New digital tool allows residents and businesses to learn about new development projects and promote their communities in the County
Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has helped the Office of the County Executive launch a new online tool in partnership with the Montgomery Business Development Corporation for tracking the progress of development in the County. Called the Development Database, this digital resource builds on existing digital information about planned and projects under construction. Its introduction was announced at a press conference held on Monday, November 23 in the County’s Executive’s Conference Room in Rockville.
“Montgomery County has made tremendous investments in making our community more attractive, walkable and vibrant, even during the worst economic downturn,” said County Executive Ike Leggett, “because quality of place is essential to attracting businesses and talent.”
The web-based portal allows users to visually explore proposed, approved, under construction and recently completed development projects in Montgomery County. The Database lets residents see what is planned in their communities and enables businesses to easily gather information about development in the pipeline to help with investment decisions.
“This tool represents a collaborative effort to promote development in the County and draw attention to the new, sustainable designs being built in our communities,” said Casey Anderson, Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board. “It provides an easy, accessible way to understand the quality of growth in the County.”
County officials can use the tool to promote the diversity and robustness of Montgomery’s real estate market. This mapping tool consolidates information from multiple County data sources and provides user-friendly descriptions, as well as photographs of the projects. As a “living” resource, the database will be continuously updated as new projects are proposed, approved and built.
“Supporting economic development efforts in the County is a priority for the Planning Department,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright. “This Development Database tool is an example of our commitment to make doing business in the County as user-friendly and transparent as possible. It is exciting that we were able to collaborate with our County partners to further this goal.”
“The Development Database is an innovative tool that our business community can utilize to gather current, relevant and data-driven information concerning significant real estate development projects in Montgomery County. Additionally, the Database is a great marketing tool to attract prospective developers and corporations considering investment in our community,” said Robby Brewer, Chair of the Montgomery Business Development Corporation.
The new database can be accessed at montgomerybusiness.org/developmentdatabase. It complements the Planning Department’s digital Development Activity Information Center (DAIC), launched in 2005. DAIC, already an indispensable tool, provides the public a reivew timeline and document access related to the latest development projects. Now, with the enhanced Development Database, the public will have access to project narratives and photos, providing a more user-friendly experience.
The new Development Database enhances DAIC by providing more descriptive information about future projects. The database makes it easier to track construction projects in the pipeline and understand the extent of development throughout the County.
Revisions will affect the Transportation Policy Area Review and Local Area Transportation Review governing traffic congestion
Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is updating the Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly called Growth Policy) for review and approval by the County Council in fall 2016. The intent of the Subdivision Staging Policy is to ensure that public facilities, particularly schools and roads, are adequate to meet the needs of new development.
A public forum addressing the policy update was held on Monday, October 19, 2015 at the Montgomery County Planning Department. Planners provided an overview of the Subdivision Staging Policy and answered questions about infrastructure and growth, particularly about school capacity.
Next Steps in Updating Subdivision Staging Policy
Planners will make a presentation to the Planning Board on December 3, 2015 about updates related to the Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR) process and trip generation rates used in support of Local Area Transportation Review (LATR). TPAR is used to determine adequacy of roadways and transit from a policy area-wide perspective. LATR is used to determine the adequacy of roadway intersections located in the vicinity of proposed new development.
In addition, the potential for the development of additional “pro-rata share” districts in the County (such as already exists in White Flint and is being developed in White Oak) will be discussed. In “pro-rata share” districts, TPAR and LATR are replaced by a district-wide traffic mitigation payment system.
In January 2016, planners will hold an evening community meeting focused on the effect of growth on public schools. The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring). The date will be announced in December.
Background on Subdivision Staging Policy
Planning staff is researching new ideas in transportation and school capacity planning in preparation for revising the Subdivision Staging Policy, which will first be presented to the Planning Board in May 2016 for comment. This policy, which is reexamined every four years, includes criteria and guidance for the administration of the County’s Adequate Public Facility Ordinance (APFO), which seeks to ensure that the timing of private development is linked to the availability of public infrastructure.
In the past, the APFO was designed to ensure that road and school capacity – as well as water and sewer and other infrastructure –kept pace with growth. As new areas of the County were developed, infrastructure to support new homes and businesses was needed.
