Planning Board will discuss recommended affordable housing, updated transportation analyses and property owner requests submitted after the public hearing process
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Thursday, April 28 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Discussion will focus on affordable housing recommendations for Downtown Bethesda, followed by property owner zoning requests that were submitted after the public hearing was held last year. The goal of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan is to preserve existing, market-rate affordable housing, provide a mix of housing options and increase the number of moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs) in exchange for development incentives. The Plan identifies sites where density can be transferred in exchange for a rental agreement to retain 30 percent of housing units as affordable for 20 years. Renters eligible for affordable housing must earn 65 percent or less of area median income or about $70,000 for a four-person household.
Currently, the average rent in the Bethesda Downtown Plan area is $1,916, about 20 percent more than the average rent in the County. Newly built apartments typically rent for $2,750, which is 40 percent more than the average rent in the County.
At the April 28 work session, staff will also discuss the transportation analysis related to density increases throughout the plan area as a result of previous Planning Board work sessions. For details about the April work session, consult the Planning Board Agenda.
Another work session is scheduled for Thursday, May 12. Public participation at the work sessions is at the discretion of the Planning Board Chair. Prospective speakers must send a written description of their discussion topics at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting date to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the work sessions, the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan will be revised at the direction of the Planning Board and reviewed by the Board before being sent to the County Council later this year.
Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.
Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan
The new plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations is a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to create a truly sustainable downtown. Other goals of the plan focus on:
-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.
-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and along part of the Capital Crescent Trail.
-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.
-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.
Work on the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan began in January 2014. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.
The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle amendment to that Sector Plan.
For questions or comments about the Staff Draft, please send an email to: email@example.com
Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is updating the Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly called 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.
A community meeting, attended by about 20 County residents, was held on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Montgomery County Planning Board auditorium (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD) to discuss key transportation elements of the policy update.
This event follows a similar public forum held on March 15, 2016 and, like that meeting, presented the opportunity for the community to learn more about the Subdivision Staging Policy and share thoughts about proposed changes to the policy.
The meeting summarized recent discussions at Planning Board briefings that have focused on changes to the current transportation adequacy tests known as Local Area Transportation Review and Transportation Policy Area Review. These tests are intended to ensure that development in Montgomery County is accompanied by appropriate and sufficient transportation facilities. They are used to estimate the impact of development on the transportation network and determine effective ways to mitigate that impact when transportation facilities are inadequate.
Planning Board work sessions to refine the Subdivision Staging Policy will continue in April, May and June. A public hearing about the policy will be held in June before the Planning Board draft of the policy is transmitted to the County Council at the end of July. The Council will hold its own work sessions in the fall, before voting to adopt the revised policy in November.
Background on Subdivision Staging Policy
Planning staff is proposing 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 current tools used to evaluate the impact of development may not adequately access these changing growth patterns and are being examined for their effectiveness.
Renowned Argentina-born architect will talk about the award-winning design of the Silver Spring Civic Building and projects undertaken by his firm Machado Silvetti
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held its first annual Design Excellence Award competition in 2015 and honored the top winner, the Silver Spring Civic Building, at a design celebration last October.
The architect who designed the building is now scheduled to talk about his work on this and other projects on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. The public presentation by Rodolfo Machado, FAIA, of the Boston-based architecture firm Machado Silvetti will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Spring Room of the award-winning Silver Spring Civic Building.
Continuing education credits are pending for AIA, AICP and ASLA. Seating is limited and RSVPs are required. Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Design Excellence program.
RSVP for the event here (spots are limited).
About Rodolfo Machado
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, architect Rodolfo Machado is a citizen of the United States, where he has resided since 1968. Machado received his Diploma in Architecture from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1967 before studying urban design at the Centre de Recherche d’Urbanisme in Paris. In 1971, he received a master of architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley where he continued doctoral studies in architectural theory.
