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Montgomery County

Jun 22 15

Planning Department Releases Office Market Assessment Report

by Bridget Schwiesow

office market graphic
Study recommendations include revitalizing office parks as amenity-rich, mixed-use development and converting vacant buildings to new uses

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has completed an in-depth assessment of regional office market conditions and the implications for Montgomery County. Staff will present this study to the Planning Board at its public meeting on Thursday, June 25.

Prepared by Washington, DC-based Partners for Economic Solutions (PES), the 106-page study examines an array of economic forces changing the Washington, DC region’s office market and best practices for next-generation office development.

View the Office Market Assessment Report.

The research highlights unprecedented challenges confronting the regional office market, including high and rising vacancies, declining rents, slow absorption and minimal new construction. These trends are evident nationwide as signs of a still recovering economy, but the region also has been hard hit by federal government’s cuts in spending and leasing.

Regional Overview of Office Vacancies:

-Currently, 71.5 million square feet of office space is vacant throughout the Washington, DC region.

-With 20 million square feet of vacant office space, Fairfax County accounts for the largest share (28 percent) of vacancies region-wide.

-The District of Columbia has the second highest share (22 percent), with 15.6 million square feet.

-Montgomery County has nearly 11 million square feet of vacant office space, accounting for 15 percent of regional vacancies.

-Arlington County and Prince George’s County have 9 million and 5 million square feet of vacant office, respectively.

Key Findings:

-In Montgomery County, 12 office buildings totaling 2.1 million square feet of space are completely vacant. Eight more buildings totaling 1.2 million square feet will become vacant this year.

-Seven office buildings totaling 400,000 square feet are now under construction in the County. Region-wide, 33 office buildings totaling 7.3 million square feet are under construction.

-Most jobs created during the economic recovery have been in retailing, restaurants, and medical facilities instead of in office-based sectors such as professional and technical services.

-Telecommuting, technological advances, more efficient work spaces and practices such as hoteling have enabled office tenants to reduce their square footage even as they expand their workforce.

-The data show that Montgomery County office centers located in mixed-use developments with a strong sense of place, a quality environment and good transit connectivity are best positioned to compete. This trend is consistent with recommended land use strategies in recent County plans for White Flint, Bethesda, White Oak and other communities.

-Single-use office developments without convenient transit or highway access are having difficulty in attracting tenants.

-Future office development is likely to occur at a slower pace and concentrate in prime locations. Not every location will be able to attract new office development or maintain former occupancy levels.

Study Recommendations:

-Create or retrofit office environments that are attractive to today’s tenants by adding amenities, mixed-uses and improved transit or highway connections. Incentives to renovate existing offices could be effective for buildings near transit or in mixed-use areas.

-Reduce the supply of non-competitive office space by converting vacant office buildings to housing, hotels or other uses. Policies that facilitate site assembly could help owners of older, small office buildings to redevelop.

-Plans for approved but unbuilt suburban office parks may need to be revisited. Some projects already have converted planned office space to residential or other uses, but redirecting development capacity to more competitive locations should be considered. Zoning impediments to redevelopment and diversification should be removed.

-Increase demand by competing for office tenants more effectively. County economic development initiatives, including business attraction and retention, workforce development, technical assistance and support for local entrepreneurs should be intensified.

Application of Market Research:

These findings and recommendations will guide upcoming Master Plans, especially the newly launched plan for the 247-acre Rock Spring Park area east of Montgomery Mall. Currently, Rock Spring is a single-use office center that is home to headquarters for Lockheed Martin and Marriott. A new street network, public amenities, residential uses and environmental upgrades will be examined for the area.

View the Montgomery Planning Department Office Market Assessment Report web page.

Oct 17 14

Montgomery Planning Speaker Series Examines How Past Decisions Have Shaped The County of Today

by Bridget Schwiesow


Planners, architects and historians reveal how politics and policies shaped the community 

SILVER SPRING, MD – In November, the Montgomery County Planning Department is launching its Winter Speakers Series, titled “A Once and Future County: Lessons on How Planning Politics Shaped Montgomery County.” The five evening sessions will offer presentations by Royce Hanson, former chairman of the County’s Planning Board; panel discussions among regional planning experts; and question-and-answer sessions with attendees. Topics will reflect the subject of Hanson’s soon-to-be published book: Suburb: Planning Politics and the Public Interest in Montgomery County 1910-2010.

Each 90-minute event is free to the public and will be streamed online live. All sessions will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters at 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Md.

Learn more about the Once and Future County speakers series.

