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Bethesda

Apr 22 16

April 28 Work Session on Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Will Address Affordable Housing Recommendations

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda-Public-Hearing-Draft-Cover-268x300

Planning Board will discuss recommended affordable housing, updated transportation analyses and property owner requests submitted after the public hearing process

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Thursday, April 28 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Discussion will focus on affordable housing recommendations for Downtown Bethesda, followed by property owner zoning requests that were submitted after the public hearing  was held last year. The goal of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan is to preserve existing, market-rate affordable housing, provide a mix of housing options and increase the number of moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs) in exchange for development incentives. The Plan identifies sites where density can be transferred in exchange for a rental agreement to retain 30 percent of housing units as affordable for 20 years. Renters eligible for affordable housing must earn 65 percent or less of area median income or about $70,000 for a four-person household.

Currently, the average rent in the Bethesda Downtown Plan area is $1,916, about 20 percent more than the average rent in the County. Newly built apartments typically rent for $2,750, which is 40 percent more than the average rent in the County.

At the April 28 work session, staff will also discuss the transportation analysis related to density increases throughout the plan area as a result of previous Planning Board work sessions. For details about the April work session, consult the Planning Board Agenda.

Another work session is scheduled for Thursday, May 12. Public participation at the work sessions is at the discretion of the Planning Board Chair. Prospective speakers must send a written description of their discussion topics at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting date to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

Following the work sessions, the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan will be revised at the direction of the Planning Board and reviewed by the Board before being sent to the County Council later this year.

Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

The new plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations is a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to create a truly sustainable downtown. Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and along part of the Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work on the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan began in January 2014. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle amendment to that Sector Plan.

For questions or comments about the Staff Draft, please send an email to: bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Jan 27 16

Planning Department Announces Calendar of February 2016 Events

by Bridget Schwiesow

Calendar of Events

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its February 2016 calendar of community meetings, work session and public events. These events offer opportunities for the Planning Board and Planning Department staff to discuss policies and engage with the public. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans.

For any meetings that were postponed in January due to the weather, they will be rescheduled and information will be posted to www.montgomeryplanning.org with updates.

Stay connected to us online by following Montgomery Planning Department news and information on Twitter: @montgomeryplans and like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning.

Montgomery County Planning Department Events in February 2016

February 1 – Attend the property owners forum for the White Flint 2 Sector Plan. Speakers who wish to address specific properties and improvements at the meeting must submit presentation proposals to the Planning Department by January 28, 2016 to be considered. The public forum will be held on Monday, February 1, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD). Learn more about the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.

February 2 – The Montgomery County Council will hold a public hearing for the Westbard Sector Plan on Tuesday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD, Council Hearing Room). This meeting was originally scheduled for January 26, but was rescheduled due to the inclement weather. The meeting will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery Channels Comcast 6, RCN 6 and Verizon 30 and streamed live online. View the County Council Agenda webpage.

February 4 – Attend the next Planning Board meeting work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Zoning and building heights in the Arlington North, Arlington South, Battery Lane and South Bethesda Districts will be discussed as time permits. Consult the Planning Board Agenda for the staff report for this item.

February 4 – The Subdivision Staging Policy team will continue its discussion of new ideas for transportation testing with the Planning Board. View the Planning Board Agenda for details about this item.

February 4 – The Montgomery County Council will hold a second public hearing for the Westbard Sector Plan on Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD, Council Hearing Room). This meeting was originally scheduled for January 26, but was rescheduled due to the inclement weather. The meeting will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery Channels Comcast 6, RCN 6 and Verizon 30 and streamed live online. View the County Council Agenda webpage.

February 6 – Architectural historian Clare Lise Kelly of the Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office will talk about the Montgomery Modern initiative and her new book about midcentury design. The event will be held at the B&O train station in Silver Spring and hosted by Montgomery Preservation, Inc. and the Silver Spring Historical Society. Learn more.

February 11 – Attend, watch or listen live to this Planning Board meeting. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on agenda items.

February 11 – Participate in the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan public hearing at 6:30 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Participants will have up to three minutes to testify on the Public Hearing Draft of the plan. 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.

