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Oct 7 15

Scheduling Update: Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Working Draft Presentation To Planning Board is Rescheduled

by Bridget Schwiesow

greaterLP cover

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has rescheduled the presentation of the Greater Lyttonsville Working Draft to the Montgomery County Planning Board that had been on the Board’s agenda for Thursday, October 8. The new date for the presentation will be announced very soon.

The Planning Department has rescheduled this presentation so that there is an opportunity to have additional community meetings to answer questions related to the recommendations in the Greater Lyttonsville Working Draft.

View the Working Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan.

“The Planning Department is committed to real and honest engagement with communities that are participating in master plan efforts. We heard from the Lyttonsville community that more discussion is needed. It is very important that communities be given every opportunity to discuss and understand master plan recommendations,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright.

The Working Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan represents the initial set of staff recommendations for the plan area. These include zoning and land use, transportation, community facilities, environment and parks and open space.

There will be additional opportunities for residents and property owners to participate in the process. All stakeholders are encouraged to attend to meet with planners to discuss the draft plan and any other questions they might have about the process. Additional meetings will be announced soon. Contact staff directly with any comments and questions:

Erin Banks, Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Project Manager, 301-495-4598

Oct 7 15

Montgomery Planning Announces MARC Rail Communities Plan will Launch on November 4 at Open House Event

by Bridget Schwiesow

Marc Rail Logo Portrait 2
Community invited to meet with planners, learn about goals for the area and provide feedback about initial ideas for areas surrounding the Germantown and Boyds MARC rail stations.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching the MARC Rail Communities Plan, with a focus on the Germantown and Boyds stations, on Tuesday, November 4, 2015 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Upcounty Regional Services Center (12900 Middlebrook Road #1000, Germantown, MD). RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

RSVP for the November 4 MARC Rail Communities Open House.

The MARC Rail Communities Plan is centered on the historic communities of Boyds and Germantown in western Montgomery County. The stations are located approximately three miles apart along the Brunswick line of the Maryland Transit Administration’s MARC system. Each of the two communities has a distinct development pattern and requires a different approach to land uses, design and multimodal access around the stations.

Background on the MARC Rail Communities Plan:
The new MARC Rail Communities Plan will build on the recommendations of the previous 1985 Boyds Master Plan, the 1989 Germantown Master Plan and the 2009 Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan, and will examine in greater detail the land uses, zoning, design and multimodal access to the two MARC stations. Specifically, this limited Master Plan will:

-Evaluate land uses and zoning at sites near each station.

-Provide recommendations to improve multimodal access to each station (using information gathered during the Master Plan of Highways and Transitways and the Bicycle Master Plan to help inform the access portion of this plan).

-Address additional concerns raised during the planning process, such as parking.

General Schedule for the MARC Rail Communities Plan:

November 4, 2015 Kickoff Community Meeting (UpCounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Room A, Germantown, MD). Briefing Book to be posted on the same day.

Winter 2016 Design Workshop (Charrette) and Development of Preliminary Recommendations.

Spring 2016 Refinement of Preliminary Recommendations.

Summer 2016 Present Working Draft to the Planning Board.

Fall 2016 Planning Board Public Hearing and Work Sessions.

Winter 2016 Planning Board Draft Transmitted to Council.

Stay Connected:
Visit the project website at or contact the planners at: 301.495.2168 301.495.2194

We can meet with you in our offices in Silver Spring or attend your own group’s meeting. Come to public meetings, workshops and outreach events.

Oct 7 15

Montgomery Parks and Planning Departments Outline Future Plans in Fall 2015 Semi-Annual Report to County Council

by Bridget Schwiesow

semiannual cover fall 2015

Report features upcoming initiatives as well as accomplishments from past six months including the Planning Department’s work on updating sector plans and the Parks Department’s efforts on urban parks and athletic fields.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Parks and Planning Departments, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, showcased recent accomplishments and outlined plans for the next six months in a presentation on Tuesday, October 6, to the Montgomery County Council of the Fall 2015 Semi-Annual Report. The report submitted by Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, highlighted some of the following accomplishments from the past six months:

Planning Highlights:

  • Encouraging bikeable, pedestrian-friendly development near transit by working on master and sector plans such as Greater Lyttonsville, the Bethesda Downtown Plan and White Flint 2.
  • Updating the Bicycle Master Plan.
  • Looking beyond Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) to create more vibrant communities in areas without immediate access to transit, including Westbard, Montgomery Village and Rock Spring.
  • Kicking off the Subdivision Staging Policy to explore new tools for balancing growth and infrastructure.

