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Jun 17 15

Planners to Present County’s Office Study and Public Art Initiatives at American Planning Association Conference

by Bridget Schwiesow

Planning Department

APA National Capital Area Chapter’s June 20 event at Catholic University focuses on planning challenges in region

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is participating in a one-day conference being held by The National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Catholic University’s School of Architecture and Planning.

Rick Liu, an economic and development specialist, will be one of three speakers to address the challenges confronting the office market in the greater Washington, DC area. The recent economic downturn, advances in technology, changes in the way people work and evolving tenant preferences have led to shrinking demand for office space across the region. For many communities, these trends have resulted in higher than average vacancy rates and underutilized office buildings, delayed new development and weakened revitalization efforts.

Liu will discuss how Montgomery County plans to adapt to these changes. The County recently completed a study on office space and found that enhancing such environments through mixed-use, transit-oriented developments can improve their competitiveness. This report also recommends reducing the supply of non-competitive office space by converting vacant office buildings to housing, hotels or other uses, and increasing office demand through aggressive economic development efforts.

At the APA conference, senior planner Molline Jackson will participate in a panel discussion focused on demystifying public art projects and programs. Jackson, a regulatory lead reviewer, acts as the public art liaison, coordinates the review of public art projects by the Art Review Panel and represents the Montgomery County Planning Department on the Public Arts Trust Steering Committee.

She will explain the potential benefits and challenges typically faced during collaboration between the community, developers, governmental entities and public artists. Her presentation will highlight a range of art installations that have enhanced communities throughout the County, and explain how they contribute to quality placemaking.

For more information about conference registration, go to: http://ncac-apa.org/events/chapter-conference/

Jun 17 15

White Flint 2 Sector Plan to be Discussed at June 25 Open House

by Bridget Schwiesow

White Flint 2 Boundary Map

Community invited to meet with planners, learn about the area’s challenges and opportunities, and provide feedback about neighborhood issues

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching the White Flint 2 Sector Plan on Thursday, June 25, 2015 at an open house being held at the Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, North Bethesda, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m.

Community residents and business owners are invited to hear about the goals of the Sector Plan and learn about existing conditions, opportunities and challenges. County planners will discuss the scope of the Plan and answer questions from participants. The community will be encouraged to provide initial ideas for the plan on a “feedback wall” at the event. RSVP’s are encouraged but not required.

RSVP for the June 25 White Flint 2 Community Meeting.

Background on the White Flint 2 Sector Plan

The White Flint 2 Plan aims to close the gap between the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, Twinbrook Sector Plan and the pending City of Rockville plan for Rockville Pike (MD 355). Its land use, zoning and transportation recommendations will apply to properties in a bow-tie-shaped area between the boundaries of these already established Plans. White Flint 2 will link common elements between the Plan areas, including Rockville Pike and the proposed network of bike lanes and public open spaces.

Planners will be looking at parcels along Executive Boulevard, west of Old Georgetown Road; east of the CSX rail tracks, between Randolph Road and Nicholson Lane; and north of Montrose Parkway along Rockville Pike to the city limits of Rockville. Nicholson Court, which was a part of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, will also be included in the proposed plan area.

Challenges of the plan include improving transportation networks, including the redesign of Rockville Pike into a tree-lined boulevard; integrating land uses on both sides of the CSX tracks and proposed MARC station; and encouraging mixed-use, walkable developments.

For more information about the White Flint 2 Plan and June 25 open house, contact the planners:

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

Andrea Gilles, tel. 301-495-4541, email andrea.gilles@montgomeryplanning.org

Jun 15 15

Second Great MoCo Bike Summit Focused on County’s Bicycle Master Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bike Summit

Online “feedback map” available from the June 6 event features participants’ comments about improving the County’s bicycling network

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, participated in the Second Great MoCo Bike Summit on Saturday, June 6 at the Silver Spring Civic Center (1 Veterans Plaza). The event focused on ways of incorporating next-generation bicycle facilities into the County’s transportation network.

At the summit, County planner David Anspacher presented an overview of the new Bicycle Master Plan and its focus on developing a high-quality network of cycling routes throughout the County.

In addition to hearing the presentations, the approximately 100 attendees had the opportunity to provide written feedback on a large scale County map affixed to the wall of the Silver Spring Civic Center. Attendees were asked to give comments on how the bicycle connections in the County could be improved. Those comments have now been included on an online map and will be considered by planners as work begins on the update to the Bicycle Master Plan.

View the “feedback map” from the June 6 Bike Summit.

Set to launch in July 2015, the Plan will consider 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. The network will be developed using an evaluation of the varying levels of stress imposed by traffic on cyclists along each roadway in the County.

