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Apr 24 14

Attend the Next Aspen Hill Meeting – May 13

by Bridget Schwiesow


Attend the third community meeting for the Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment and provide feedback on staff’s draft recommendations for the area

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Aspen Hill Library (4407 Aspen Hill Road).

Learn more:

Plan background:
In the spring of 2013, the County Council programmed the preparation of a minor master plan amendment for approximately 14 acres of land located west of the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Aspen Hill Road, the majority of which was recommended for office zoning in the 1994 Aspen Hill Master Plan.  The minor amendment process provides an opportunity to reassess the Subject area and analyze alternative redevelopment and zoning opportunities.  The review considers existing development potential and reevaluates the area’s potential within the context of a changing office market in the County as a whole, the intent and rationale of the 1994 Plan, and any impacts to the surrounding land uses and transportation network.

Questions, comments?
Contact: Andrea Gilles, (se habla español301-495-4541 /

Apr 22 14

Attend the Zoning Rewrite Open House Tonight

by Bridget Schwiesow


Public invited to a series of open houses to learn more about the proposed zoning changes, new interactive maps

The Montgomery County Planning Department is inviting residents and business owners to give feedback on the comprehensive District Map Amendment proposed for Montgomery County. There will be several open houses held throughout the County this spring and all are invited to attend.  The new Zoning Code was approved by the Montgomery County Council in March 2014 after months of worksessions and discussions. The new zoning code will modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations, and create new tools to help achieve goals in community plans.

Although the new code has already been approved, it cannot go into effect until a new zoning map has also been adopted, since the zoning on many non-residential properties is changing.  Over the next few months, Planning Department staff will be focusing their attention on the proposed zoning map and are seeking feedback from affected property owners as well as from residents. Staff will be available and will have interactive maps at each of the open house events to help answer questions about the proposed zoning.

After the spring open houses, staff will bring a revised version of the proposed zoning map to the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) committee for review. Once the PHED committee completes its review, the full County Council will evaluate the proposed zoning map. It is anticipated that the map will be adopted by Council in the summer or early fall, and that the new code will become effective on October 30, 2014.

Zoning Code Open Houses Details:
April 22 (6-8 p.m.) Rockville Memorial Library
April 24 (6-8 p.m.) Wheaton Regional Library
April 29 (5-8 p.m.) Park and Planning Headquarters, Silver Spring
May 1 (6-8 p.m.) Marilyn J. Praisner Library, Burtonsville
May 5 (6-8 p.m.) UpCounty Regional Services Center, Germantown
May 6 (6-8 p.m.) B-CC Regional Services Center, Bethesda

About the Zoning Code Rewrite:
Montgomery County’s Zoning Code was originally written in 1977. It is the law that governs growth in the county. The comprehensive rewrite of the ordinance started five years ago with the goal of simplifying the complex and outdated code. The Council’s recent approval of the text for the Zoning Code Rewrite will be instrumental in all future planning and development in the County. Planning Department staff is looking forward to embracing a new zoning code: one that is easier to use, encourages better development, enhances compatibility, promotes sustainability, and supports our county master plans. The new zoning code represents a great step forward for Montgomery County to have a more understandable, clear and coherent zoning ordinance that will be easier to use and to enforce. It offers a better organization of uses and zones, clearer procedures for approval and a solid foundation in modern planning and design principles.

Learn more about the Zoning Rewrite and how to get involved in the process.

Apr 17 14

Attend the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Relaunch Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

Community invited to re-engage and learn about existing conditions for Greater Lyttonsville  

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department will be hosting a meeting for the Greater Lyttonsville community to relaunch the sector plan. At this family-friendly meeting, staff will present existing conditions that will form the foundation for transforming the heart of Greater Lyttonsville. All residents and business owners are invited to attend on the evening of Tuesday, May 6 at the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Center (2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD).

The Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan was initially started in summer 2012 but was placed on hold at the direction of the County Council. Now, planners are looking to re-engage the community from the area west of Silver Spring and east of Rock Creek Park to determine the vision for the area that will guide development for the next twenty years and beyond.

The planning process will include a review of zoning and land use, with a particular focus on the commercial area along Brookville Road and the two proposed Purple Line stations. The Plan will look at potential locations for mixed-use development near stations, examine important employment centers, seek to preserve and enhance the existing single-family neighborhood character, coordinate with the Fort Detrick Forest Glen Annex planning process, address quality of life issues, and strive to maintain affordable housing and support cultural diversity. It will also address connections between the existing residential neighborhoods and employment areas along Brookville Road.