Parks Highlights: 

  • Activating urban parks with special programs and activities. Examples include events such as Touch a Truck, Dig and Draw, and cookouts at Wall Park.
  • Assessment and maintenance of athletic fields – which is being done in coordination with Montgomery County Public Schools and the County’s Community Use of Public Facilities.
  • Efforts to improve the park trail network by amending the Countywide Park Trails Plan.

“We are working hard to build upon our agency’s past achievements to successfully confront the challenges of the future,” said Casey Anderson, Planning Board Chair. “Parks and Planning both play a critical role in building communities, and we are finding innovative ways not only to preserve the quality of life Montgomery County has enjoyed in the past but to make it even better. This means a heightened focus on design excellence, an increased emphasis on walkability and access to more diverse recreational opportunities in both urban and suburban neighborhoods, and a continued commitment to economic, social, and environmental sustainability in everything we do.”

New Parks Initiatives:

The Parks Department will be expanding on many of its recent accomplishments in the coming six months including:

  • Finding new ways to activate urban parks by working with partner organizations and introducing fun activities and amenities, such as informational kiosks, movable tables and chairs, and outdoor exercise equipment.
  • Identifying land that can be acquired for new urban parks
  • Evaluating athletic fields to determine which fields are the best candidates for future renovations.

New Planning Initiatives:

As outlined in the Fall 2015 Semi-Annual Report, the Planning Department’s initiatives for the next six months include:

  • Revising the Subdivision Staging Policy to guide the timing of private development with the availability of public services, including roads and schools.
  • Studying the factors contributing to increased housing costs to identify the best ways to preserve and encourage affordable rental apartments in the County.
  • Updating the Recreation Guidelines to encourage a greater range of activities that will appeal to residents of all ages.
  • Analyzing retail trends to guide future planning efforts and land use decisions in areas where opportunities for change are possible.
  • Expanding the Design Excellence program and creating new design guidelines for master plans.

New Master Plans:

The Fall 2015 Semi-Annual Report includes information about newly launched master planning efforts, including:

  • The Rock Spring Master Plan, focused on reimagining an office park located to the east of Montgomery Mall as a vibrant, mixed-use community.
  • The White Flint 2 Sector Plan, which will examine opportunities for redevelopment and infill in an area between Rockville and White Flint.
  • The Bicycle Master Plan, which seeks to improve routes and facilities for cyclists throughout the County.
  • The MARC Rail Station Plan for Germantown and Boyds, which will evaluate the land use, zoning, design and accessibility of station areas.
Oct 2 15

Community Invited to Attend White Flint 2 Community Meeting on October 14

by Bridget Schwiesow

white flint image
Community invited to meet with planners, discuss the challenges and opportunities of the plan area from 7 to 9 p.m. 

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is inviting residents, business owners and anyone with an interest in the White Flint 2 area to attend a community meeting hosted by the White Flint 2 Sector Plan team on Wednesday, October 14 at Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m.

The October 14 community meeting follows the September 17 joint meeting with the Rock Spring Master Plan team which focused on MCPS facility concerns in the Walter Johnson High School cluster. The September 17 meeting, which drew about 100 residents, was held to begin the dialogue about how to address school facility issues in this cluster.

During the upcoming master planning process for White Flint 2, Planning Department staff and MCPS staff will collaborate with the community to ensure that land use and zoning recommendations are coordinated with the corresponding recommendations for educational facilities.

RSVP for the October 14 White Flint 2 community meeting.

View the draft of the White Flint 2 Scope of Work.

