Skip to content
May 26 16

Rodolfo Machado of Boston Firm Honored with 2015 Design Excellence Award Gave Urban Design Presentation on May 25

by Bridget Schwiesow

machado collage

Renowned Argentina-born architect explained the award-winning design of the Silver Spring Civic Building and similar projects undertaken by his firm Machado Silvetti

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held its first annual Design Excellence Award competition in 2015, giving the top prize to the Silver Spring Civic Building at a design celebration last October.

The architect who designed the award-winning civic building, Rodolfo Machado, FAIA, talked about the logic of its spaces and the design process employed in other projects undertaken by his firm Machado Silvetti at a public presentation on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. The Planning Department-sponsored event was attended by about 60 people and held in the Silver Spring Civic Building.

View the video recap here.

During his lecture, Machado explained how architecture can relate to its surroundings to strengthen a neighborhood, a campus or a city. He presented past and recent designs, including a new mixed-use complex in Cairo, Egypt and the Center for Asian Art at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.

Second Annual Design Excellence Award

The second annual Design Excellence Award competition has been launched and submissions are due by July 21, 2016 at 5 p.m. The selection of a winner will be made by an outside jury of accomplished professionals invited by the Planning Department.

Submit to the second annual Design Excellence Award here.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Design Excellence initiative.

The winner will be recognized on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at an awards celebration at the Silver Spring Civic Building. The event will also include the annual awards ceremony of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Potomac Valley Chapter.

About Rodolfo Machado

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, architect Rodolfo Machado is a citizen of the United States, where he has resided since 1968. Machado received his Diploma in Architecture from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1967 before studying urban design at the Centre de Recherche d’Urbanisme in Paris. In 1971, he received a master of architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley where he continued doctoral studies in architectural theory.

Machado practiced architecture in San Francisco and Pittsburgh before forming a practice with Jorge Silvetti in 1974. Since 1986, he has been a faculty member of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he chaired its Department of Urban Planning and Design from 2004 to 2009. Machado has been a visiting critic at many schools of architecture in this country and abroad, and has served as a juror for many national and international competitions and prizes. His drawings and projects have been extensively published and exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. For more information, go to http://www.machado-silvetti.com/OFFICE/office-people.php.

About the Design Excellence Award

The Planning Department’s annual Design Excellence Award was launched in 2015 to recognize the best examples of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design in the County, and increase awareness of the importance of design excellence. More than 35 entries to the competition were submitted in August 2015 by architects, developers and property owners. The winning entry and citations were chosen by an outside jury of accomplished professionals in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design, and presented at a design celebration in October 2015 co-sponsored with the Potomac Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

 

May 25 16

Planning Department Announces Calendar of June 2016 Events

by Bridget Schwiesow

Calendar of Events

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

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 June 2016

June 1 – The Bicycle Master Plan Advisory Group will meet in the Planning Department auditorium (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. to discuss the plan methodology.

June 2 – The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold a public hearing for the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy at Planning Department Headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). The public hearing will be held in two sessions. Board members will hear testimony related to transportation in the afternoon session. They will hear testimony on schools and other public infrastructure recommendations during the evening.

June 6 – The Rock Spring Master Plan and White Flint 2 Sector Plan teams will hold a joint meeting with Montgomery County Public Schools from 7 to 9 p.m. at Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD). The purpose of this forum is to give the community an update on the progress of the two Master Plans since the first joint schools meeting held in September 2015 at Walter Johnson High School.

June 9 – The Planning Board will hold its first work session for the Public Hearing Draft of the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy and will hold its fourth work session for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on additional agenda items.

June 16 – The Planning Board will hold its second work session for the Public Hearing Draft of the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on additional agenda items.

June 18 – The Third Great MoCo Bicycle Summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, starting with a family-friendly group bike ride beginning at the intersection of the Bethesda Trolley Trail and Tuckerman Lane. The route proceeds through Rockville to the Council Office Building (Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD) where bike-related presentations, including an update on the County’s Bicycle Master Plan, will run from 10 a.m. to noon.

