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Mar 18 14

Attend the Next Montgomery Planning Department Winter Speakers Series – April 10

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Public invited to the third and final session of presentations focusing on regional housing issues

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department is hosting the third and final session of their Winter Speakers Series with a special focus on housing. The event is being held on Thursday, April 10 at 6 p.m.at the Park and Planning Montgomery Regional Office Building Auditorium in Silver Spring (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring MD). The event will feature speakers: John M. Welsh, Vice President of the Multifamily Group of AHC Inc. (a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region) and David Cristeal, Housing Director of Arlington County.

“We are excited to welcome John Welsh from AHC Inc. and David Cristeal from Arlington County to speak at our final session of our Speakers Series focused on housing,” said Gwen Wright, Montgomery Planning Director. “The presentations have been quite successful at engaging the community and this final event will round out the entire series which focused on the very important issue of exploring housing problems and best practices across the region in order to resolve issues within Montgomery County.”

The sessions are free and open to the public and there will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions. This event is hosted in partnership with APA National Capital Area Chapter.

Third session details:
Montgomery Planning Department Winter Speakers Series
Featuring John M. Welsh, Vice President of the Multifamily Group of AHC Inc. and
David Cristeal, Housing Director, Arlington County
Thursday, April 10, 6 p.m.
Montgomery County Planning Department – Auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Free parking available in the Planning Department parking lot
Located one mile from the Silver Spring Metro Station and on the Metrobus Q, Y, and J5 lines

About the speakers:
John M. Welsh is the Vice President of the Multifamily Group of AHC Inc. He is responsible for all project development and acquisitions of multifamily housing. During his tenure, AHC has acquired more than 3,500 multifamily units in Arlington, Baltimore, and southern Virginia. Welsh supervises a team of project managers responsible for project development. Welsh is a former  project manager at Hope Housing in Washington, D.C. (1995-1998) where he identified properties for development, secured financing, coordinated the work of development team members and managed construction. He holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning with a concentration in housing policy from Cornell University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Villanova University. He is also a former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the District of Columbia, and past secretary of the D.C. Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development. Welsh is married, and father of one and is a member of several boards and civic volunteer. AHC provides quality homes for low- and moderate-income families, developing 39 properties with over 5,300 affordable apartments since 1975. AHC also offers services for residents and homeownership opportunities.

David Cristeal has over 25 years of affordable housing, community development and organizing experience. Coming to Arlington after a dozen years in Raleigh, NC, he served as Arlington County’s Housing Development Supervisor since 2004, where he had direct involvement in the preservation and creation of nearly 2,500 affordable housing units. The majority of these units are along or near Arlington’s high-density transportation corridors. He took a leadership role in the County’s planning efforts to preserve or create affordable housing.  The most recent effort is the adopted Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan.  The Plan’s primary goal is to preserve all 6,200 of the market rate affordable units over the next 30 years.  In June, 2013, David was appointed as the County’s Housing Director, overseeing its Division that is responsible for affordable housing preservation and creation, community development and housing services. David received his Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH).

The first presentation of the Winter Speakers Series was held on Jan. 30 and featured Lisa Sturtevant, Executive Director for the Center for Housing Policy and Vice President for Research of the National Housing Conference. Ms. Sturtevant presented information on housing trends related to the links between the cost of housing and access to transportation to a full house in the Planning Department’s Auditorium. View the video of Ms. Sturtevant’s presentation.

The second presentation of the series was held on Feb. 27 featuring Mildrilyn Davis and Helen McIlvaine from the City of Alexandria Office of Housing. Ms. Davis and Ms. McIlvaine presented on the City’s innovative housing efforts over the past decade, including redevelopment of numerous blocks of public housing into mixed income communities and co-location of affordable housing with new public buildings. In addition, they presented on the recently approved a new Housing Plan that offers creative ideas for the future. View the second session video presentation.

About the series:
The Planning Department’s 2014 Winter Speakers Series is focusing on housing. It is an opportunity for residents, business owners, planners, elected officials and community leaders to learn more about national and regional trends pertaining to housing issues. Learn more about the series.