Machado practiced architecture in San Francisco and Pittsburgh before forming a practice with Jorge Silvetti in 1974. Since 1986, he has been a faculty member of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he chaired its Department of Urban Planning and Design from 2004 to 2009. Machado has been a visiting critic at many schools of architecture in this country and abroad, and has served as a juror for many national and international competitions and prizes. His drawings and projects have been extensively published and exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. For more information, go to http://www.machado-silvetti.com/OFFICE/office-people.php.
About the Design Excellence Award
The Planning Department’s annual Design Excellence Award was launched in 2015 to recognize the best examples of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design in the County, and increase awareness of the importance of design excellence. More than 35 entries to the competition were submitted in August 2015 by architects, developers and property owners. The winning entry and citations were chosen by an outside jury of accomplished professionals in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design, and presented at a design celebration in October 2015 co-sponsored with the Potomac Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Credits available for attendance at the Planning Department’s Makeover Montgomery 3 conference from May 4-6
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is now an approved provider under the Landscape Architects Continuing Education System (LA CES). Continuing education is required in 37 states for landscape architects seeking to renew their professional licenses.
Landscape architects can now attend programs organized by the Planning Department and earn professional development hours (PHDs). Their first opportunity is to attend the conference, Makeover Montgomery 3: Balancing Change in America’s Suburbs, to be held from Wednesday, May 4 through Friday, May 6, 2016 in College Park and Silver Spring, Md.
The Makeover Montgomery 3 conference is being organized through a partnership between the Montgomery County Planning Department and the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland. Attendees will learn about planning tools and strategies that can help transform our county and region into more exciting, equitable and attractive places.
Multiple sessions provide continuing education credits for landscape architects and these presentations will showcase planning and design concepts offered by experts from the DC area and across the nation.
Conference Sessions Organized Around Three Themes
The MM3 conference will kick off with a keynote speaker Wednesday evening, May 4, at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture and Planning and LA CES credits can be earned for attending this presentation.
The conference sessions will be held on Thursday, May 5, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Friday, May 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building (One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD).
Conference organizers are pleased to present an exciting lineup of regional and national experts to lead discussions on a variety of topics within the following tracks:
- Beyond Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)
- The Sharing Economy
- Equity and Opportunity in the Suburbs
These themes address the challenges faced by planners, landscape architects and residents as they grapple with how to adapt to demographic shifts, changing housing preferences and growing infrastructure costs in the suburbs– all while making communities more sustainable and equitable.
Conference sessions will address a variety of topics, including the impact of gentrification on neighborhoods, the role of public art in placemaking, shared housing for seniors, digital tools for civic engagement, driverless cars and more. This event will showcase ideas and opinions from some of the brightest minds in the country.
The online registration fee for the three-day conference increases from $40 to $50 after April 15 and to $60 at the conference, being held from May 4 through May 6
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, encourages the public to register for its conference, Makeover Montgomery 3: Balancing Change in America’s Suburbs, to be held from Wednesday, May 4 through Friday, May 6, 2016 in College Park and Silver Spring, Md.
The online registration fee is $40 through Friday, April 15, and then increases to $50. Registering onsite at the conference will cost $60. To register online, go to www.makeovermontgomery3.com
The Makeover Montgomery 3 conference is being organized through a partnership between the Montgomery County Planning Department and the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland. Attendees will hear presentations focused on innovations and new policy tools and strategies that can help transform our county, making it more exciting, equitable and attractive. Multiple session tracks are offered, showcasing presenters from the DC area and across the nation.
Keynote Speaker Will Address Equitable Development
The conference will kick off on Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning (3835 Campus Drive, College Park, MD) with a keynote address delivered by Karen Chapple. A professor of city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley, Chapple specializes in housing, community and economic development. She is the author of the 2014 book Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions: Towards More Equitable Development. In 2015, Chapple launched the Urban Displacement Project, a research portal examining patterns of residential, commercial and industrial displacement, as well as policy and planning solutions.