February 16 – Attend the second session of the three-part Winter Speakers Series, which is focused on transportation, at 6 p.m. in the MRO Auditorium at 8787 Georgia Avenue. Jennifer Toole, president of the Silver Spring-based Toole Design Group, will discuss local examples of suburban bike lanes as well as case studies from other countries, including the Netherlands. The session is free and members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) attending the series can earn credit. Learn more about the session and the #smartmoves series.

February 18 – Attend, watch or listen live to this Planning Board meeting. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on agenda items.

February 18 – The Subdivision Staging Policy team will engage in its third discussion of new ideas for transportation testing with the Planning Board. View the Planning Board Agenda for details about this item.

February 18 – Participate in a community meeting on school facilities related to the Subdivision Staging Policy. This discussion starts at 7 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring MD). It will focus on the current school tests and school facility funding as they relate to the staging of subdivision development. Feedback from this event will help planners revise the current Subdivision Staging Policy.

February 25 – Participate in a work session for the update to the Subdivision Staging Policy at the regular Planning Board meeting. This session will focus on draft recommendations related to the work of the Transportation Impact Study Technical Working Group. Feedback from this event will help planners revise the current Subdivision Staging Policy.

February 25 – The Planning Board will have another work session on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. View the Planning Board Agenda page for details about this item two weeks prior to this date.

Dec 23 15

Planning Department Announces Calendar of January 2016 Events

by Bridget Schwiesow

Calendar of Events

Plans for Downtown Bethesda, future subdivision development and bicycle lanes and trails proceed through community meetings and public review

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its January 2016 calendar of community meetings and work sessions. These events offer opportunities for the Planning Board and Planning Department staff to discuss policies and engage with the public. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans.

Stay connected to us online by following Montgomery Planning Department news and information on Twitter: @montgomeryplans and like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning.

Montgomery County and Planning Department Events in January 2016

January 7 – Attend the next Planning Board work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Zoning and building heights in the Arlington North, Arlington South, Battery Lane and South Bethesda Districts will be discussed as time permits. Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.

January 12 –Participate in a community meeting held at 7 p.m. in the Planning Department auditorium (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to discuss current school tests and school facility funding as they relate to the staging of subdivision development. Feedback from this event will help planners revise the current Subdivision Staging Policy.

January 14 –Learn about transportation-related updates to the Subdivision Staging Policy at this Planning Board meeting. Planning staff will brief the Board on new ideas for determining transportation adequacy and will also update the Board on its work to refine the transit component of Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR) and update trip generation rates. Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.

January 20 – Attend Putting the Transition Back in Transit, the first session of the 2016 Winter Speaker Series, held at the Planning Department headquarters from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Transportation planner Nat Bottigheimer of DC-based Fehr & Peers will address the challenges that surface transit projects – light rail, streetcars, bus rapid transit — face in being implemented. The presentation will highlight the tools and processes that are most common in transit planning.

January 21 – Attend the Planning Board work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Zoning, building heights and environmental improvements for various districts within the Plan area will be discussed. Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.

January 26 –Testify at the Montgomery County Council’s public hearing for the Westbard Sector Plan, held in the Council Hearing Room (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD). Citizens interested in testifying in person at the hearing must sign up in advance online or call 240-777-7803 for more information.

January 26 – The first meeting of the Bicycle Master Plan Community Advisory Group will occur at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. This diverse, 21-member group was organized to guide planners in developing the Bicycle Master Plan. The public is invited to observe and to speak at the end of the meeting.

January 28 – Learn about new metrics and modeling tools that could be used for the transportation analysis as part of the Subdivision Staging Policy at the Planning Board meeting.  Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.

January 28 – Participate in the planning for Rock Spring in North Bethesda. A community meeting to discuss the Rock Spring Master Plan will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD). Consult the plan webpage for details about the event.

January 28 – Weigh in on plans for pedestrian, bicycling and transit routes and facilities in the Life Sciences Center near Gaithersburg. Planning staff will present these proposals to the Planning Board for review. They include an update on the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT), the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail Design Guidelines and the Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal, a network of separate bike lanes and long-term bicycle parking a future CCT. Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.

Dec 21 15

Planning Board Reviews Density and Building Heights at December 15 Work Session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

 

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover

Session addressed zoning and land use recommendations for transitional areas between Wisconsin Avenue and adjacent neighborhoods

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, conducted a work session to review the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Tuesday, December 15 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. MD).