Background on the White Flint 2 Sector Plan

The White Flint 2 Plan aims to fill in the gaps between the areas covered by the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, Twinbrook Sector Plan and the pending City of Rockville plan for Rockville Pike (MD 355). Its land use, zoning and transportation recommendations will apply to properties in a bow-tie-shaped area between the boundaries of these already established Plans. White Flint 2 will link common elements between the Plan areas, including Rockville Pike and the proposed network of bike lanes and public open spaces.

Planners will be looking at parcels along Executive Boulevard, west of Old Georgetown Road; east of the CSX rail tracks, between Randolph Road and Nicholson Lane; and north of Montrose Parkway along Rockville Pike to the city limits of Rockville. Nicholson Court, which was a part of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, will also be included in the proposed plan area.

Challenges of the plan include improving transportation networks, including the redesign of Rockville Pike into a tree-lined boulevard; integrating land uses on both sides of the CSX tracks and proposed MARC station; and encouraging mixed-use, walkable developments.

For more information about the White Flint 2 Plan, contact the planners:
Nkosi Yearwood, tel. 301-495-1332, email
Andrea Gilles, tel. 301-495-4541, email

Stay connected with the latest information about the WF2 Sector Plan:
Connect with us on Twitter: #WF2
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Oct 2 15

Update to Subdivision Staging Policy To Be Discussed at Open House

by Bridget Schwiesow


Community invited to discuss growth and infrastructure issues at meeting on October 19, 2015 from 7 – 9 pm in Silver Spring

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 by November 15, 2016. The intent of the Subdivision Staging Policy is to ensure public facilities, particularly schools and roads, are adequate to meet the needs of new development and growth.

“The update to the Subdivision Staging Policy is one of our most important initiatives,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “This effort happens every four years and lays the groundwork for how our County can grow and thrive.”

A public open house addressing the policy update will be held on Monday, October 19 from 7 – 9 pm in the Montgomery Planning Board auditorium in Silver Spring (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD). This event presents the opportunity for the community to learn more about the Subdivision Staging Policy and share concerns about infrastructure and growth. Representatives of the Montgomery County Public Schools and Department of Transportation will participate in the discussions. RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

RSVP for the Subdivision Staging Policy Community Open House.

The session builds on the Infrastructure Forum held in March 2015 that was co-sponsored by the Planning Department and County Councilmember Roger Berliner to address issues and concerns associated with schools and transportation.

The Subdivision Staging Policy has also been a part of the discussion during the recent Rock Spring and White Flint 2 master plan community meetings where transportation infrastructure and school facilities have been prominent topics of interest to community members. Participating in the update to the Subdivision Staging Policy provides an opportunity to help guide changes to the County’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance.

Background on Subdivision Staging Policy:

Revisions to the Subdivision Staging Policy are currently underway. Planning staff is researching new ideas in transportation and school capacity planning in preparation for the revised regulations, which will first be presented to the Planning Board in May 2016 for comment. This quadrennial policy includes criteria and guidance for the administration of the County’s Adequate Public Facility Ordinance (APFO), which matches the timing of private development with the availability of public services.

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. Where 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 occurring through infill development and redevelopment, including the resale of homes 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 development may not adequately access these changing growth patterns and are being examined for their effectiveness.

Oct 2 15

Draft Scope of Work for Rock Spring Master Plan Will Be Presented to Planning Board on October 8

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2

Planners request Board’s approval of the Plan’s boundaries, key issues to address, and outreach strategy

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, launched the Rock Spring Master Plan on July 1.

On Thursday, October 8, the Montgomery County Planning Board members will review the Draft Scope of Work for the Rock Spring Master Plan to discuss the planning objectives they would like to achieve in this area. The meeting will be held at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).

View the draft scope for the Rock Spring Master Plan.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent.  In the context of the changing preferences of employers and their workforce for transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed  and a  new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the Countywide rezoning became effective on October 30, 2014.  The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will allow for a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan also recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the planners:
Don Zeigler, tel.301.495.4638, email or
Michael Bello, tel. 301.495.4597, email

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

Connect on Twitter: #ReImagineRockSpring
Like us on Facebook:

Sep 30 15

Planning Department Releases Working Draft of Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

greaterLP cover

Working Draft will be presented to the Planning Board on Thursday, October 8 

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 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan for presentation to the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday, October 8.