Plenary Speaker Will Discuss Design Principles of Livable Suburbs
The conference sessions will begin on Thursday, May 5 at the Silver Spring Civic Building (One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD) and continue on Friday, May 6 at the same location. Setting the stage for the sessions will be plenary speaker Stefanos Polyzoides of the Pasadena, California-based firm Moule and Polyzoides. A founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, this architect and urbanist has been at the forefront of the anti-sprawl movement in advocating for compact, mixed-use and walkable suburbs.
Over the past three decades, Polyzoides and his wife Elizabeth Moule have designed civic buildings, historic preservation and commercial projects, housing and campus and urban plans. As advocates for sustainable development, they have produced a variety of exemplary green buildings for university and institutional clients.
Polyzoides is a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Southern California and has been a visiting professor at several leading architecture schools. He is the author of several books, including Los Angeles Courtyard Housing: A Typological Analysis.
Lunchtime Presentation Will Examine the Future of Driverless Vehicles
On Friday, May 6, the lunchtime presentation, “A Roadmap for the Future: Planning for Driverless Vehicles,” will examine how autonomous vehicles will become a reality within the next few decades to transform the infrastructure of cities and suburbs. The panelists will examine implications of self-driving cars for planning and real estate, and the potential impact of driverless vehicles on car ownership, transit, parking, roads, commuting patterns and development. Lunch will be provided to registrants.
Conference Sessions Organized Around Three Themes
The conference sessions will be held on Thursday, May 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday, May 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building (One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD). Conference organizers are pleased to present an exciting lineup of regional and national experts to lead discussions on a variety of topics within the following tracks:
- Beyond Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)
- The Sharing Economy
- Equity and Opportunity in the Suburbs
These themes address the challenges faced by planners and residents as they grapple with how to adapt to demographic shifts, changing housing preferences, and growing infrastructure costs in the suburbs– all while making communities more sustainable and equitable.
Conference sessions will address a variety of topics, including the impact of gentrification on neighborhoods, the role of public art in placemaking, shared housing for seniors, digital tools for civic engagement and others. This event will showcase ideas and opinions from some of the brightest planning minds in the country.
Review the full conference agenda, including speakers and topics.
MM3 Conference Details At-A-Glance:
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 7 p.m. Keynote Address at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Auditorium in College Park (3835 Campus Drive, College Park, MD).
Thursday, May 5, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday, May 6, 2016, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. sessions at the Silver Spring Civic Building (One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD).
Counter operations will be limited to receipt and pick-up of documents, and staff queries
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Information Counter of The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will have greatly limited operations due to building maintenance work starting Friday, April 15, 2016 at noon and continuing through Monday, April 18. Normal operations will resume on Tuesday, April 19.
While the maintenance work is underway, information staff will not be able to provide hard copies of documents or print any document, such as a record plat, a zoning map or master plans. However, staff will still be available to answer questions both on the phone and at the counter, and applicants may drop off or pick up documents.
Questions? Call 301-495-4610 for answers.
Find out more about the Planning Department’s information counter.
Report highlights plans and projects completed over past six months, and outlines ongoing work and future initiatives
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Parks and Planning Departments, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented their Spring 2016 Semiannual Report to the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. The report, available online for review, summarizes key projects and plans from the past six months and work that will be completed over the next six months and beyond.
Review the Semiannual Report.
This progress report was submitted by Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, who emphasized the need for effective planning strategies to attract residents and businesses to Montgomery County. He explained the three themes of the report – New Suburbanism, Engaging Communities and Strengthening Economic Competitiveness – as key to managing County growth and reaching goals for multi-modal transportation, community outreach, affordable housing and mixed-use development.
Planning Department’s Notable Achievements
The spring 2016 Semiannual Report highlights the following accomplishments, achieved by the Planning Department over the past six months:
-The Montgomery Village Master Plan was approved by Council, and Council will vote on the Westbard Plan late this month. Significant progress was also made on plans for Downtown Bethesda and Greater Lyttonsville.
