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Sep 13 16

Public Invited to Celebrate PARK(ing) Day in Silver Spring on September 16 with County Departments of Parks, Planning and Transportation

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Agencies will transform downtown Silver Spring parking spaces into a temporary, pop-up park with a simulated separated bike lane at Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery Parksthe Montgomery County Planning Department, both part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and Montgomery County Department of Transportation invite the public to celebrate PARK(ing) Day on September 16, 2016 by stopping by a pop-up park situated on parking spaces in downtown Silver Spring.

The pop-up park, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include a simulated separated bike lane, games such as a large-size Jenga and life-size Scrabble, seated massages and more, courtesy of the Planning Department and Montgomery Parks. The parklet and bikeway will be located at the corner of Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue and will feature plants, seating, and the bean bag toss game, Cornhole.

PARK(ing) Day is an annual event held on the third Friday in September. Cities around the globe celebrate it to encourage discussion around issues related to urban infrastructure, including the role of open space, transit and the environment.  Although the Silver Spring pop-up park is temporary, it promotes the idea of urban open space and encourages people to get more involved in the civic process to influence how public space is created and improve the quality of urban areas.

“PARK(ing) Day is a fun way to get people thinking about alternative uses for public space such as transforming parking spaces into parks,” says Casey Anderson, Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. “Bringing an ordinary parking space to life with greenery, activities and new transportation options, such as a bikeway, can help people visualize how we can take advantage of existing space in new and better ways. We should be thinking about these issues all year long – not just on one special day.”

The event will showcase the Planning Department’s Bicycle Master Planning team as they demonstrate how a separated bike lane would look with stationary bicycles in place in the parking space. Building more separated bike lanes around the County has been part of the discussion during the meetings on the Bicycle Master Plan. This plan will provide recommendations on improving connectivity and bicycle facilities throughout the County. Learn more about the Bicycle Master Plan.

About PARK(ing) Day:
PARK(ing) Day was invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio to invite people to rethink the way streets are used and to promote discussion around the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure. Since its inception, the event has grown rapidly and in 2011 included 975 “park” installations in more than 160 cities on six continents. Park(ing) Day is an “open-source” project initiated by Rebar, but built by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to advance creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their urban conditions.

 

Aug 31 16

Planning Department Invites Public to Enter Bicycle Master Plan Photo Contest between September 12 and October 7

by Christopher Peifer

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Winners will receive gift cards and their photos will become part of the Bicycle Master Plan or other Planning Department documents

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, invites the public to enter its Bicycle Master Plan Photo Contest, to be held from September 12 to October 7. The winning images will become part of the master plan document and other publications produced by the Planning Department.

The contest provides the opportunity to showcase cyclists in urban, suburban and rural settings in Montgomery County. Action shots, staged shots and photos showing the joy of being on two wheels can be submitted in the following categories:

Categories of photos

  1. Best family
  2. Best commuter
  3. Best recreational
  4. Best kid shot
  5. Other (errands)

Participation is free and open to the public. Each person can enter up to five (5) photos, which must be submitted electronically. The contest will begin on Monday, September 12, 2016 and the submission period will end on Friday, October 7 at 4 p.m. For more details, consult the online contest page.

Semifinalists will be selected by a jury of professional planners and photographers and the winner will be selected by the public in an online poll. The photos with the most votes in each category will receive $100 in gift cards and will be promoted on social media. All photos will be eligible to be included in the Bicycle Master Plan.

Sign up for the Bicycle Master Plan e-letter

Follow the team on Twitter: @MCBikePlan

What to enter

High quality digital images capturing the best of cycling in Montgomery County (see categories listed above) can focus on people running errands, commuting, cycling for exercise and fun, family cycling and group rides, among others. All photos must be original, not copies of existing images.

For some examples, check out these photos that have been a part of previous documents for the Bicycle Master Plan. See the Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report.

If you choose to include people other than yourself in your submission, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary releases from the individuals depicted, and must be able to provide copies of those releases to M-NCPPC upon request. Entrants must not submit images that infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person.

Technical rules

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single “High Dynamic Range” image are acceptable. Images that do not meet these requirements may or may not be judged at the judging panel’s sole discretion.