View the December 15 Staff Report for the Bethesda Sector Plan work session.

The new Sector Plan recommends increasing density in Downtown Bethesda near identified centers of activity and civic gathering spaces. Staff discussed the design challenges of tall buildings as a result of this increased density. The need for pedestrian-friendly, active ground-floor spaces, low to mid-rise building bases and innovative facades was stressed for the area.

The work session focused on recommended zoning and land uses for the following areas:

-Eastern Greenway Districts north and south of East-West Highway. These transitional areas lie between the Wisconsin Avenue corridor and adjacent single-family residential neighborhoods.

-Due to the lengthy discussion on the Eastern Greenway and testimony from the public, the zoning recommendations for the Arlington North, Arlington South, Battery Lane and South Bethesda Districts were not examined as had originally been planned for the work session. Staff and Planning Board members will discuss the zoning and building heights for the remaining districts, as time permits, during the next work session on January 7, 2016.

Future work sessions will be held in January and February of 2016 to discuss affordable housing recommendations, density transfer incentives, parks and open space and environmental recommendations in the Plan.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan
Launched in 2014, 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. One of its recommendations is a high performance area that will incentivize more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. Making Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally – is the plan’s top priority.

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 Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and the proposed Purple Line light rail.

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 plan, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Nov 19 15

Planning Department Announces Calendar of December Events

by Bridget Schwiesow

Calendar of Events

Planning Board wraps up 2015 agenda with work sessions devoted to plans for Bethesda, Westbard and Lyttonsville

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its calendar for December 2015. These events offer opportunities for the Planning Board members and Planning Department staff to engage with 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.

Stay connected to us online by following Montgomery Planning Department news and information on Twitter: @montgomeryplans and like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning.

Montgomery County and Planning Department Events in December 2015

December 1 – Sign up to testify at the County Council’s public hearing for the Montgomery Village Master Plan. The hearing will start at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. Residents and property owners are invited to comment on the Master Plan’s draft recommendations for land use and zoning, transportation networks, parks and open spaces.

To testify, community members can sign up online at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/calendar.html or call 240-777-7803. The deadline to sign up is 10 a.m. on December 1. Past PowerPoint presentations of the Plan goals and other materials from MV Matters meetings are posted on the Montgomery Village Master Plan webpage.

December 3 – Attend the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting to learn about separated bike lanes proposed for the White Flint area. Also on the agenda is a work session for the Westbard Sector Plan with discussion focused on the future of the Willett Branch stream and open spaces in the area. Planners will also make a presentation to the Planning Board about updates related to the Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR) process and trip generation rates used in support of Local Area Transportation Review (LATR). TPAR is used to determine adequacy of roadways and transit from a policy area-wide perspective. LATR is used to determine the adequacy of roadway intersections located in the vicinity of proposed new development.

December 9 – Attend the community meeting for the White Flint 2 Sector Plan to discuss parks and open spaces in the area. The session will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville). RSVP to attend the meeting.

December 14 – Attend the community meeting for the Rock Spring Master Plan to learn about future development of this office park in Bethesda. The planner-led event will be held at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda) from 7 to 9 p.m. RSVP to attend the meeting.

December 15 – This Tuesday meeting of the Planning Board will be devoted to a work session on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

December 15 – Attend a community meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus, (Academic and Research Building 9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD) to learn about the latest bicycle and pedestrian planning activities in the Life Sciences Center area. Staff will provide an update on the Life Sciences Center separated bike lane network related to the Bicycle Master Plan, as well as the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail design guidelines. RSVPs to attend the session are encouraged, but not required. RSVP for the December 15 meeting.

December 17 – The Planning Board’s last meeting of 2015 will include work sessions on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan and Westbard Sector Plan. A full agenda for the meeting is posted on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.

Sep 25 15

Planning Department Announces Calendar of October Events

by Bridget Schwiesow

Calendar of Events
Events include community meetings, Planning Board work sessions, announcement of the Department’s first annual Design Excellence Award on October 22 celebration and the Montgomery Modern book launch party on October 30.  

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its calendar for October 2015. These events offer opportunities for the Board and Planning Department staff to engage with 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.

