Attendees provided feedback on future legislation governing short-term rentals offered by companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway and others
SILVER SPRING, MD – The 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.
SILVER SPRING, MD – The 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.
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:
- Bethesda Downtown Plan
- Development Review
- Design Excellence
- Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan
- Bicycle Master Plan
- Grosvenor-Strathmore Minor Master Plan Amendment
- MARC Rail Communities Plan
- Rental Housing Study
- Rock Spring Master Plan
- Recreation Guidelines Update
- Short-Term Residential Rentals
- White Flint 2 Master Plan
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.
Public invited to testify about cycling plan or submit written comments
SILVER SPRING, MD – The 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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
-Protect and steward natural, cultural and historical resources.
-Provide leisure and recreational experiences.
Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Board.
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.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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, MD – The 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.
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:
-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.
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, MD –The 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.