Zoning In On Fillmore

Two land-use measures vital to a proposal to bring a Live Nation Fillmore-branded music hall to Silver Spring, Md., have the Montgomery County Council split over how much authority to vest in its executive to make it happen.

The proposal would make Live Nation the first for-profit enterprise to be funded by Montgomery County for arts and entertainment purposes, according to the Washington Post. And in order to make it happen, the county’s planning agency would put aside customary oversight of new development and approve part of the project without seeing the final plan.

Council members were divided when the group met to debate technical changes to the county’s land use rules Sept. 29. The underlying questions regarding the role of the county executive were left unanswered, according to the Post.

The construction of the Fillmore hinges on $8 million in public money put up by the county and the state of Maryland. The Lee Development Group would provide the land in exchange for the right to build on adjacent property.

The county would own the building and rent to HoB’s parent company, Live Nation, for $7,500 per month. LN would spend $2 million to outfit the interior and Lee Development Group would donate the building façade and land, worth about $3.5 million, according to the Post.

In order to change the zoning under County Executive Isiah Leggett’s plan, the Fillmore would be considered a “public use amenity,” according to the paper, and allow Lee to put another building on adjacent land.

Lee was reportedly less than thrilled with the committee’s hesitation to embrace the concept of a Fillmore theatre as a “public space,” and Leggett’s aides urged the council to think differently about how to create a new economic development tool.

“We were looking for certainty for moving forward,” Lee Development Group President Bruce Lee told the Post after the meeting. “What they’ve done today is remove certainty. If they keep going down that path, it essentially jeopardizes this project.”

The full council is expected to take up the issue in October.