Today, much of the County has been developed. Growth is primarily occurring through infill development and redevelopment. In addition, homes are turning over in many of the County’s established neighborhoods. This type of growth creates pressure on transportation systems and school facilities; however, the current tools used to evaluate the impact of such growth may not be adequate to assess these changing growth patterns and are being examined for their effectiveness.
Sign up to receive the Subdivision Staging Policy e-newsletter.
Planners explained zoning classifications, proposed housing’s effect on schools and transportation, community character and other issues related to Sector Plan
Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a meeting on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Center (2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to explain key concepts for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan.
About 50 attendees listened to the planners’ presentation about topics of concern, including the following:
-Urban Road Code clarifications.
-Total number of residential units and their effect on local schools and transportation.
-Zoning classifications: Commercial Residential Neighborhood versus Commercial Residential Town zones.
-Community benefits of land swaps with the Montgomery County Parks Department.
-Preserving community character.
-Language used in the Draft Plan to explain goals.
For more details, consult the presentation online.
Planners will present the Working Draft of the Plan to the Planning Board on December 17, 2015. A public hearing for the Plan will be scheduled in February 2016. Learn about the progress of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan and how to get involved with shaping the future of this community.
Recent progress of master plan follows community meetings held in September and October 2015
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is making progress on the Bicycle Master Plan for the County through several initiatives.
On Thursday, November 19, the Planning Board approved the 21-member Bicycle Master Plan Community Advisory Group, which will advise Planning staff as the Master Plan develops. The group consists of 13 members from cycling and other organizations, and eight community members who applied to be part of the effort. These County residents were chosen from 60 applicants. The 21 members of the group are listed on the Bicycle Master Plan website.
On Thursday, December 3, the Planning Board will review a proposal for the White Flint Separated Bike Lane Network. Due to the pace of development in White Flint, the Planning Department is advancing work in this area of the County so that meaningful opportunities to construct segments of an enhanced bicycling network can be pursued before the actual Bicycle Master Plan is approved in 2017. Separated bike lanes (also known as cycle tracks or protected bike lanes) encourage more people to bicycle because they provide separation from motor vehicles and pedestrians.
The public is invited to attend the Planning Board meeting (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) on December 3 and submit comments to the Planning Board about issues related to the White Flint Separated Bike Lane Network.
Bicycle Master Plan Background
The Bicycle Master Plan will develop a low-stress bicycling network that encourages more people to ride a bike in Montgomery County. It will evaluate an array of bikeway types, including separated, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as how to provide secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations. The network will be developed using an evaluation of the varying levels of stress imposed by traffic on cyclists along each roadway in the County.
Community meetings held in five locations throughout the County during September and October 2015 allowed participants to record comments on how the bicycle connections in the County could be improved. Those comments were recorded on a digital feedback map and will be taken into account as work continues on the new Bicycle Master Plan. View the feedback map.
Planning Board wraps up 2015 agenda with work sessions devoted to plans for Bethesda, Westbard and Lyttonsville
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its calendar for December 2015. These events offer opportunities for the Planning Board members and Planning Department staff to engage with communities within Montgomery County. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans.
Montgomery County and Planning Department Events in December 2015
December 1 – Sign up to testify at the County Council’s public hearing for the Montgomery Village Master Plan. The hearing will start at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. Residents and property owners are invited to comment on the Master Plan’s draft recommendations for land use and zoning, transportation networks, parks and open spaces.
To testify, community members can sign up online at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/calendar.html or call 240-777-7803. The deadline to sign up is 10 a.m. on December 1. Past PowerPoint presentations of the Plan goals and other materials from MV Matters meetings are posted on the Montgomery Village Master Plan webpage.
December 3 – Attend the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting to learn about separated bike lanes proposed for the White Flint area. Also on the agenda is a work session for the Westbard Sector Plan with discussion focused on the future of the Willett Branch stream and open spaces in the area. Planners will also make a presentation to the Planning Board about updates related to the Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR) process and trip generation rates used in support of Local Area Transportation Review (LATR). TPAR is used to determine adequacy of roadways and transit from a policy area-wide perspective. LATR is used to determine the adequacy of roadway intersections located in the vicinity of proposed new development.
