ROCKVILLE — The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a zoning text amendment that will allow larger satellite dishes on broadcast studios, clearing the way for Fox Broadcasting Company to move its two television stations to Bethesda.
“This basically permits a large satellite dish on the top of buildings,” said Council member Nancy Floreen (D-at large).
Zoning Text Amendment 17-11, sponsored by Floreen, will increase the size of permissible satellite dishes in Montgomery County from a maximum diameter of eight feet to 22 feet. The 22-foot diameter satellite dishes will be limited to only “media broadcast studios,” which the amendment defines as “Any facility used to create or produce radio, television or other electronic media programming.”
Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large) had a proposed amendment to limit the larger antennas to buildings that are at least 200 feet tall, which was shot down after no other council member seconded his proposed amendment.
“It seems like the 200-foot limit is reasonable, it’s not going to affect Fox one iota which is what this is really all about,” Elrich said.
Monday’s vote was a necessary step to clear the way for Fox to move facilities for over 200 employees at WTTG (known as Fox 5) and WDCA (known as My20) from their current location in Friendship Heights to 7272 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. The move – which was announced in September and encouraged by county and state tax breaks and grants – is expected to be completed by June of 2021.