The agenda of upcoming Planning Board meetings being held this fall is posted on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.

Stay connected to us online by following Montgomery Planning Department news and information on Twitter: @montgomeryplans and like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning.

Montgomery County and Planning Department Events in October 2015:

October 1 – Following the September 10 public hearing for the Montgomery Village Master Plan, the Planning Board will hold its first work session with the planning team to discuss the key issues that were raised. Learn more about the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

October 5 – The Planning Board is holding a work session with the planning team for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan to fine-tune its recommendations. Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

October 6 – Attend the community meeting for the Bicycle Master Plan at Walter Johnson High School, 6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD, from 7 to 9 p.m. RSVP for the fifth and final Bicycle Master Plan kickoff community meeting which will focus on White Flint.

October 8 – Learn about the Scope of Work for the Rock Spring Master Plan and hear the Board’s discussion of the Working Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan at the Planning Board meeting. Check the Agendas & Staff Reports page two weeks prior to the meeting for details.

October 14 — Attend the White Flint 2 Community Open House at Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. Learn more about the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.

October 15 –The Planning Board will hold a second work session for the Montgomery Village Master Plan. Learn more about the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

October 19 – Attend the public open house discussion about the Subdivision Staging Policy update at the Montgomery County Planning Department (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. This event presents the opportunity for the community to learn about the policy and share concerns about infrastructure and growth. In addition to planners, representatives of the Montgomery County Public Schools and Department of Transportation will participate in the discussion. Learn more about the update to the Subdivision Staging Policy.

October 22 – Take part in the Celebrate Design event at the Silver Spring Civic Building from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The winner of the first Montgomery County Design Excellence Award will be announced at this celebration, co-hosted by the Planning Department and Potomac Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Developers, architects, landscape architects, designers, property owners and community members are invited to attend the reception and awards event at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Purchase $35 tickets today. Learn more about the Design Excellence initiative.

October 22 –The Planning Board will meet with the planning team for the fourth work session on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

October 26 – The Planning Board will hold the first of four work sessions on the Westbard Sector Plan. Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

October 29 –The Planning Board will hold the third work session for the Montgomery Village Master Plan. Learn more about the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

October 30Attend the Montgomery Modern book launch party for the new book authored by Clare Lise Kelly, entitled Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979 on Friday, October 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Writer’s Center (4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD). The event, sponsored by the Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office, is free. Ms. Kelly will give a presentation and attendees will have an opportunity to purchase a signed book. RSVP’s are encouraged but not required. Register to attend the Montgomery Modern Book Launch Party.

Aug 27 15

Attend the Montgomery Modern Book Launch Party – Oct. 30, 7-9 p.m.

by Bridget Schwiesow

montgomery modern cover
Community invited to The Writer’s Center in Bethesda to hear from author Clare Lise Kelly and learn about the County’s mid-century neighborhoods and landmarks 

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is hosting a book launch party for the new book entitled Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979 on Friday, October 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Writer’s Center (4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD).

The event, sponsored by the Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office, is free. Ms. Kelly will give a presentation and attendees will have an opportunity to purchase a signed book. RSVP’s are encouraged but not required.

Register to attend the Montgomery Modern Book Launch Party.

Details:
Montgomery Modern Book Launch Party
sponsored by the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office
Friday, October 30, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
At The Writer’s Center located in Bethesda, MD (4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD).

The publication of Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979 and the launch party 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 mid-century modern architecture in the county. Learn more about the Historic Preservation Office’s Montgomery Modern initiative.

Montgomery Modern may be purchased during the Launch Party and will soon be available by accessing Lulu.com, the on-demand publishing service used for this publication.

About the Book:
Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979 by Clare Lise Kelly

This book, written by MNCPPC 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 photographs by Carol Highsmith, period photographs and architectural renderings, the book is organized by building types set within four main time periods.  The work includes biographical sketches of practitioners (architects, landscape architects, developers, planners) and 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.

Carol Highsmith, has been called “America’s Photographer,” having made a career documenting the nation’s built environment, focusing on its fragile and disappearing architectural heritage. Her photographs are housed in a permanent collection at the Library of Congress.