What: Greater Lyttonsville Relaunch meeting hosted by the Montgomery Planning Department
Who: Residents, property owners, business owners, and anyone focused on the future of Greater Lyttonsville
When: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Gwendolyn E. Coffield Center – 2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD
Info: Learn more about the Greater Lyttonsville Plan
Social Media: #GreaterLP

Apr 10 14

Update: Tonight’s Open House on the Bethesda Downtown Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda logo

Find out about the planning process and see the work to date

  • It’s the mid-point of the Bethesda Downtown Plan planning process and you can still give your thoughts on the future of Downtown Bethesda
  • Drop-in tonight and ask questions and discuss your ideas and concerns with planners
  • Newcomers and long-time participants welcome!
  • The next public meeting will be a Workshop on Saturday, May 17 at B-CC High school
  • The Draft Plan is scheduled to go to the Planning Board starting in Fall 2014

Here’s what you will see tonight:

  • A new diagram that shows the prevailing thoughts about subareas, centers and connections
  • Updated posters of existing conditions and what we have heard
  • Questions that will be asked:
    • Which are your highest priority districts to focus on?
    • What do you want outdoors?  (Show us your priorities.)
    • Which one-way streets should be two way?
    • Which streets should be closed to cars for special events?

You are invited to continue to participate online with the planning process. Questions will be posted online in the upcoming months to find out more about what you would like Bethesda to be like in the future.

Sign up for the Bethesda Downtown Plan e-mail newsletter and stay connected to the plan:

Questions? Comments? Contact us:
Elza Hisel-McCoy, Assoc. AIA, LEED-AP, Project Manager 301.495.2115
Marc DeOcampo, AIA, LEED-AP, Master Planner-Supervisor 301.495.4556
Margaret K. Rifkin, AICP, RLA, Outreach 301.495.4583


Apr 9 14

Montgomery Parks is Recognized with Six Awards from the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association

by Melissa Chotiner

Awards recognize excellence in creative programming, environmental protection and volunteerism, among other aspects.

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has received six awards from the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA) at the Annual Conference this week in Ocean City, Maryland.

Montgomery Parks received awards in the following categories:

  • PARC Branch Planning and Design with Environmental Protection in Mind Award for impervious surface removal and wetland creation project in Meadowbrook Local Park. The project was managed by Montgomery Parks Engineer Designer Erin McArdle and Montgomery Parks Park Development Division Section Chief Andrew Frank.


  • Creative Programming Award for Minnow Minutes, a newsletter-style, education and outreach tool designed to  and educate park staff on environmental and water quality related topics. The award was presented to Montgomery Parks Senior Natural Resources Specialist Amanda Matheny.


  • Agency Volunteer Award to Ralph Buglass for his volunteer service to Montgomery Parks at the Kingsley Schoolhouse, a 19th century one-room schoolhouse in Little Bennett Regional Park. Mr. Buglass was nominated for this award by Montgomery Parks Cultural Resources Planner Julie Mueller.


  • MRPA Agency Showcase Award for Best Photography for Woodstock Horse Jump photo taken by Stacey Wigmore at the Woodstock Equestrian Park Opening.


  • MRPA Agency Showcase Award for Best Website for History in the Parks ( presented to Barbara Lerch, Montgomery Parks Senior Graphic Designer.


  • MRPA Agency Showcase Award for Best Activity Guide for Summer Camps 2013 Guide presented to Colleen Holt, Enterprise Division Marketing Manager at Montgomery Parks, and Judy Stiles, Media Relations Manager at Montgomery County Recreation.


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

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 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.



Apr 8 14

Experience the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan Exhibit

by Bridget Schwiesow


Community design workshop process now on display at Sandy Spring Museum  

SILVER SPRING, MD – The results of the four-day design and planning workshop for the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan are now on display for the community to experience. Asked by the Sandy Spring Museum (17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring) to make the design and visioning work for the ongoing Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan available to others, planners organized an exhibit to further engage the community in the planning process. The graphics, text and drawings prepared at the workshop form the foundation of the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan which is currently in process.