Photo captions must accompany all submissions, and should include:

  • The subject of the image.
  • The location in which the image was taken.
  • A description of the trip, circumstances, etc., that may be helpful for judges.
  • Your name as you would like it to appear in the plan or document if the photo is chosen.

Please clearly label all photos to assist judges in determining eligibility.

All photographs will be credited with the caption “Photo by Person’s Name.” M-NCPPC has final approval of any language that appears on its website with any of the photos and will not promote or endorse third-party products or services.

The Montgomery County Planning Department Bicycle Master Plan Photo Contest is open to ANYONE at least 18 years of age. The contest is open to all participants as long as the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation. M-NCPPC employees, board members and photographers currently paid by M-NCPPC and the immediate families of such individuals, regardless of residence or citizenship, are NOT eligible.

Your submission of any photographs to the Montgomery County Planning Department for the Bicycle Master Plan Photo Contest is subject to the Terms and Conditions listed on the online contest page.

Aug 31 16

Planning Department Wins 2016 American Planning Association Award for Bicycle Stress Map

by Christopher Peifer

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National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association recognizes digital Bicycle Stress Map as a valuable tool

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is this year’s recipient of a 2016 Award for an Outstanding Tool from the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The chapter award recognizes the value of the Department’s Bicycle Stress Map in helping to develop the data-driven Bicycle Master Plan for Montgomery County. The purpose of the digital map is to understand impediments to bicycling and to identify and prioritize the changes that are needed to create a low-stress bicycling environment for people who say they would be interested in bicycling, but do not currently ride because they have safety concerns.

Planning Department staff evaluated more than 3,500 miles of roads and trails in the County to determine the level of stress on each road segment and intersection and assign a value to it, from high stress to low stress.

“This award recognizes the hard work of the Bicycle Master Plan team,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “The Bicycle Stress Map is making bicycle planning accessible to the community in a whole new way.”

The planning team will receive the award at a ceremony to be held on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC.

“Montgomery County is working to elevate bicycle planning to the level of analysis that is used for traffic and transit planning by gaining a deeper understanding of what connectivity means for people who bicycle,” says Project Manager David Anspacher. “I am excited that the Bicycle Master Plan team was recognized for this cutting-edge tool.”

View the Montgomery County Planning Department Bicycle Stress Map.

Background on the Bicycle Stress Map

What is traffic stress?

For most people the decision to bicycle includes consideration of whether road conditions, such as traffic volume and traffic speed, exceed their threshold for stress. Since most adults are uncomfortable bicycling on roads with four or more lanes of traffic or a posted speed limit of 30 mph or higher, the opportunities to get from Point A to Point B in Montgomery County are limited unless a separated bikeway such as a path, trail or separated bike lane can be provided.

What does the bike stress map do?

This publicly accessible tool displays the data in a way that can inform the public about bicycling in the County and help decision makers prioritize bicycling improvements.

  • Users can toggle between stress levels to reveal the bicycling network available to people, depending on the different levels of traffic stress they tolerate.
  • Videos capture the look and feel of different stress levels.
  • Connectivity analyses show how well each rail station, public school, library, recreation center and regional park is connected to the surrounding neighborhood.
  • A customized bike shed analysis can be done to reveal the areas that can be reached by bicycle without exceeding one’s comfort level.

How has the Bicycle Stress Map helped planning efforts?

Preliminary analysis from the Bicycle Stress Map has revealed the following:

  • While about 70 percent of County road miles are suitable for most adult bike riders, only a fraction of actual trips can be completed on a low-stress network, due to the inability to reach destinations with minimal detours.
  • Only 18 percent of people living within a two-mile distance of a Metrorail station can reach that station on a low-stress bicycling network.
  • Connectivity is poor around schools. Elementary, middle, and high schools are connected to only 20 percent, 10 percent and 5 percent of the residences within their service area, respectively, by a child-appropriate bicycle network.

Questions or Comments?

Contact: David Anspacher, Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager
Email: David.Anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.2191

Connect With Us
Follow: @MCBikePlan
Sign up: for the Bicycle Master Plan eletter

Aug 31 16

Planning Board Returns from Month-long Summer Recess to Hold First Fall Session on September 8

by Christopher Peifer

Board will review White Flint 2 Sector Plan Working Draft and conduct first work session for the Bicycle Master Plan

SILVER SPRING, MD  The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), will hold its first meeting since its summer recess on Thursday, September 8.