June 23 – The Planning Board will hold work sessions for the Public Hearing Draft of the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy and Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on additional agenda items.

June 30 – The Planning Board will hold work sessions for the Public Hearing Draft of the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy and Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on additional agenda items.

May 20 16

Planning Department Releases Public Hearing Draft of the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy

by Bridget Schwiesow

SSP_capture
Community invited to review latest version of 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy before the public hearing on Thursday, June 2, 2016 in Silver Spring

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has posted the Public Hearing Draft of the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly called Growth Policy) on the Department’s web site. This posting follows the Montgomery County Planning Board’s review of the Working Draft during several work sessions in the month of May. The intent of the Subdivision Staging Policy is to ensure public facilities, particularly schools and transportation facilities, are adequate to accommodate new development.

Review the Public Hearing Draft of the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy.

View the recordings from the May 9 worksession and the May 12 worksession.

Public Invited to Testify at Public Hearing
The Board’s public hearing on the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy is scheduled for Thursday, June 2, 2016 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD). The public hearing will be held in two parts.  In the afternoon, testimony will be taken on the transportation related content.  In the evening, testimony will be heard related to schools and other public infrastructure recommendations.

Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the public hearing.

Time slots to testify are limited, so the public is encouraged to call 301-495-4605 or to go online  http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp to sign up to testify. In order to hear from as many people as possible, each speaker will only have up to three minutes to comment.

The public is also invited to submit comments on the Public Hearing Draft of the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy via email to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org. These comments will become part of the public testimony and public record for the Policy.

Background on Subdivision Staging Policy
Planning staff is proposing new ideas in transportation and school capacity planning as part of the revision to the Subdivision Staging Policy, which is updated every four years. This policy (formerly known as the Growth Policy) includes criteria and guidance for the administration of the County’s Adequate Public Facility Ordinance (APFO), which seeks to match 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. As new areas of the County were being developed, infrastructure to support new homes and businesses was needed.

Today, much of the County has been developed. Growth is now 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 existing transportation systems and school facilities; however, the current tools used to evaluate the impact of development may not adequately assess these changing growth patterns and are being examined for their effectiveness.

The County Council must approve a revised policy by November 15, 2016.

May 18 16

Planning Department Celebrates May as Preservation Month

by Bridget Schwiesow

HistoricPreservationMonthGroup 5-17-16

Online map and Montgomery Modern initiative represent County’s strong commitment to historic preservation

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, joins the County Council in celebrating historic preservation following the County Council’s recognition of May as Preservation Month in Montgomery County. On May 17, 2016, Councilmember Hans Riemer introduced the proclamation by praising the efforts of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission.

The Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Section supports the Planning Board and the Historic Preservation Commission by assisting with the identification, designation, and regulation of historic sites in Montgomery County, and through the administration of a number of preservation initiatives.

“I want to thank Councilmember Riemer and the rest of the County Council for this proclamation,” said Historic Preservation Commission Chairman William Kirwan. “It is important that County residents are reminded of the significance of preserving our cultural heritage here in Montgomery County, and I believe that no Preservation Month theme could send a clearer, stronger message: This Place Matters.”

The theme of “This Place Matters” has been echoed by the Planning Department’s Historic Preservation office’s efforts in continuing to administer the county’s tax credit program for historically designated properties and through recent initiatives such as Montgomery Modern and the development of an interactive map of historic African American places in the County.

About the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office
The Historic Preservation Office supports the Planning Board and the Historic Preservation Commission by providing for the identification, designation, and regulation of historic sites in Montgomery County. Historic Preservation staff also maintains an archive and library of documentation on historic resources in Montgomery County and provides preservation outreach and guidance on preservation best practices to the public.

If you are specifically interested in historic buildings, sites, and programs in Montgomery County Parks, please visit Montgomery Parks.

Review the Places from the Past book produced by the Montgomery County Planning Department Historic Preservation Office which inventories designated historic sites and districts in the County.

Learn more about research and designation by the Historic Preservation Office.

