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by Judith Hruz
The redrawing of Montgomery County’s council districts keeps the greater Olney area relatively intact under the new boundaries.
The County Council on Dec. 7 voted to enact Bill 41-21 — Elections Council Districts – Boundaries, which is the enabling legislation that revises the boundaries of council districts to create seven districts as required by the Montgomery County Charter that was amended by the voters in the 2020 general election.
The vote was 8-1 with Councilman Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1) opposed.
The Commission on Redistricting was charged with redrawing County Council district lines to accommodate new U.S. Census data and the expansion from five council districts to seven districts.
During the 2018 election, voters chose to expand the County Council from nine members – five elected to a specific district and four elected at large – to 11 members – seven elected to a specific district and four elected at large.
That charter amendment was put forth by the County Council itself and placed on the ballot.
The proposed map puts Olney in “District 7,” which also includes Sandy Spring and Ashton, Brighton, Norbeck/Norwood, Brookeville, Laytonsville, Montgomery Village, Goshen, Cedar Grove, Damascus, Mt. Airy and Woodbine. Mt. Airy is divided by Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties. Woodbine lies in Carroll, Howard and Montgomery counties.
Nearby Derwood and Rock Creek are in proposed “District 6,” which also includes the east-central county communities of Aspen Hill and Wheaton, Glenmont and Forest Glen.
Leisure World and nearby Colesville, Cloverly, Layhill and Bel Pre/Strathmore are in a proposed “District 5,” which includes the eastern part of the county between the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) and Ednor Road, and includes Four Corners, Kemp Mill, White Oak, Hillandale, Calverton, Fairland, Burtonsville and Spencerville.
The other four districts include:
District 1— Southwestern portion on the county, including Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Chevy Chase, Palisades, Cabin John, Potomac and Travilah.
District 2 — Northwestern parts of the county, including Darnestown, Poolesville, Dickerson, Boyds, Barnesville, Germantown and Clarksburg.
District 3 — Municipalities of Rockville and Gaithersburg where there are residents, as well as Washington Grove and the area between the municipal boundaries.
District 4 — Southeast portion of the county and extends north by northwest from there, including Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Long Branch, West Silver Spring, Kensington, Garrett Park and North Bethesda.
“I want to express the council’s appreciation to the members of the Montgomery County Commission on Redistricting for their diligent, well-informed work and their timely recommendations and report to the Council. We also thank all the residents across our community who provided their input on the redistricting map,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz (D-At large).
The Dec. 7 County Council vote is consistent with nearly all the recommendations made in the Commission on Redistricting report with some minor adjustments proposed by residents.
“While we couldn’t accommodate every boundary change requested, this new map will serve the county well for the next decade because it recognizes our population growth and better represents our diverse community,” Albornoz said.
The council enacted the recommendations from the Commission on Redistricting Report with amendments that do the following:
Moves the Kemp Mill community into District 6;
Moves the Northwest Park/Oakview neighborhood into District 5 with the rest of the Hillandale community;
Combines the Willows of Potomac/Traville Gardens neighborhood with the rest of this community, which places Precinct 04-024 in the same district as Precinct 04-035 in District 3 and moves Precinct 04-011 from District 3 to District 1;
Moves the Aurora Hills community into District 2;
Moves the precincts in the Potomac/North Bethesda community just west of Interstate 270 into District 1 which moves Precincts 04-032 and 10-011 from District 4 to District 1; and moves two precincts, Precincts 07-016 and 13-039, from District 1 to District 4;
Moves the Ken-Gar community in Kensington from District 6 to District 4; and
Moves the Derwood/Redland community into District 7.
In addition to creating two new council districts, the County Charter requires that each district must be compact in form and composed of adjoining, contiguous territory. The populations of each district also must be substantially equal.
The council received a briefing from the Commission on Redistricting and its report on Nov. 9 and held public hearings on Nov. 16 and Nov. 18. On Nov. 30, the council met to review the Commission’s proposed map and several proposed changes to the map were reviewed prior to the Dec. 7 final vote.
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