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Jan 27 16

Planning Department Encourages Community to Testify on the Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

 

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Community invited to sign up to testify at Sector Plan Public Hearing on Thursday, February 11 in Silver Spring

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, invites the Greater Lyttonsville community to sign up to testify at the February 11 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Public Hearing at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).

The Public Hearing Draft is available for review on the Planning Department’s website. This posting follows the Montgomery County Planning Board’s approval of the Working Draft as the Public Hearing Draft on Thursday, December 17, 2015.

The Public Hearing Draft reflects changes in response to issues that were raised by the Lyttonsville community over district boundaries and language in the Plan Draft.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan.

View the Staff Report for the December 17 Planning Board presentation, including an errata sheet.

Community Invited to Testify at Public Hearing

The Board’s public hearing on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan is scheduled for Thursday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) where the community is invited to comment on the Plan’s recommendations.

Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the public hearing.

Time slots to testify are limited, so in advance of the hearing date, the public is encouraged to go online to sign up to testify:   http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp.

In order to hear from as many people as possible, each speaker will only have up to three minutes to comment.

The public is also invited to submit comments on the Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan via email to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org. These comments will become part of the public testimony and public record for the Plan.

Plan Work Sessions and Council Action

Following the public hearing on February 11, 2016, the Planning Board will hold work sessions on the Sector Plan starting in March. The sessions will continue as needed for the Board to discuss the community testimony as well as issues Board members want to address.

At the conclusion of the work sessions, the Plan will be revised to reflect the Planning Board’s direction before being transmitted to the County Council and County Executive as the Planning Board Draft. The County Council will hold a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan later in 2016.

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

-Visiting the Greater Lyttonsville Montgomery County Planning Department webpage.

-Listening or watching the staff presentation on-demand from the December 17 meeting.

Signing up to participate in the public hearing or providing written testimony (a sign-up window will open once the public hearing date is officially set by the Planning Board).

Background on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

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

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

Recommendations in the Plan focus on:

-Providing pedestrian and bicycle connections to the two proposed Purple Line light rail stations.
-Preserving, rather than rezoning, a majority of the industrial areas.
-Preserving single-family residential areas.
-Proposing zoning changes primarily in areas around the future Purple Line stations or close to the Silver Spring central business district.

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

Jan 26 16

Montgomery Planning Department Opens at 10 A.M. on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

by Bridget Schwiesow

Weather update: As of January 26, 2016, 9:14 p.m. 

The Montgomery County Planning Department will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Go to www.montgomeryplanning.org for the latest news and information on the Montgomery County Planning Department.

Jan 25 16

Montgomery Planning Department Closed Tuesday, January 26, 2016

by Bridget Schwiesow

Weather update: As of January 25, 2016, 9:05 p.m. 

The Montgomery County Planning Department will remain closed through Tuesday, January 26, 2016 due to inclement weather conditions. Go to www.montgomeryplanning.org for the latest news and information on the Montgomery County Planning Department.

Jan 24 16

Montgomery Planning Department Closed Monday, January 25, 2016

by Bridget Schwiesow

Weather update: As of January 24, 2016, 6:32 p.m. 

The Montgomery County Planning Department will remain closed through Monday, January 25, 2016 due to inclement weather conditions. Go to www.montgomeryplanning.org for the latest news and information on the Montgomery County Planning Department.

Jan 19 16

Community Meeting for Rock Spring Master Plan on January 28 Will Address Parks and Open Spaces, and Transportation Policies

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Staff from Montgomery Planning and Montgomery Parks Departments will address potential open spaces, transportation metrics and connectivity as part of the planning effort in the Rock Spring area of North Bethesda

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will discuss the Rock Spring Master Plan. at a community meeting Thursday, January 28, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD).

Montgomery Parks’ staff will present information at the start of the meeting about parks and open spaces possible amenities, opportunity areas and roles of County agencies and developers related to these topics.

The second half of the meeting will be dedicated to a discussion about transportation and connectivity. Staff from the Planning Department will present information on transportation policies, land use and transportation modeling, and review connectivity issues identified at previous community meetings.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent. Within the context of changing preferences of employers and their workforces for transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed and a new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the new County Zoning Ordinance became effective on October 30, 2014. The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will involve a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the area’s public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the lead planner:

Andrea Gilles, tel. 301.495.4541, email Andrea.Gilles@montgomeryplanning.org

Jan 15 16

Work Session on Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Will Be Held on February 4 to Address South Bethesda District

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Planners and Planning Board will discuss recommended zoning and building heights for residential areas flanking Bradley Boulevard

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, February 4 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Discussion will focus on zoning and building heights for the South Bethesda District, a residential area of garden apartments, townhouses and single-family homes situated to either side of Bradley Boulevard. For details about the work session, consult the Planning Board Agenda.