The Board’s public hearing about the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, November 19, pending the approval of the Working Draft at the October 8 meeting. The community will be invited to comment on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan recommendations at the  public hearing which will be held at the Planning Department Headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD).

View the Working Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan.

Spurred by the future construction of two Purple Line light rail stations in Greater Lyttonsville, the new Sector Plan examines ways to leverage those transit hubs, while preserving the integrity of area neighborhoods that have a rich history and a strong sense of community. It recommends ways of connecting residential, industrial and institutional districts, attracting mixed-use development and expanding parks, trails and open spaces. The Plan builds on the 2000 North and West Silver Spring Master Plan’s goal to preserve this diverse community as a desirable place to live, work and play.

After community meetings were held in January and April, the Planning team revised their suggestions for bike and pedestrian connections in and around the Rosemary Hills Lyttonsville Local Park.

Recommendations in the Plan focus on:

-Providing pedestrian and bicycle connections to the two proposed Purple Line light rail stations;

-Preserving, rather than rezoning, a majority of the industrial areas;

-Preserving single-family residential areas;

-Proposing zoning changes primarily in areas around the future Purple Line stations or close to the Silver Spring central business district.

Learn more about the latest developments in the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on the Planning Department’s website.

After the Board’s public hearing in November, the plan will be revised through work sessions with the Planning Board before the final draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan is presented to the County Council.  Council action is anticipated in fall 2016, following another public hearing and additional work sessions.

Sep 30 15

Planning Board Holds First Work Session for the Montgomery Village Master Plan on October 1

by Bridget Schwiesow

MVP public hearing draft cover
First session will examine proposed changes to zoning and transportation in Montgomery Village

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is holding its first work session on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to discuss the transportation and zoning recommendations outlined in the Public Hearing Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

Topics to be discussed during the work sessions include Wightman Road and the future of the former golf course. This first work session follows the overview of the Plan presented to the Planning Board in July and the public hearing about the Montgomery Village Master Plan held on September 10, 2015.

A second work session is scheduled for October 15 to examine any remaining topics not addressed on October 1. The work sessions involve detailed discussions about various aspects of the Master Plan to refine the recommendations that will be included in the Planning Draft Board Draft Plan, which will be transmitted to the County Council later this year.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

About the Montgomery Village Master Plan
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 a variety of 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 most of 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: Montgomery Village has six conveniently located shopping areas (Montgomery Village Crossing, Montgomery Village Plaza, The Village Center, Goshen Plaza, Goshen Crossing and Goshen Oaks) throughout the community which serve the everyday retail needs of residents. Over several decades, however, retail competition has grown in the mid-County area and consumer preferences have shifted, as has the tenant mix in the Village’s centers. Some 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 areas, 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.

In order to help achieve these goals, the Master Plan recommends an overlay zone as an implementation measure. The Town Sector zone will not be used going forward, which means all the properties in the village must be rezoned. A large-scale rezoning of this kind is rare, and concerns have been raised about its implementation. 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.

Sep 29 15

Planning Board Will Hold Third Work Session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on October 5

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover
Session to address recommendations for Wisconsin Avenue and other districts

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will conduct the third work session to review the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Monday, October 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. MD). The session will continue the discussion of the district-by-district zoning recommended for established and emerging centers that was outlined in the Public Hearing Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

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

The October 5 work session will address the Pearl District, the Wisconsin Avenue District and the remaining four districts, as time permits.

A fourth work session is scheduled for October 22nd to address the high performance area, ecology, parks and open spaces, and affordable housing as outlined in the Sector Plan. All work sessions will be held at the Montgomery County Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910).

At the conclusion of these discussions, the Planning Board’s recommendations will be incorporated into the Draft of the Sector Plan and sent to the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee in November 2015.  That committee will hold a public hearing prior to its work sessions on the plan. 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. One of its recommendations is a high performance area that will incentivize more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. Making Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally – is the plan’s top priority.

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 the 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

Sep 25 15

September 23 Tour of Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve Offers Valuable Lessons for Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program

by Bridget Schwiesow

ag tour collage

Tour of small farms highlights sustainable practices and success of County farmers in the Ag Reserve

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, hosted members of the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP) on Wednesday, September 23 during a morning tour of farms within the County’s 93,000-acre Agricultural Reserve.

