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Jul 27 15

Montgomery County Planning Department Seeks Submissions to its First Annual Design Excellence Award Program by August 21

by Bridget Schwiesow

Planning Department urges developers, architects, landscape architects, designers and property owners to submit top-quality, completed projects in the County to new award competition

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, seeks to recognize exceptional work in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design through its first annual Design Excellence Award. Developers, property owners and their design teams are invited to submit built projects that contribute to improving the quality of physical environments throughout the County.

The deadline for submission is Friday, August 21, 2015. The selection of a winner will be made by an outside jury of accomplished professionals, including architects, urbanists and a landscape architect, invited by the Planning Department.

Submit to the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Design Excellence Award.

The winner will be announced on Thursday, October 22, 2015 during an awards celebration at the Silver Spring Civic Building. The event will also include the annual awards ceremony of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Potomac Valley Chapter.

Project Eligibility for Award

Projects eligible for the award include public, institutional, multi-family residential and commercial buildings; landscapes; urban designs and developments located within Montgomery County that were built within the past 10 years and are currently occupied and in use. The submitted projects should express the essential qualities of outstanding walkable, sustainable places at the scale of the neighborhood, block and building. They should illustrate how great design contributes to the community in terms of character, identity and economic value.

Purpose of Design Excellence Award

The Planning Department launched its Design Excellence initiative in 2014 to inspire the highest quality of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design in redeveloping areas within the County. In January 2015, as part of this program, the Department invited nationally recognized urban design and planning expert Noré Winter to discuss community design guidelines with the staff, Planning Board and public.

In June 2015, the Department launched its Design Excellence Award program to achieve the following goals:

-To recognize the best examples of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design in the County, and increase the public’s awareness of this world-class design excellence.

-To promote built work that contributes to the creation of pedestrian-oriented, walkable neighborhoods that enrich and contribute to the greater community.

-To show how physical design can lead to greater health, economic opportunity and environmental sustainability.

October Awards Ceremony

The winner of the first annual Design Excellence Award will be announced at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Potomac Chapter annual awards celebration on October 22, 2015. One of the highlights of the evening will be a presentation on the business case for design excellence by land use strategist Christopher Leinberger, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The winning project will be celebrated by the Montgomery Planning Department as a premier example of Design Excellence in Montgomery County through a promotional campaign to be launched in spring 2016.

The jury of accomplished and highly regarded practitioners in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, planning and urban design is:

Edward Feiner, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects | Design Leadership Council Director, Perkins+Will, Washington, DC.
Dhiru Thadani, Fellow of the Congress for the New Urbanism | Architect and urbanist, Washington, DC.
Michael Vergason, Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects| Principal, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Alexandria, Virginia.
Amy Weinstein, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects | Principal, Esocoff & Associates/Weinstein Studio, Washington, DC.

Review the bios of the jury.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Design Excellence initiative.

Jul 23 15

Planning Board Approves New Plans for Clarksburg Town Center at July 23 Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow


Picture1 clarksburg splash
Revised design of commercial core, new community facilities and upgrades to local parks part of proposal to complete east and west sides of Town Center

SILVER SPRING, MD  The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), has approved new plans for the Clarksburg Town Center submitted by Third Try, LLC of McLean, VA. These project, preliminary and site plan amendments are limited to the unbuilt portions of the 270-acre Town Center, on both the east and west sides of the development. They include a revised design of the commercial core, new community and civic buildings, and upgrades to two local parks.

When implemented, the plans will complete the Clarksburg Town Center after years of delay, due to numerous violations associated with the build-out of the community. An agreement reached by a citizen-led group known as the Clarksburg Town Center Advisory Committee and developer NNPII Clarksburg LLC (Newlands) led to a new site plan in 2009, calling for significant improvements to the Town Center.  However, Newlands did not move forward with these plans, eventually selling the unfinished portions of the property to Third Try.

The Town Center currently includes approximately 840 occupied residential units, a new elementary school, landscaping along major roads and other improvements. The plans reviewed at the July 23 Planning Board meeting call for a total of 1,120 residential units, along with 206,185 square feet of commercial space and numerous community enhancements.

Mixed-use, neo-traditional core

The commercial core on the west side of the Greenway will include office and medical buildings, retail, restaurants and a grocery store. The buildings are oriented toward General Store Drive (a private street segment) and Clarksburg Square Road with surface parking located in the rear so the core is compatible with existing development.

Amenities in the commercial core include a plaza with a splash fountain and seating. A civic building and a town green are proposed to the north, across Clarksburg Square Road. The town green is envisioned to include a stage with amphitheater seating for community-wide events. The neo-traditional design of the mixed-use Town Center is meant to complement existing structures and the Clarksburg Historic District at its heart.