The Bicycle Master Plan will initially focus on a bicycle network along the Corridor Cities Transitway, a 15-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line proposed to run from the Shady Grove Metrorail Station, through the Life Sciences Center area and ultimately to Germantown and Clarksburg.

The annual MoCo Bike Summit is organized by County Councilmember Hans Riemer with the participation of the Planning Department, County Department of Transportation and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. View the presentations from the June 6 event here.

Find out more about the Bicycle Master Plan.

Jun 12 15

Montgomery Village Community Invited to Provide Feedback on Staff Recommendations for Master Plan at July 7 Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

Montgomery Village

Planners will provide details about proposed zoning changes, parks and open space preservation, and transportation recommendations

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is holding the last of the MV Matters community meetings on Tuesday, July 7 to present the staff recommendations for the Montgomery Village Master Plan. The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Montgomery Village Middle School at 19300 Watkins Mill Road, Montgomery Village, MD 20886. (Please note the change in the meeting location from the Watkins Mill High School, which is currently being renovated.)

Residents and property owners are invited to offer input about the Master Plan’s recommendations for land use and zoning, transportation networks, parks and open spaces. Planning Department staff will also provide an overview of the Draft Montgomery Village Overlay Zone, explaining its purpose and intent.

The Working Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan is scheduled to be presented to the Planning Board on July 23, 2015. The tentative date for the Planning Board Public Hearing on the Montgomery Village Master Plan is Thursday, September 10, 2015, and a public notice will be sent when the date is confirmed.

Past PowerPoint presentations and other materials from previous MV Matters meetings are posted on the Montgomery Village Master Plan webpage.

What is MV Matters All About? MV Matters is a series of outreach events meant to engage the community in the Montgomery Village Master Plan. Village residents are invited to learn about specific subject areas, such as urban design, land use, parks, environment and transportation at the sessions. Through the meetings, planners have received initial feedback from residents on what they view as the most valuable places in the village. For more information on the Scope of Work for the Montgomery Village Master Plan, go to www.montgomeryplanning.org/mvp

Stay Connected: Sign up: for the Montgomery Village Master Plan eNewsletter Call: the MVPlan Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: 301-495-4723 Follow: updates on Twitter using #MVPlan and learn more by visiting www.montgomeryplanning.org/mvp

Master Plan Background: Montgomery Village has not been part of a Master Plan review since the 1985 Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan, nor has it been the subject of a discrete County master plan in the past. Although Montgomery Village was within the boundaries of both the 1971 Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan and the 1985 Master Plan, neither plan contains recommendations or guidance for this community because the Village fell within the Town Sector Zone, which did not allow the rezoning of properties for a 50-year period that comes to a close in 2015. When the Planning Department initiated an update to the Gaithersburg Master Plan in 2007, Montgomery Village was originally included within its boundaries. However, with large swaths of land on both sides of I-270 presenting different planning issues and challenges, the Planning Department realized the area was too big to be analyzed effectively.

In 2008, the Planning Department divided the large Gaithersburg Master Plan area into two planning efforts – one for the west side of I-270, which became the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan (GSSC) – and one for the east side of I-270 – Gaithersburg East. In 2014, the County Council directed the Planning Department to further refine the Gaithersburg East Plan to have one plan for Montgomery Village and one plan for the remainder of Gaithersburg East. The Council also directed the Planning Director to work efficiently on the Montgomery Village Plan, with the goal of having a draft plan transmitted to the Council within 14 months of the plan start date, because it wanted the zoning to be reassessed holistically before the prohibition on piecemeal rezoning of Town Sector property expired in 2015.

 

Jun 9 15

County Council Reappoints Casey Anderson and Norman Dreyfuss to Planning Board

by Bridget Schwiesow

CAnderson web-101IMG_0415

Anderson and Dreyfuss will both serve four-year terms on the five-member Planning Board

SILVER SPRING, MD  The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), announces the Montgomery County Council’s reappointment of Casey Anderson (D) to the position of Planning Board Chair for a four-year term. The Council also reappointed Planning Board member Norman Dreyfuss (R) to a four-year term.

In addition to Anderson and Dreyfuss, the Planning Board members are Amy Presley (R), Natali Fani-González (D) and Marye Wells-Harley (D).

The Council originally appointed Anderson to the Planning Board in June 2011 and designated him as Chair in July 2014. Norman Dreyfuss was first appointed to a partial term in February 2010 and is now completing his first full term. Both members applied for reappointment.

“I am honored to be reappointed by the County Council as Planning Board Chair,” said Anderson. “I look forward to reorienting our agency. We need to align transportation rules more closely with economic development goals. We will facilitate a wider variety of housing types to meet the needs of our changing population and workforce, and streamline regulatory processes to speed up the review of new development while protecting the public interest.”

In overseeing the County Department of Parks, Chair Anderson said he will focus on creating great urban parks, providing more ball field capacity and facilities for active recreation, and building a world-class trail network.