Who should attend:
Residents, business owners, planners, elected officials and community leaders

Mar 13 14

Planning Board Considers Purple Line Mandatory Referrals – Thursday, March 20

by Bridget Schwiesow

Public will have the opportunity to comment on the Purple Line project at Planning Board meeting 

Purple LineSILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the mandatory referrals for the Purple Line and related projects between Bethesda and Takoma Langley Crossroads at their meeting on Thursday, March 20, in the Planning Board Auditorium (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD). The Planning Board will review and take testimony related to four projects – the Purple Line, the Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance, the Capital Crescent Trail, and the Silver Spring Green Trail – all of which are mandatory referrals, which means that the Board is not the final decision maker but has an opportunity to make recommendations to the appropriate agencies for consideration.

In an effort to assure compatibility with communities and businesses along the right of way, many of the recommendations concern ways to improve station access for pedestrians and bicyclists, enhance urban design along the corridor, reduce environmental impacts, mitigate impacts to parkland, and improve transitions along the Capital Crescent Trail.

A webpage features an interactive map that highlights the recommendations that the Planning Board will be considering, provides a link to the staff report on the March 20 agenda, includes individual project descriptions, and includes all of the documents submitted to the department for review.

Purple Line Projects: Planning Board Public Hearing and Discussion of Comments to Submit
Purple Line, Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance, Capital Crescent Trail, Silver Spring Green Trail
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Planning Board Auditorium
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland
Sign up to testify before the Planning Board

About the Purple Line
The Purple Line is a proposed 16-mile Light Rail Transit (LRT) line with 21 stations, connecting Bethesda to New Carrollton. It will provide direct connections to the Metrorail Red Line in Bethesda and Silver Spring, the Green Line at College Park, and the Orange Line at New Carrollton. The Purple Line project will be constructed along with three other projects: the Capital Crescent Trail, the Silver Spring Green Trail, and a new entrance to the Bethesda Metrorail station. Learn more on the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line webpage.

What is a Mandatory Referral?
Government agencies planning construction projects located in Montgomery County must refer their plans to the Planning Board for review, in a manner similar to that followed by private developers. However, because the Planning Board’s decision and recommendations are advisory only, an applicant may decide whether to incorporate them or not. Read more about mandatory referrals. Public projects must also comply with other applicable laws and regulations.

Purple Line Functional Plan
The Purple Line Functional Plan was adopted by the County Council in September of 2010, and includes a series of recommendations for the proposed transit line’s route, mode and stations, and for the Capital Crescent Trail and the Silver Spring Green Trail. Download the approved and adopted Purple Line Functional Plan

M-NCPPC Planning Department Staff Contact
David Anspacher, Functional Planning and Policy
david.anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
301-495-2191

Tom Autrey, Functional Planning and Policy
thomas.autrey@montgomeryplanning.org
301-495-4533

About The Montgomery County Planning Department:
The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, aims to improve quality of life by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for current and future generations. The Planning Department creates great communities by developing master plans, reviewing applications for development and analyzing various types of information to help public officials plan for Montgomery County’s future. The Department is comprised of 140 staff members and provides recommendations, information, analysis and services to the Montgomery County Planning Board, the County Council, the County Executive, other government agencies and the general public. Visit www.montgomeryplanning.org 

 

Feb 7 14

Attend the Next Montgomery Planning Department Winter Speakers Series – Feb. 27

by Bridget Schwiesow
Winter Speakers Series - second session

Public invited to the second session of presentations focusing on housing issues

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department is hosting the second session of the Winter Speakers Series which is focusing on housing. The event is being held on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.at the Park and Planning Montgomery Regional Office Building Auditorium in Silver Spring and will feature speakers Mildrilyn Davis and Helen McIlvaine, from the City of Alexandria, VA Office of Housing.

The City of Alexandria has had success with a number of innovative housing efforts over the past decade, including redevelopment of numerous blocks of public housing into mixed income communities and co-location of affordable housing with new public buildings. In addition, the City has recently approved a new Housing Plan that offers creative ideas for the future. Ms. Davis and Ms. McIlvaine will share a range of best practices from Alexandria.

“We are pleased to host our colleagues from the City of Alexandria to discuss housing solutions at a regional level,” said Gwen Wright, Montgomery Planning Director. “This presentation will build on the momentum of the first session, and keep the conversation moving forward as it pertains to solving the housing issues in Montgomery County.”