On the Planning Board’s September 8 agenda is the review of the White Flint 2 Sector Plan Working Draft; a work session for the Bicycle Master Plan Framework; and approval of the Sectional Map Amendment to the Westbard Sector Plan, among other items.

The Planning Board has a full agenda during each of its meetings in September to include the following:

-The September 15 meeting will consider a request for approval of the Scope of Work for the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan.

-On September 22, the Board will hear public testimony and consider requests for water and sewer extensions to various properties. Based on this feedback, the Board will present its recommendations to the County Council at a later date.

-At the last meeting of the month on September 29, the Planning Board will be briefed on implementation issues related to the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.

Planning Board agendas are posted 10 days in advance of the meeting date. For a full list of items on the Board’s agenda and details about each meeting, consult the Planning Board Agenda. The public is invited to attend all open Board sessions.

Jul 22 16

Planning Board Will Review Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report at July 28 Meeting

by Christopher Peifer

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Public invited to testify about cycling plan or submit written comments

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will review the Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report at its meeting on Thursday, July 28, 2016.

To review the report, visit the Bicycle Master Plan’s webpage.

The Montgomery County Planning Department is seeking comments on the Draft Framework Report and invites the community to sign up online to testify in person or submit written testimony to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

These ideas will help shape the Working Draft of the Bicycle Master Plan, which will be presented to the Planning Board in spring 2017.

Background on Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report

This framework report outlines the proposed foundation and concepts for the Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan. It sets forth the goals and objectives of the Master Plan, and recommends the creation of a bicycle infrastructure network supported by policies and programs that encourage bicycling.

As stated in the report, the goals of the Master Plan are to increase the number of people who bicycle in the County; create a highly connected, low-stress bicycling network; provide equal access to low-stress bicycling for all community members; and improve safety for bicyclists.

The report proposes a new classification for bikeways that are separated from traffic. The five facility classifications are trails, separate bikeways, striped bikeways, shoulders and shared roads.

To demonstrate that each objective of the Master Plan is being reached, a detailed monitoring program is proposed to make the implementation process both clear and responsive to the needs of the community. For example, the report includes statistics on the number of residential units, schools and public facilities that can be accessed via low-stress bicycling networks.

For more details, consult the Draft Framework Report.

 

Jun 22 16

Planning Department Launches Campaign to Identify All Bike Racks in County

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Citizen-led survey will help planners to recommend more locations for racks as part of Bicycle Master Plan

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching a survey of all bicycle racks in the County as part of the ongoing Bicycle Master Plan. Planners are asking cyclists and residents to identify racks at schools, retail centers, offices, transportation hubs and other locations.

Citizens can sign up online to track bike racks in one or more areas, using an app created by BikeArlington. This data will help the County to recommend more locations for bicycle racks in Montgomery County.

Find out more about the Bicycle Master Plan.

Jun 1 16

Update on County’s Bicycle Master Plan Will Be Part of Third Great MoCo Bike Summit on June 18

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bicycle Master Plan

Planners will explain the latest strategies for improving the County’s bicycling network at event

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will participate in the Third Great MoCo Bike Summit on Saturday, June 18, to be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Council Office Building (Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD). The event starts with a family-friendly group bike ride at 9 a.m., beginning at the intersection of the Bethesda Trolley Trail and Tuckerman Lane, and will proceed through Rockville to the Council Office Building.

The summit will focus on ways of incorporating next-generation bicycle facilities into the County’s transportation network. It is being organized by County Councilmember Hans Riemer with the participation of the Planning Department, County Department of Transportation and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

Beginning at 11 a.m., County planner David Anspacher will present an overview of the new Bicycle Master Plan and its focus on developing a high-quality network of cycling routes throughout the County. The Plan is considering 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 network is being developed using an evaluation of the varying levels of stress imposed by traffic on cyclists along each roadway in the County. This information is being gathered through a digital, interactive bike stress map.

Find out more about the Bicycle Master Plan.

