have a more lenient deadline and requirements. The County’s HHS leadership met in December and came back with a final response to our concerns on this issue. They cut back on extensive requirements (e.g. posting of caloric info on flavors; posting of suggested daily calorie intake; and posting of nutritional info for alcoholic beverages) but decided to go forward with a January 1st deadline for the following items that are identical to federal law (which is to start being effective March 23, 2011): 1. Disclose the number of calories for each menu item on menus and menu boards; 2. Provide written nutritional information to consumers upon request;

3. Provide a statement on menus and menu boards about the availability of written nutritional information; and 4. Provide calorie information (per serving/per food item) for self-service items and food items on display, on a sign adjacent to each food item. Vermin/Windows – B-CC chamber is working with the Restaurant Association on this issue. Ginanne Italiano and Melvin Thompson (Restaurant Assn), and reps from the Montgomery County Health Dept. met in December with the State health officials. Realizing that this regulation is based on a federal law, it was agreed that each organization would reach out to their counterparts nationwide to see if they are dealing with this same issue and any recommendations on how to move forward without closing all restaurant windows during nice weather. The Restaurant Assoc has reached out to the state restaurant associations across the country and Ginanne has posted this on the ACCE site. This will be a longer term issue, but it has been agreed that if an inspector finds the windows open for a restaurant and they ask the restaurant to close the windows at that time, the case is closed without a citation. If the restaurant refuses to close the windows, the health inspector will have to give a citation. Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan – The Planning Board held a community meeting in January focusing on laying the groundwork for the development of a Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan. At this session, Chevy Chase Land Company, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the County’s Housing Opportunity Commission gave reports on their plans moving forward for their areas within the Chevy Chase Lake area. Background information, the scope of work and the presentations that were made that evening can be found on the Planning Board’s website. The Planning Board will be having an open session where the community can provide input. The date and location have not yet been finalized. ONGOING ISSUES – NO CHANGE THIS MONTH Noise legislation – The Chamber is working with Silver Spring Chamber and BUP to change proposed legislation to limit noise levels, which would have urban centers be in violation of the law. A meeting was held with Marc Elrich, along with representatives from the Silver Spring and BCC Chambers, where we proposed changes to allow urban districts to be exempt from legislation. As we understand, this legislation is back at the County Executive level being reworked. Veteran’s Park – Ken Hartman, Director of the BCC Government Services Center met with the Chamber’s Executive Committee in January to discuss a proposal to expand and improve Veteran’s Park. The expansion, as currently proposed, would eliminate the existing right hand turn from Woodmont (heading toward Old Georgetown Rd.) onto Norfolk Ave. The Executive Committee requested that the County investigate the cost of reconstructing the Woodmont/Norfolk intersection in such a manner that would allow for the expansion of Veteran’s Park as well as continue to allow a right-hand turn. Fire Marshall Inspections – Fire Safety Working Group – This Work Group continues to meet regularly with the mandate of developing ways in which the business community and the Fire Marshall’s office can work together collaboratively so that code enforcement is efficient and consistent.