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Jul 27 16

Planning Department Held Community Meeting on July 18 to Brainstorm Proposed Short-Term Residential Rental Regulations

by Christopher Peifer

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Attendees provided feedback on future legislation governing short-term rentals offered by companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway and others

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a public meeting on Monday, July 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. at its headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to discuss regulation of online-advertised, short-term home rentals, such as Airbnb, and receive feedback from the community about the issue.

View the video recap here. The full recording will be available online shortly.

More than 60 people attended the event, listened to presentations by industry representatives and offered feedback on issues ranging from existing illegal short-term residential rentals to the benefits of allowing this type of use in the County. Of particular concern was the possible impact of short-term residential rentals on residential neighborhoods. Learn more about short-term residential rentals.

What is a short-term residential rental? 

Online services such as Airbnb, Flipkey, HomeAway and VRBO connect homeowners and property managers with travelers who seek the amenities of a home for a short-term rental stay. Currently, a short-term residential rental (less than a month, typical of companies like Airbnb) is not allowed in Montgomery County unless the property has been approved for use as a bed and breakfast. However, the County allows a homeowner to rent out a home, or part of a home, for 30 days or longer.

What type of laws are being proposed to regulate short-term rentals?

The County Council is considering expanding the opportunities for short-term tenancy so homeowners can participate in the sharing economy. The Council introduced legislation (ZTA 16-03) in February 2016 to relax the requirements on short-term rentals. As proposed, this new law would allow Airbnb or other, similar short-term residential rentals, but with some limitations.  ZTA 16-03 was introduced in conjunction with Bill 2-16, which would update the licensing requirements for all transient housing, including a bed and breakfast.

After holding a public hearing on ZTA 16-03 and Bill 2-16, the County Council requested that the Planning Department reach out to County residents and stakeholders to seek their input regarding the regulation of short-term residential rentals. As part of this effort, staff has provided examples of regulations adopted by other jurisdictions locally and nationally that may be helpful in crafting new legislation in Montgomery County.

Once planners have gathered additional information on the topic and provided outreach, they will present recommendations to the Planning Board and County Council.  

Jul 27 16

Planning Department Announces Calendar of August 2016 Events

by Christopher Peifer

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SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its August 2016 calendar of events. These meetings offer opportunities for the Planning Department staff to discuss policies and engage with the public. Review the full list of events and ongoing plans and projects below, and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details.

Stay connected to us online by following Montgomery Planning Department news and information on Twitter: @montgomeryplans and like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning.

Montgomery County Planning Department Events in August 2016

August 1 – September 8 – The Planning Board will be on summer recess and will resume meeting on September 8. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on future agenda items.

August 23 – The Great Seneca Science Corridor Implementation Advisory Committee will meet in the board room of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association at the Universities at Shady Grove (9630 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, MD).

While the Board is in recess during August, the staff at the Planning Department will still be at work on the following programs, plans and projects. Stay connected with the progress of major plans and projects by clicking on the links below:

Jul 25 16

Planning Board Approved Revisions to County’s Subdivision Staging Policy on July 21 and Will Transmit Updated Policy to County Council for Review

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Transportation and school elements, focus of the new draft of the Subdivision Staging Policy, are now available online for public review

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has updated the Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly called the 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 transportation facilities, are adequate to accommodate new development.

As part of this review process, the Montgomery County Planning Board held public hearings and work sessions to determine the best ways to revise the current policy. At their meeting on July 21, 2016, Board members voted to approve and transmit the current draft of the Subdivision Staging Policy to the County Council. The Council will hold its own work sessions and public hearing in the fall, before voting to adopt the revised policy in November.

Learn more about the Subdivision Staging Policy and read the newest draft.

The following updates are reflected in the current draft of the Subdivision Staging Policy:

Transportation Policy Updates
Planners recognize that there is not a “one size fits all” set of rules and have revised the transportation policies to recognize current land use patterns, modes of travel other than single occupant vehicles and planning visions for different parts of the County. Policy areas have been reorganized into four groupings to acknowledge the diverse nature of transportation in the County.

A spectrum of policy area-based transportation tests appropriate for each group has been created, with a strong focus on transit accessibility. Some groups will not require policy area transit accessibility tests. For those areas requiring transportation tests, trip generation rates have been updated to reflect current land use patterns and travel behavior. In addition, trip generation rates can be adjusted based on reduced parking.

