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Planning

Jul 21 14

Approved and Adopted Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan Available

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Amendment to the Master Plan of Highways available online 

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department has made the approved and adopted Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan available on its website. The plan recommends a bus rapid transit (BRT) network throughout Montgomery County that will improve accessibility and mobility on county roads. The plan was adopted on December 18, 2013 by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, as modified by the County Council on November 25, 2013.

View the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan along with the timeline of the planning process.

This Plan provides enhanced opportunities for travel by transit to support Montgomery County’s economic development and mobility goals in an environmentally sustainable way, and in a way that preserves our existing communities. As a Functional Master Plan, it makes no changes to current planned land use or zoning, but recommends changes and additions to the transportation network that are needed to serve the County’s most densely developed areas, areas planned for redevelopment, and areas planned for new dense development.

The Countywide Transit Corridor Functional Master Plan’s recommendations include:

  • Transit facilities along eleven corridors to facilitate Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service that will move more people to and from jobs, homes, shopping, and entertainment areas in urbanizing parts of the County, while making more efficient use of our public rights-of-way and existing pavement.
  • Pedestrian facilities that meet ADA Best Practices and provide safe and adequate accommodation along and across the recommended transit corridors, ensuring that transit patrons can safely cross to and from transit stops and that the general public can safely cross these roadways at all intersections.
  • Accommodating all master plan bikeways within the recommended rights-of-way and accommodating additional on-road bike facilities where possible.
  • Designating more than two dozen Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Areas around major transit stations.
  • Adding 25 feet of right-of-way for a third track on the MARC Brunswick Line between the Frederick County line and the Metropolitan Grove station to reduce conflicts with freight service and enable the expansion of commuter service.
Jul 15 14

Montgomery County Council Appoints Casey Anderson Planning Board Chair

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Current Board Member and Commissioner designated as Chair 

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), announced today the appointment of Casey Anderson by the Montgomery County Council to the position of Planning Board Chair. In this role, Mr. Anderson will lead the five-member Montgomery County Planning Board which oversees the Montgomery County Planning Department and the Montgomery Department of Parks. The Planning Board advises the Council on land use planning and community planning in Montgomery County.

Mr. Anderson is scheduled to begin his term in August pending the approval of the Council’s Resolution by the County Executive.

“I am honored to be appointed by the County Council for the role of Planning Board Chair,” said Anderson. “I look forward to serving with my colleagues on the Board and working collaboratively with the Council, Executive Branch and county residents to preserve and maintain our natural resources, plan for high quality communities and keep Montgomery County moving forward.”

Chosen from a final field of five candidates, Mr. Anderson brings his experience as a Planning Board Member and Commissioner to the position, serving since 2011. He is a Silver Spring resident, attorney and community activist. Previously, Mr. Anderson served on the boards of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the Citizens League of Montgomery County, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Committee for Montgomery. He is also a former vice president of the Woodside Civic Association and executive vice chairman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board. Mr. Anderson holds undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University and a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University.

The Chair is a full-time position responsible for leading the Montgomery County Planning Board. Mr. Anderson fills the expiring term of Françoise M. Carrier who has served as Chair since 2010. Planning Board members also serve as Commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a bicounty agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The County Council also acted to increase the salary of the Planning Board Chair at their July 15 session from $168,450 to $200,000.

The Chair will serve with four Board members. Currently Norman Dreyfuss, Marye Wells-Harley and Amy Presley sit on the Board. The now vacant position held by Casey Anderson on the Planning Board will be advertised by the County Council.

As part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Montgomery County Planning Board works to:

-manage physical growth
-plan communities
-protect and steward natural, cultural and historical resources
-provide leisure and recreational experiences

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Board.

About 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. Gwen Wright is the Director of the Planning Department. 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

About Montgomery County Department of Parks:
Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks, with a staff of 700 people. Michael Riley is the Director of Montgomery Parks, which occupies 10 percent of the land in Montgomery County. The Department is part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), which has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services, and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

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Jul 11 14

Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan Staff Draft Scheduled for Planning Board Presentation

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Planners will present recommendations for the future of Sandy Spring to Planning Board on Thursday, July 17  

SILVER SPRING, MD – Recommendations for the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan will be presented to the Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, at the Thursday, July 17 Planning Board meeting (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD). The recommendations are the result of the work of the Montgomery County Planning Department based on extensive engagement and feedback from the community.

View the Staff Draft for the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan.

Planning Department staff is recommending approval of the Staff Draft as a Planning Board Public Hearing Draft with the Public Hearing for the plan scheduled for September 4, 2014.

The recommendations seek to bring about the vision and address any concerns that were voiced by the community at the four-day community design workshop held in February and the community meetings held in March and May. After gathering the input from the community, planners have come up with recommendations for zoning, land use, and connectivity that will help maintain the rural feel of the area while developing a more pedestrian-friendly, sustainable community.