The sessions are free and open to the public and there will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions. This event is hosted in partnership with APA National Capital Area Chapter.

The first presentation of the Winter Speakers Series, held on Jan. 31 featured Lisa Sturtevant, Executive Director for the Center for Housing Policy and Vice President for Research of the National Housing Conference. Ms. Sturtevant presented information on housing trends related to the links between the cost of housing and access to transportation to a full house in the Planning Department’s Auditorium. View the video of Ms. Sturtevant’s presentation.

More sessions are being planned for March and April.

Second session details:

Montgomery Planning Department Winter Speakers Series
Featuring Mildrilyn Davis, Director of Housing, City of Alexandria and Helen McIlvaine, Deputy Director of Housing, City of Alexandria
Thursday, Feb. 27, 6 p.m.
Montgomery County Planning Department – Auditorium
8787 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Free parking available in the Planning Department parking lot
Located one mile from the Silver Spring Metro Station and on the Metrobus Q, Y, and J5 lines

About the speakers:
Mildrilyn Stephens Davis has been the Director of the Alexandria Office of Housing since 1991. She joined the department as a Housing Analyst in 1982, and served as its Program Administration Division Chief from 1983 until her appointment as Director. Prior to her employment with the City of Alexandria, she spent four years as a research analyst for the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Office of Policy Development and Research. Mildrilyn was a driving force in the formation of the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC), Alexandria’s local non-profit housing organization, and in the development of the City’s recently-adopted Housing Master Plan.

Helen McIlvaine is the Deputy Director of the Office of Housing for the City of Alexandria. She works primarily with external private and nonprofit development partners to structure and finance projects that include affordable housing. She is also Housing’s liaison to recent City small area planning processes that involve affordable housing. Before joining Alexandria’s Office of Housing in 2006, she was director of development for the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (HFHNV), and executive director of Catholics for Housing (CFH). Prior to her transition to nonprofit housing development, Helen was a practicing attorney.

About the series:
The Planning Department’s 2014 Winter Speakers Series is focusing on housing. It is an opportunity for residents, business owners, planners, elected officials and community leaders to learn more about national and regional trends pertaining to housing issues. Learn more about the series.

Who should attend:
Residents, business owners, planners, elected officials and community leaders

Contact:
Bridget Schwiesow
Communication Manager
M-NCPPC Montgomery County Department of Planning
Bridget.Schwiesow@montgomeryplanning.org or 301.641.0457

Feb 6 14

Bethesda Downtown Planning and Design Workshop – Saturday, March 1, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

by Bridget Schwiesow

Residents, business owners, property owners invited to envision what they would like Downtown Bethesda to be twenty years from now

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department will be hosting a planning and design workshop to capture ideas for the future of Downtown Bethesda. All residents, business owners and property owners – groups and individuals – are invited to attend the workshop on Saturday, March 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School cafeteria (4301 East-West Highway Bethesda, MD).

Participants will have the opportunity to work collaboratively in small groups to provide their ideas on how Downtown Bethesda as a whole should evolve over the next twenty years. Building on the issues raised at last November’s Kick-Off public meeting, this workshop will help shape the planning process for Downtown Bethesda.

A future meeting will focus more specifically on areas and issues identified at this workshop.

Information and ideas gathered at this workshop will inform the preparation of recommendations for the Bethesda Downtown Plan that update both the 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment. This is an opportunity for the community to refine their vision for a successful Downtown Bethesda that should continue to thrive for the next twenty years and beyond.

Details:
What: Bethesda Downtown Plan Visioning Workshop
Who: Residents, property owners, and anyone with an interest in the future of Downtown Bethesda
When: Saturday, March 1 (9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Where: Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School cafeteria (4301 East-West Highway Bethesda, MD)

The Bethesda Downtown Plan Scope of Work  defines the process, purpose and timeline that was approved by the Planning Board on Jan. 31. The Scope of Work included three themes to guide the purpose of the planning framework:
- Economic sustainability
- Social sustainability
- Environmental sustainability

Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Plan and how to get involved: www.bethesdadowntownplan.org