Apr 28 16

Planning Department Participates in County Bicycle Events in May and June

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bicycle Master Plan

The Bicycle Master Plan team will participate in the Olney community bike ride, Metropolitan Branch Trail review, Bike to Work Day and Third Great MoCo Bicycle Summit

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is participating in several local cycling events this spring as staff continues to develop the Countywide Bicycle Master Plan.

On Saturday, May 7, the Bicycle Master Plan team will join Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and community residents on a bike ride from 1 to 2 p.m. around Olney, Maryland. The bicycle tour, which will depart promptly at 1 p.m. from the Olney Library (3500 Olney Laytonsville Road, Olney, MD), is open to the public, but several on-road segments may be uncomfortable for less experienced riders. Consult the Montgomery County Bicycle Stress Map for details. Following the tour, a discussion about the Bicycle Master Plan will be held at the Olney Bagel Bakery (3490 Olney Laytonsville Road) from 2 to 3 p.m.

On Thursday, May 19, 2016, Planning Department staff will lead the Planning Board in a review of the proposed Metropolitan Branch Trail. The date for this Planning Board discussion is tentative and may be changed. When the date is confirmed, the session will be posted on the Planning Board website at www.montgomeryplanningboard.org/agenda/.

The Montgomery County Planning Board welcomes your participation at this trail review. You may sign up online to testify at the meeting. Written comments must be submitted at least one full business day before a scheduled hearing (by 9 a.m. on the Wednesday morning before a Thursday hearing) and sent to Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson by email at mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org. They can also be sent by mail to the Montgomery County Planning Board (8787 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910) or via fax at (301) 495-1320.

On Friday, May 20, 2016, the Planning Department will participate in this year’s Bike to Work Day.  This regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a division of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA).

Bicyclists are invited to join convoys led by experienced cyclists and commute to their work places. Pit stops throughout the County will offer refreshments and prizes. Members of the Planning Department will be at pit stops in Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Bethesda to discuss the Bicycle Master Plan.

On Saturday, June 18, the Planning Department’s transportation planner David Anspacher will join County Councilmember Hans Riemer at the Third Great MoCo Bicycle Summit. The morning event starts with a family-friendly group bike ride from 9 to 10 a.m., beginning at the intersection of the Bethesda Trolley Trail and Tuckerman Lane. The route proceeds through Rockville to the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD) where the presentations in the third floor hearing room run from 10 a.m. through noon. David Anspacher will speak about the update to the Bicycle Master Plan starting at 11:15 a.m.

About the Bicycle Master Plan

Launched in July 2015, the Bicycle Master Plan is focusing on developing a high-quality, low-stress network throughout Montgomery County that reflects the newest biking practices. Separated bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities, are being studied for specific locations. This current effort will consolidate all bicycle recommendations into a single plan for the first time since 1978.

The 21-member Bicycle Master Plan Community Advisory Group was appointed in 2015 to guide planners in developing the Plan. The group consists of 13 members from cycling and other organizations, and eight community members who applied to be part of the effort.

A draft of the Bicycle Master Plan is expected to be presented to the Planning Board in spring 2017.

Apr 5 16

Taking Stress Management to the Next Level: Montgomery County Planning Department Releases an Online Roadmap for Bicycle Stress

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Planners evaluated 3,500 miles of roads and trails based on their comfort level for bicyclists

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has created a digital map showing the amount of stress that people experience when bicycling in Montgomery County.

View the Montgomery County Planning Department Bicycle Stress Map.

The purpose of the map is to understand impediments to bicycling and to identify and prioritize the changes that are needed to create a low-stress bicycling environment for the 50 percent of people who say they would be interested in bicycling, but do not currently bicycle because they are concerned for their safety.

Planning Department staff evaluated over 3,500 miles of roads and trails in the County to determine the level of stress on each road segment and intersection.

“Montgomery County is working to elevate bicycle planning to the level of analysis that is used for traffic and transit planning by gaining a deeper understanding of what connectivity means for people who bicycle,” says Project Manager David Anspacher.

What is traffic stress?

For most people the decision to bicycle includes consideration of whether road conditions, such as traffic volume and traffic speed, exceed their threshold for stress. Since most adults are uncomfortable bicycling on roads with four or more lanes or a posted speed limit of 30 mph or higher, the opportunities to get from Point A to Point B in Montgomery County are limited unless there is a separated bikeway such as a path, trail, or separated bike lane.