May 13 16

Montgomery Parks Announces There Will be No Parking Available at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park on May 15 Due to Large Event

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is informing the public that there will be no parking at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park on Sunday, May 15, due to a large hike taking place on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail at the park.  Other visitors are welcome to visit Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park on May 15th but will need to enter the park on foot. No parking will be allowed on Ednor or Norwood Roads. The free Underground Railroad Experience Hike taking place on May 15th is sold out. Those registered will need to provide a ticket (on their smart phone or printed out) to attend. Parking for registered attendees will be available at James Hubert Blake High School (300 Norwood Road, Silver Spring, Maryland) where a shuttle will be provided for participants to access the park.

 

Self-guided hikes are offered year-round from dawn to dusk on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, located at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. The hikes commemorate the involvement of Montgomery County residents in the Underground Railroad and celebrate the Quaker heritage and traditions of Sandy Spring, MD. Montgomery Parks encourages people to visit Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park on another day for a hike on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail. For more information, visit www.HistoryInTheParks.org.

#  #  #

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.

 

May 13 16

Makeover Montgomery 3 Conference at Silver Spring Civic Building Concludes After Three Days of Cutting-Edge Content

by Bridget Schwiesow

MM3_Logo_Final

Three-day conference exploring planning and design topics related to the sharing economy, equity and opportunity, and transforming communities without transit generated exciting new ideas.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, closed out the Makeover Montgomery 3: Balancing Change in America’s Suburbs Conference on Friday, May 6, 2016. The three-day conference was host to more than 300 attendees who heard from more than 90 speakers across three topics: the sharing economy, beyond transit-oriented development, and equity and opportunity in the suburbs. Attendees heard presentations focused on innovations and new policy tools and strategies that can help enhance the suburbs, making them more exciting, equitable and attractive.

The video recap of the conference can be seen here.

The conference, in partnership with the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland, began on Wednesday, May 4 at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning with a keynote address from Karen Chapple. Chapple, a professor of city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley, discussed strategies for equitable smart growth.

“I am a big believer in University and community partnerships, and this is what our public universities should be doing. We’re land-grant universities and we ought to be providing technical support for our city and county governments,” said Chapple. “This is the third Makeover Montgomery conference, and I think it’s going to become more and more important every year to do events like this because the issues we are facing aren’t going away any time soon.”

Following the keynote address, Makeover Montgomery 3 moved to the Silver Spring Civic Building on Thursday, May 5 where attendees were welcomed with opening remarks from Montgomery County Council President Nancy Floreen, Montgomery Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and National Center for Smart Growth Executive Director Gerrit Knaap. Attendees also heard a plenary presentation from Stefanos Polyzoides, of the Pasadena, California-based firm Moule and Polyzoides. Polyzoides spoke about design principles of livable suburbs, specifically the missing middle densities in American architecture and urbanism.

On Friday, May 6 conference attendees enjoyed a lunchtime presentation from Wes Guckert, of The Traffic Group, and Adam Ducker, of RCLCO, titled “A Roadmap for the Future: Planning for Driverless Vehicles.” The presentation examined how autonomous vehicles will become a reality within the next few decades to transform the infrastructure of cities and suburbs. The panelists examined the implications of self-driving cars for planning and real estate, and the potential impact of driverless vehicles on car ownership, transit, parking, roads, commuting patterns and development.

“This agency and our county have had a reputation over the decades for forward-thinking planning, and I know that Gwen Wright and I both feel a sense of responsibility to make sure that we live up to that reputation,” Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson said. “This conference is part of our efforts to make sure that people in the planning profession and people in related disciplines are not only looking to Montgomery County, but working with us collaboratively to develop the next generation of ideas for the profession.”

To view the conference agenda and to learn more about the presenters, visit the Makeover Montgomery 3 website. Recorded sessions will be available online.