Details:
What: Sandy Spring Rural Village Staff Draft Presentation
When: Thursday, July 17 at 3:30 p.m.
Where: Montgomery County Planning Department Headquarters, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD
More info: Learn about the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan process

Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan Highlights:
The 1998 Sandy Spring/Ashton Master Plan recognized that the details of a new village center concept were beyond its scope and recommended more detailed study and analysis to develop the concept. This new Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan will follow the guidance in the 1998 Master Plan and determine how to best connect the new fire station into a village center concept using the following three goals:

-Preserve the rich cultural history of the area
-Design a civic space and village center
-Connect the community to the village center and examine right-of-way issues

The Staff Draft examines land use, transportation, and zoning changes. A Planning Board public hearing date has been requested for September 4, 2014.

Learn more about the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan and how to get involved: http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/sandyspring

Jun 30 14

Planners Review Updated White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan With County Council Committee

by Bridget Schwiesow

Photo 8_White Oak Front Cover December 2013

Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will hold first of five work sessions to review the updated east county plan

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will review the updated White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan with the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee starting Tuesday, July 1. Discussions will continue through a series of work sessions that will conclude with a vote on the plan by the full Council at the end of the month.

After the Planning Board transmitted its Draft Plan for White Oak in September 2013, the County Council requested that the Planning Department and the Executive branch identify options to assure a balance between land use and transportation. The revisions to the plan can be found in the updated draft transmitted to Council in December 2013, and presented to Council on June 17, 2014.

The review of the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan by the PHED Committee is scheduled on the Council Committee Agenda for the following dates:-Tuesday, July 1 Transportation Issues and Subdivision Staging Policy Amendment
-Thursday, July 3 Transportation Issues (continued if needed)
-Monday, July 7
-Monday, July 14
-Wednesday, July 16

The consolidated headquarters of the Food and Drug Administration, along with the proposed relocation of Washington Adventist Hospital, are expected to attract additional employers to the White Oak area. To support the development of that area, the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan seeks to leverage the area’s assets and establish a framework upon which auto-centric suburban centers in eastern Montgomery County can evolve to provide more transportation alternatives and greater opportunities to live, work, and play locally.

To view the full history of the planning process including the timeline of milestones, the Draft Design Guidelines and the Plan appendix, go online to the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan webpage.

Jun 30 14

Purple Line Mandatory Referral Responses Available Online

by Bridget Schwiesow

Purple Line

Public invited to view responses to the Planning Department’s March comments on the Purple Line Mandatory Referral

SILVER SPRING, MD – Responses to the Montgomery County Planning Board’s Purple Line Mandatory Referral recommendations are now available on the Planning Department’s website. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) all responded to the Planning Board’s input.

At the Mandatory Referral Hearing on March 20th, the Planning Board reviewed and took testimony related to four projects: the Purple Line, the Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance, the Capital Crescent Trail and the Silver Spring Green Trail. Mandatory referral review allows the Board 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, and mitigate impacts to parkland.

In addition, the Planning Board recently sent a letter to Councilmember Roger Berliner, Chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment, and Committee, identifying the Board’s priorities for enhancing these projects.

And in an effort to highlight a particularly critical recommendation, the Board sent a letter to the County Council asking them to advocate for a direct connection between the existing Red Line station and the planned Purple Line station in downtown Silver Spring.

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

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

Jun 11 14

Attend the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Community Workshop – July 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Community invited to give feedback on existing strengths and weaknesses of the plan area   

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department will be hosting a community workshop for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on Tuesday, July 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to identify existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges for the Plan Area. The meeting will take place at the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Center (2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD) and all residents, property owners and business owners are invited to attend. RSVP’s are encouraged, but not required.

As a follow-up to the successful relaunch meeting held in early May, the planning team would like to invite residents to give their feedback on preferences for the Plan Area which will help to contribute to the overall plan, which will form the foundation for transforming the heart of Greater Lyttonsville.

Details:
What: Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Community Workshop
Who: Residents, property owners, and anyone focused on the future of Greater Lyttonsville
When: Tuesday, July 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Gwendolyn E. Coffield Center – 2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD
Info: Learn more about the Sector Plan: www.montgomeryplanning.org/greaterlp
Social Media: #GreaterLP

For the recap of the May 6 community meeting, view the presentation and the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Briefing Book which summarizes the existing conditions of the Plan Area.

The Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan was initially started in summer 2012 but was placed on hold at the direction of the County Council. Now, planners are looking to re-engage the community from the area west of Silver Spring and east of Rock Creek Park to determine the vision for the area that will guide development for the next twenty years and beyond.

The planning process will include a review of zoning and land use, with a particular focus on the commercial area along Brookville Road and the two proposed Purple Line stations. The Plan will look at potential locations for mixed-use development near stations, examine important employment centers, seek to preserve and enhance the existing single-family neighborhood character, coordinate with the Fort Detrick Forest Glen Annex planning process, address quality of life issues, and strive to maintain affordable housing and support cultural diversity. It will also address connections between the existing residential neighborhoods and employment areas along Brookville Road.

Jun 9 14

Bethesda Downtown Plan Visual Preferences Survey Still Open to the Public

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda logo

Results to date available online, survey still available to the public  

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department has extended the availability of the Bethesda Downtown Plan online visual preferences survey and encourages the community to vote on the look and feel that they would like to see in Downtown Bethesda.