Contact:
Bridget Schwiesow
Communication Manager
M-NCPPC Montgomery County Department of Planning
Bridget.Schwiesow@montgomeryplanning.org or 301.641.0457

 

Jan 16 14

Zoning Rewrite Project Passes Major Milestone; Council Worksessions Completed with an Affirmative Straw Vote

by Bridget Schwiesow

Final vote on Zoning Ordinance Rewrite expected in February

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Council expressed significant support for a proposed new zoning ordinance on Wednesday by voting 7-1 in favor of the proposed text in a straw vote taken at the conclusion of their worksessions on the document.  The rewrite, if adopted, would be the most comprehensive update to the law that governs land use in the County in more than 30 years.

“I am very pleased with the thoughtful and thorough action of the Council on the Zoning Rewrite,” said Planning Board Chair Francoise Carrier. “The document is a big improvement over the current code and we look forward to the official vote by the Council so that everyone can start taking advantage of this more modern, user-friendly zoning code.”

Since the last major update to the zoning code in 1977, the County has grown and changed substantially and many of the zoning laws have become out of date. Piecemeal updates to the code over the last several decades have resulted in a document with more than 1200 pages, more than 120 zones, more than 400 footnotes, and many confusing and sometimes contradictory provisions.

The County Council tasked the Planning Department with undertaking a comprehensive rewrite of the zoning code in 2007 with the following basic goals in mind:

  • simplify and consolidate;
  • improve clarity and consistency;
  • accommodate changing markets and demographics, while protecting established neighborhoods;
  • reflect more sustainable policy goals; and
  • provide the tools to shift from greenfield development to infill, mixed-use development.

The Planning Department has been working on the project since that time.  After an extensive public review process, the Planning Board approved a draft of the new code and transmitted it to the County Council in May of 2013. The Council’s PHED committee worked extensively over the summer and fall, making numerous recommendations, before sending the document to full council.

A final vote on the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite will be held at a date to be determined in February.  The Council will then turn their attention to the accompanying District Map Amendment, which would apply the new zoning primarily to non-residential properties in the county.  The new code would not become effective until the approval of the map.

Learn more about the Zoning Rewrite Project.

Jan 10 14

Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Will Not Seek Second Term

by Bridget Schwiesow

Françoise Carrier announces decision to retire from Board after one term

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier announced today that she will not seek a second term as Chair. Carrier sent an email to the Planning and Parks Department staff on Thursday evening announcing her decision:

“It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you I have decided not to seek a second term as Planning Board Chair. It has been wonderful working with such fine people, and I will always love this agency, but for me, one term feels right.”

Appointed in 2010 by the Montgomery County Council, Carrier’s tenure has been marked as one of the busiest and most productive terms during the Board’s history with the approval of Master Plans such as: Chevy Chase Lake, Takoma/Langley, Glenmont, Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Plan and Long Branch. Carrier also oversaw the zoning code rewrite and is responsible for significant changes to the subdivision staging policy. During Carrier’s term, the Planning Board adopted a new Park and Planning Master Plan, the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan for Parks and Recreation; approved park master plans and capital programs; and oversaw the renewed development of the Montgomery Parks Foundation, which successfully cultivates financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as donors and advocates.

Carrier will serve until the end of her term, retiring on June 14, 2014.

Françoise Carrier became chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board in June 2010 after being unanimously supported by the County Council.  Carrier replaced Royce Hanson after his second stint as chairman. Carrier was a director and hearing examiner with the Montgomery County Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings. She had worked for that office since 2001, carrying out the functions of an administrative law judge in land use and human rights cases decided in trial-type hearings. In some 20 cases each year, Ms. Carrier issued detailed recommendations for the County Council or other agencies. She also issued final opinions for a few cases each year. A graduate of Stanford Law School with a background in economics and land use law, Ms. Carrier previously worked for three Washington, D.C., law firms for nine years.

The Montgomery County Planning Board Chair position is a full-time position appointed by the County Council to lead the Planning Board. The Chair serves with four Board members: Casey Anderson, Norman Dreyfuss, Marye Wells-Harley and Amy Presley. Ms. Carrier commented that she could not have worked with a finer group of Board members.