The next work session is scheduled for Thursday, February 25, 2016. Consult the Planning Board Agenda webpage two weeks prior to this work session to find out more specifics about the session. 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 Bethesda Downtown Sector plan, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Jan 15 16

MARC Rail Communities Plan Moves Ahead with January 28 Planning Board Presentation and Community Workshop in March

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Planning effort focuses on improving parking and access for station areas in Boyds and Germantown. Public is invited to provide feedback at community workshop

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is advancing the MARC Rail Communities Plan by presenting the proposed Scope of Work to the Planning Board on Thursday, January 28, 2016. Once approved by the Board, the Scope of Work will provide the basis for the planning effort.

The Master Plan will evaluate land use, zoning, design and access conditions at the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) stations in Boyds and Germantown. This effort will make use of ongoing studies being undertaken by the Maryland Transit Administration and Montgomery County Department of Transportation looking at parking and access issues at MARC stations throughout the County.

The Master Plan will integrate findings from these studies and offer recommendations for parking, roads and land use within the station areas. Learn about the MARC Rail Communities Plan.

Public Workshop Tentatively Scheduled for March
A multi-day, public design workshop for the MARC Rail Communities Plan is tentatively scheduled for Monday, March 7 and Monday, March 14 through Wednesday, March 16. All of the meetings will be held at the Upcounty Regional Services Center (12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown, MD 20874).

The purpose of this hands-on workshop is to gain feedback from County and state officials and the community about various aspects of the rail station areas in Boyds and Germantown. Discussions will focus on road access, parking, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, historic preservation and other topics.

Participants will be able to engage staff immediately and provide ideas about the future of the station areas and their communities. This interactive community planning process enables all stakeholders to participate and become vested in the ultimate vision.

About the MARC Rail Communities Master Plan
The MARC Rail Communities Planners will focus on ways of improving transit station areas in Boyds and Germantown that are sensitive to the character and scale of these historic communities. Planners will consider opportunities for physical and operational improvements to the stations and enhancements to commuter rail service in Montgomery County.

Recommended land uses and existing zoning will be evaluated for consistency with the desired scale and character for the area. Access and connections in the vicinity of the stations will be evaluated and enhancements recommended where needed. In coordination with MARC Rail and County and state agencies, the Plan will consider land uses and alternative arrangements for existing surface parking and access.

Master Plan recommendations will be presented to the Planning Board in summer 2016 and a public hearing about the Plan will be held in fall 2016. Learn more about this plan: www.montgomerplanning.org/marcrailplan

Stay connected

  • Stay informed and join the MARC Rail Communities email list at montgomeryplanning.org/marcrailplan
  • Email us at Duke@montgomeryplanning.org
  • Meet with us in our offices in Silver Spring or attend a public meeting in Boyds or Germantown.

Our team

  • Roberto Duke, Planner Coordinator, 301.495.2168
  • Leslie Saville, Planner Coordinator, 301.495.2194
Jan 14 16

Events Celebrate New Planning Department Book on Midcentury Modern Architecture in Montgomery County

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Award-winning author Clare Lise Kelly will speak about County’s significant midcentury modern buildings and neighborhoods at book-signings in Germantown, Silver Spring, Glen Echo and other locations

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is celebrating its new book, Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979, with a series of author talks and book-signing events. The 250-page, well-illustrated book is written by Clare Lise Kelly, a preservation planner and an architectural historian with the Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office. The book includes an inventory of key buildings and communities, and biographical sketches of architects and developers.

“I’ve been researching historic sites for 25 years now and advocating for their preservation, and Montgomery County has one of the strongest preservation programs in the country,” says author Kelly.  “The post-war era is a time period that has been little understood and we are raising awareness about the value of buildings in this time period.” For her architectural advocacy, the American Institute of Architects’ Potomac Valley Chapter honored Kelly with its 2015 Paul H. Kea medal.

The upcoming talks and book-signing events will be held as follows:

-January 30, 10:45 a.m.: Montgomery County History Conference, Montgomery College, Germantown Info
-February 6, 3 p.m.: 
 Montgomery Preservation Inc./Silver Spring Historical Society, B&O Train Station, Silver Spring Info
-February 17, 6:30 p.m.:
 Society of Architectural Historians, Latrobe Chapter; The First Congregational United Church of Christ, 945 G Street, NW, Washington, DC Info
-March 5, 1 p.m.: 
Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture, Glen Echo Park Info
-April 15, 6:30 p.m.
:  Sandy Spring Museum Info

Copies of the book can also be purchased online: a hard cover copy costs $65 and a paperback costs $55.

About Montgomery Modern
The publication of Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979 and the book signing event are part of the Historic Preservation Office’s award-winning Montgomery Modern initiative to educate the public about the architectural heritage of Montgomery County. This preservation program has included a bus tour, bike tour and other outreach events dedicated to the wealth of midcentury modern architecture in the County. Learn more about the Historic Preservation Office’s Montgomery Modern initiative.

Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979, written by M-NCPPC senior architectural historian Clare Lise Kelly, provides the historic context for modern architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, from its first appearance in the 1930s through the 1970s. Richly illustrated with images by DC photographer Carol Highsmith, period photographs and architectural renderings, the book is organized by building types set within four main time periods.

Biographical sketches of practitioners (architects, landscape architects, developers, planners) are included, as well as an inventory of key projects, including buildings and subdivisions. Montgomery Modern is intended to raise awareness about the significance of modern architecture and the fragile nature of the built environment from the recent past.

View the video from the Montgomery Modern Book Launch on October 30, 2015.

View the video featuring Clare Kelly’s Kea Award.

View the promotional video about the Montgomery Modern Initiative.

Jan 8 16

Featured Speaker Will Unveil a New Planning Approach for Buses and Streetcars at First Winter Speakers Series Event on January 20

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Nat Bottigheimer of Fehr & Peers DC explains how data collected from cell phones and GPS devices can help determine the potential market and feasibility of proposed surface transit projects

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching its 2016 Winter Speaker Series with a presentation by Washington, DC-based transportation planner Nat Bottigheimer of Fehr & Peers DC on the pitfalls and practicalities of planning surface transit. Free and open to the public, the event will be held on Wednesday, January 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).

Citing troubled streetcar and bus rapid transit projects in the region, Bottigheimer will show how new, data-driven tools can better predict success or failure at the outset. His presentation, Putting the Transition Back in Transit, will focus on the upfront planning of surface transportation through data collected from cell phones and GPS devices as a way to unlock transit’s transformational potential.

Bottigheimer will explain his methods by answering the following questions:

-Why are surface transit projects so hard to realize?
-What are the typical analytical tools used for planning transit?
-What is the new approach to planning transit?
-How can data from cell phones and GPS devices help with the new transit planning approach?
-How can this data can be applied to specific surface bus and rail projects?
-What are some examples of bus and light rail projects that are benefiting from the new tools?
-How could have troubled streetcar and bus projects in the region benefited from new types of transit planning?

About Speaker Nat Bottigheimer
Nat Bottigheimer of Fehr & Peers DC is a transportation planner with a background in public policy, economics, and transportation planning. Until 2012, Nat was an assistant general manager at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), where he promoted bike and pedestrian access, sustainability and bus priority investment. He has expertise in planning for rail station access, transit and land use, and is a recognized expert in transit-oriented development.

About the 2016 Winter Speaker Series
The three-part Winter Speaker Series will focus on new approaches to transportation. Smart Moves: New Ideas about Bikes, Cars and Transit will address cycling, transit, trails and other alternatives to cars. The ideas generated from the series will help inform the Department’s current plans and policies, including the Bicycle Master Plan and Subdivision Staging Policy update.

The Winter Speakers Series is free and open to the public. The presentations, which will include question-and-answer discussions, will be held at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the following dates:

Session 1 –Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Speaker: Nat Bottigheimer, DC Region Market Lead, Fehr & Peers DC, Washington, DC
Topic: Putting the Transition Back in Transit: Bringing a market analysis perspective to transit planning using big data

Session 2 – Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Speaker: Jennifer Toole, President, Toole Design Group, Silver Spring, MD
Topic: Recent approaches to suburban bicycle planning

Session 3 – Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Speaker: Jeffrey Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy, Nelson/Nygaard, San Francisco, CA
Topic: Smart development in transitional suburban locations

Jan 8 16

Property Owners and Civic Groups Invited to Present Proposals for White Flint 2 Area at Public Forum on February 1

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Speakers who wish to address specific properties and improvements at the meeting must submit presentation proposals to the Planning Department by January 28 to be considered

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a public forum on Monday, February 1, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD) for the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.

The purpose of the forum is to allow property owners to share with the public any general thoughts or detailed development plans they may have for sites within the Sector Plan boundaries. Representatives of civic and homeowner associations, and other stakeholders, are also invited to discuss issues and concerns about specific properties and the future of the White Flint 2 area.

Each speaker will have up to 10 minutes to make a presentation at the meeting. Those property owners, association representatives and stakeholders wishing to make a presentation should submit a brief description of the presentation to lead planner Nkosi Yearwood (nkosi.yearwood@montgomeryplanning.org or 301-495-1332) by Thursday, January 28 in order to be scheduled to speak.

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 of Rockville and County officials coordinate their efforts in 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?
  • 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 numbers of new residential developments are approved?
  • What are the impacts associated with bus rapid transit (BRT)?
  • What is the potential for infill to create a mix of uses and promote walkability?

For more information about the White Flint 2 Plan and February 1 public forum, contact:

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

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