The survey was launched in early May and the results thus far are available online. Due to the popularity of the survey, the survey’s availability has been extended until June 16. Take the survey today.

For each neighborhood in downtown Bethesda, the informal survey poses questions about street character, gathering spaces, and the preferred landscaping for those spaces. Survey results will give direction to Planning staff about how Downtown Bethesda should look and feel for the next twenty years and beyond.

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

Jun 9 14

Attend the Bethesda Downtown Plan EcoDistrict Community Workshop – June 18, 7-9 p.m.

by Bridget Schwiesow

 Sidewalks and SWM panels_SW_DC_3

The public is invited to participate in an EcoDistrict workshop

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department will host a community workshop on an EcoDistrict concept for the Bethesda Downtown Plan on Wednesday, June 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bethesda/Chevy Chase Regional Services Center  Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD). RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

The workshop will introduce the concepts and principles of an EcoDistrict, with examples from across the country.  Participants will help define goals and objectives and set priorities for incorporation into the Bethesda Downtown Plan. Learn more about the EcoDistrict concept.

The Bethesda Downtown Plan Scope of Work approved by the Planning Board on Jan. 31, defined the Scope of Work to include three core themes of sustainability to guide the planning framework. These sustainability themes are explored further in the EcoDistrict concept:

- Economic sustainability
- Social sustainability
- Environmental sustainability

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

May 27 14

Learn About Proposed “Ecodistrict” for Bethesda Downtown Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda logo

Proposed Ecodistrict information now available online, along with opportunity to give comments on framework concept, and take online visual preferences survey 

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department encourages the community to learn about the principles of an “ecodistrict” that is being proposed for incorporation into the Bethesda Downtown Plan. The purpose of the ecodistrict is to integrate the goals of social, economic and environmental sustainability over the broader downtown area. In order to achieve these goals, the sector plan recommendations and implementation strategies will have to be carefully crafted.

Learn about the proposed Bethesda Downtown Plan ecodistrict and give comments online.

Residents have until June 6 to take the online visual preference survey for the Bethesda Downtown Plan. This informal survey  poses questions about street character, gathering space, and the types of landscaping for each neighborhood in downtown Bethesda. The results will give direction to the Planning Department about how the Downtown could look and feel for the next twenty years and beyond.

The draft Framework Plan was presented at the May 17 Bethesda Downtown Plan Community Workshop. The concept shows several areas as “Expanded Centers of Activity” and two as “Emerging Centers of Activity.” These designations were informed by the community’s input at the March 1 Community Workshop. A “Symbolic Center” is shown at the Bethesda Metro Station which acknowledges the fact that while the area around the station is not a retail destination or center of a wide variety of activities, it is still a “Symbolic Center” and a transit destination. Blue circles show where lively, enhanced “Civic Gathering Spaces” can be in the future. The framework concept also shows other existing and proposed open spaces. Give your comments on this framework plan by emailing the Bethesda Downtown Plan Team: bethesdadowntownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

View the presentation from the successful May 17 community workshop. Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Plan and how to get involved: www.bethesdadowntownplan.org

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

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May 22 14

Attend the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Monday Matters Meeting Series

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Community invited to meet the planning team, learn about existing conditions and give feedback

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department will be hosting a series of Monday evening meetings in June for the Greater Lyttonsville community to attend and learn more about the planning process for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan. As a follow-up to the successful relaunch meeting held in early May, the planning team would like to invite residents to learn about specific subject areas such as: urban design, historic preservation, land use, parks, environment and transportation, including the Purple Line. The planning team will discuss these subject areas and how they will contribute to the overall plan, which will form the foundation for transforming the heart of Greater Lyttonsville.

All residents, property owners, and business owners are invited to attend the Monday Matters meetings on June 2, 9 and 16 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Center (2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD), 2nd Floor Classroom.

Details:
What: Greater Lyttonsville Monday Matters Meeting Series
Who: Residents, property owners, and anyone interested in Greater Lyttonsville
When: 
Monday, June 2 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Topics: Urban Design, Historic Preservation, Land Use
Monday, June 9 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Topics: Parks, Environment
Monday, June 16 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Topics: Transportation, Purple Line

Where: Gwendolyn E. Coffield Center – 2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD
Info: Learn more about the Sector Plan: www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/lyttonsville
Social Media: #GreaterLP

For the recap of the May 6 community meeting, view the presentation and the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Briefing Book which summarizes the existing conditions of the Plan Area.

The Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan was initially started in summer 2012 but was placed on hold at the direction of the County Council. Now, planners are looking to re-engage the community from the area west of Silver Spring and east of Rock Creek Park to determine the vision for the area that will guide development for the next twenty years and beyond.

The planning process will include a review of zoning and land use, with a particular focus on the commercial area along Brookville Road and the two proposed Purple Line stations. The Plan will look at potential locations for mixed-use development near stations, examine important employment centers, seek to preserve and enhance the existing single-family neighborhood character, coordinate with the Fort Detrick Forest Glen Annex planning process, address quality of life issues, and strive to maintain affordable housing and support cultural diversity. It will also address connections between the existing residential neighborhoods and employment areas along Brookville Road.

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