December 9 – Attend the community meeting for the White Flint 2 Sector Plan to discuss parks and open spaces in the area. The session will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville). RSVP to attend the meeting.
December 14 – Attend the community meeting for the Rock Spring Master Plan to learn about future development of this office park in Bethesda. The planner-led event will be held at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda) from 7 to 9 p.m. RSVP to attend the meeting.
December 15 – This Tuesday meeting of the Planning Board will be devoted to a work session on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.
December 15 – Attend a community meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus, (Academic and Research Building 9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD) to learn about the latest bicycle and pedestrian planning activities in the Life Sciences Center area. Staff will provide an update on the Life Sciences Center separated bike lane network, as well as the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail design guidelines. RSVPs to attend the session are encouraged, but not required. RSVP for the December 15 meeting.
December 17 – The Planning Board’s last meeting of 2015 will include work sessions on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan and Westbard Sector Plan. A full agenda for the meeting is posted on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.
Residents and property owners invited to sign up to comment on Plan
Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will present an overview of the Planning Board Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan to the County Council during the day on Tuesday, December 1, 2015. Following this brief presentation, the Council’s public hearing on the Plan will start at 7:30 p.m. on December 1 in the Council Hearing Room at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville.
At the hearing, residents and property owners are invited to comment on the Master Plan’s draft recommendations for land use and zoning, transportation networks, parks and open spaces.
To testify at the December 1 hearing, community members can sign up online or call 240-777-7803. The deadline to sign up is 10 a.m. on December 1.
Speakers should bring 15 copies of their testimony to the hearing and provide a written copy at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing; email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past PowerPoint presentations of the Plan goals and other materials from MV Matters meetings are posted on the Montgomery Village Master Plan webpage.
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 directed the Planning Department to further 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 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, because it wanted the zoning to be reassessed holistically before the prohibition on piecemeal rezoning of Town Sector property expired in 2015.
SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is seeking input from the public on an update to the Wheaton Regional Park Master Plan. The 1987 plan is being updated to accommodate the changing needs of the area and communities. People will have many opportunities throughout the process to share their ideas at in-person meetings, online and through hard copy mail.
Planners are exploring many aspects of the park for potential updates including:
- Improvements to the park entrances and connections within the park and to trail systems outside the park
- Possible expansion of the park to add more features such as rectangular athletic fields
- Incorporating ways to share the story of the park’s history and natural resources
- Improvements to natural resources
“We are excited to begin the process to update this master plan for one of our most popular parks,” said Rachel Newhouse, Park Planner for Montgomery Parks Park Planning and Stewardship Division. “We look forward to hearing from the public to create a plan that balances park recreation and stewardship, providing visitors a variety of recreational and educational opportunities.”
Planners are available to attend community meetings to share more information about the process. The public may also submit suggestions and questions via email, online and hard copy mail. Please see below contact information:
Rachel Newhouse: Rachel.Newhouse@montgomeryparks.org, 301-650-4368
Dominic Quattrocchi: Dominic.Quattrocchi@montgomeryparks.org 301-650-4361
Attention: Rachel Newhouse or Dominic Quattrocchi
9500 Brunett Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20901
For more information please visit www.ParkPlanning.org
About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 417 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. www.montgomeryparks.org
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission encourages the involvement and participation of all individuals in the community, including those with disabilities, in the planning and review processes. In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M?NCPPC) will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs or activities. M?NCPPC works to make its facilities and materials accessible and to hold public meetings in locations that are, likewise, accessible. M?NCPPC will generally provide, upon request, appropriate aids and services and make reasonable modifications to policies and programs for qualified persons with disabilities (e.g., large print materials, listening devices, sign language interpretation, etc.). For assistance with such requests, please contact the M-NCPPC Montgomery County Commissioners’ Office, at least a week in advance, at (301) 495-4600 or at email@example.com . Maryland residents can also use the free Maryland Relay Service for assistance with calls to or from hearing or speech-impaired persons; for information, go to www.mdrelay.org/ or call (866) 269-9006.
Discussion will focus on height and density recommendations for properties in each district of Westbard
Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will review the recommendations regarding zoning and land uses in the Westbard Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, November 19 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD).