The community is invited to experience the exhibit at the Sandy Spring Museum from now until the end of April.

“We were honored to be asked to display the work of the Planning Department and the community on the walls of the Sandy Spring Museum,” said John Carter, Planning Area 3 Chief, “It is an excellent opportunity for the community to be engaged as the plan is actually happening, I encourage everyone to visit.”

After receiving comments from the community, Planning staff will prepare the Staff Draft Plan for review by the Planning Board in early summer 2014.

The Staff Draft will focus on designing a village center in the commercial core that will:
-improve connections
-expand public spaces
-provide a mix of land uses (including housing)

The Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan was called for in the 1998 Master Plan and the results of the workshop will inform this new plan which seeks to determine how best to integrated the new fire station into the village center concept.

What: Sandy Spring Rural Village Exhibit Display
When: Happening now through the end of April
Where: Sandy Spring Museum, 17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring

Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan Highlights:
In the spring of 2013, the Montgomery County Council approved a plan for the Sandy Spring Rural Village. The 1998 Sandy Spring/Ashton Master Planrecognized that the details of the village center concept were beyond its scope, and recommended more detailed study and analysis to develop the concept. This Plan will follow the guidance in the 1998 Master Plan and determine how to best connect the new fire station into a village center concept, design a village green, and determine the feasibility of realigning Brooke Road using the following three goals:

-Preserve the rich cultural history of the area
-Design a civic space and village center
-Connect the community to the village center and examine right-of-way issues

The Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan will also examine land use and potential zoning changes. The Plan will not undergo a large-scale transportation modeling process, but it will examine traffic studies along MD 108 and intersection data.

Learn more about the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan and how to get involved:

Apr 8 14

Park and Planning Spring 2014 Semi-Annual Report Now Available

by Bridget Schwiesow

Planning Board Chair and Department Heads present before Montgomery County Council

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Council considered the Park and Planning Spring 2014 Semi-Annual Report on Tuesday, April 1. The biannual report gives a recap of the work from the past six months and highlights the work program for FY15.

The full report is available online on the Montgomery Planning Department website. The video of the Council discussion of the Semi-Annual report is available on the Montgomery County Council website.

The Planning Department is focused on the following themes for FY15:
-Moving towards “finer-grained” planning and a focus on design excellence
-Continuous improvement of the Development Review process
-A focus on innovative housing ideas, new approaches to transportation modeling, and creative use of public assets through colocation
-New ways of using technology for both analysis and communication.

This is the last Semi-Annual presented by Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier since she has announced she will not seek a second. This is also the last Semi-Annual for Parks Department Director Mary Bradford who is retiring after serving an eight year tenure.

Learn more about the Spring 2014 Semi-Annual Report.

Apr 7 14

Montgomery Parks Celebrates the Opening of its Newest Park: Carroll Knolls Local Park

by Melissa Chotiner
Saturday, April 26, 2014, 11:00 a.m.
 10500 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20839
*Located at the intersection of Evans Parkway


SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will unveil its newest park, Carroll Knolls Local Park at a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 11 a.m.


Carroll Knolls Local Park, the former site of the Montgomery College of Art and Design, was acquired by Montgomery Parks in 2012 through the Department’s Legacy Open Space Program.


“The communities surrounding this new park have been using the site for decades. Children come here to play, families walk their dogs here, and in general people enjoy the access to nature and open space on this side of Georgia Avenue,” said Beverly Sobel, President of “We are grateful that the site is being saved as parkland for generations to come.”


Carroll Knolls Local Park is a four acre passive park located in an increasingly dense urban area of the county. It features urban wooded areas, an open meadow, picnic tables and benches; in the future a natural surface trail will be incorporated into the site. The park is the only one within walking distance of a community that previously had to walk almost a mile or cross a major roadway to reach parkland.


“Preserving green space in rapidly growing urban areas such as Silver Spring and Wheaton is so important as these parts of the county experience an increase in development,” said Dominic Quattrocchi, AICP, Park Planner at Montgomery Parks. “We recognize how important this new park is to the community and are pleased that the time, energy and hard work of local supporters, elected officials, planning board commissioners and our staff has paid off in preserving this space.”


Please find details about the park opening event below.


WHO: Elected officials, leaders from regional environmental organizations and the community will join Montgomery Parks to celebrate the opening of Carroll Knolls Local Park.