A new system for evaluating local area transportation conditions has been proposed. It does not rely solely on critical lane volume to determine traffic flow, but rather focuses on other tools, such as Synchro, vehicle miles traveled and non-auto driver mode share rates.

Transportation impact taxes will be directed to the geographic area where they are being collected and may be adjusted to better incentivize reduced parking.

School Policy Updates
In revising the Subdivision Staging Policy, planners worked to more thoroughly assess the adequacy of school facilities and more accurately account for the impact of new development.

The new Subdivision Staging Policy recommends a hybrid annual school test combining cluster utilization tests with new individual school capacity deficit tests to determine adequate school capacity. The tests are used to determine those school clusters with inadequate capacity overall as well as whether individual schools greatly exceed the capacity for which they were built.

Depending on the level of adequacy, school facility payments may be required for each new housing unit built or a development moratorium could be enacted. The draft policy also proposes a system to regularly update the school facility payment formulas to better keep up with the latest student generation rates and school construction costs.

The new policy would limit the impact that school placeholder projects have on calculating school capacity for the annual school tests. Such placeholders currently allow development to move forward and school facility payments to be collected by adding just enough capacity to prevent a cluster from entering a moratorium. The new policy proposes to limit the use of placeholder capacity. If a real capacity improvement is not placed in the CIP within two years, a moratorium will be put into effect..

The new policy proposes to calculate school impact taxes to reflect the latest student generation rates and school construction costs. Improvements in technology allow the school system to combine the school system’s data containing student addresses and grade-level information (stripped of any confidential information) and combine it with Planning Department parcel data on the type of residential structure associated with every address in the County. The results are generation rates that reflect the actual location and housing structure of virtually every MCPS student.

The newly revised policy also recommends reintroducing school facility payments and school impact taxes in former Enterprise Zones. The proposed policy would ease the transition by phasing in the collection of the impact taxes and facility payments. It also recommends conducting further research to develop a new process for determining when an area of the County can be exempted from the impact taxes and facility payments.

Background on Subdivision Staging Policy
Planning staff has proposed these new ideas in transportation and school capacity planning as part of revising the Subdivision Staging Policy, which is updated every four years. This quadrennial policy (formerly known as the Growth 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, 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 tools used to evaluate the impact of development may not adequately access these changing growth patterns, so they were re-examined for their effectiveness and relevancy.

Jul 25 16

Join Montgomery Parks at the Annual Great Outdoors Festival at Little Bennett Campground, August 20, 2016, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

by Melissa Chotiner

Check out the campground’s newest amenities: pedal carts, a giant jumping pillow and yurts!

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Yurts are new at Little Bennett Campground this season.

 

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, invites the public to the annual Great Outdoors Fest at Little Bennett Campground on August 20, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The free family event features live music, hayrides, hikes, contests and giveaways, as well as information and demonstrations from various outdoor activity, nature and conservation groups.

 

“Little Bennet Campground has a bunch of new additions this year to show off, including pedal carts, a giant jumping pillow and three yurts,” David Williams, Little Bennett Campground Manager. “We host this free festival every year to let people know about this tucked away treasure that is located just outside our nation’s capital. It’s a great campground for experienced campers and newbies.”

 

Little Bennett Campground is located in Little Bennett Regional Park, Montgomery Parks largest park spanning 3,700 acres of forests, meadows and more than 30 miles of trails. The campground features 91 wooded campsites, including three new yurts and a variety of weekend activities available for all ages and interests. There is a “Camper-Ready Camping” option available for people who want to try out camping but may not have all the equipment and gear.

 

The Great Outdoors Fest will feature live music from Know1Else and The Haley Fahey Band. Many local organizations, retailers and conservation groups will be at the event as well including:

  • Black Hill Boats and Lake Needwood Boats
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Eloise Woodfield Clarksburg Historical Society
  • Friends of Black Hill Nature Programs
  • Go Ape Zip Line
  • Hyatt town Mill Arts Project
  • Maryland Chapter of the American Chestnut
  • Mid Atlantic Hiking Group
  • Mid-Atlantic D.O.G.S. Search and Rescue
  • Montgomery Parks’ Cultural Resources and Stewardship
  • Montgomery Parks’ Volunteer Service Office
  • Orienteering Course Group
  • Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
  • Quantico Orienteering Club
  • Seneca Valley Trout Unlimited
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling (Montgomery County)

Visit here for complete information on the event and a Little Bennett map.