Community buildings and open spaces

The Planning Board also approved plans for a new, 3,200-square-foot community building adjacent to the Residents’ Club to host large, indoor gatherings. A much-needed parking area located in nearby Sinequa Square will serve the club pool and both community buildings.

Also approved are improvements to Piedmont Woods and Kings Pond Local Parks. A basketball court, tennis courts, a playground, a dog park, picnic shelters and hiking trails are proposed for Piedmont Woods Local Park. A pond with a fishing pier, a tot lot, a hiking trail and picnic shelters will be added to Kings Pond Local Park.

A land bridge across the Greenway will connect the east and west sides of the Town Center. The Greenway will be enhanced to support stormwater management and reforestation. The Planning Board recommended that a natural surface walking trail be provided within the Greenway. A shared-use path will also connect Clarksburg and Stringtown Roads.

At the Planning Board meeting, Deputy Director of the Planning Department, Rose Krasnow, who has been involved with this development since the first violations were alleged, expressed the sentiments of many when she said, “It has taken a long time to get to this point, but with the approval of these plans today, we believe that the ultimate vision of Clarksburg Town Center as a walkable, mixed-use hub with a small-town feel and numerous amenities for residents can finally be realized.”

Background on Clarksburg Town Center

In 1994, the Montgomery County Council approved the Clarksburg Master Plan and Hyattstown Special Study Area, calling for the creation of a Town Center. This Center focused on the Clarksburg Historic District and would include a mix of uses. Two years later, plans were approved for a neo-traditional community to be constructed in phases with residential units, offices and retail. By 2006, about 725 units of the approved 1,300 dwelling units had been built or were under construction. The retail phase was never approved.

In 2005, the Clarksburg Town Center Advisory Committee alleged numerous violations associated with the build-out of the community and the Planning Board held several hearings on the allegations. Mediation between the advisory committee and developer led to an amended site plan, which became known as the Compliance Plan and was approved by the Planning Board in 2006.

In 2009, the Planning Board approved planning applications for commercial spaces, more than 1,200 dwelling units, a waiver to reduce the number of parking spaces and reconfirmation of building setbacks from residentially zoned properties. Although many of these elements were recommended in the Compliance Plan, the Board did not require that all elements of that Plan be realized, such as parking structures in the retail core. Subsequent plan amendments approved by the Board in 2010 and 2013 have resulted in the completion of some additional dwellings and community improvements.

Jul 22 15

Planning Board Completes First of Five Work Sessions for the Bethesda Downtown Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover

First session on July 20 examined the overall zoning strategy, as well as transportation infrastructure and school capacity

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, completed the first of five work sessions to review the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. The session, held on Monday, July 20, 2015 at the Planning Department headquarters, addressed the proposed zoning strategy for Downtown Bethesda as it relates to building density and height increases, and considered transportation infrastructure and school capacity.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

View the Power Point Presentation from the July 20 Worksession #1.

The new Sector Plan recommends increasing density in Bethesda by approximately 20 percent with greater increases around centers of activity and gathering spaces, including the Farm Women’s Cooperative Market, Bethesda Metrorail Station and Veteran’s Park.

The July 20 work session also addressed how transportation elements in the Sector Plan would be affected by the zoning changes. Staff determined that all intersections within the Plan area will continue to operate at acceptable levels of congestion to the year 2040 under the proposed land use vision.

School capacity was another topic of the work session. The Downtown Bethesda Sector Plan is within the service areas of Bethesda Elementary School, Westland Middle School and Bethesda Chevy Chase High School where enrollment increases will have an impact on their available capacity. The Plan includes designation of the former Lynbrook Elementary School as a future operating elementary school. Other school options were presented during the Working Draft presentation of the Sector Plan to the Planning Board on May 21, 2015.

Finally, the initial Planning Board work session examined modifications to the density averaging rules relating to sites in the Plan area. This planning tool allows square footage to be sent from one site to another site in the Plan area to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and promote affordable housing.

Future Planning Board Work Sessions
Planners are summarizing all public testimony received from the June 24 public hearing through July 2, when the public record for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan closed.  Based on this testimony, they are preparing recommendations for review by the Planning Board at the September and October work sessions. The fall work sessions will include a district-by-district zoning review of Downtown Bethesda, as well as analysis of proposed parks and open spaces, high performance areas and affordable housing.

All work sessions will be held at the Montgomery County Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910). The four remaining sessions are scheduled for September 17, October 5, October 22 and November 12.