WHAT: The event will feature a speaking program and ribbon cutting ceremony followed by various family friendly activities.

Carroll Knolls Local Park Opening Schedule:

10:45   Arrival and light refreshments

11:00   Speaking Program

                        Mary Bradford, Director of Montgomery County Parks Department
                        Beverly Sobol, Green Space on Georgia President
11:20   Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

11:30   Family friendly activities including:

  • Naturalist demonstrations with live animals
  • Children’s games and relay races
  • Meet Montgomery Parks Tree Stewards, Scavenger hunt to identify different types of trees, Make a tree cookie necklace
WHEN: Saturday, April 26, 2014,* 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
*Rain date: May 3, 2014, 11AM – 1 PM
WHERE: Carroll Knolls Local Park  
10500 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20902
*At the intersection of Evans Parkway


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Apr 7 14

Montgomery Parks Announces Special Events, Festivals and Programs for May and June 2014!

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission announces a variety of special events, festivals and programs for May and June 2014. A sampling is listed below; all spring offerings can be found in the Montgomery County Spring Guide to Recreation and Parks Programs at and in print at select Parks and Recreation facilities, government buildings and libraries, while supplies last.

Family Archaeology Daykids at archaeology camp 2013 web
Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$8 per person / $15 per family
Needwood Mansion
6700 Needwood Road
Derwood, MD 20855


Bring the family and enjoy an introduction to archaeology for all ages with a day of interactive learning and fun including mansion tours, a simulated archaeology dig for children, a 19th century Slave Quarters Dig Exhibit, storytelling, old-time games and crafts.


No Child Left Inside – Parent Boot Camp
Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
$10 (Course #267099)
Black Hill Visitor Center at Black Hill Regional Park
20926 Lake Ridge Dr.
Boyds, MD 20841


Join Montgomery Parks’ naturalists and staff as they lead you through hands-on-activities you can use on family explorations. Learn to engage your kids in the natural world and help improve their health, emotional well-being and create stronger family bonds. Dress for outdoor play. Need child care? Enroll children in our free Outdoor Classrooms Explore-A-Thon – taking place at the same time!

McCrillis Gardens are open daily 10 a.m. to sunset

McCrillis Gardens are open daily 10 a.m. to sunset

Free Garden Tours of McCrillis Gardens

Sundays in May, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
McCrillis Hous
6910 Greentree Road
Bethesda, MD 20817


Visit this premier shade garden at the height of the azalea and rhododendron season as well as beautiful ornamental trees,  groundcovers and other shade-loving perennials.


Raptors Rule Festival
Sunday, May 4, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
$5, (Course #270700)
Meadowside Nature Center
5100 Meadowside Lane
Rockville, MD 20855

Join Montgomery Parks’ naturalists and staff for an afternoon of raptor-filled fun and facts and celebrate Maryland’s amazing birds of prey. Explore the world of owls, hawks and eagles through games, crafts and talks by local experts. No registration required. All attendees must pay. No dogs allowed at the festival site.



Forest Friends Festival
Saturday, May 10, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
$5, (Course #269951)
Brookside Nature Center
1400 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902


Enjoy a day of fun for the whole family featuring tree care tips from the pros, tree climbing for kids, forest friendly crafts, forest critters, vendors and more.


Private Gardens of Montgomery County Tour
Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
$20 All-garden pass or $5/per garden if paid at the door  (Course #272152)
For information, call 301-962-1451


Visit some of the most inspiring private gardens of Montgomery County at the height of gardening season. Join Brookside Gardens for their annual private open garden tour; this is your only opportunity to visit these extraordinary gardens!

Cabin John Ice Spring Show
Saturday, May 17, 6:30 p.m.
Cabin John Ice Rink
10610 Westlake Drive
Rockville, MD 20852


Come and marvel at the talented figure skaters of Cabin John Ice Rink as they perform at the annual Spring Skating Show.


adult bluebirds at nest-RGBluebirds Forever Festival
Sunday, May 18, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Black Hill Visitor Center at Black Hill Regional Park
20926 Lake Ridge Dr.
Boyds, MD 20841


Celebrate the Eastern Bluebird at this annual festival with park naturalists, friends and volunteers and members of the Maryland Bluebird Society. Enjoy an afternoon of special programs including exhibits, demonstrations and children’s activities.


