New digital tool allows County residents to determine need for tree planting in their neighborhoods
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, now offers a Tree Canopy Explorer web application to determine the extent of tree canopy in communities throughout the County. This tool enables users to view the layer of leaves and branches shading the ground, which ultimately contributes to improving the local climate of urban and suburban areas.
The new Tree Canopy Explorer allows residents to measure the tree canopy around their homes or businesses by identifying the street address, zooming in on the location and using a tool to calculate the percentage of cover. An update to the existing canopy data will soon make it possible to determine the loss in canopy experienced due to storms and recent tree trimming efforts. By understanding the extent of the canopy, property owners can take steps to plant more trees and create healthier, greener communities. The more shade from trees, the less energy required for cooling homes and cars. Also, trees clean the air we breathe and the runoff from storms.
The digital tool was developed by planners using a 2009 Countywide analysis of trees done with high-resolution aerial imagery. That study revealed that much of the County contains a high level of tree canopy, but that most urbanized areas lack adequate shade, particularly over hard surfaces that can become superheated during the summer.
County planner Katherine Nelson will make a presentation about the Tree Canopy Explorer at the Montgomery County Greenfest on Saturday, March 28. The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus of Montgomery College (7995 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring).
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its events calendar for April 2015. These sessions offer ways to engage with planners and Planning Board members, and help shape the future of communities within Montgomery County. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans.
Montgomery Planning April 2015 Events:
April 2 – Attend, watch or listen live to the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting. View the full agenda.
April 8 – Learn more about public art within Montgomery County at a lunchtime presentation at the Planning Department’s headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring). From noon to 1 p.m., Suzan Jenkins, the CEO of the County’s Arts and Humanities Council, and urban design consultant Todd Bressi will discuss the impact of public art and new strategies for supporting it. Bring your lunch, questions and ideas to the session in the auditorium.
April 9 – There is no Planning Board scheduled for Thursday, April 9 due to MCPS Spring Break.
April 16 – Attend in person or tune into the live broadcast of the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting. Agendas, which are posted two weeks in advance, can be viewed on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.
April 23 – Attend or listen live to the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting. Agendas, which are posted two weeks in advance, can be viewed on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.
April 30 – Attend, watch or listen live to the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting. Agendas, which are posted two weeks in advance, can be viewed on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.
Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office honored for raising community appreciation of County’s midcentury modern architecture and design
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Historic Preservation Office of the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has been honored with the Excellence in Community Engagement Award from the Maryland Historical Trust. The award was announced at the 2015 Maryland Preservation Awards ceremony, hosted by the Maryland Historical Trust Board of Trustees and held on Thursday, March 27 at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis.
This accolade recognizes the success of the Montgomery Modern program, launched by the Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office in 2013 to raise awareness of the County’s remarkable legacy of mid-20th-century architecture and design. The educational and outreach initiative has included bus and bike tours of mid-20th-century modern neighborhoods and buildings, and an interactive website. A book documenting the County’s midcentury structures is now being researched and written by staff architectural historian Clare Lise Kelly.
“This is a tremendous honor for the Planning Department in recognizing our efforts to educate and inform the public about some of our most under-appreciated historical resources,” says Gwen Wright, Planning Director. “Montgomery County has a great legacy of midcentury modern architecture that needs to be better understood, celebrated and preserved.”
View the Maryland Department of Planning Maryland Historical Trust press release announcing the the programs and people recognized at the 40th Maryland Preservation Awards.
Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office.
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is this year’s recipient of an Award of Excellence from the American Planning Association (APA), County Planning Division, and its sister organization, the National Association of County Planning (NACP).
The award in the Planning Project category recognizes the Pike & Rose neighborhood developed by Rockville-based Federal Realty Investment Trust as realizing the goals of the White Flint Sector Plan. This plan aims to transform the parcels bordering Rockville Pike into pedestrian-friendly clusters of housing, offices, stores, restaurants and civic amenities. Pike & Rose is the first project approved and built in North Bethesda following the adoption of the new Sector Plan.