-Work began on the plans for Rock Spring, White Flint 2 and the MARC Rail Communities of Boyds and Germantown.
-The Countywide Bicycle Master Plan was launched with community meetings and interactive maps to gain public feedback about current bike lanes, roads and levels of stress while riding.
-Collaboration with the Washington, DC chapter of the Urban Land Institute in December 2015 resulted in a Technical Assistance Panel review of the Rock Spring and Executive Boulevard areas in North Bethesda to develop strategies for revitalizing these office parks.
-New ideas about transportation and school capacity are influencing the update of the Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly the Growth Policy) to set rules for County infrastructure as a result of new developments. This policy will be reviewed by the Planning Board this summer.
-The Department’s first Design Excellence Award competition was launched last year, resulting in the October 2015 design celebration to honor the Silver Spring Civic Building with the top prize.
-County history was documented through a digital map of historically African American places and publication of a book tracing the development of mid-20th-century modern neighborhoods and buildings.
Planning Department’s Future Projects
The Spring 2016 Semiannual Report presents future plans and projects, including:
-Proposed plans for South Silver Spring, Montgomery Hills/Forest Glen, Veirs Mill corridor and Grosvenor Metrorail station area.
-Completing studies looking at evolving retail and employment trends in the County.
-Co-sponsoring the Makeover Montgomery 3 conference with the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth from May 4 through May 6, 2016.
-Holding the second annual Design Excellence Award competition this summer with another design celebration and awards presentation scheduled for October 20, 2016.
For information about the Parks Department and its projects, go to the Parks website.
Group will discuss progress of developments, road improvements, bikeway projects and related White Flint 2 Sector Plan issues
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is convening the monthly meeting of the White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee on Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Wall Local Park/Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center (5900 Executive Boulevard, North Bethesda, MD 20852). The meeting is open to the public.
The session’s agenda includes a progress report on development activity, updates on road and bikeway projects, and the County’s current Capital Improvements Program budgetary process as it relates to the White Flint Sector Plan area of North Bethesda.
Participants will learn more about the White Flint 2 Sector Plan, launched in 2015 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). The plan’s 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 a proposed network of bike lanes and public open spaces.
Update on Urban Land Institute Review Panels
Another topic of discussion at the meeting will be the Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) review held by the Planning Department and Washington, DC chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in December 2015 to focus on revitalization strategies for the Executive Boulevard and Rock Spring areas of North Bethesda. This two-day event included site visits, roundtable discussions and a presentation of findings from a multi-disciplinary team of real estate and land use experts.
The panelists suggested ways of making the two office parks in North Bethesda more economically competitive and their findings are documented in a recent report entitled “What’s Next for Office Parks in Montgomery County.” The report recommendations for the Executive Boulevard area are being considered by planners for the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.
Meeting participants will also learn about a more recent ULI TAP review, held by the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee on March 29, 2016 at the Strathmore Music Center. The purpose of this study is to look at ways of re-branding the White Flint area as the Pike District. Panelists offered ideas for signage and streetscape designs to clearly define a new identity for the neighborhood.
About the White Flint Sector Plan Advisory Committee
In 2010, the Planning Department appointed a group of property owners, residents, County officials and interest groups to oversee the implementation and staging of redevelopment in the Sector Plan areas. The 24-member committee monitors the progress of Plan recommendations, including improvements to traffic congestion, transit use and parking; the County’s Capital Improvements Program and Subdivision Staging Policy. Members recommend action by the Planning Board and County Council to address issues that may arise.
Planners evaluated 3,500 miles of roads and trails based on their comfort level for bicyclists
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has created a digital map showing the amount of stress that people experience when bicycling in Montgomery County.
View the Montgomery County Planning Department Bicycle Stress Map.
The purpose of the map is to understand impediments to bicycling and to identify and prioritize the changes that are needed to create a low-stress bicycling environment for the 50 percent of people who say they would be interested in bicycling, but do not currently bicycle because they are concerned for their safety.