Kids’ Fishing Day
Saturday, May 31, 8:30 a.m.
$8, (Course #268199)
Black Hill Boats at Black Hill Regional Park
20926 Lake Ridge Dr.
Boyds, MD 20841


Participants (ages 3 – 15) will learn to bait a hook with worms, put their line in the water and pull in fish. Prizes for kids who catch the biggest, smallest and greatest number of fish.



Kids’ Fishing Day
Saturday, June 14, 8:30 a.m.
$8, (Course #268200)
Lake Needwood Boats at Rock Creek Regional Park
6700 Needwood Road
Derwood, MD 20855


Participants ages 3 – 15 will learn to bait a hook with worms, put their line in the water and pull in fish. Prizes will be awarded to kids who catch the biggest, smallest and greatest number of fish.


Montgomery County Heritage Days

Each year, on the last weekend of June, Montgomery Parks participates in the annual Heritage Days Celebration hosted by Heritage Montgomery, by offering free tours and activities at various historic sites in parks. Additional details on all Heritage Day offerings can be found at


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Underground Railroad Experience Trail Guided Hikes
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
16501 Norwood Road
Sandy Spring, MD 20860


Hikers learn about various techniques that “freedom seekers” used to elude trackers, find food and navigate their way north to freedom. Free hikes are offered Saturdays through November 1 (hikes start at 9 a.m. in July and August and 10 a.m. all other months).

Kingsley Schoolhouse Open House
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Little Bennett Regional Park
Kingsley Parking Area on Clarksburg Road
Clarksburg, MD 20871


Enjoy free interpretive tours of this historic 19th century one-room schoolhouse and learn what school was like in Montgomery County back in the 1920s. Open house and guided tours offered the first Sunday of each month through November 2.


Oakley Cabin African American Museum & Park
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Oakley Cabin African American Museum & Park
3610 Brookeville Road, Olney, MD 20832


Enjoy tours of the historic cabin, living history demonstrations and learn about the African American experience after the Civil War. Tours are also available on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month through November 1.

Heritage Days at the Harper 1870’s Homestead
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (repeats Sunday, June 29, 1:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.)
Brookside Nature Center
1400 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902

Experience how one family lived in the post-emancipation period by raising chickens, grinding their own grain and living off of the environment. Free.


Sunday, June 29, 2014
“A Walk in Father Henson’s Footsteps” Guided Tours
12 – 4 p.m. 
Josiah Henson Park
11420 Old Georgetown Road
North Bethesda, MD 20852*


Retrace the footsteps of Reverend Josiah Henson from his enslavement to escape on the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. Walk the grounds where Henson toiled as a slave on the Isaac Riley Plantation.

*Parking for Josiah Henson Park is available ONLY at the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Boulevard, North Bethesda, MD 20852


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

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 418 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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Apr 3 14

Volunteers are “Spring” ing Into Action All Over Montgomery Parks for Earth Month

by Melissa Chotiner

Cleanup partners include The Alice Ferguson Foundation, Rock Creek Conservancy, The Anacostia Watershed Society and Friends of Sligo Creek

volunteer cleanup photo of group

SILVER SPRING, MD—Crowds of volunteers will gather at parks across Montgomery County and the region this weekend and throughout the month of April to pick up trash and recyclables, work on trails, help at Nature Center special events, and remove non-native invasive species. As part of its annual celebration of Earth Month, Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has organized over 80 cleanups this month at parks all around the county. The Department collaborates with several partners in parks, including regional environmental organizations such as The Alice Ferguson Foundation, Rock Creek Conservancy, The Anacostia Watershed Society and Friends of Sligo Creek.


“Volunteers are critical to the health and well-being of Montgomery Parks” says Jayne Hench, Senior Volunteer Services/Community Partnerships Coordinator. “We know spring is here when thousands of volunteers descend on the parks they love, not just to play, but to make a difference.  We couldn’t do it without them!”


Montgomery Parks Volunteer Services Office works with an estimated 11,600 volunteers annually who donate more than 84,000 hours of service to the Department in a variety of ways including, but not limited to:

  • Park and stream cleanups
  • Trail work
  • Special events
  • Nature programs and gardening
  • Public safety
  • Historic interpretation


Earth Month cleanups taking place this weekend include:






A complete list of all of the Earth Month events in April and more information about volunteering with Montgomery Parks is available at



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

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 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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