Key Findings

Preliminary analysis has found that:

  • While about 78 percent of road miles are suitable for most adults, only a fraction of actual trips can be completed on a low-stress network, due to the inability to reach destinations with minimal detours.
  • Only 16 percent of people living within a two-mile distance of a Metrorail station can reach that station on a low-stress bicycling network.
  • Connectivity is poor around schools. Elementary, middle, and high schools are connected to only 28 percent, 15 percent and 7 percent of residences, respectively, by a child-appropriate bicycle network.

Bicycle Master Plan Background

The Bicycle Master Plan seeks to develop a low-stress bicycling network that encourages more people to ride a bike in Montgomery County. It will evaluate an array of bikeway types, including separated, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as how to provide secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations.

Questions or Comments?

Contact: David Anspacher, Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager
Email: David.Anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.2191

Connect With Us
Follow: @MCBikePlan
Sign up: for the Bicycle Master Plan eletter
Attend: monthly Advisory Committee Meetings

Feb 25 16

Planning Department Announces Calendar of March 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 March 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.

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 March 2016

March 1 – Registration opens for the Makeover Montgomery 3 Conference. This event, being held from May 4 through May 6 in College Park and Silver Spring, MD, will focus on themes relevant to the future of our County. These topics are: The Sharing Economy, Social Equity and Opportunity, and Beyond Transit-oriented Development.

March 2 – The Bicycle Master Plan Community Advisory Group will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). The meeting, which is open to the public, will focus on defining a low-stress bicycling network and discussing the major bicycling issues in Montgomery County.

March 3 – Attend, watch or listen live to the Planning Board meeting. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on topics to be discussed by the Board.

March 7 – The Montgomery County Council Planning, Housing & Economic Development (PHED) Committee will hold a work session for the Westbard Sector Plan with a focus on Parks and Open Space. The meeting starts at 2 p.m. on the 7th Floor Council Hearing Room. View the County Council Committee Agenda for more information.

March 7 – Attend the first phase of the MARC Rail Communities Plan Design Workshop at the Upcounty Regional Services Center (12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown, MD 20874). This event will begin with technical discussions with various agencies, such as the County Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection, Historic Preservation Office, Maryland Transit Administration and State Highway Administration, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. An Open House/ Community Visioning Exercise follows in the evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring and share your ideas about the future of the Boyds and Germantown MARC station areas.

March 10 – The Planning Board will hold another work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan at this meeting. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on topics to be discussed by the Board.

March 14 – The Montgomery County Council Planning, Housing & Economic Development (PHED) Committee will hold a work session for the Westbard Sector Plan with a focus on Land Use and Zoning. The meeting starts at 2 p.m. on the 7th Floor Council Hearing Room. View the County Council Committee Agenda for more information.

March 14-16 – Participate in the second phase of the MARC Rail Communities Plan Design Workshop at the Upcounty Regional Services Center (12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown, MD 20874). Planning staff will work with community stakeholders to explore and synthesize ideas in order to determine the planning priorities for Boyds and Germantown station areas. Discussions will focus on road access, parking, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, historic preservation and other topics. The workshop on Monday, March 14 will focus on Boyds, and the session on Tuesday, March 15 will focus on Germantown. The event on Wednesday, March 16 will culminate with a recap of the week and presentation of the workshop alternatives and recommendations.

March 16 – Attend the third and final session of the three-part Winter Speakers Series focused on transportation. Jeffrey Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy for Nelson/Nygaard in San Francisco, will discuss new metrics for measuring the impact of traffic to help reach sustainability goals. The session is free and members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) attending the event can earn credit. Learn more about the session and the #smartmoves series.

March 17 – At its meeting, the Planning Board will discuss updating the school test methodology and impact tax calculations as part of the Subdivision Staging Policy. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on additional agenda items.

March 24 – The first work session for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan will be held at the Planning Board meeting. In addition, the Planning Board will hear preliminary transportation recommendations for the Subdivision Staging Policy. View the Planning Board Agenda for details on topics to be discussed by the Board.

March 31– Attend, watch or listen live to the Planning Board meeting. Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.