The first session, “Planners, Politicians and How Montgomery County Got This Way,” will be held on November 12, 2014 from 6 to 7:30 pm. It will focus on development in the county from the end of the First World War to the present day. The presentation will examine the competing interests in approaching development; the strategic decisions of governing regimes; and the evolution of public engagement within the planning process. Panelists include the following experts:

Gus Bauman was Chairman of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission from 1989 to 1993 after serving as its legal counsel in the 1970s. An attorney who focuses on land use and environmental issues, Bauman currently advises on comprehensive planning, project development and natural resource regulation. His writings on land use and wetlands regulations have been cited by the Supreme Court. Before joining the Washington firm of Beveridge & Diamond, he was litigation counsel and legal department director for the National Association of Home Builders.

Lucille Harrigan served as the Legislative Information Coordinator for the Montgomery County Council for more than two decades. Before assuming that position in 1977, Harrigan worked as a speechwriter for the US Department of State and a contract writer for the Defense Department and US Information Agency. She has also taught courses in comparative government at Montgomery College. Recently, Harrigan co-wrote a series of papers on urban sprawl and metropolitan growth in the Washington region.

Harry Lerch is one of the most influential land use and zoning attorneys in the region. His law practice, Lerch, Early & Brewer, focuses on eminent domain and condemnation proceedings, zoning, planning, traffic mitigation, historic preservation and legacy open space. Prior to joining the Bethesda firm in 1970, Lerch served as general counsel for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. During his tenure at M-NCPPC, he oversaw the purchase of more than 14,000 acres of park land and was responsible for drafting legislation affecting zoning, subdivision and planning.

The second session on December 10 will address “Retrofitting the Suburbs: From Friendship Heights to White Flint,” tracing the evolution of strategic land use decisions in key areas of the county. Discussion will focus on the influence of residential and commercial interests, the County Planning Board and its staff, County Council and County Executive, and changing approaches to planning.  Panelists include the following experts:

Julie Davis is a retired partner of Caplin & Drysdale, a Washington law firm specializing in national and international tax issues. However, for over 40 years, she has represented Montgomery County communities and civic associations on a pro bono basis in planning and zoning matters. She has also served on the Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by the Montgomery County Planning Board for the Friendship Heights Sector Plan, on the Planning Board’s Transportation Policy Review (“TPR”) group, its Centers and Boulevards study group, and most recently its Zoning Advisory Panel. In addition, Davis has been a member of the Montgomery County Charter Review Commission, the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board, and the Friendship Heights Transportation Management District Advisory Committee.

Evan Goldman is Vice President of Development for Federal Realty Investment Trust. He is responsible for managing the transformation of Rockville’s Mid-Pike Plaza Shopping Center into a mixed-use project and is an active participant in the White Flint Partnership, an advocacy organization of commercial property owners. Goldman led the grassroots community campaign to secure the passage of the White Flint Sector Plan by the Montgomery County Council in 2010. Prior to joining Federal Realty in 2008, he was a partner at the Holladay Corporation, a development company in Washington, D.C., where he began his involvement with the White Flint Partnership.

Session three on January 14, 2015, “Trials and Errors of Corridor Cities Planning,” focuses on the planning politics and development in the Rockville-Gaithersburg area; the challenges of a new town in Germantown; and the planning and development of Clarksburg.

Session four on February 11, 2015, “Creating and Sustaining the County’s Agricultural Reserve,” traces the 30-year effort to protect the rural landscape and the working farms of upper Montgomery County. The technical planning, legal and political challenges that were overcome to establish the Agricultural Reserve in 1980 and sustain a working landscape against continuing efforts to compromise its integrity will be discussed.

On March 11, 2015, the final session, “Hunting the Snark: Growth Policy and the Public Interest,” evaluates the effects of the 40-year evolution of county growth policy on development patterns. It will discuss the institutional structure of planning in Montgomery County for effective and democratically accountable land use policy.

Learn more:
Use hashtag: #onceandfuturecounty

Aug 15 14

Casey Anderson Sworn In As New Montgomery County Planning Board Chair

by Bridget Schwiesow


Casey Anderson was officially sworn in on Wednesday, Aug. 13 to become the newest Montgomery County Planning Board Chair. 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 Montgomery County Council on land use planning and community planning in Montgomery County.

Learn more about Casey Anderson.

View the short video of Casey Anderson’s Swearing In Ceremony.

Questions or comments? Contact the Planning Board.

Jul 25 11

MEDIA ADVISORY: Washington Nationals Miracle Field to Open in Montgomery County, Ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the official grand opening of the specially-designed baseball field to benefit children with disabilities throughout the D.C. region

by Kelli Holsendolph

WHAT:  The Washington Nationals, in association with the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation, the Miracle League of Montgomery County, the Kiwanis Club of Bethesda, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks and the Montgomery County Recreation Department, will officially mark the grand opening of the Washington Nationals Miracle Field with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, August 1.