At the conclusion of this series, the Planning Board’s recommendations will be incorporated into the Draft of the Sector Plan and sent to the County Council for additional work sessions and approval. Final Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan
Launched in 2014, the new Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations are a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to make Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally.

Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

For questions or comments about the Bethesda plan, please email

Jul 21 15

Planning Department Announces Calendar of August Events

by Bridget Schwiesow

Calendar of Events

Planning Board is on month-long recess, but benefits of County plans and projects are highlighted through community events and awards program

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its calendar for August 2015. These events offer ways to engage with communities within Montgomery County. Review the full list of events below and go online to for more details on projects and plans.

The Montgomery Planning Board is in recess during the month of August. The agenda of upcoming meetings held this fall, starting September 3, will be posted on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.

Stay connected to us online by following Montgomery Planning Department news and information on Twitter: @montgomeryplans and like us on Facebook:

Montgomery County and Planning Department Events in August 2015:

August 6 – Attend the free Silver Spring Summer Concert Series from 7 to 9 p.m. at Veterans Plaza to hear the Rock & Roll Relics. For more information, visit or call 240-777-0311. Learn more about Downtown Silver Spring from a planning perspective and check out the recent Silver Spring Placemaking Workshops and Workbook aimed at improving public and civic spaces.

August 14-22 – Visit the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, the largest of its kind in Maryland, to enjoy food, entertainment, rides and farm animals. The fair is held at 501 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. Call 301-926-3100 or go to The Planning Department created the plan for the County’s Agricultural Reserve, a 93,000-acre area of farms and rural landscapes and continues to work to implement the vision and goals for this area. Learn more about the County’s Agricultural Reserve.

August 21 – Last day to enter the Planning Department’s first annual Design Excellence Award competition. This program seeks to recognize exceptional work in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design in Montgomery County. Developers, property owners and their design teams are invited to submit built projects completed in the County over the past 10 years. For more information, go to

August 25 – The Rustic Roads Advisory Committee meeting will be held at 101 Monroe Street in Rockville to discuss the current state of scenic and rural routes in the County. Learn about the Rustic Roads Program to preserve the beauty of agricultural and rural areas through the Rustic Roads Biennial Report completed in June 2015. Contact Chris Myers at or Leslie Saville at  for more information about the meeting and Rustic Roads Program.

Jul 20 15

Rock Spring Master Plan to Launch on September 1 at Open House Event

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2

Community invited to meet with planners, learn about the area and provide feedback about initial ideas for the Master Plan

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching the Rock Spring Master Plan on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 7 p.m. at an open house to be held at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD).

Community residents and business owners are invited to discuss the goals of the Master Plan and learn about existing conditions and challenges. County planners will explain the planning process and opportunities for public participation.  Community feedback on the initial ideas for the Plan will be recorded on a “graffiti wall” at the event. RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

RSVP for the September 1 Rock Spring Master Plan Open House.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

Background on the Rock Spring Master Plan
The Rock Spring area of North Bethesda is included in the 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan and mostly comprises single-use office buildings. The headquarters for Lockheed Martin and Marriott International are located within Rock Spring and Montgomery Mall is located just to the west.

The 1992 Sector Plan recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to link the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway was originally conceived as a link between the Grosvenor Metrorail Station to the east, through Rock Spring, to a planned transit center at Montgomery Mall. It is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and would increase transit accessibility for this area, providing a framework for re-evaluating redevelopment of the area.

Rock Spring is part of the North Bethesda/Potomac office submarket. It accounts for 48 percent of office inventory in North Bethesda and 7 percent of office space Countywide. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 21.6 percent, higher than the overall County vacancy rate of 15 percent.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has vacated approximately 160,000 square feet of leased office space in Rock Spring for a new site in Twinbrook and Marriott is also looking for a new location.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

  • Reinventing a suburban office park, with its auto-oriented street network and surface parking lots.
  • Identifying opportunities for a new street grid.
  • Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.
  • Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.
  • Planning sustainable environmental measures.
  • Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan and September 1 open house, contact:

Kristin O’Connor, tel.301.495.2172, email or

Don Zeigler, tel.301.495.4638, email

Stay connected with the latest information about the Rock Spring Master Plan:

Connect on Twitter: #ReImagineRockSpring
Like us on Facebook:

Jul 16 15

Planners Release Working Draft of Montgomery Village Master Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

MVMP cover

Recommendations include preserving Village character and open spaces, enhancing connectivity and encouraging reinvestment in retail centers

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is presenting the Working Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan to the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday, July 23.

Pending the Board’s approval, the public hearing for the Montgomery Village Master Plan is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, September 10 at which time community residents and property owners can testify about the Plan. A public notice about the hearing will be sent when the date and location are confirmed.

