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Jul 22 16

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

by Christopher Peifer

framework cover

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

Amy Mini Collage

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

bethesda PB

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

DSC_0016

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.

Jul 15 16

Rental Housing Market Data Presented to Planning Board on July 14

by Christopher Peifer

rental housing study
Research shows rental market is short about 20,000 units for households earning less than 30 percent of the area median income, but a surplus of units is available for households at 50 percent to 100 percent of area median income

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, was briefed on the first stage of the countywide Rental Housing Market Study at its meeting on Thursday, July 14. Kyle Talente from RKG Associates, a consulting firm based in Alexandria, VA, presented the initial findings from the research, which was conducted on behalf of the Montgomery County Planning Department and the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

As noted at the Planning Board session, RKG Associates found that rental housing accounts for about 30 percent of the housing supply in Montgomery County and is concentrated around Metro lines and employment centers. Most of the County’s supply consists of older units, with only 14 percent of rental units constructed later than 2000 (55 percent were built prior to 1980).

The age of the housing supply has helped create “naturally occurring” affordable units, with a large supply of units affordable to households earning between 50 percent and 100 percent of the County’s area median income, which is around $107,000.

The study also revealed that the rental market supply is unbalanced at the lowest and highest ends of the housing market. The market is short about 20,000 rental units for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income. As a result, 80 per cent of households earning below 30 percent of area median income are cost burdened, compared to 50 per cent of renters countywide.

Background on Rental Housing Study

The Montgomery County Council, recognizing the importance of housing issues for the future of the County, approved the Rental Housing Study as part of the FY15 work program for the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) and the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA).

An interdepartmental project management team and a technical staff committee are working closely with the consultant team throughout the study. The purposes of the study are multifaceted, with an overarching goal to identify Montgomery County’s rental housing needs, and offer holistic and sustainable approaches to meeting them.

During the first stage of the project, RKG Associates provided the Planning Department team with an overview of the data collected with respect to existing conditions, affordability conditions and rental housing supply and demand that provided an initial starting point for analysis and recommendations.

Data collection, background research, neighborhood assessment, interviews and focus groups have now been completed. RKG Associates and the Planning Department team are currently exploring approaches to rental housing undertaken by other jurisdictions and analyzing best practices in rental housing policy. Later in July 2016, the study’s advisory group will hold a brainstorming session to discuss innovative ways to address the county’s rental housing needs.

The Rental Housing Market Study is expected to be completed by December 2016 with a final report issued in March 2017.

Jul 15 16

Planning Board Approves Transmittal of Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan to County Council for further review

by Christopher Peifer

GreaterLP_PB Draft

Council will hold public hearing on the Planning Board Draft before voting to approve and adopt the Sector Plan later this year

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, voted to approve the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, July 14, 2016 and transmit the plan to the County Council and County Executive.

The Planning Board Draft of the Sector Plan is available for review on the Planning Department’s website. It reflects changes made in response to requests by the Greater Lyttonsville community to clarify use of the urban road code, district boundaries and language in the Plan Draft.

The County Council will hold a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan in fall 2016.

The community is invited to stay involved with the progress of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan by:

-Visiting the Greater Lyttonsville Montgomery County Planning Department webpage.

-Signing up to participate in the public hearing or providing written testimony once the public hearing date is officially set by the County Council.

Background on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

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

After community meetings were held in January and April 2015, the Planning team revised suggestions for bike and pedestrian connections in and around the Rosemary Hills Lyttonsville Local Park.

Recommendations in the Plan focus on:
-Providing pedestrian and bicycle connections to the two proposed Purple Line light rail stations.

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

-Preserving single-family residential areas.

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

Learn more about the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan and how to get involved with shaping the future of this community.

Jul 12 16

County Council Issued Proclamation on July 12 to Honor Winners of Planning Department’s 2015 Design Excellence Award Competition

by Christopher Peifer

Proclamation recognizing Design Exellence Award

Council President Nancy Floreen recognized top award and four jury citations on the opening day of an exhibit showcasing the winning projects in the Council hearing room

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce that on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 the County Council recognized the Department’s Design Excellence Award program and the five projects selected through its first annual award competition.