At this second work session for the Sector Plan, staff planners will highlight the priorities in each district of Westbard. They will present requested changes to Plan recommendations made by property owners and their impact on the potential number of residential units, affordable housing, open spaces and student generation rates.
The Planning Board will hold additional work sessions in December 2015. At the conclusion of the work sessions, the Plan will be revised according to the Planning Board’s direction and transmitted to the County Council and County Executive as the Planning Board Draft. The County Council will hold a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan in 2016.
Background on Westbard Sector Plan
The new Sector Plan is the first effort since 1982 to develop a unified vision for Bethesda’s Westbard area, which is located near Friendship Heights and the District of Columbia. The Plan builds on the assets of the community by offering ways to improve neighborhood retail, the existing light industrial areas, housing options and recreational and open spaces over the next 20 years. Recommendations in the Plan focus on:
-Encouraging more housing choices.
-Revitalizing older retail areas.
-Emphasizing low-scale development of 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.
Sign up for the Westbard Sector Plan eNewsletter.
Brookside Gardens’ Family Favorite Holiday Display Celebrates 18th Anniversary
October 2015 – Silver Spring, MD – Beginning November 27, 2015, families can once again enjoy the beloved winter walk-through holiday light display at Brookside Gardens. This magical winter wonderland is illuminated by more than one million dazzling, colorful lights uniquely shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms featuring flowers, animals and other natural elements.
Guests will have an opportunity to stroll from garden to garden enjoying visitor favorites including “Nessie” and a giant caterpillar, twinkling tree forms, flowers and dragonflies, and sparkling snowflakes overhead. This one-of-a-kind holiday event that’s perfect for couples, friends and families alike. The experience wouldn’t be complete without a visit inside the Conservatory to enjoy watching G-Scale model trains wind through a breathtaking seasonal landscape. End the evening by warming up inside the Visitors Center while sipping hot cocoa and listening to one of the exciting nightly musical performances.
“We are thrilled to once again welcome guests to our Garden of Lights display,” said Stephanie Oberle, Brookside Gardens Director. “We’re especially excited to welcome guests back to Brookside Gardens as the construction of our expanded parking lot wraps up. We hope to see new and repeat visitors at this year’s event, and look forward to sharing this special holiday tradition with them.”
“In addition to our incredibly popular light display, we also partner with the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society to bring our South Conservatory to life with a miniature landscape and train exhibit. Visitors can enjoy the Conservatory Winter Display and Garden Railway Exhibit free of charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day beginning December 5th through January 3rd (closed December 25th).”
“Since its inception in 1997, Brookside Gardens’ Garden of Lights celebration has been a holiday favorite,” said Montgomery Parks Department Director Michael F. Riley. “We’ve welcomed 500,000 guests in the past 18 years, and we are looking forward to sharing the magic of the holidays with guests again this year.”
Garden of Lights At-A-Glance
Dates: November 27, 2015–January 3, 2016 (closed December 24 & 25)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 5:30–9:30PM; Friday–Saturday: 5:30–10:00PM; New Year’s Eve: open until 9:00PM
Location: 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
Cost: $25 per car/van (Monday-Thursday); $30 per car/van (Friday-Sunday)
$25 advanced tickets available beginning November 1, 2015
*Cash only at entrance
Conservatory Winter Display and Garden Railway Exhibit At-A-Glance
Dates: November 27, 2015 – January 3, 2016 (closed December 25)
Hours: Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
To learn more, visit www.BrooksideGardens.org.
About Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 417 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. www.montgomeryparks.org
About Brookside Gardens
Brookside Gardens is Montgomery County’s incomparable, award-winning 50-acre public display garden situated within Wheaton Regional Park. The Garden features numerous distinct landscape areas, including the Aquatic Garden, Azalea Garden, Butterfly Garden, Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Style Garden, Trial Garden, Rain Garden and the Woodland Walk. The Formal Gardens areas include a Perennial Garden, Yew Garden, the Maple Terrace, and Fragrance Garden. Two conservatories showcase changing seasonal displays for year-round enjoyment. A horticultural reference library and gift shop are located in the Visitors Center. Admission to the Gardens is free.