Planning Department staff evaluated over 3,500 miles of roads and trails in the County to determine the level of stress on each road segment and intersection.
“Montgomery County is working to elevate bicycle planning to the level of analysis that is used for traffic and transit planning by gaining a deeper understanding of what connectivity means for people who bicycle,” says Project Manager David Anspacher.
What is traffic stress?
For most people the decision to bicycle includes consideration of whether road conditions, such as traffic volume and traffic speed, exceed their threshold for stress. Since most adults are uncomfortable bicycling on roads with four or more lanes or a posted speed limit of 30 mph or higher, the opportunities to get from Point A to Point B in Montgomery County are limited unless there is a separated bikeway such as a path, trail, or separated bike lane.
Preliminary analysis has found that:
- While about 78 percent of road miles are suitable for most adults, only a fraction of actual trips can be completed on a low-stress network, due to the inability to reach destinations with minimal detours.
- Only 16 percent of people living within a two-mile distance of a Metrorail station can reach that station on a low-stress bicycling network.
- Connectivity is poor around schools. Elementary, middle, and high schools are connected to only 28 percent, 15 percent and 7 percent of residences, respectively, by a child-appropriate bicycle network.
Bicycle Master Plan Background
The Bicycle Master Plan seeks to develop a low-stress bicycling network that encourages more people to ride a bike in Montgomery County. It will evaluate an array of bikeway types, including separated, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as how to provide secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations.
Questions or Comments?
Contact: David Anspacher, Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager
Connect With Us
Sign up: for the Bicycle Master Plan eletter
Attend: monthly Advisory Committee Meetings
Planning Department expands Shades of Green program to provide free trees to eligible property owners in Montgomery County
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is offering free trees to qualifying property owners in Montgomery County’s urban districts. The Shades of Green program, which was launched in 2012 as a pilot program, is now expanding to all urban road code areas of the County in an effort to enhance the tree canopy cover within the most impervious areas of the county.
The Shades of Green program is financed through the Forest Conservation Fund, made up of contributions paid during the development process as compensation for tree loss. These fees are paid by developers when tree planting on their development sites is impractical.
The expanded Shades of Green program is available to property owners who live within the qualifying boundaries of the urban centers identified below. Residents in these area are invited to participate in the program and receive free trees by filling out a form at www.montgomeryplanning.org/shadesofgreen. To determine if a property is located within the eligible locations, click on this link: http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/environment/shades_of_green.shtm
The Shades of Green program is now offering free trees in the following urban road code areas:
- Silver Spring Central Business District
- Montgomery Hills
- Wheaton Central Business District
- Flower/Piney Urban District
- Bethesda Central Business District
- Friendship Heights Urban District
- Westbard Urban District
- Germantown Center
- Shady Grove
- Friendship Heights Urban District
- Westbard Urban District
- Germantown Center
- Shady Grove
- Olney Center
- Clarksburg Town Center
- Gloverleaf Center
- Damascus Town Center
- Great Seneca Science Center
- North Bethesda Community / MU Center
- North Bethesda
- White Flint
- White Oak Science Gateway
- Burtonsville Crossroads
- Sandy Spring Village
Tree Canopy Benefits for the Environment
To better understand Montgomery County’s existing tree canopy cover, County planners analyzed the layer of leaves and branches that cover the ground when viewed from above. High-resolution aerial imagery revealed much lower tree canopy levels in urban areas than in more suburban neighborhoods
The Shades of Green program aims to improve the overall tree canopy cover in these urban districts to provide benefits, such as:
-Beautify urban districts.
-Reduce street temperatures.
-Cool buildings, thereby reducing energy demand.
-Support the local economy.
-Improve street ambiance and quality of place.
-Enhance water, air and habitat quality.
-Reduce greenhouse gases.
-Reduce urban heat island effect.