Located in South Germantown Recreational Park, the field will serve as the new home for the Miracle League of Montgomery County, which will provide children with mental and/or physical challenges the opportunity to safely play baseball. The field incorporates a cushioned synthetic turf that allows children using wheelchairs and walkers to “run” the bases without fear of injury.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will include state and local government officials as well as Nationals players, owners and front office executives. Nationals players will also join Miracle League athletes on the new field for a brief game of baseball following the ceremony.

Distinguished guests include:

– Anthony Brown – Lt. Governor of Maryland
– Isiah Leggett – Montgomery County Executive
– Françoise Carrier – Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board
– Mary R. Bradford – Director, M-NCPPC Montgomery County Parks Department
– Gabriel I. Albornoz – Director, Montgomery County Department of Recreation
– Stephanie Davis – National Program Director, Miracle League
– Washington Nationals players, owners and executives

WHEN: Monday, August 1, 2011
Media arrival: 10:00 a.m.
Program begins: 10:15 a.m.

Media availability and photo opportunities will follow the program

WHERE: 17950 Germantown Park Drive, Germantown, MD 20874

Media interested in covering the event must RSVP to Alexandra Schauffler at 202.640.7702 or

About the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation
The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and the Washington Nationals Baseball Club are committed to community partnerships that improve the lives of children and families across the Washington Capital Region. The Foundation’s cornerstone programs are focused on children’s education, health and recreation. A 501(c)3 charitable organization, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation has committed to, among other projects, a partnership with the DC Government to build the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy to teach the game of baseball and provide after school educational programs for children in the DC region. For more information, visit

About The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation
Established in 1986, The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation is a private family foundation run in consultation with all the members of the Lerner family. The foundation has contributed millions of dollars to numerous community, education, health, cultural and religious organizations in the DC area. Previous Lerner Family Foundation grant recipients include The George Washington University, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Food and Friends, the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, Hadley’s Park, Imagination Stage, Georgetown Day School, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Weizmann Institute of Science, Hospitality High School of Washington DC, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among many others.

About the Miracle League of Montgomery County
The Miracle League of Montgomery County is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team. The League will be the first of its kind in Maryland and will serve children in Montgomery County, the surrounding counties, Washington DC and Virginia. Presently there are 240 Miracle League Organizations across the country and in Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia. The Miracle League is proud to serve more than 200,000 children and young adults with disabilities. For more information, visit

About the Kiwanis Club of Bethesda
The Kiwanis Club has been a strong presence in Bethesda and Montgomery Co. for the past 66 years. The club is a part of an international organization dedicated to helping children worldwide, but specifically here in the community. Since 1945, the club has raised and donated millions of dollars to various children’s charities including RICA, Bethesda Cares, YMCA, Dwelling Place and many others.

About the Montgomery County Parks Department
Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), which was established in 1927 by Maryland State Law to protect, preserve, and program parkland for the residents of the bi-county area. Montgomery Parks is responsible for the management and stewardship of more than 400 parks on over 35,000 acres of parkland and a wide variety of park and recreation facilities including hundreds of miles of paved and natural surface trails, athletic fields, community gardens, picnic areas, lakes, streams, ice rinks, tennis courts, and playgrounds, among others. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.

About the Montgomery County Recreation Department
Since 1953, the Department of Recreation has remained dedicated to providing inclusive quality recreation programs and activities that serve the recreation and leisure needs of the Montgomery County community. The Department manages 32 facilities including community centers, senior centers, and indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities and provides thousands of programs such as out-of-school activities, aquatics, classes, youth and adult sports programs and leagues, senior programs, and therapeutic recreation that enhance the quality of life for participants of all ages, cultures, and abilities. The Department of Recreation is nationally recognized for its excellence in the provision of facilities and programs.

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Media Contacts:
Washington Nationals: Joanna Comfort –, (202) 640-7711
Montgomery Parks M-NCPPC: Kelli Holsendolph –, (301) 650-2866
Montgomery County Recreation Dept: Judy Stiles –, (240) 777-6875

Feb 22 10

Tax Credits Available for Snowstorm-Affected Historic Homes

by Valerie Berton

SILVER SPRING, MD – Owners of historic buildings in Montgomery County are eligible for local tax credits for repairs needed for snowstorm-related damage, historic preservation planners said Monday.

Owners of buildings listed in the county Master Plan for Historic Preservation may apply for the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Tax Credit for repairs to roofs, gutters and the like as long as the work does not alter the look of a building’s exterior features.

To qualify, the cost of the repair work must exceed $1,000. The tax credit, applied toward county property taxes, will equal 10 percent of expenses.

The County Council created the historic preservation tax credit program in 1984.  The Historic Preservation Commission reviews tax credit applications, certifies that project work is eligible for tax credits and forwards recommendations to the county Department of Finance for approval. Any unused portion of the tax credit may be carried forward for as many as five years.

For a list of eligible activities, criteria and to download an application form, visit or call 301-563-3400.

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