Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Olde Towne earns ‘Enterprise Zone’ status from the governor

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Gov. Martin M. O’Malley announced on Friday that Olde Towne Gaithersburg is the state’s 29th enterprise zone.

Six revitalization areas statewide and one in each county receive enterprise zone status every six months, said Assistant City Manager Tony Tomasello, who has overseen city efforts pursuing designation.

‘‘It’s a huge step forward for us, it really is,” he said.

New development projects will be exempt from Montgomery County impact fees.

‘‘And when you add that together with the [Olde Towne] exemption from the affordable housing ordinance that exists in every other area of the city and the county...and a 10-year tax abatement in new projects, it’s a really strong package that I don’t think exists anywhere else,” Tomasello said.

The Archstone development project slated for East Diamond Avenue could benefit and the city is working with the county to identify other projects that could receive tax abatements, Tomasello said.

City leaders are focused on Olde Towne revitalization projects from Archstone to the anticipated Wye-Site and Fishman projects, city leaders have said.

‘‘It certainly means that this area will have additional interest from people who are looking to develop various properties in Olde Towne,” Mayor Sidney A. Katz said.

City manager interviews take place this week

More than six months after City Manager David B. Humpton retired, city leaders will interview candidates for the highest-level administrative job in the city this week.

About 50 candidates applied for the position, which could bring a salary as high as $186,191, the city’s Human Resources Manager Margaret Daily said. City leaders have narrowed the list to six finalists they will interview in closed executive sessions. Eric Middleton of Alliance Consulting, who has led the search process, will join the interviews with Walter Scheibert, a Montgomery County Range Rider, and Daily.

Assistant city managers Fred Felton and Tony Tomasello are among the six candidates to be interviewed, Tomasello said.

Names of the final two or three candidates will be released next week, Daily said. City leaders will arrange for ‘‘meet and greets” with department heads and the public.

The position could be filled as early as August.