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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.

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, 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

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?

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:

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

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

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May 7 14

Attend Next Bethesda Downtown Plan Workshop – Saturday, May 17

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda logo

Planners to present a preliminary framework concept for the Bethesda Downtown Plan and get ideas on character of Downtown neighborhoods

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department will be hosting a second workshop for the Bethesda Downtown Plan on Saturday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (4301 East-West Hwy., Bethesda, MD). Planners will present a framework concept for the plan based on feedback from numerous community meetings held since last fall, followed by a break-out session where participants will work in groups to examine the characteristics of the various neighborhoods that make up the Downtown Bethesda. RSVP’s are encouraged but not required.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to weigh in on an online visual survey leading up to and during the event. For each neighborhood in downtown Bethesda, the informal survey will pose questions about street character, gathering space, and the types of landscaping for those spaces. The survey is available now and will give direction to the Planning Department about how the Downtown could look and feel for the next twenty years and beyond.

What: Bethesda Downtown Presentation and Workshop
Who: Residents, property owners, and anyone with an interest in the future of Downtown Bethesda
When: Saturday, May 17 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Where: Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (4301 East-West Hwy., Bethesda, MD)

Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Plan and how to get involved:

Apr 10 14

Update: Tonight’s Open House on the Bethesda Downtown Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda logo

Find out about the planning process and see the work to date

  • It’s the mid-point of the Bethesda Downtown Plan planning process and you can still give your thoughts on the future of Downtown Bethesda
  • Drop-in tonight and ask questions and discuss your ideas and concerns with planners
  • Newcomers and long-time participants welcome!
  • The next public meeting will be a Workshop on Saturday, May 17 at B-CC High school
  • The Draft Plan is scheduled to go to the Planning Board starting in Fall 2014

Here’s what you will see tonight:

  • A new diagram that shows the prevailing thoughts about subareas, centers and connections
  • Updated posters of existing conditions and what we have heard
  • Questions that will be asked:
    • Which are your highest priority districts to focus on?
    • What do you want outdoors?  (Show us your priorities.)
    • Which one-way streets should be two way?
    • Which streets should be closed to cars for special events?

You are invited to continue to participate online with the planning process. Questions will be posted online in the upcoming months to find out more about what you would like Bethesda to be like in the future.

Sign up for the Bethesda Downtown Plan e-mail newsletter and stay connected to the plan:

Questions? Comments? Contact us:
Elza Hisel-McCoy, Assoc. AIA, LEED-AP, Project Manager 301.495.2115
Marc DeOcampo, AIA, LEED-AP, Master Planner-Supervisor 301.495.4556
Margaret K. Rifkin, AICP, RLA, Outreach 301.495.4583


Jul 11 05

Portion of Little Falls Trail Closed Due to Unsafe Conditions


Silver Spring, MD — The Department of Park and Planning in Montgomery County announced today that a portion of Little Falls Trail in Bethesda has been closed due to unsafe conditions of a concrete slab that has been undermined by storm flows in the adjacent stream.

The closed trail section is located between Massachusetts Avenue and Westmoreland Hills Local Park on Elliot Road. Park management is encouraging trail users to use the Capital Crescent Trail as an alternative since it parallels Little Falls Trail in this area.

Andy Frank, an Engineer with the Department, describes this portion of Little Falls Trail as “actually a cantilevered concrete slab, which was built over stone that has since been scoured away by the stream water that rushes by during storm events.” He stated that these storm events through the years have caused the concrete to be undermined, and it appears to have recently shifted slightly. A recent inspection confirmed the need to close access to assure public safety.

Park management installed jacks temporarily to prevent further damage. During the next eight weeks, a system of approximately ten concrete piers with steel support beams will be installed under the trail to permanently provide the needed support. “A future stream restoration project, planned for later this year, will provide even more stabilization to this situation,” said Frank.

Trail maps of both the Capital Crescent Trail and the Little Falls Trail can be found on the Department’s website at

(Cut Line to Photo A)
A portion of the Little Falls Trail in Bethesda has been closed due to unsafe conditions.

(Cut line for Photo B)
Park management installed jacks to temporarily stabilize the trail section along Little Falls Stream.

Jun 25 05

Public/Private Partners Dedicate Universally Accessible Playground at Norwood Local Park


BETHESDA, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) in partnership with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rotary Club, Montgomery Parks Foundation and the Friends of Norwood Park dedicated a universally accessible playground at Norwood Local Park.

The B-CC Rotary Club and Friends of Norwood Park raised over $150,000 dollars for the purchase and installation of the playground equipment, commemorative storyboards and means of donor recognition.

“The public/private partnership between M-NCPPC, the BCC Rotary, the Montgomery Parks Foundation and the Friends of Norwood Park made this playground a reality,” said Derick P. Berlage, chairman of M-NCPPC’s Montgomery County Planning Board.

The playground includes a totally accessible structure with decks, ramps, slides, a fire truck, clubhouse, a tire swing, two old fashioned see-saws, an airplane spring toy, four tot swings, a whirl/merry-goround, and an older kids’ fitness structure with a track ride, turning bars, log roll and three rotating rings.

Accessible playgrounds provide active, safe recreational opportunities for children of all abilities to play together. M-NCPPC currently offers fully accessible playgrounds at Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreational Park in Silver Spring and at Falls Road Local Park in Potomac.

“Our B-CC Rotary sought out this community project as part of its worldwide PolioPlus program,” said Pam Cudahy, Club President. “It is our way of celebrating Rotary International’s centennial year in 2005. It has been especially rewarding to work in partnership with M-NCPPC, the Montgomery Parks Foundation and the community.”

A worldwide service organization of approximately 1.2 million business and professional leaders in 166 countries, Rotary International launched the PolioPlus program in 1985 to protect children from the consequences of polio.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission encourages the participation of all individuals in its programs and facilities. For assistance with special needs, such as large print materials, sign language interpretation, listening devices, etc., please call 301-495-4600, TTY 301-495-1331 or the Maryland Relay Service