Dec 11 13

Montgomery County Planning Board Receives Dellabrooke Subdivision Final Report From Independent Investigation

by Bridget Schwiesow

Report of Investigation finds Montgomery County Planning staff and officials acted properly, provides three recommendations

Silver Spring, MDAn investigation by independent counsel Douglas M. Bregman, appointed by the M-NCPPC’s Montgomery County Planning Board, has found no evidence of improper conduct on the part of Montgomery County Planning staff and officials regarding the allegations that the approval of the Dellabrooke subdivision in 2000 was the result of faulty information and undue influence.

As a result of a five-month long investigation, Bregman’s 98-page report reached the following two conclusions:

  1.  There was no improper conduct or undue influence in the Planning Board’s approval of Dellabrooke Phase III or the related Category I conservation easement.
  2. Montgomery County Planning officials did not engage in improper conduct in order to suppress or ignore the allegations pertaining to the Dellabrooke area and the community.

The report also provided three recommendations for Montgomery County Planning related to providing service to the public:

  1. Create a centralized system of records maintenance for development applications.
  2. Develop an official, formal policy for assigning addresses.
  3. Consider opportunities to address underlying issues during pending litigation to respond to public need.

The Planning Board will review addressing and street naming guidelines and procedures at their Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19.

“I am very pleased with the thorough and conclusive report which found that Park and Planning staff acted properly,” said Planning Board Chair Françoise M. Carrier, “and we take the recommendations in the report very seriously.”

On the final page of the report, Bregman stated that “despite the public criticism of Park and Planning that precipitated our investigation and the issues noted above, we determined that Park and Planning is a responsible, ethical, competent, hard-working, and professional agency.”

The Planning Board retained senior attorney Douglas M. Bregman of Bregman, Berbert, Schwartz & Gilday, LLC in June 2013 to conduct an independent investigation regarding the Planning Board’s approval of the Dellabrooke neighborhood subdivision in Sandy Spring. Allegations in multiple lawsuits claimed that a historical farm road was eliminated with this development, thereby cutting off access to a number of properties.

The report also states that the historical farm road was never a public road and was not removed from government maps during the regulatory approval process for Dellabrooke.

After a thorough investigation and fact-finding review, Bregman found there was no evidence of  improper conduct by Park and Planning officials before, during or after the approval of the Dellabrooke subdivision.

At a July 18 Planning Board meeting, addresses were granted to the 11 properties located on the north side of Brooke Road, west of the intersection of Chandlee Mill Road in Sandy Spring. The 11 properties are historically significant as land owned by some of the first freed slaves in the state. Addresses could not be issued by Park and Planning until it could be established that the owners had legal access to cross private property to reach a public road.

View the full Report of Investigation

View more information and resources

Contact:
Bridget Schwiesow
Communication Manager
M-NCPPC Montgomery County Department of Planning
Bridget.Schwiesow@montgomeryplanning.org or 301.641.0457

Mar 1 13

Planning Board Recommends Denial of Costco Gas Station in Wheaton

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING – After reviewing an analysis from their planning staff and hearing testimony from the applicant and scores of residents, the Montgomery County Planning Board last night recommended denial of a proposed special exception to allow a 16-pump Costco gas station at the Westfield Wheaton Mall. The Board will forward its recommendations to the Hearing Examiner for a hearing and a final decision by the county Board of Appeals.

A special exception permits a use that is not allowed by right in a given zone, but may be approved if certain conditions are met. The public hearing by the Hearing Examiner is scheduled for March 11, 15, 18 and 22.

Planning Board members, voting 3-2 to recommend denial of the special exception request, stated that a large gas station would run counter to the one of the main goals of the Wheaton Sector Plan, which is to encourage transit-oriented development. Led by Commissioner Casey Anderson, who made the motion to recommend denial, a majority of the Board agreed that the Costco gas station encouraged automobile use and development tied to vehicular travel rather than moving toward making development compatible with the Wheaton Metro station and planned rapid transit lines.

Anderson said transit is “the cornerstone” of the sector plan, which sets zoning, land use and outlines a 15-year vision for how Wheaton should grow and change. “We’re trying to go toward transit-oriented development, not away from it,” he said. Although the sector plan did not change most of the mall’s commercial zoning, Anderson said a mega-gas station near the new Costco store would nevertheless run contrary to the plan’s overall vision and goals by emphasizing car use.