Review the Montgomery Planning Department’s award submission online.
“We are thrilled to be honored with this award for one of the most transformative planning efforts in the County,” says Planning Department Director Gwen Wright. “The White Flint Sector Plan represents the transition from car-oriented suburbs into livable, urban-style communities with access to transit. Pike & Rose exemplifies this exciting change and sets a high bar for the mixed-use developments to come.”
The 24-acre Pike & Rose replaces the 1960s Mid-Pike Plaza at Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike and is located within walking distance of the White Flint Metrorail station. The development, which began opening in summer 2014, is one of the first projects in the nation to transform a functioning strip center into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood of apartments, offices, stores, restaurants, open spaces and amenities.
“This award confirms our philosophy of placemaking on even the most challenging sites,” says Evan Goldman, vice president of development for Federal Realty, which is also responsible for Bethesda Row. “We are proud that the initial phase of Pike & Rose has surpassed our expectations in creating the ‘there’ in North Bethesda with a vibrant, new center of activity.”
The Award of Excellence will be presented on Sunday, April 19 at the County Planning Division’s Annual Business Meeting during the APA National Conference in Seattle, Washington.
About the White Flint Sector Plan
Approved by the County in 2010, the White Flint Sector Plan outlines ways to transform the areas along Rockville Pike into thriving, mixed-use centers with new buildings, parks and streets. The planned 3.5 million square feet of offices, housing, restaurants, retail and amenities are designed to serve diverse constituencies within the metropolitan Washington, DC area.
The planning effort involved a high level of cooperation among developers, residents and County staff, including an unusual partnership among the area’s landowners and formation of a grassroots community advocacy group. Infrastructure needed for the redevelopment is being funded by a 10 percent ad valorem property tax. This taxing mechanism is the first of its kind in Montgomery County.
About Pike & Rose
Part of a shift to smart growth in the suburbs, Federal Realty’s Pike & Rose is the first project to be built under the new zoning and land use guidelines of Montgomery County’s White Flint Sector Plan. The 24-acre development is located at the key intersection of Rockville Pike and Montrose Parkway in the heart of Montgomery County. Pike & Rose is designed to be a pedestrian-oriented, urban-minded, mixed-use neighborhood central to the area’s revitalization efforts, and will comprise 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, 1,605 residential units and a 177-room boutique hotel at full build-out.
Its initial phase, largely completed in 2014, centers on the newly built Grand Park Avenue. Phase 1 includes an 80,000 square-foot Class A office building, a 174-unit midrise rental apartment building, a 319-unit high-rise rental apartment building and a pre-existing retail building that was renovated as part of the project. Added to this mix are the 8-screen iPic movie theater and a 240-seat live performance venue run by the Strathmore music center, called AMP, which opened in March 2015.
The second phase of Pike & Rose, due to be completed in 2017, will add another 340,000 square feet of retail, 462 more apartments and 104 luxury condos set atop the 177-room Canopy hotel run by Hilton. The neighborhood incorporates the best of what Federal Realty has created at its other mixed-use properties across the country, all located amid a carefully orchestrated environment of plaza parks, creative common areas, street festivals, farmers market and more.
Montgomery Women honors community activism of Board’s first Hispanic member.
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce that Planning Board member Natali Fani-González has been chosen for the 2015 Rising Star Award. This annual prize is given by Montgomery Women, a non-partisan leadership and political action committee, to recognize the promise and achievements of a female community activist.
“We’re proud that Natali Fani-González has received the Rising Star award. I would say she already rose quite a while back – she is a great leader and a colleague with no ceiling on her future,” said Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson at the ceremony.
Fani-González received the award at Montgomery Women’s 11th annual Power Tea on March 15 at the Strathmore Mansion. “I am committed to improving Montgomery County and honored by this award and its celebration of community service,” she said.