 

The Great Outdoors Festival will take place at Little Bennett Campground at 23701 Frederick Road, Clarksburg, MD 20871.

 

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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Jul 22 16

Planning Board Will Review Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report at July 28 Meeting

by Christopher Peifer

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Public invited to testify about cycling plan or submit written comments

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will review the Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report at its meeting on Thursday, July 28, 2016.

To review the report, visit the Bicycle Master Plan’s webpage.

The Montgomery County Planning Department is seeking comments on the Draft Framework Report and invites the community to sign up online to testify in person or submit written testimony to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

These ideas will help shape the Working Draft of the Bicycle Master Plan, which will be presented to the Planning Board in spring 2017.

Background on Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report

This framework report outlines the proposed foundation and concepts for the Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan. It sets forth the goals and objectives of the Master Plan, and recommends the creation of a bicycle infrastructure network supported by policies and programs that encourage bicycling.

As stated in the report, the goals of the Master Plan are to increase the number of people who bicycle in the County; create a highly connected, low-stress bicycling network; provide equal access to low-stress bicycling for all community members; and improve safety for bicyclists.

The report proposes a new classification for bikeways that are separated from traffic. The five facility classifications are trails, separate bikeways, striped bikeways, shoulders and shared roads.

To demonstrate that each objective of the Master Plan is being reached, a detailed monitoring program is proposed to make the implementation process both clear and responsive to the needs of the community. For example, the report includes statistics on the number of residential units, schools and public facilities that can be accessed via low-stress bicycling networks.

For more details, consult the Draft Framework Report.

 

Jul 21 16

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Invites Public Input on Updates to Park Rules and Regulations

by Melissa Chotiner

Montgomery Planning Board will hold public hearing on July 28, 2016 on proposed updates.  

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks and Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Departments, which are part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission are inviting the public to provide input on proposed revisions to the Commission’s Park Rules and Regulations. The Rules and Regulations were last updated in March 2001, and are being revised to better reflect today’s use of the parks, facilities and amenities.

 

The Montgomery County Planning Board will host a public hearing about the proposed changes July 28. The time of the hearing will be determined closer to the date of the meeting and listed on the Planning Board agenda available at www.MontgomeryPlanningBoard.org. Planning Board meetings are held at:

Montgomery Regional Office Building
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20901

 

A draft of the new rules and regulations is currently available at www.mncppc.org. The public may provide comments and questions at the meeting, or via email at commentonparkrules@mncppc.org, or by mail to:

M-NCPPC
c/o Rules and Regulations Review Committee
6611 Kenilworth Avenue, Suite 200
Riverdale, MD 20737

The public input period will end at 5 p.m. on August 1, 2016.  Public input will be considered before the Commission enacts new rules and regulations.

 

“We are updating the rules and regulations to provide greater flexibility in defining the many ways the public can access our parks, facilities and amenities,” said Mike Riley, Director of Montgomery Parks. “This approach strikes an important balance so that we can make appropriate site-specific decisions.”

 

Ronnie Gathers, Director of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County, said, “Park rules and regulations are put in place to maintain safe and enjoyable recreation experiences in all of our parks and facilities. We are committed to the fair and equitable use of our parks and recreation facilities by all residents and visitors.”

 

A sampling of the activities covered by the rules and regulations includes:

  • Commercial activities in parks
  • Unpermitted regular use of athletic fields
  • Hours of operation for trails

 

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Montgomery Parks and the Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County are departments of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land and later to operate parks and recreation systems. 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; it is a six-time National Gold Medal Award winner for excellence in parks and recreation management and programming.

 

The Department of Parks and Recreation operates and programs 28,000 acres of park land and more than 100 recreation facilities in Prince George’s County. For more information, visit www.pgparks.com. Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 417 parks. For more information, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org

M-NCPPC encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

 

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Jul 21 16

Amy Presley Leaves Planning Board on July 21 after Serving Two Consecutive Terms

by Christopher Peifer

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Presley cites new County Zoning Ordinance and streamlined development review process as greatest accomplishments during her eight-year tenure

SILVER SPRING, MD  The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is changing one of its members after the Board concludes its meeting on Thursday, July 21. That session will be the last attended by Amy Presley, who is leaving the Board after serving two consecutive terms, from 2008 to 2016, which means she is ineligible for reappointment.