Council President Nancy Floreen issued County Council Proclamations to the projects honored in the first annual Design Excellence Award competition, launched in 2015. The morning event took place in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD).

This award program seeks to recognize exceptional work in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design in Montgomery County. The 2015 award and jury citations honor the following projects:

2015 Design Excellence Award Winner:

Silver Spring Civic Building, Silver Spring, MD. Designed by Machado Silvetti Associates, Boston, Massachusetts.

“A great collaboration between architecture, landscape architecture and urban design,” said the jurors of this design in the heart of Downtown Silver Spring. “This is a beautiful example of how the public sector can lead quality modern design. It is a great example of how to make a place.”

Jury Citation Winners:
Cultural Arts Center at the Montgomery College Takoma Park, Silver Spring, MD. Designed by SmithGroup JJR Architects, Washington, DC.

Eleven55 Ripley, Silver Spring, MD. Designed by Shalom Baranes Associates, Washington, DC.

-Town of Somerset Pool Bath House, Chevy Chase, MD. Designed by McInturff Architects, Bethesda, MD.

Headquarters for Ruppert Nurseries, Laytonsville, MD. Designed by Muse Architects, Bethesda, MD.

Photographs and descriptions of these projects are being exhibited in the County Council hearing room from July 12, 2016 through fall 2016. Learn more about the 2015 Design Excellence Award winners.

Second Annual Design Excellence Award Competition

The second Design Excellence Award competition is currently underway and the 2016 call for entries will close 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. Learn more about the 2016 Design Excellence Award.

Submit a project to the second annual Design Excellence Award competition here.

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

The 2016 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.

Jul 11 16

Montgomery Parks Volunteer Named State and County Volunteer of the Year!

by Melissa Chotiner

Sarah Morse honored for her community volunteer leadership with the Little Falls Watershed Alliance.


Sarah MorseSILVER SPRING, MD
Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is proud to announce Sarah Morse, a longtime Montgomery Parks volunteer, as the recipient of both the 2016 Maryland Recreation and Parks Association Community Volunteer Award and the 2016 County-wide Recreation Advisory Board Outstanding Parks Volunteer Award in recognition of her dedication and extraordinary service to her local parks, environment, and community. Montgomery Parks Director Mike Riley presented the awards on June 6th at the Lodge at Little Seneca Creek in Boyds, MD.

 

“During the past five years Sarah has motivated over 850 volunteers from the local community who have spent more than 2,400 hours working in our parks,” said Montgomery Parks Director Michael F. Riley. “She is a tireless educator and community organizer who manages to bring residents closer to their parks every day. She is a true citizen advocate, the neighbor who is always willing to learn and share what Montgomery Parks is doing and why.”

 

Sarah is a founding board member and the current executive director of the Little Falls Watershed Alliance (LFWA), one of Montgomery Parks most active and productive community partners. Since 2008, LFWA has been dedicated to restoring the water quality, improving the natural habitat, protecting the natural heritage and enhancing the community’s enjoyment of the many creeks and forests in the watershed.

 

Under Sarah’s direction, LFWA organizes more than 40 service projects a year, including monthly stream and park cleanups and invasive plant removal. Sarah has also led efforts in community education for children and adults, securing grant funding for projects, and championing the importance of parks and streams in current and future community planning. Sarah’s outreach and engagement efforts bring together volunteers from the local neighborhoods, schools, scout groups, religious organizations, corporations, and environmental organizations.

 

Sarah has deep roots in the Little Falls Watershed community, as it is where she raised her children and has lived for more than 30 years. In addition to an inspirational volunteer leader, Sarah is an educator, artist, and naturalist. She has worked as a statistician, an art teacher, and the director of the Jewish Folk Arts Festival. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, double majoring in art and general science, and holds a master’s degree in education from Temple University.

About Montgomery Parks’ Volunteer Services Office

Montgomery Parks Volunteer Services Office works with an estimated 11,600 volunteers annually who donate more than 84,000 hours of service to the Department in a variety of ways including, but not limited to:

  • Park and stream cleanups
  • Trail work
  • Special events
  • Nature programs and gardening
  • Public safety
  • Historic interpretation

Visit www.ParkVolunteers.org for more information.

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