Staff had recommended denial of the special exception request because, they said, the proposed gas station had the potential to create adverse health impacts for nearby residents due to the gas station’s location, size and the expected queuing of vehicles at the pumps. After researching air quality and other data, planners concluded that the applicant underestimated the health risks to nearby residents, citing the potential for idling vehicles to create a hot spot of emissions.

Of the approximately 50 people who testified before the Board last night, the majority requested that the application be denied. Many of those testifying were parents of students at the nearby Stephen Knolls School concerned about the respiratory health of their children. Those in support of the special exception said it would save car trips because they would not have to drive as far to fill up their tanks with discounted gas.

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Sep 6 12

Planning Board to Review Revised Zoning Code Draft Throughout Fall

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING – Starting September 10, the Montgomery County Planning Board will begin an ambitious schedule of worksessions and public sessions to consider the proposed revision of the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance. The staff will present a consolidated draft of the Zoning Rewrite in sections to the Board from September through the end of the year, with opportunities for public input along the way.

Download the consolidated draft and review the Board schedule.

Throughout the fall, the Board will hold a number of sessions on the draft revisions to the Zoning Code. At public sessions, staff will provide a brief overview, followed by an opportunity for audience input. The Planning Board will then hold worksessions at which they will discuss the draft and any submitted public comments. All meetings are open to the public, and feedback is encouraged at the Zoning Rewrite Project’s online comment board.

The revisions are part of a multi-year effort to rewrite the Zoning Code to modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations and create new tools to help achieve goals in community plans. The rewrite effort aims to make the code easier to use. Last rewritten in 1977, the 1,200-page code is viewed as inconsistent and outdated. The revised code is expected to reduce the number of zones, clarify what uses are permitted in each zone, and rethink 1950s-era commercial strips and office parks.

After the Planning Board completes its review, the draft Zoning Code Rewrite will be transmitted to the County Council for consideration in 2013.

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Jul 31 12

In Last Session Before Summer Recess, Montgomery County Planning Board Approves Far-Reaching Plans

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING – In one of its most action-filled and significant meetings of the year, the Planning Board last week approved a countywide growth management policy, a neighborhood plan for Burtonsville and guidelines for implementing a new mixed-use zone.

At its July 26 meeting, the Board also approved five development applications, including a 470-unit project in the Great Seneca Science Corridor area west of Gaithersburg. Learn more about the meetintg.

By law, the Board must deliver a draft of the Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP), formerly called the Growth Policy, to the County Council by August 1 of every fourth year. The SSP manages growth by setting policies and establishing infrastructure tests to ensure transit service, roads and schools keep pace with development.

The 2012-2016 SSP differs from previous growth policies by introducing a new Transportation Policy Area Review test, which calculates the effects of new development over different periods on transit and roads. The transportation test analyzes congestion and provides tools to match improvements of transit service and/or road capacity with the needs of development.

The County Council will review the policy in September worksessions and act on a new countywide policy in November. The policy will both set payment rates for developers as well as standards for determining whether transportation and schools are adequate in each of the county’s 32 policy areas.

Also at the meeting, the Board approved its draft of a vision for the Burtonsville Crossroads and sent that plan to the Council for review. The plan emphasizes a complete community with a main street, public green and village center while retaining the area’s rural character in the community’s northern tier. The plan envisions a mix of uses in the town center and connections that move local traffic and encourage walking and cycling. It also recommends new mixed-use zoning, a series of street and trail connections, and parks and open space to protect the headwaters of the Patuxent River.

Planners develop master and sector plans to create a framework for each community designed to last 15 to 20 years. Those visions help planners and policy-makers – such as the Planning Board and County Council – develop land use strategies and decide on proposed development.

The Commercial Residential Zones approved last fall are designed to allow a mix of uses to encourage jobs and services where people can live, work, shop and play within a given neighborhood. Planners wrote implementation guidelines for developers building in the CR Zone that will bring about dynamic building projects, handsome streetscapes, public spaces and affordable housing.

The Board approved the new document, which establishes guidelines that detail the standards and requirements for public benefits such as affordable housing or public art, on July 26.

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