“It has been a great honor to serve as a member of the Montgomery County Planning Board for eight years and to play a role in so many positive County-changing and community-enhancing plans and policies,” says Presley. “My service on the Board has been a highlight in my professional life. I have been privileged to experience the passion, dedication, camaraderie and ’family’ of the M-NCPPC.”

Presley considers the County’s new Zoning Ordinance, approved and adopted in 2014, as one of the greatest accomplishments during her tenure on the Board.  “It was exciting to play a role in achieving such needed change,” she notes. “I wish the public had more insight into the hard work and dedication of the staff, without whom it could never have been accomplished.”

In addition, Presley is proud of her work in helping to streamline the development review process, noting “It has come a long way.”

About Amy Presley

A resident of Clarksburg, MD, Amy Presley became a vocal civic activist in her community during the 2000s. She played a major role in uncovering discrepancies between development proposals and approved site plans for the Clarksburg Town Center that led to numerous planning reforms. Her involvement in planning and design issues led the County Council to appoint Presley, a former marketing consultant, to the Planning Board in June 2008.

In 2013, Presley and her business partner launched Grace Realty Partners, a private real estate investment business focused on property renovation and helping families through the estate/probate process. Based on their success in this arena, they recently became Founding Partners of Trusted Estate Partners, a company offering comprehensive estate liquidation services and support to attorneys and their clients, using a unique holistic approach to expedite estate settlement and help ensure that fiduciary responsibilities are met.

New Board Member Appointed

On Thursday, July 28, transportation engineer and planner Gerald R. Cichy, PE, AICP, will be sworn in as the newest Planning Board member. His career experience includes working at the Maryland Transit Administration/ Maryland Department of Transportation on projects such as the Corridor Cities Transitway, Purple Line light rail system and regional transit-oriented developments.

Like Presley, Cichy is a registered Republican. By law, since three Democrats are currently serving on the Board, the vacant position had to be filled by a Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party or by a member of another party officially recognized by the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

The other Planning Board members are Chair Casey Anderson (D), Vice Chair Marye Wells-Harley (D), Norman Dreyfuss (R) and Natali Fani-González (D).

About the Montgomery County Planning Board

The five-member Planning Board oversees the Montgomery County Planning Department and Department of Parks, and advises the County Council on land use and community planning. The Chair serves a full time position on the Montgomery County Planning Board and receives a salary of $200,000. The part-time Board Members receive an annual salary of $30,000. They also serve as Commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a bi-county agency established in 1927 to protect public land.

As part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Montgomery County Planning Board works to:

-Manage physical growth.
-Plan communities.
-Protect and steward natural, cultural and historical resources.
-Provide leisure and recreational experiences.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Jul 20 16

Montgomery Parks and Montgomery County Recreation Department Begin 2017 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan

by Melissa Chotiner

Parks Department seeks public input to predict future needs and determine how to put the “right parks in the right places,” and steward natural and cultural resources.

 

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is starting the process of preparing the 2017 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan. Park planners will present an outline, schedule and outreach strategy for developing the PROS Plan at the July 28th Planning Board meeting. The presentation will be given in the morning at around 10 a.m.

 

Ideas and comments from the public are welcome throughout the planning process, and may be submitted online, by email to the project manager, Brooke.Farquhar@MontgomeryParks.org, at public meetings and by mail to Brooke Farquhar, Montgomery Parks, 9500 Brunett Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20901.

 

“Parks, recreation, and open spaces are essential to the high quality of life for Montgomery County residents,” said Brooke Farquhar, Supervisor, Park and Trail Planning in the Park Planning and Stewardship Division of M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks Department. “One of the greatest challenges is balancing the need for recreational facilities with stewardship of environmental and cultural resources. The 2017 PROS Plan will help guide us in this challenge.”

 

The PROS Plan provides a framework for the next decade for how Montgomery Parks and Montgomery County Recreation Department will balance the need for open space and recreational facilities in a county that is becoming increasingly urbanized. The plan will address a variety of factors impacting parks and recreation including:

 

  • Planning for urban parks, trails and athletic fields
  • Methods to achieve social equity, health and conservation

 

The 2017 PROS Plan will build upon and expand the work of the 2012 PROS Plan, which introduced a new methodology and typology for urban park planning, service delivery strategies for 27 facility types, funding priorities for historic resources, and resource-based recreation.

