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Planning Board

Jul 25 16

Planning Board Approved Revisions to County’s Subdivision Staging Policy on July 21 and Will Transmit Updated Policy to County Council for Review

by Bridget Schwiesow

SSP_capture

Transportation and school elements, focus of the new draft of the Subdivision Staging Policy, are now available online for public review

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has updated the Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly called the Growth Policy) for review and approval by the County Council by November 15, 2016. The intent of the Subdivision Staging Policy is to ensure public facilities, particularly schools and transportation facilities, are adequate to accommodate new development.

As part of this review process, the Montgomery County Planning Board held public hearings and work sessions to determine the best ways to revise the current policy. At their meeting on July 21, 2016, Board members voted to approve and transmit the current draft of the Subdivision Staging Policy to the County Council. The Council will hold its own work sessions and public hearing in the fall, before voting to adopt the revised policy in November.

Learn more about the Subdivision Staging Policy and read the newest draft.

The following updates are reflected in the current draft of the Subdivision Staging Policy:

Transportation Policy Updates
Planners recognize that there is not a “one size fits all” set of rules and have revised the transportation policies to recognize current land use patterns, modes of travel other than single occupant vehicles and planning visions for different parts of the County. Policy areas have been reorganized into four groupings to acknowledge the diverse nature of transportation in the County.

A spectrum of policy area-based transportation tests appropriate for each group has been created, with a strong focus on transit accessibility. Some groups will not require policy area transit accessibility tests. For those areas requiring transportation tests, trip generation rates have been updated to reflect current land use patterns and travel behavior. In addition, trip generation rates can be adjusted based on reduced parking.

A new system for evaluating local area transportation conditions has been proposed. It does not rely solely on critical lane volume to determine traffic flow, but rather focuses on other tools, such as Synchro, vehicle miles traveled and non-auto driver mode share rates.

Transportation impact taxes will be directed to the geographic area where they are being collected and may be adjusted to better incentivize reduced parking.

School Policy Updates
In revising the Subdivision Staging Policy, planners worked to more thoroughly assess the adequacy of school facilities and more accurately account for the impact of new development.

The new Subdivision Staging Policy recommends a hybrid annual school test combining cluster utilization tests with new individual school capacity deficit tests to determine adequate school capacity. The tests are used to determine those school clusters with inadequate capacity overall as well as whether individual schools greatly exceed the capacity for which they were built.

Depending on the level of adequacy, school facility payments may be required for each new housing unit built or a development moratorium could be enacted. The draft policy also proposes a system to regularly update the school facility payment formulas to better keep up with the latest student generation rates and school construction costs.

The new policy would limit the impact that school placeholder projects have on calculating school capacity for the annual school tests. Such placeholders currently allow development to move forward and school facility payments to be collected by adding just enough capacity to prevent a cluster from entering a moratorium. The new policy proposes to limit the use of placeholder capacity. If a real capacity improvement is not placed in the CIP within two years, a moratorium will be put into effect..

The new policy proposes to calculate school impact taxes to reflect the latest student generation rates and school construction costs. Improvements in technology allow the school system to combine the school system’s data containing student addresses and grade-level information (stripped of any confidential information) and combine it with Planning Department parcel data on the type of residential structure associated with every address in the County. The results are generation rates that reflect the actual location and housing structure of virtually every MCPS student.

The newly revised policy also recommends reintroducing school facility payments and school impact taxes in former Enterprise Zones. The proposed policy would ease the transition by phasing in the collection of the impact taxes and facility payments. It also recommends conducting further research to develop a new process for determining when an area of the County can be exempted from the impact taxes and facility payments.

Background on Subdivision Staging Policy
Planning staff has proposed these new ideas in transportation and school capacity planning as part of revising the Subdivision Staging Policy, which is updated every four years. This quadrennial policy (formerly known as the Growth Policy) includes criteria and guidance for the administration of the County’s Adequate Public Facility Ordinance (APFO), which matches the timing of private development with the availability of public services.
In the past, the APFO was designed to ensure that road and school capacity – as well as water and sewer and other infrastructure – kept pace with new development. Where new areas of the County were developed, infrastructure to support new homes and businesses was needed.

Today, much of the County has been developed. Growth is occurring through infill development and redevelopment, including the resale of homes in many of the County’s established neighborhoods. This type of growth creates pressure on transportation systems and school facilities; however, the tools used to evaluate the impact of development may not adequately access these changing growth patterns, so they were re-examined for their effectiveness and relevancy.

Jul 22 16

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

by Christopher Peifer

framework cover

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.

 

Jul 21 16

Amy Presley Leaves Planning Board on July 21 after Serving Two Consecutive Terms

by Christopher Peifer

Amy Mini Collage

Presley cites new County Zoning Ordinance and streamlined development review process as greatest accomplishments during her eight-year tenure

SILVER SPRING, MD  The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is changing one of its members after the Board concludes its meeting on Thursday, July 21. That session will be the last attended by Amy Presley, who is leaving the Board after serving two consecutive terms, from 2008 to 2016, which means she is ineligible for reappointment.

“It has been a great honor to serve as a member of the Montgomery County Planning Board for eight years and to play a role in so many positive County-changing and community-enhancing plans and policies,” says Presley. “My service on the Board has been a highlight in my professional life. I have been privileged to experience the passion, dedication, camaraderie and ’family’ of the M-NCPPC.”

Presley considers the County’s new Zoning Ordinance, approved and adopted in 2014, as one of the greatest accomplishments during her tenure on the Board.  “It was exciting to play a role in achieving such needed change,” she notes. “I wish the public had more insight into the hard work and dedication of the staff, without whom it could never have been accomplished.”