 

May 12 16

Montgomery County Planning Department Launches 2016 Design Excellence Award Competition with Call for Entries from May 12 through July 21

by Bridget Schwiesow

2016 design award logo formal
Planning Department urges developers, architects, landscape architects, designers and property owners to submit top-quality, completed projects in the County to annual award competition

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, seeks to recognize exceptional work in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design through its second annual Design Excellence Award competition. Developers, property owners and their design teams are invited to submit built projects that contribute to improving the quality of physical environments throughout the County.

The call for entries opens on Thursday, May 12, 2016 and closes on Thursday, July 21, 2016.  The selection of a winner will be made by an outside jury of accomplished professionals invited by the Planning Department.

Submit to the second annual Design Excellence Award here.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Design Excellence initiative.

The winner will be recognized on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at an awards celebration at the Silver Spring Civic Building. The event will also include the annual awards ceremony of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Potomac Valley Chapter.

Project Eligibility for Award

Projects eligible for the award include both private and public structures and spaces located within Montgomery County that were built within the past 10 years and are currently occupied and in use. The submitted projects should express the essential qualities of outstanding walkable, sustainable places at the scale of the neighborhood, block and building. They should illustrate how great design contributes to the community in terms of character, identity and economic value. Review the 2015 winner and citations.

Purpose of Design Excellence Award

Montgomery County is one of the country’s most successful and well run counties, and its stature should be reflected in the excellent architecture, urban design and landscape architecture of its buildings and spaces. Design excellence is becoming increasingly important as the amount of available land for development in the County is shrinking and building density is increasing. The highest quality design is important to sustain a thriving and attractive County with buildings, public spaces and neighborhoods that are worthy of its deserving residents and workers.

The Planning Department’s annual Design Excellence Award, launched in 2015, is intended to inspire architecture, landscape architecture and urban design of the best possible quality in Montgomery County, and increase the public awareness of this world-class design excellence.

October 2016 Awards Ceremony

The winner of the annual Design Excellence Award will be recognized at an awards celebration co-hosted by the Planning Department and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Potomac Chapter on October 20, 2016.

The winning project will be celebrated by the Montgomery Planning Department as a premier example of Design Excellence in Montgomery County through a promotional campaign and will be presented by Department leadership at conferences and public events.

2016 Design Excellence Award Jury

The jury is composed of accomplished and highly regarded practitioners in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, planning and urban design, as follows:

Elinor Bacon has more than 35 years of experience in housing and community development in the public and private sectors. In 2002, she established Washington DC-based E.R. Bacon Development to focus on urban infill, mixed-use development, affordable housing and adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Prior to starting her firm, Bacon led the National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC), a quasi-public entity established to spur economic development throughout the District, particularly in neighborhoods of need, and administered the federal Hope 6 Program under HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. She was the co-recipient, with Ray Gindroz, of the Seaside Prize from the Seaside (Florida) Institute in 2004.

Shalom Baranes is the founding principal of a Washington, DC-based architecture firm recognized for its design excellence. Shalom Baranes Associates has won more than 120 awards for projects involving both new construction and renovation. Baranes is the recipient of the 2015 Centennial Award, the highest honor given to a practicing architect by the Washington chapter of the AIA. His current work includes some of Washington, DC’s largest residential and mixed-use projects, including The Yards at Southeast Federal Center, Burnham Place at Union Station and the new headquarters for the US Department of Homeland Security.

Stephanie Bothwell, a Washington, DC-based city and town planner, and a landscape architect, focuses on sustainable landscapes that support the creation of community. Bothwell founded and directed the American Institute of Architects’ Center for Livable Communities and worked for Boston’s neighborhood open space, housing and transportation redevelopment programs. She served on the Board of the Congress for the New Urbanism and is the co-founder of its DC chapter.

Yolanda Cole is senior principal and owner of Hickok Cole Architects in Washington, DC. She has more than 30 years of experience in projects ranging from large-scale, mixed-use developments to small commercial interiors. Cole is widely recognized for spearheading research and innovation in the profession through the cultivation of a collaborative practice. She is a past president of AIA | DC and is currently on the Advisory Board and Governance Committee of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) District Council and is Chair of Mission Advancement.