“Thank you to Council President George Leventhal and the Council for their approval of my reappointment,” said Norman Dreyfuss. “I am pleased to continue the work of the Planning Board and provide a thoughtful and realistic approach to the most pressing land use projects and issues facing our region.”

Within three days of the Council’s appointments, the names of the appointees will be delivered to the County Executive, who will approve or disapprove the appointment within 30 days.

About the Montgomery County Planning Board
The 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 and annual salary of $30,000. They also serve as Commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a bicounty 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.

About Casey Anderson
Casey Anderson is a Silver Spring resident, attorney and community activist. Previously, Anderson served on the boards of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Citizens League of Montgomery County, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Committee for Montgomery. He is also a former vice president of the Woodside Civic Association and executive vice chairman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board. Anderson holds undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University, and a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University.

About Norman Dreyfuss
Appointed to the Planning Board in February 2010, Norman Dreyfuss, is executive vice president of IDI MD, the developer of Leisure World and many other developments throughout the Washington, D.C., region. Dreyfuss, who has worked in all aspects of community development, is a champion of affordable housing and co-chairs the County’s annual Affordable Housing Conference. He formerly served as Commissioner on the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission. A resident of Potomac, Dreyfuss holds a law degree from American University and degrees in mechanical engineering and fine arts from Rutgers University.

Jun 9 15

Planning Staff Will Participate in Transit Progress Day Festivities at National Capital Trolley Museum on June 13

by Bridget Schwiesow

2015-04-21 EconomicDevelopment Map

Planning Board Chair and planners will discuss current projects related to Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway, Bus Rapid Transit and bike plans

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department and Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will participate in the Transit Progress Day event at the National Capital Trolley Museum (1313 Bonifant Road, Colesville, MD) from 12 noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 13.

The public is invited to learn more about County plans for future Purple Line light rail stations, Corridor Cities Transitway, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network, Bicycle Master Plan and other transportation-related projects. Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and transportation planner Tom Autrey will be on hand to explain the details and answer questions about the recent projects and plans.

WHAT: Transit Progress Day

WHEN: Saturday, June 13 from 12 noon to 3 p.m.

WHERE: National Capital Trolley Museum
1313 Bonifant Road
Colesville, MD 20905
Tel: 301-384-6088

About the National Capital Trolley Museum

The National Capital Trolley Museum is located in the M-NCPPC’s Northwest Branch Park and operates as a Montgomery County Department of Parks Partner. Opened to the public in 1969, the museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history of Washington’s electric street railways. The collections consist of 17 streetcars from Washington D.C. and other cities. Many of these are operated on a one-mile demonstration railway. The museum includes an O-scale model layout representing a Washington streetscape from the 1930s, a film program and traditional exhibits of street railway artifacts and photographs.

About the Bicycle Master Plan

One of the Planning Department’s newest efforts is a plan for bicycle routes and facilities that will be launched on July 1, 2015. This Bicycle Master Plan will focus on developing a high-quality, low-stress network reflecting the latest biking practices and will consolidate all bicycle recommendations into a single plan for the first time since 1978. A key objective of the Bicycle Master Plan will be to improve bike access to and from existing and planned transit stations throughout the County.

“Our goal is to create the best bikeway network in the entire country,” says Anderson, who is an active cyclist. “We have an active bike community with organizations like the Washington Area Bicyclists Association and Montgomery Bicycle Advocates (Mo Bike) that will be involved in the planning process.”

The County Bicycle Master Plan will embrace the newest types of bike routes, such as separated bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities. Already, a new cycle track built on North Bethesda’s Woodglen Drive in 2014 and similar bikeways planned for Shady Grove and White Flint reflect these newer types of designs.

The Bicycle Master Plan will initially focus on developing a high-quality bicycle network in the Great Seneca Science Corridor area of the Corridor Cities Transitway, a 15-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line proposed to run from the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg to the Shady Grove Metrorail Station.

For more information about the Bicycle Master Plan, go to: www.montgomeryplanning.org/bikeplan

Jun 9 15

Scheduling Update: White Flint 2 Sector Plan To Launch on June 25 with Open House Event

by Bridget Schwiesow

White Flint 2 Boundary Map

Community invited to meet with planners, learn about the area and provide feedback about issues of concern

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching the White Flint 2 Sector Plan on Thursday, June 25, 2015 at an open house being held at the Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, North Bethesda, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m.

Community residents and business owners are invited to hear about the goals of the Sector Plan and learn about existing conditions and challenges. County planners will discuss the scope of the Plan and answer questions from participants. Attendees will be encouraged to provide initial ideas for the plan on a “feedback wall” at the event.