The Rising Star Award honors the memory of Phyllis Campbell Newsome, a founder of Montgomery Women and a director of community advocacy for the Washington Council of Agencies, who died in 2002. In prior years, the recipients of the Rising Star Award have been Denise Young (2006), Amy Presley (2007), Kathy Lally (2008), Dr. Yvette Butler (2009), Theresa Testoni (2010), Rachel Glass (2011), Hannah McCann (2012), Wendy Howard (2013) and Hedieh Mirahmadi (2014).
About Natali Fani-González
Appointed to the Montgomery County Planning Board in October 2014, the Venezuelan-born Fani-González, 34, is the founder and principal of the Rockville-based public relations firm, The Matea Group. She is the first Latino and millennial to serve on the five-member Planning Board, which reviews master plans and policies governing growth and development throughout Montgomery County.
A human and civil rights activist and entrepreneur, Fani-Gonzalez was recognized in 2013 as a “Leading Women” honoree by The Daily Record for her numerous contributions to Maryland. She started her career as a lobbyist for CASA de Maryland, the largest Latino and immigrant organization in the state, and then joined the communications team of the Service Employee International Union Local 32BJ before starting her own public relations firm.
Fani-González graduated from Goucher College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations. She lives with her husband and their two children in Kensington.
Sessions examined how politics and policies shaped communities in Montgomery County
SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held its final 2014-2015 Winter Speakers Series event on March 11, concluding a well-attended sequence of evening presentations on influential planning practices.
“We are still grappling with issues of growth in the County,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “This series both traced the evolution of our policies affecting development and examined the challenges we still face in creating great urban, suburban and rural communities.”
Titled “A Once and Future County: Lessons On How Planning Politics Shaped Montgomery County,” the five-session series was hosted by Royce Hanson, former Chair of the County’s Planning Board. Topics reflected the subject of Hanson’s soon-to-be published book: Suburb: Planning Politics and the Public Interest in Montgomery County.
“Royce Hanson has helped us understand the forces that have influenced our community’s development,” says Casey Anderson, Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board. “He has identified both the common themes and the changing elements of our land use politics, and I think this perspective will help us make better choices in the future.”
The first session of the Winter Speakers Series, “Planners, Politicians and How Montgomery County Got This Way,” was held on November 12, 2014. It focused on the County’s development from the end of the First World War to the present day, and examined the struggle for influence by developers and residents within the planning process.
The second session on December 10, 2014, titled “Retrofitting the Suburbs: From Friendship Heights to White Flint,” traced the evolution of strategic land use decisions in key areas of the County.
Session three on January 14, 2015, “Trials and Errors of Corridor Cities Planning,” discussed the planning politics and development in the Rockville-Gaithersburg area; the challenges of a new town in Germantown; and the problems associated with the planning and development of Clarksburg.
Session four on February 11, “Creating and Sustaining the County’s Agricultural Reserve,” traced the 30-year effort to protect the rural landscape of upper Montgomery County from development. It discussed the challenges that were overcome to establish the Agricultural Reserve in 1980 and sustain a working landscape against efforts to compromise its integrity.
On March 11, the final session, “Hunting the Snark: Growth Policy and the Public Interest,” evaluated the effects of the 40-year evolution of County growth policy on development patterns. It explained the institutional structure of planning in Montgomery County for effective and democratically accountable land use policy.
Each 90-minute event was held at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Md.) and was free to the public. The sessions were streamed online and can be viewed at: montgomeryplanning.org/onceandfuturecounty
The Montgomery County Planning Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 5 has been canceled in anticipation of the inclement weather. Items that were scheduled for March 5 have already been rescheduled for either March 12 or March 19. Please check the Planning Board agenda for those dates on the following link: http://www.montgomeryplanningboard.org/meetings_archive/
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is hosting the final event in its Winter Speakers Series on Wednesday, March 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD.). The series is called “A Once and Future County: Lessons on How Planning Politics Shaped Montgomery County” and is hosted by Royce Hanson, former chairman of the County’s Planning Board.
The March 11 session, titled “Hunting the Snark: Growth Policy and the Public Interest,” evaluates the influence of county growth policy on development patterns over the past 40 years. Hanson and a panel of experts will discuss the challenges of planning in Montgomery County for effective and democratically accountable land use policy.