 

May 9 16

May 12 Work Session on Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Will Address Overall Density and Building Heights in the Downtown

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda-Public-Hearing-Draft-Cover-268x300
Planning Board will discuss updated transportation analyses and options for addressing overall density in the Downtown Plan

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Discussion will focus on the overall density as well as building heights in the Plan recommended by staff in the May 2015 Public Hearing Draft and the amount of density and building heights increased by the Planning Board throughout the last 11 work sessions. Staff will present findings on a transportation sensitivity analysis requested by the Board, address the overall density added to the Plan over the last 11 work sessions, and recommend options to the Planning Board on how to address the increase in density and building heights. Direction from the Planning Board during the work session could potentially result in reducing density throughout the overall Plan area.

For details about the May work session, consult the Planning Board Agenda.

Another work session is scheduled for Thursday, May 19. Public participation at the work sessions is at the discretion of the Planning Board Chair. Prospective speakers must send a written description of their discussion topics at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting date to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

Following the work sessions, the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan will be revised at the direction of the Planning Board and reviewed by the Board before being sent to the County Council later this year.

Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

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. 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.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work on the Working Draft of 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 send an email to: bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

May 9 16

Montgomery Parks Happenings and Operating Schedule for 2016 Memorial Day Weekend

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MD – Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, is a great time to explore and enjoy the many activities offered by Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. There’s something for everyone!

needwood lake0005

Check out Montgomery Park’s full calendar for all park activities and make a whole holiday weekend out of it! All Montgomery Park facilities, parks and programs will follow standard operating hours with the following exceptions:

  • Cabin John Ice Rink, Wheaton Ice Arena and Wheaton Sports Pavilion will be closed May 28th, May 29th and May 30th.
  • Pauline Betz Addie and Wheaton Indoor Tennis Centers will be closed on Monday, May 30th.
  • Montgomery Parks permits office will be closed on Monday, May 30th.

#  #  #

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.

May 4 16

Montgomery County Council Unanimously Approves Westbard Sector Plan at May 3 Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

PB Draft cover_Westbard

The plan recommends restoring natural features, revitalizing an aging strip shopping center and increasing affordable housing in the Westbard area

Silver Spring, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, participated in the County Council’s work session on the Westbard Sector Plan on Tuesday, May 3 and the Council voted 9 to 0 to approve the Sector Plan.

“This is a great step forward in ensuring a greener, more sustainable Westbard,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “The plan provides a blueprint for restoring the Willett Branch stream and providing more affordable housing, parks and a revitalized shopping center in keeping with the scale of the neighborhood.”

The latest version of the plan reflects revisions based on work sessions held with the County’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee and the full Council. These changes include:

– Maintaining the existing zoning and building heights of 35 to 40 feet along River Road.
-Allowing the potential for a floating zone to be requested for River Road properties currently occupied by the American Plant garden center, Roof Center and Talbert’s Ice and Beverage Service to allow future redevelopment of these sites.
-Increasing the affordable housing requirements for new optional method redevelopment projects within the entire planning area, from 12.5 percent moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs) to 15 percent MPDUs.
-Decreasing the floor area ratio (FAR) for proposed commercial development within the Westwood Shopping Center area from 1.25 FAR to .75 FAR.

This summer, the Planning Board will review a Sectional Map Amendment to establish the zoning of properties in the Westbard Sector Plan area.

Background on the Westbard Sector Plan
The Westbard Sector Plan covers an area of approximately 181 acres and was last updated in 1982, making it the oldest master plan in Montgomery County. The Plan builds on the assets of the community by offering ways to improve neighborhood retail and maintain the existing light industrial areas, while expanding housing options and recreational and open spaces over the next 20 years. It allows for redevelopment of the older retail centers and recommends the creation of new parks in the Sector Plan area, which does not have a single County park. Restoration of the Willett Branch stream would both improve water quality and provide a significant amenity for the residents of Westbard and surrounding communities.

Recommendations in the Westbard Sector Plan focus on:

-Encouraging more housing choices.
-Revitalizing older retail areas.
-Emphasizing low-scale development.
-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.