View the Montgomery Village Master Plan Working Draft

The new Master Plan builds on the assets of Montgomery Village through four major recommendations:

-Preserve the Village’s character: Built in the 1960s by Kettler Brothers, Montgomery Village was purposefully planned with a vast range of housing types.  From the apartment communities clustered in the lower Village to the grand colonials of Whetstone, the homes appeal to different lifestyles with a wide selection of designs and prices for residents. The Master Plan recommends preserving this variety and expanding housing choices in the future.

-Maintain the public recreation and open spaces: The Village’s sylvan environment is one of its greatest assets. The Master Plan strongly recommends that its recreation and open spaces be maintained and preserved. When new development or redevelopment occurs, developers should emulate the Kettlers’ town planning principles to provide ample green spaces, vistas and recreational opportunities.  Additional trail connections, with natural or hard surfaces, should be provided to enhance community connectivity.

-Encourage reinvestment: Small town autonomy includes conveniently located retail centers throughout the community. The Village’s six centers serve the everyday retail needs of residents; however, over several decades, as retail competition has grown in the mid-County area, consumer preferences have shifted, as has the tenant mix in the Village’s centers. Limited redevelopment opportunities exist in the Village and the Master Plan strongly recommends a sustainable and competitive Village Center.  Short blocks with identifiable edges to reinforce the mixed uses and the introduction of new housing units can potentially transform the suburban blocks into walkable, connected and inviting public spaces, reinvigorating a sense of community and creating attractive centers for community life.

-Enhance connectivity: The Master Plan encourages increased options for mobility and connectivity by all modes — transit, walking, biking and private motor vehicles. The Village’s private street network, coupled with many trails and pedestrian connections, offers unique opportunities to enhance multimodal links. Montgomery Village can improve connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists by providing missing links to open spaces, parks, the Village Center and other destinations around the community and beyond.

-Montgomery Village Overlay Zone: The Master Plan recommends an overlay zone as an implementation measure, as large-scale rezoning of this kind is unique and concerns have been raised about its implementation and potential consequences.  The Montgomery Village Overlay Zone is intended to preserve the unique Village character; protect existing open space and conservation areas; and ensure a compatible relationship between new and existing development.

Past PowerPoint presentations and other materials from the Montgomery Village Master Plan process are posted on the Montgomery Village Master Plan webpage.

Stay Connected:
Sign up: for the Montgomery Village Master Plan eNewsletter
Call: the MVPlan Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: tel. 301-495-4723
Follow: updates on Twitter using #MVPlan and learn more by visiting

Master Plan Background:
Montgomery Village has not been part of a Master Plan review since the 1985 Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan, nor has it been the subject of a discrete County master plan in the past. Although Montgomery Village was within the boundaries of both the 1971 Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan and the 1985 Master Plan, neither plan contains recommendations or guidance for this community because the Village fell within the Town Sector Zone, which did not allow the rezoning of properties for a 50-year period that comes to a close in 2015. When the Planning Department initiated an update to the Gaithersburg Master Plan in 2007, Montgomery Village was originally included within its boundaries. However, with large swaths of land on both sides of I-270 presenting different planning issues and challenges, the Planning Department realized the area was too big to be analyzed effectively.

In 2008, the Planning Department divided the large Gaithersburg Master Plan area into two planning efforts – one for the west side of I-270, which became the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan (GSSC) – and one for the east side of I-270 – Gaithersburg East. In 2014, the County Council asked the Planning Department to refine the Gaithersburg East Plan to have one plan for Montgomery Village and one plan for the remainder of Gaithersburg East. The Council also directed the Planning Director to work very efficiently on the Montgomery Village Plan, with the goal of having a draft plan transmitted to the Council within 14 months of the plan start date. The Council wanted the zoning to be reassessed holistically before the prohibition on piecemeal rezoning of Town Sector property expired in 2015.

Jul 16 15

Scheduling Update: Change to the Planning Board Agenda For July 16

by Bridget Schwiesow


Planning Department

Subdivision Regulations Work Session Moved to 1 p.m. Today

The Planning Board has moved Agenda Item #7 from 7:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. for Thursday, July 16. The Subdivision Regulations Work Session was originally scheduled for this evening but has now been moved to be on the agenda for 1 p.m. A second work session on this topic is scheduled for Monday, July 20 in the morning.

The community is invited to attend, watch or listen live to all Planning Board meetings. Learn more:

Review the Staff Report for the Subdivision Regulations Work Session:

Review the Agenda for the July 20 Planning Board Meeting:

Jul 14 15

Planning Board to Decide Where to Build New Cricket Fields in Montgomery Parks

by Melissa Chotiner

The department will present details at the July 30 Planning Board meeting;The public is invited to testify.  


SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is exploring park sites to create a new, dedicated cricket field in the northern area of the county. The department will share information about the need for such fields as well as other details at the July 30 Planning Board meeting. The public may testify at the meeting; the time will be posted on the Planning Board Agenda at, closer to the meeting date.


Parks staff is asking the Planning Board to approve sites for cricket field construction at this meeting. At a future meeting, the Board will determine if funding is available to build the fields. To find out more about this project visit


Planning Board Public Meeting on Montgomery Parks Cricket Field Site Selection

The Planning Board will post the time for the item on its online agenda closer to the date (
Montgomery Regional Offices building
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910


For written questions, comments or requests please contact:
Mark Wallis, Project Coordinator at
M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks
9500 Brunett Ave.,
Silver Spring, MD 20901


A Growing Demand for Cricket Fields in Montgomery County:

The population of Montgomery County has become more diverse over the past several years. People of different cultures and backgrounds are seeking new types of park amenities and programs, such as fields to play cricket. The Parks Department is looking at three sites for a new cricket field to replace a temporary field at South Germantown Recreational Park. Possible locations include:

  • A new location within South Germantown Recreational Park
  • A proposed additions to Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Park; and
  • The future Boyds Local Park


“We researched the sport of cricket to determine what types of fields and in what locations will best fit the needs of the cricket community,” said Brooke Farquhar , Montgomery Parks Planning Supervisor. “We are aiming to have two new dedicated fields in the I-270 Corridor by 2022.”


About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.



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Jul 14 15

Montgomery Parks Celebrates Park and Recreation Month Offering Ten Easy Ways to Enjoy the County’s Parks

by Melissa Chotiner

Montgomery County Council and County Executive Isiah Leggett proclaim July Parks and Recreation Month


SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is celebrating Park and Recreation month (as deemed by the National Recreation and Park Association) with ten easy and fun suggestions for getting out and enjoying the county’s parks. This morning Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and the Montgomery County Council issued a proclamation declaring that “…parks and recreation programs are an integral part of communities throughout this country including Montgomery County, MD.”


This month marks 30 years that park systems around the United States have celebrated Parks and Recreation Month. However, a survey financed by the National Recreation and Park Association in May 2014 indicated that adults are not taking advantage of the recreation opportunities in their own backyards. Nearly 3 in 10 adults don’t spend time outside on a daily basis, according to the survey.


Brookside butterfly039

Parks and Recreation Month is a time to explore Montgomery Parks. A sampling of upcoming programs, events and festivals taking place this month include the Park’s Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit, a neighborhood cookout and picnic at Wall Park on July 21, and the third annual Little Bennett Great Outdoors Festival on July 25.



With 420 parks, Montgomery Parks has plenty of options for people to get outside and enjoy nature, recreate and get away from it all, including:


For additional ideas on how to enjoy parks, please visit and click on the “Things to Do” link on the left hand menu for a searchable data base of hundreds of offerings.

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.



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Jul 9 15

Planning Department Releases Working Draft of Westbard Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Westbard Working Draft cover

Recommendations include creating better connections to the Capital Crescent Trail, restoring the Willett Branch stream and encouraging revitalization of older retail areas

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has completed the Working Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan for presentation to the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday, July 16.

The Board’s public hearing about the Westbard Sector Plan is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, September 24, pending its approval of the Working Draft at the July 16 meeting. The community will be invited to comment on the Westbard Sector Plan recommendations at the September 24 public hearing held at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD).

View the Westbard Sector Plan Working Draft.

The new Sector Plan builds on the assess of Westbard by offering ways to improve its retail and light industrial areas, housing choices and open spaces over the next 20 years. Recommendations in the Plan focus on:

-Encouraging more housing choices and revitalizing older retail areas.
-Emphasizing low-scale development at five to seven stories.
-Preserving local light industrial uses.
-Restoring the Willett Branch stream as a public amenity.
-Creating better access to the Capital Crescent Trail.
-Establishing new gathering spaces and parks.
-Enhancing walkability with sidewalks shaded by street trees.

Since the PlanWestbard charrette, a weeklong brainstorming session held in November 2014, planners have been revising the Sector Plan to address community concerns. Refinements include revisions to heights for new buildings, more open spaces and bike paths, and placemaking strategies, including signage and public art, related to Westbard’s rich history.

Learn more about the development of the Westbard Sector Plan.

After the Board’s public hearing in September, the plan will be revised through work sessions with the Planning Board before the final draft of the Westbard Sector Plan is presented to the County Council for approval. Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.