Background on the White Flint 2 Sector Plan

The White Flint 2 Plan aims to close the gap between the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, Twinbrook Sector Plan and the pending City of Rockville plan for Rockville Pike (MD 355). Its land use, zoning, and transportation recommendations will apply to properties in a bow-tie-shaped area between the boundaries of these already established Plans. White Flint 2 will link common elements between the Plan areas, including Rockville Pike and the proposed network of bike lanes and public open spaces.

Planners will be looking at parcels along Executive Boulevard, west of Old Georgetown Road; east of the CSX rail tracks, between Randolph Road and Nicholson Lane; and north of Montrose Parkway along Rockville Pike to the city limits of Rockville. Nicholson Court, which was a part of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, will also be included in the proposed plan area.

Issues confronting the White Flint 2 planners:

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

For more information about the White Flint 2 Plan and June 25 open house, contact:

Lead Planner Nkosi Yearwood, tel. 301-495-1332, email Nkosi.Yearwood@montgomeryplanning.org or
Lead Planner Andrea Gilles, tel. 301-495-4541, email Andrea.Gilles@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the WF2 Sector Plan: www.montgomeryplanning.org/whiteflint2

Connect with us on Twitter: #WF2
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning

Jun 8 15

Update: White Flint 2 Community Meeting Rescheduled

by Bridget Schwiesow

White Flint 2 Sector Plan Logo and Map

Due to conflicting community meetings, the June 17 White Flint 2 Community Open House will be rescheduled for a date later in the month. The new date for the event will be announced shortly. Please go to www.montgomeryplanning.org/whiteflint2 to learn more about this plan.

Jun 2 15

Department of Parks and Planning Will Participate in Taste of Wheaton Festival on June 7

by Bridget Schwiesow

wheaton HQ
A rendering of the Town Square being designed for Wheaton
(Source: StonebridgeCarras)

County planners and Parks staff will be on hand at annual food festival to discuss current projects and future headquarters, and answer questions from community

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, and Montgomery Parks, both part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, are participating  in the annual Taste of Wheaton festival this Sunday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Grandview Avenue and Reedie Drive (one block from the Wheaton Metrorail station). Planners will be available to discuss the future M-NCPPC building and plaza that will be constructed in Wheaton, and other important projects, such as the County Bicycle Master Plan and plans to amend the Wheaton Regional Park Master Plan, at the 20th annual event. Children’s activities, including coloring books, also will be available at the Planning Department booth.

About the Taste of Wheaton

The annual food festival sponsored by the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce highlights the diversity of local restaurants through tastings and cooking demonstrations. Live musical performances and arts and crafts exhibits are also part of the event. Kids’ activities include face paintings, balloon sculptures and carnival rides.

About the Taste of Wheaton
The annual food festival sponsored by the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce highlights the diversity of local restaurants through tastings and cooking demonstrations. Live musical performances and arts and crafts exhibits are also part of the event. Kids’ activities include face paintings, balloon sculptures and carnival rides.

Jun 2 15

Cyclists To Visit Lyttonsville, Bethesda and Westbard Planning Areas

by Bridget Schwiesow

bike tour area 1

On June 12, 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 in the southern portion of the County that are the subjects of current Sector Plans.

On Friday, June 12, from 11 am to 4 pm, the group will travel mostly on the Capital Crescent Trail to visit Lyttonsville, Downtown Bethesda and Westbard. Sector Plans for these communities are in process and the bike tour will highlight those areas now under consideration for improvements.

“The bike tour will allow us to experience the planning areas at a more fine-grained level of detail,” says Anderson. “At the same time, it will help us identify the places where a safer, more connected bicycle network is still needed in the County.”

Join the bicycle tour

The public is invited to join the bike tour at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) at 11 a.m. or can meet the group at various stops along the way. The 15-mile round trip is designed for experienced cyclists who must bring their own bikes and helmets. 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 Lyttonsville, Bethesda and Westbard at key stops along the tour route:

11:25 a.m. – Rosemary Hills Elementary School (behind the school at the sign for the future Capital Crescent Trail).

12:30 p.m. – Battery Lane Urban Park in Bethesda.

1:30 p.m. – Veteran’s Park in Bethesda (Fairmont and Norfolk Avenues).

2:30 p.m.Giant Shopping Center in Westbard (west side of the parking lot near Kenwood Condominium).

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. – Return to Planning Department headquarters at 8787 Georgia Avenue.

All times are approximate and subject to change.

Understand bicycle planning goals

In addition to showcasing Sector Plan areas, the tour will help participants understand the goals of the Countywide Bicycle Master Plan. This Plan will be 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.

The Bicycle Master Plan will initially focus on creating a high-quality bicycle network along the rapidly developing route of the future Corridor Cities Transitway, a 15-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line proposed to run from the Shady Grove Metrorail Station, through the Life Sciences Center area and ultimately to Germantown and Clarksburg.