“The model of agricultural land preservation in Montgomery County should be common throughout the nation,” said Colorado State University professor Franklyn Garry, a CALP participant who initiated the tour. “The open space, beauty, environmental benefits, good food and opportunities provided to the citizens of the County are a treasure that all communities should look to develop.”

The group visited the historic Seneca Store, Bounty Farm and Rocklands Farm in Poolesville to learn about Montgomery County programs such as Land Link and the New Farmers Project, and how they are helping local farmers connect with landowners, secure property and benefit from mentoring, education and resources.

“The tour showed how multiple government agencies, non-profits and farmers can work together to nurture and sustain new and existing farms,” said Planner Coordinator Joshua Penn of the Planning Department who helped to organize the event. “It highlighted Montgomery County’s strong support of our agricultural community.”

Leading the tour along with Josh Penn were Caroline Taylor, Executive Director of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance, and Jeremy Criss, Agricultural Services Division Manager for the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development.

“Our visit to the Ag Reserve showed that agricultural tourism plays a role in making farming sustainable in Montgomery County,” said Colorado State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, who serves as board president of CALP and is a graduate of the program. “To attract young people to farming, you have to make it profitable.”

The participants were impressed with the passion of the young farmers in the Reserve and the proximity to productive farmland to a major metropolitan area. They noted several practices in Montgomery County that could be applied to Colorado farming communities, including:

-Changing the definition of agriculture to include equestrian uses.
-Developing methods for equipment sharing.
-Developing a user-friendly land sharing system.

“The residents of Montgomery County are very fortunate to have the Ag Reserve,” Garry said. “This resource not only provides important environmental benefits but also produces fresh and local food, the value of which is appreciated more and more as our society become increasingly urbanized and suburbanized.”

For more information on the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, go to:

About Montgomery County Land Link:
Farmers in Montgomery County face many challenges, including high land prices, decreasing farm subsidies and not having access to farmland. Montgomery County Land Link, introduced in 2011, overcomes these obstacles by connecting beginner and experienced farmers to available land and farms through a database of properties and landowners.

A land seeker or land owner pays a one-time fee of $30 to join the Land Link program, which is administered year round by the Montgomery Countryside Alliance. The applications help to assess the kind of land available, housing, acreage, vision and goals for the property.

Once land seekers and land owners locate farms and farmers of interest based on matching criteria and shared goals, they start a conversation. The goal is to build connections between farmers and produce a strong local food system in Montgomery County. More than 400 acres have been linked to date. Visit

About the New Farmer Project:
Montgomery County’s New Farmer Project, launched in 2012, matches new farmers to unused farmland in the Agricultural Reserve. By locating small plots that can be leased and supplying training mentors, the program helps novices overcome the biggest hurdles to start-up farming: the cost of land and agricultural expertise. Interested farmers and landowners sign up for the program during a limited time period. Their applications are reviewed by a committee of stakeholders who recommend match-ups among the top-ranked applicants.

The program allows new farmers to focus on growing their businesses instead of finding real estate. The beginners negotiate for farmland with a land owner, are matched with an experienced mentor and have access to business planning and shared equipment that can often be cost-prohibitive for a new enterprise. They can farm the land for as long as allowed by the lease, which typically extends from three to five years. Visit

About the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program:
The Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP) involves two years of intensive study that is designed to equip members of the agricultural community to become leaders in their fields of operation. CALP fellows are professionals from across Colorado, bringing a mix of diverse perspectives on agriculture – from ranchers and feedlot managers to policy analysts. Through the CALP program, these emerging leaders are immersed in professional training and agricultural production across the state and in various parts of the country. The course focuses on communications, government, policy, economics, social and cultural issues, and change management in the agricultural industry, where new technology is changing the way farmers work.

The CALP program was re-instated in 2013, under the leadership of former Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar and Colorado State Representative Jerry Sonnenberg after several years of hiatus. “Given the critical issues facing agriculture today, there is a need to provide an intensive leadership program to develop a new generation of leaders,” says Sonnenberg.