 

About the 2017 Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan

The 2017 PROS Plan is required under State law, and completed in conformance with Maryland State Guidelines. The PROS Plan was last updated in July 2012. The schedule mandated by the State requires the 2017 Staff Draft PROS Plan to be submitted by December 31, 2016, with final completion by July 1, 2017.

 

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

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.

 

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Jul 19 16

Planning Board Will Review Draft of Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan at July 21 Meeting for Approval and Transmittal to County Council

by Christopher Peifer

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Planning Board Draft now posted online reflects Board recommendations, from allocating building heights and density to identifying space for parks

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a final work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Planning Board members will conclude the session by voting on transmitting the current draft of the plan to the County Council for final approval.

Learn more about the Planning Board Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

As a result of the Planning Board work sessions, the Planning Board Draft includes:

Land Use and Zoning:

  • Retaining the Land Use Vision focused on developing a series of activity centers, including the Wisconsin Avenue Metro Core located around the transit station.
  • Capping of overall development density, existing and future, at 32.4 million square feet.
  • Maintaining existing zoning densities for most individual properties and introduction of the Bethesda Overlay Zone (BOZ) to allocate bonus density.
  • Requiring BOZ bonus density to provide a Park Impact Payment, construct 15 percent moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs) and participate in a Design Review Advisory Panel.
  • Retaining Priority Sending Sites with some increased densities to create parks, preserve important community and historic resources, and preserve existing market-rate affordable housing.
  • Devoting a section in the Sector Plan to affordable housing with the goal to preserve existing affordable units, provide a mix of housing options and produce new units that reach deeper levels of affordability.

Transportation:

  • Removing the Norfolk Avenue Shared Street extension through Battery Lane Urban Park.
  • Coordinating and aligning the Bethesda Transportation Management District with the Bethesda Urban District.
  • Correcting the Sector Plan’s Street Classification Table to include additional arterials, minor arterials and removal of residential streets.

Parks and Open Space:

  • Adding Fire Station 6 site as a potential open space.
  • Adding Chase Avenue Neighborhood Green Expansion.
  • Adding Elm Street Urban Buffer Park Improvements.

Community Identity and Urban Design:

  • Revising maximum building heights based on the property-by-property assessment conducted by the Planning Board.
  •  Adding language and design diagrams with recommendations for the bulk, step-backs and separation of tall buildings to maximize light and air, reduce impact of shadows and contribute to the character and visual identity of Downtown Bethesda.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

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

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

Work on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan began in January 2014. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.

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.

For questions or comments about the Public Hearing Draft, please contact: bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Jul 15 16

Cyclists To Visit White Flint 2, Rock Spring, and Grosvenor-Strathmore Planning Areas

by Christopher Peifer

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On July 29, Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson will lead a bike tour through the communities to gain a clearer understanding of planning recommendations and goals

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson will join staff from the County Planning Department and Department of Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, on a bicycle tour of the communities that are the subject of current plans.

Departing on Friday, July 29, at 10 a.m., the tour will travel mostly on low volume streets to visit the White Flint 2, Rock Spring, and Grosvenor-Strathmore plan areas. Plans for these communities are currently underway and the bike tour will highlight those areas now under consideration for improvements.

Join the bicycle tour

The public is invited to join the bike tour at the Battery Lane Urban Park in Bethesda (4960 Battery Lane, Bethesda, MD) at 10 a.m. or can meet the group at various stops along the way. The approximately 15-mile tour is designed for experienced cyclists who must bring their own bikes and helmets. The ride is designed as a point-to-point tour, beginning in Bethesda and ending in Rockville Town Center. All participants are required to sign a form for indemnification and release of all claims before they begin the bike tour.

Planners will speak about their visions for White Flint 2, Rock Spring, and the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station redevelopment at key stops along the tour route:

  • Westlake Terrace bridge over the I-270 Spur, connecting Rock Spring Park to the Montgomery Mall
  • The intersection of Fernwood Road at Democracy Boulevard
  • Redevelopment of the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station
  • The intersection of Rockville Pike and Grosvenor Lane/ Beach Drive
  • The intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard
  • The Pike and Rose development

Understand bicycle planning goals

In addition to showcasing plan area, the tour will help participants understand the goals of the Bicycle Master Plan. This Plan was launched in July 2015 to develop a high-quality, low-stress bicycle network reflecting the newest types of bikeways, such as separated and buffered bike lanes, and bicycle boulevards, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations.