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Feb 12 16

Planning Board Schedules Work Sessions for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on February 25 and March 10 and 24

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover
Board will address land use, density and other recommendations of the Sector Plan

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is reviewing portions of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan at work sessions held on Thursday, February 25, Thursday, March 10 and Thursday, March 24 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. MD).

The future work sessions will focus on parks and open space, environmental recommendations related to the high performance area and affordable housing in the Plan. The Planning Board and staff will also revisit the land use vision recommended by staff and the additional density recommended by the Planning Board in previous work sessions to determine the appropriate amount of overall density for the Plan area.

A vote to approve the Planning Board draft is likely to take place sometime in April 2016, and it is expected that the Draft will be transmitted to the County Council during the summer.

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 bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Feb 9 16

Suburban Bicycle Planning Will Be Discussed at Winter Speakers Series Event on February 16 at Planning Department

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Jennifer Toole of the Silver Spring-based Toole Design Group will discuss how suburban areas can be more bike-friendly with the right planning for intersections and separation from vehicles

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is hosting the second event in its 2016 Winter Speaker Series with a presentation by Jennifer Toole, president of the Silver Spring-based Toole Design Group. Free and open to the public, the event will be held on Tuesday, February 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).

Toole will discuss the need to provide high-quality bikeways, now evident in cities, for suburban areas where the demand for safe bicycle conditions is growing. “Due to higher speeds on suburban roads, there is a great need for separation between bicyclists and adjacent motor vehicle traffic,” says Toole. “There is also a greater need to address issues at intersections, driveways and property entrances in the suburbs.”

Drawing on her experience in developing hundreds of bicycle master plans, Toole will discuss projects in the Netherlands and other locations to demonstrate the potential of bike travel in the suburbs. “Some designers throw up their hands when it comes to making suburban roads more bike-friendly, but it can be done successfully as shown in other countries,” she notes.

Toole says suburban bike planning must be undertaken to improve routes and facilities so residents feel comfortable riding for transportation and recreation throughout their communities. The Toole Design Group is currently assisting the Montgomery County Planning Department as it updates its Bicycle Master Plan.

About Speaker Jennifer Toole
President of the Toole Design Group in Silver Spring, Jennifer Toole leads a national firm of more than 100 planners, engineers and landscape architects who specialize in bicycle and pedestrian planning and design. The Toole Design Group has completed more than 200 bicycle master plans and designed hundreds of miles of bikeways throughout the United States. Among these projects is the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, issued in 2015.

About the 2016 Winter Speaker Series
The three-part Winter Speaker Series focuses on new approaches to transportation. Smart Moves: New Ideas about Bikes, Cars and Transit addresses cycling, transit, trails and other alternatives to cars. The ideas generated from the series will help inform the Department’s current plans and policies, including the Bicycle Master Plan and Subdivision Staging Policy update.

The Winter Speakers Series is free and open to the public. The presentations, which include question-and-answer discussions, will be held at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the following dates:

Session 2 – Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Jennifer Toole, President, Toole Design Group, Silver Spring, MD
Topic: Recent approaches to suburban bicycle planning

Session 3 – Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Jeffrey Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy, Nelson/Nygaard, San Francisco, CA
Topic: Smart development in transitional suburban locations.

Learn more: www.montgomeryplanning.org/smartmoves

Feb 9 16

Montgomery Planning Department Will Be Open Under Liberal Leave Policy For Tuesday, February 9, 2016

by Bridget Schwiesow

Weather Update as of February 9, 2016 at 7:00 a.m. – The Montgomery County Planning Department will be open today but will operate under a Liberal Leave Policy. Non-essential employees may use their leave; essential employees are to report to work.

Feb 8 16

Parks Department Encourages Community to Testify Before the Planning Board on Public Hearing Draft of Countywide Park Trail Plan Amendment

by Melissa Chotiner

Community invited to comment in-person March 3, 2016, or online or by mail

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) invites the public to provide input on the Public Hearing Draft of the Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment. The Planning Board will hear public testimony on March 3, 2016.  An electronic copy of the plan is available at ParkPlanning.org.
The plan proposes a new framework of countywide trails called “Loops and Links.” This framework aims to complete gaps in the countywide trail system, design sustainable trails and provide trails closer to where people live or work.
“The former plan was created many years ago before mapping tools were available, so it was difficult to determine where trails could actually be built,” said Chuck Kines, Park and Trail Planner Coordinator. “With this new plan we have a better understanding of which areas of parkland are suitable for trails and which areas to avoid.”

 

The plan supports a future network of trails for people to use in many different ways including biking, hiking, running, riding horses and walking their dogs.  The plan includes recommendations as to which trails should be built first and why.

Planning Board Public Hearing

WHEN:           Thursday, March 3, 2016, Time TBD*

WHERE:         Planning Board Auditorium, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

WHY:              Provide input on where future trails will be built and help Montgomery Parks prioritize which trails are built during what timeframe.


*The Planning Board’s Agenda is subject to change and certain items may be postponed or added.  A more precise time will be posted closer to the date of the meeting on the Planning Board agenda located at MontgomeryPlanningBoard.org. To testify on an agenda item, sign up online. Written comments may be emailed to the Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson at mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org or mailed to Chair Casey Anderson, Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910; or faxed to (301) 495-1320. Written comments must be submitted at least one full business day before a scheduled hearing (i.e. by 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning before a Thursday hearing).

Public input may also be submitted online at ParkPlanning.org.

For further information, contact Chuck Kines, Project Coordinator

c/o M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks
9500 Brunett Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20901
Charles.Kines@MontgomeryParks.org
(301) 495-2184

 

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. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

Accessibility
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 mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org .  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.

 

Feb 4 16

Updates to Subdivision Staging Policy Being Discussed at Planning Board and Community Meetings

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Public events in January and February focus on schools and transportation issues related to new development and growth

Silver Spring, MD The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is in the process of updating the Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly called Growth Policy) for review and approval by the County Council later this year. 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.

On Tuesday, January 12, a community meeting was held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Planning Department auditorium (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to discuss current school tests and school facility funding as they relate to the staging of future subdivision development.

The approximately 40 participants provided comments on four topics related to school facilities: school facility funding, options for new schools, calculation of the annual school test and school adequacy policies. They voiced concern about overcrowding at the elementary school level and how the school impact tax is calculated.

Feedback from this event will help planners revise the sections related to schools in the current Subdivision Staging Policy.

View the presentation from the January 12 meeting.

Next Steps for the Subdivision Staging Policy

Aspects of the Subdivision Staging Policy related to transportation and schools will be discussed at Planning Board meetings and community events scheduled in February, as follows:

February 4 – The Subdivision Staging Policy team will continue to discuss new ideas for transportation testing with the Planning Board. View the Planning Board Agenda for details about this item.

February 18 – The Subdivision Staging Policy team will engage in its third discussion of new ideas for transportation testing with the Planning Board. View the Planning Board Agenda for details about this item.

February 18 –After the Planning Board meeting, a public forum to discuss whether the Subdivision Staging Policy can include new approaches to determining the adequacy of school facilities will start at 7 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring MD). It will focus on possible changes to the current school tests and school facility funding as they relate to the staging of subdivision development. Feedback from this event will help planners revise the current Subdivision Staging Policy.

February 25 –The Planning Board will hold a work session on the update to the Subdivision Staging Policy at its regularly scheduled meeting. This session will focus on draft recommendations related to the work of the Transportation Impact Study Technical Working Group. Feedback from this event will help planners revise the current Subdivision Staging Policy.

Background on the Subdivision Staging Policy

The County’s Subdivision Staging Policy is revised every four years. Planners are currently researching new ideas in transportation and school capacity planning to help them revise the regulations to make them as useful as possible in managing growth in the county. The policy update 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 new development. 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. This type of growth creates pressure on existing transportation systems and school facilities. In updating the Subdivision Staging Policy, staff will evaluate whether the current methodologies effectively account for these changing growth patterns.

Learn More About the Update to the Subdivision Staging Policy

Sign up for the Subdivision Staging Policy e-newsletter

Check out the Subdivision Staging Policy webpage

Watch the Subdivision Staging Policy promo video

Contact Planning Department staff:

Pamela Dunn, Chief of Functional Planning and Policy, tel. 301-650-5649, Pamela.Dunn@montgomeryplanning.org

Feb 4 16

Civic Groups, Homeowner Associations and Property Owners Share Perspectives for White Flint 2 Area at Public Forum on February 1

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Speakers addressed schools, transportation, parks and new developments within White Flint 2 Sector Plan boundaries at evening meeting

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a public forum on Monday, February 1, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD) for the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.

This event allowed civic and homeowner associations, including representatives from the Luxmanor, Garrett Park, Cherington and Randolph Hills neighborhoods, to share ideas with planners and the approximately 40 meeting participants. The discussion focused on public schools within the Walter Johnson cluster, transportation and new parks and open spaces.

In addition, developers from Federal Realty Investment Trust explained their initial concepts for redeveloping the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center and the owner of Randolph Hills Shopping Center also presented his suggested renovation plans.

Local representatives of the Sierra Club presented the benefits of such development, including the provision of more affordable housing in proximity to transit, as well as ways to improve the energy efficiencies of buildings and sites.

View the video recap of the meeting.

Background on the White Flint 2 Sector Plan

The White Flint 2 Plan aims to close the gap between 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.

Issues confronting the White Flint 2 planners

  • How should the City of Rockville and County officials coordinate their efforts in redesigning Rockville Pike?
  • What transportation policies should be introduced or amended?
  • Should the White Flint Special Taxing District extend to White Flint 2?
  • How can uses on both sides of the MARC station and CSX tracks be integrated?
  • What is the role of the proposed MARC station?
  • How should properties outside of the 2010 White Flint Plan be developed?
  • Should light-industrial-zoned properties be retained?
  • What would the school capacity impacts be if significant numbers of new residential developments are approved?
  • What are the impacts associated with bus rapid transit (BRT)?
  • What is the potential for infill to create a mix of uses and promote walkability?

For more information about the White Flint 2 Plan and February 1 public forum, contact:

Lead Planner Nkosi Yearwood, tel. 301-495-1332, email Nkosi.Yearwood@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the WF2 Sector Plan
Connect with us on Twitter: #WF2
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning

Feb 4 16

Planning Board Supports Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal and Approves Design Guidelines for Life Sciences Center Loop Trail 

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Separated bike lanes and walking and cycling trail will provide transportation alternatives within research park

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is announcing the Planning Board’s support of a substantially enhanced bicycle network and trail recommendations for the Life Sciences Center research district of the Great Seneca Science Corridor.

The Board expressed strong support for the Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal and approved an amendment to the 2010 Urban Design Guidelines for the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan. The amendment includes detailed design recommendations for the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail, a 2.5-mile walking and cycling path through the research park.

The Draft Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal will create a network of separated bike lanes and provide long-term bicycle parking stations in the Life Sciences Center. Separated bike lanes (or cycle tracks) create a low-stress environment for cyclists that can make bicycling a mainstream transportation option because they provide physical separation from both traffic and pedestrians.

A complementary project, called the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail, will provide an off-road shared use path for walking and bicycling to connect destinations within the Life Sciences Center area. At the Planning Board meeting on January 28, the Board approved the LSC Loop Trail Design Guidelines as an amendment to the 2010 Urban Design Guidelines for the Great Seneca Science Corridor.

These guidelines will assist developers who are required to implement the trail along the frontage of proposed buildings. They also will help in developing a Facility Plan for the trail, including engineering plans and cost estimates for construction, as recommended in the County Executive’s draft Capital Improvements Program (CIP) for FY17. This plan will allow funding for the LSC Loop Trail to be included in the six-year County Capital Improvements Program as required for the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan to advance to the next stage.

This Planning Board presentation follows a community meeting held on December 15, 2015 to discuss new transportation and recreational networks for people who walk and bike in the Life Sciences Center. View the video recap from the December 15 community meeting.

Bicycle Master Plan Background

The Life Sciences Center cycling lanes and trail are part of the Bicycle Master Plan to develop a low-stress bicycling network that encourages more people to ride a bike in Montgomery County. The Plan 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.

Questions or Comments?

Contact: David Anspacher, Planner and Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager
Email: David.Anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.2191

Contact: Steve Findley, Planner and LSCP Loop Project Manager
Email: Steve.Findley@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.4727

Feb 3 16

Brookside Gardens Hosts Annual Green Matters Symposium: A Garden Gateway on April 8, 2016

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MDBrookside Gardens, a facility of Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is hosting its annual Green Matters Symposium on Friday, April 8, 2016. This year’s conference leverages Brookside Gardens’ recent Garden Gateway project, a multi-phase makeover to improve the Gardens’ entrance, parking and access.

 

“This year’s event provides a thorough look at how to plan, design and build landscapes that are both beautiful and benefit the environment,” said David Vismara, Division Chief for Montgomery Parks Horticulture, Forestry Environmental Education division. “We are bringing together some of the top people in this field to share ideas about how to design and construct attainable, sustainable landscapes.”

 

Early bird registration has just opened for the full-day symposium, providing a $14 discount ($85 admission with the discount) for people who register before March 1. Admission will be $99 after that date. To register, visit www.ActiveMONTGOMERY.org and enter Course # 14881.

 

WHAT:           Brookside Gardens 13th Annual Green Matters Symposium

 

WHEN:           Friday, April 8, 2016, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

WHERE:         Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD, 20902

 

WHY:             Learn about the importance of environmentally friendly landscapes from experts in the field of horticulture.

 

WHO:             Speakers for this year’s conference include:

 

Stephanie Oberle, Director of Brookside Gardens

Mary Pat Matheson, Director of Atlanta Botanical Garden

Gennadyi Gurman, Head of Interpretation at Queens Botanical Garden

Thomas Rainer, Landscape Architect and Author of “Planting in a Post-Wild World,”

Lori Arguelles, Executive Director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation

Conference attendees can take guided tours of the Garden Gateway project to learn from experts involved in the project. Self-guided tours will also be available. Attendees can also engage with local organizations devoted to environmentally friendly landscaping during the event.

 

Two hashtags—#GreenMatters and #BrooksideGreen—are being used for people to share information and correspond via Twitter about the event.

 

For more information visit www.BrooksideGreen.org

 

About Green Matters

Green Matters, an annual symposium organized by Brookside Gardens since 2004, concentrates on the intersection of horticulture and environmental issues. Environmental stewardship is a core value of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Brookside Gardens’ parent organization. As such, we strive to provide timely information and viable solutions to environmental challenges, because we feel strongly that green does matter.

 

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission 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

 

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Jan 28 16

Montgomery Parks Celebrates Black History Month with Educational Events During the Last Weekend of February 2016

by Melissa Chotiner

Guided tours of local historical sites and a spoken word poetry event are among the inspirational events taking place at Josiah Henson Park. 

 

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will celebrate Black History Month during the last weekend in February with free, educational events that highlight the stories, struggles and successes of African Americans.  Events take place February 27 and 28, 2016 at Josiah Henson Park and include free guided tours of the park, the screening of a PBS documentary about the park and the annual spoken word poetry event, “Lyrical Rhythms: The Sounds of Freedom.”

 

“Black History Month is an important vehicle for understanding the past so that people can appreciate the extraordinary contributions of the county’s African Americans,” said Shirl Spicer, Museum Manager for Montgomery Parks. “We encourage people of all ages to join us at these events which bring the past to life and serve as an introduction to life-long learning in culture and community.”

 

Josiah Henson Park is a historic resource of international significance based on its association with Reverend Henson, whose 1849 autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

 

Following is the schedule of events taking place over the weekend:

Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28, 2016, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.:

  • “A Walk in Father Henson’s Footsteps,” free guided tours retracing Reverend Josiah Henson’s life from enslavement to escape on the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. Participants will learn about his extraordinary life—the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  • Hourly screenings, from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. of the PBS Time Team America documentary, The Search for Josiah Henson,” which reveals new discoveries about the plantation resulting from a three-day intensive archaeological dig.

 

Saturday, February 27, 2016, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.:

  • “Lyrical Rhythms: The Sounds of Freedom,” an annual spoken word poetry event will feature original poetry, songs and other artistic expressions from people of all ages. It will be followed by light refreshments

 

Josiah Henson Park is located a short walk from the White Flint Metro (red) line, and parking for these events is available at the Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Boulevard, North Bethesda, MD 20852 (about 1.5 blocks away). In the event of severe weather, please call 301-650-4373 in advance to confirm the park will be open.

 

Group & School Tours

Montgomery Parks also offers Group & School Tours for the public at Josiah Henson Park, as well as the Underground Railroad Experience Trail and Oakley Cabin. Tours are conducted by specially trained docents who bring history alive. Tour date requests may be submitted online or through email at HistoryTours@MontgomeryParks.org or by phone at 301-650-4373.

 

Volunteer Opportunities:

For more information on these upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, visit www.HistoryInTheParks.org or contact M-NCPPC, Montgomery Parks Program Manager, Lisa MacLeman at 301-650-4373 or via email: Lisa.MacLeman@MontgomeryParks.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

 

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Jan 28 16

Montgomery County Council Will Hold Public Hearings for Westbard Sector Plan on February 2 and 4

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Meetings at County Council Office Building in Rockville provide opportunities for the community to comment on the Planning Board Draft of the Plan

Silver Spring, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, approved the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan on December 17, 2015 for transmittal to the Montgomery County Council and Office of the County Executive. The Council has now scheduled two public hearings for this Sector Plan.

The first hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD, Council Hearing Room). This meeting was originally scheduled for January 26, but was rescheduled due to the recent snowstorm. It will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery Channels Comcast 6, RCN 6 and Verizon 30 and streamed live online. View the County Council Agenda webpage.

The Montgomery County Council will hold a second public hearing for the Westbard Sector Plan on Thursday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD, Council Hearing Room). This meeting was  originally scheduled for January 26, but also had to be rescheduled due to the inclement weather. It will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery Channels Comcast 6, RCN 6 and Verizon 30 and streamed live online. View the County Council Agenda webpage.

Currently, there is a wait list to testify at these hearings but interested speakers can register online for a possible time slot or call 240-777-7803 for more information. Speakers can also provide written testimony by sending it by mail to the Montgomery County Council (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850) or by email to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov. All testimony must be received by 10 a.m. on the day of the hearing to be added to the record.

Current Draft of Plan Reflects Changes from Work Sessions
The Planning Board previously held three work sessions on the Westbard Sector Plan to address schools, transportation, land uses, zoning, open spaces and historic and cultural resources. A fourth work session was held to finalize zoning language for specific properties in the Plan area. The Planning Board’s revisions are reflected in the newest draft of the Sector Plan.

These changes affect some building heights, address the need for community-serving uses, increase affordable housing requirements in certain circumstances and add restrictions to commercial uses in areas abutting single-family residential neighborhoods.

View the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan.

Background on the 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, existing light industrial areas, housing options and recreational and open spaces over the next 20 years.

Recommendations in the Westbard Sector 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.

Stay Connected
Sign up for the Westbard Sector Plan eNewsletter.