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Fillmore Plan Divides MoCo Council

Montgomery County Council members were divided yesterday on a pair of land-use measures designed to bring one of Live Nation's Fillmore music halls to downtown Silver Spring.

The council's planning committee debated technical changes to Montgomery's land-use rules that are vital to the success of the most high-profile construction project of County Executive Isiah Leggett's (D) tenure. But the underlying question still unanswered yesterday was whether the council is prepared to shift some authority away from county planners to the county executive to make the Fillmore a reality.

The full council is expected to take up the committee's recommendations in October.

The opening of the music hall at the site of a former J.C. Penney store on Colesville Road relies on $8 million in taxpayer funds. The Lee Development Group would provide the land in exchange for protection to eventually build on its adjacent property. Under Leggett's plan, the music hall would count as the Lee group's public amenity and public-use space.

Legget's aides urged the council yesterday to shift its thinking to create a new economic development tool. Council members were evenly split about whether to allow the indoor music venue, that would require an admissions fee, to count as public use space, which is usually outdoors and free.

"We were looking for certainty for moving forward. What they've done today is remove certainty," said Bruce Lee, president of the Lee company, of the committee's recommendations. "If they keep going down that path, it essentially jeopardizes this project."

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 30, 2008; 8:48 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , Montgomery County  
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