Questions or comments?
Contact Clare Lise Kelly, Research and Designation Coordinator for the Historic Preservation Office
Clare.Kelly@montgomeryplannig.org

Jun 2 15

Cyclists To Visit Lyttonsville, Bethesda and Westbard Planning Areas

by Bridget Schwiesow

bike tour area 1

On June 12, Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson will lead a bike tour through the communities to gain a clearer understanding of planning recommendations and goals

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson will join staff from the County Planning Department and Department of Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, on a bicycle tour of the communities in the southern portion of the County that are the subjects of current Sector Plans.

On Friday, June 12, from 11 am to 4 pm, the group will travel mostly on the Capital Crescent Trail to visit Lyttonsville, Downtown Bethesda and Westbard. Sector Plans for these communities are in process and the bike tour will highlight those areas now under consideration for improvements.

“The bike tour will allow us to experience the planning areas at a more fine-grained level of detail,” says Anderson. “At the same time, it will help us identify the places where a safer, more connected bicycle network is still needed in the County.”

Join the bicycle tour

The public is invited to join the bike tour at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) at 11 a.m. or can meet the group at various stops along the way. The 15-mile round trip is designed for experienced cyclists who must bring their own bikes and helmets. All participants are required to sign a form for indemnification and release of all claims before they begin the bike tour.

Planners will speak about their visions for Lyttonsville, Bethesda and Westbard at key stops along the tour route:

11:25 a.m. – Rosemary Hills Elementary School (behind the school at the sign for the future Capital Crescent Trail).

12:30 p.m. – Battery Lane Urban Park in Bethesda.

1:30 p.m. – Veteran’s Park in Bethesda (Fairmont and Norfolk Avenues).

2:30 p.m.Giant Shopping Center in Westbard (west side of the parking lot near Kenwood Condominium).

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. – Return to Planning Department headquarters at 8787 Georgia Avenue.

All times are approximate and subject to change.

Understand bicycle planning goals

In addition to showcasing Sector Plan areas, the tour will help participants understand the goals of the Countywide Bicycle Master Plan. This Plan will be launched in July 2015 to develop a high-quality, low-stress bicycle network reflecting the newest types of bikeways, such as separated and buffered bike lanes, and bicycle boulevards, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations.

The Bicycle Master Plan will initially focus on creating a high-quality bicycle network along the rapidly developing route of the future Corridor Cities Transitway, a 15-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line proposed to run from the Shady Grove Metrorail Station, through the Life Sciences Center area and ultimately to Germantown and Clarksburg.

Jan 7 15

Bethesda Downtown Plan Concepts To Be Presented at January 22 Happy Hour and January 29 Public Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda logo

Planners seek community feedback on ideas for civic spaces, transportation options, building heights and environmental practices.

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, invites stakeholders and residents to learn more about the ongoing Bethesda Downtown Plan at a happy hour on January 22 and a public meeting on January 29. Results from the online questionnaire posted in December 2014, called the “Feedback Loop,” will be presented at both events. This digital survey encouraged the public to offer views on a number of concepts, ranging from bike paths to building heights.

Planners will discuss the latest developments in the Bethesda Downtown Plan at the informal happy hour that is being sponsored by SK&I Architectural Design Group (4600 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD) from 5-8:00 p.m. All residents who want to learn more about the plan and the planning process are welcome to attend. For more on the ideas being proposed, consult the slide presentation, Bethesda Downtown Plan Concepts: Planning Board Briefing 12.11.14, and watch the video of the presentation to the Planning Board.

A more formal public meeting will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814). At that event, planning staff will present the Bethesda Downtown Plan concepts, comments from the Planning Board meeting on December 11, 2014 and results from the online Feedback Loop. The staff will conclude the meeting by answering questions from the audience.

RSVP for the meeting on Thursday, January 29.

The concepts proposed for the Bethesda Downtown Plan include:
-New civic gathering spaces and green amenities.
-Transportation options, including bike paths and Purple Line access.
-Pedestrian networks and street extensions.
-Proposed allowable building heights.
-Transitional areas next to residential neighborhoods.
-Focal areas of sustainability incorporating best environmental practices.

After the January public events, planners will complete the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Plan by April 2015. They will present the Staff Draft to the public later in the spring to receive more feedback and fine-tune the plan.

Questions, comments?
Email: bethesdadowntownplan@montgomeryplanning.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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