The title of the event is inspired by a poem written by British author Lewis Carroll about the quest to catch a mysterious creature called a Snark. “Like the snark in Carroll’s poem, county growth policy seemed to vanish or turn into something else just as it was within grasp,” says Hanson. “Some policies were followed and worked; others fell short of promise or failed. The system is valuable, not because it was invariably right, but because it maintained a high standard of integrity in a policy arena fraught with conflict, political influence and opportunity for corruption.”
Joining Hanson at the March 11 event to discuss growth policies will be the following experts:
Richard Hall served as the Maryland Secretary of Planning from 2007 to 2015. He joined the Maryland Department of Planning in 1992 and, as Director of Land Use Planning and Analysis, was involved in comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances and smart growth policies. Hall is a past president of the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association, a former board member of 1000 Friends of Maryland and an affiliate faculty member of the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education.
Glenn Orlin is the Deputy Administrator of the Montgomery County Council, advising on matters pertaining to transportation and infrastructure financing. He has reviewed growth policy since 1986 for the County Executive and Council. Orlin analyzes proposed policies, budgets, plans, programs, projects, laws and regulations affecting transportation, infrastructure and development, and he makes recommendations to the Council based on the results of these evaluations. Orlin serves as the Council’s capital budget coordinator and assists in the direction of the Council Office.
Richard Tustian is an architect, planner and educator with more than 50 years of experience in managing the built environment. Between 1969 and 1990, Tustian was Planning Director for Montgomery County, where he was instrumental in developing its comprehensive growth management system. He has been engaged as a consultant by a wide variety of municipalities across the nation and as an educator by organizations such as the Lincoln Institute of land Policy, American Planning Association and Universities of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins.
– The 90-minute event is free to the public and will be streamed online live. It will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on March 11 at the Planning Department headquarters at 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD.
– Watch the video from the previous Winter Speakers Series event on February 11 that focused on Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve.
– Learn more about the Once and Future County Speakers Series.
– Use hashtag: #onceandfuturecounty
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its events calendar for March 2015. From a public forum on County infrastructure to community meetings focused on master planning, these sessions offer ways to engage with planners and Planning Board members, and help shape the future of Montgomery County. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans.
Montgomery Planning March 2015 Events:
March 5 – Attend, watch or listen live to the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting. View the full agenda.
March 7 - Learn about the policies affecting Montgomery County public schools and transportation systems at a forum held at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814) from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event, titled “Infrastructure and Growth: Are We Keeping Pace?,” hosted by County Councilmember Roger Berliner, will offer the opportunity for participants to meet with public officials and provide feedback about their communities. Speakers include Councilmember Roger Berliner and Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson. Register and submit your questions about policies related to schools and transportation online.
March 11 – Catch the last session of the Winter Speakers Series, A Once & Future County, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Planning Department Headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910). “Hunting the Snark: Growth Policy and the Public Interest” will focus on the influence of land use policies on development patterns in the County. Learn more about the March 11 session and the planning experts who will speak at the event.
March 12 – Attend, watch or listen live to the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting. Agendas, which are posted two weeks in advance, can be viewed on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.
March 19 – Attend, watch or listen live to the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting. Agendas, which are posted two weeks in advance, can be viewed on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.
March 25 – Attend the next MV Matters meeting to discuss the Montgomery Village Master Plan from 7-9 p.m. at Watkins Mill High School (10301 Apple Ridge Road, Gaithersburg, MD). Planners will update residents on the proposed changes to existing zoning and other aspects of the plan. MVMatters is a series of outreach events meant to inform the community about specific subject areas, such as urban design, land use, parks, environment and transportation. Through the meetings, planners have received feedback from residents on what they view as the most valuable places in the village. View the Montgomery Village Scope of Work.
March 26 – Attend, watch or listen live to the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting. Agendas, which are posted two weeks in advance, can be viewed on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.
March 31- Learn more about the Planning Department’s recent activities at the presentation of its Spring 2015 Semi-Annual Report to the Montgomery County Council.