In addition, Presley is proud of her work in helping to streamline the development review process, noting “It has come a long way.”

About Amy Presley

A resident of Clarksburg, MD, Amy Presley became a vocal civic activist in her community during the 2000s. She played a major role in uncovering discrepancies between development proposals and approved site plans for the Clarksburg Town Center that led to numerous planning reforms. Her involvement in planning and design issues led the County Council to appoint Presley, a former marketing consultant, to the Planning Board in June 2008.

In 2013, Presley and her business partner launched Grace Realty Partners, a private real estate investment business focused on property renovation and helping families through the estate/probate process. Based on their success in this arena, they recently became Founding Partners of Trusted Estate Partners, a company offering comprehensive estate liquidation services and support to attorneys and their clients, using a unique holistic approach to expedite estate settlement and help ensure that fiduciary responsibilities are met.

New Board Member Appointed

On Thursday, July 28, transportation engineer and planner Gerald R. Cichy, PE, AICP, will be sworn in as the newest Planning Board member. His career experience includes working at the Maryland Transit Administration/ Maryland Department of Transportation on projects such as the Corridor Cities Transitway, Purple Line light rail system and regional transit-oriented developments.

Like Presley, Cichy is a registered Republican. By law, since three Democrats are currently serving on the Board, the vacant position had to be filled by a Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party or by a member of another party officially recognized by the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

The other Planning Board members are Chair Casey Anderson (D), Vice Chair Marye Wells-Harley (D), Norman Dreyfuss (R) and Natali Fani-González (D).

About the Montgomery County Planning Board

The five-member Planning Board oversees the Montgomery County Planning Department and Department of Parks, and advises the County Council on land use and community planning. The Chair serves a full time position on the Montgomery County Planning Board and receives a salary of $200,000. The part-time Board Members receive an annual salary of $30,000. They also serve as Commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a bi-county agency established in 1927 to protect public land.

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

-Manage physical growth.
-Plan communities.
-Protect and steward natural, cultural and historical resources.
-Provide leisure and recreational experiences.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Jul 19 16

Planning Board Will Review Draft of Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan at July 21 Meeting for Approval and Transmittal to County Council

by Christopher Peifer

bethesda PB

Planning Board Draft now posted online reflects Board recommendations, from allocating building heights and density to identifying space for parks

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a final work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Planning Board members will conclude the session by voting on transmitting the current draft of the plan to the County Council for final approval.

Learn more about the Planning Board Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

As a result of the Planning Board work sessions, the Planning Board Draft includes:

Land Use and Zoning:

  • Retaining the Land Use Vision focused on developing a series of activity centers, including the Wisconsin Avenue Metro Core located around the transit station.
  • Capping of overall development density, existing and future, at 32.4 million square feet.
  • Maintaining existing zoning densities for most individual properties and introduction of the Bethesda Overlay Zone (BOZ) to allocate bonus density.
  • Requiring BOZ bonus density to provide a Park Impact Payment, construct 15 percent moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs) and participate in a Design Review Advisory Panel.
  • Retaining Priority Sending Sites with some increased densities to create parks, preserve important community and historic resources, and preserve existing market-rate affordable housing.
  • Devoting a section in the Sector Plan to affordable housing with the goal to preserve existing affordable units, provide a mix of housing options and produce new units that reach deeper levels of affordability.

Transportation:

  • Removing the Norfolk Avenue Shared Street extension through Battery Lane Urban Park.
  • Coordinating and aligning the Bethesda Transportation Management District with the Bethesda Urban District.
  • Correcting the Sector Plan’s Street Classification Table to include additional arterials, minor arterials and removal of residential streets.

Parks and Open Space:

  • Adding Fire Station 6 site as a potential open space.
  • Adding Chase Avenue Neighborhood Green Expansion.
  • Adding Elm Street Urban Buffer Park Improvements.

Community Identity and Urban Design:

  • Revising maximum building heights based on the property-by-property assessment conducted by the Planning Board.
  •  Adding language and design diagrams with recommendations for the bulk, step-backs and separation of tall buildings to maximize light and air, reduce impact of shadows and contribute to the character and visual identity of Downtown Bethesda.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

The new Sector 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.

Work on 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 Public Hearing Draft, please contact: bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Jul 15 16

Planning Board Approves Transmittal of Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan to County Council for further review

by Christopher Peifer

GreaterLP_PB Draft

Council will hold public hearing on the Planning Board Draft before voting to approve and adopt the Sector Plan later this year

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, voted to approve the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, July 14, 2016 and transmit the plan to the County Council and County Executive.

The Planning Board Draft of the Sector Plan is available for review on the Planning Department’s website. It reflects changes made in response to requests by the Greater Lyttonsville community to clarify use of the urban road code, district boundaries and language in the Plan Draft.

The County Council will hold a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan in fall 2016.

The community is invited to stay involved with the progress of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan by:

-Visiting the Greater Lyttonsville Montgomery County Planning Department webpage.

-Signing up to participate in the public hearing or providing written testimony once the public hearing date is officially set by the County Council.

Background on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

Spurred by the future construction of two Purple Line light rail stations in Greater Lyttonsville, the new Sector Plan examines ways to leverage these significant public infrastructure investments, while preserving the integrity of area neighborhoods that have a rich history and a strong sense of community. The Plan recommends ways of connecting residential, industrial and institutional districts, attracting mixed-use development and expanding parks, trails and open spaces. Recent planning efforts build on the goal of the 2000 North and West Silver Spring Master Plan to preserve this diverse community as a desirable place to live, work and play.

After community meetings were held in January and April 2015, the Planning team revised suggestions for bike and pedestrian connections in and around the Rosemary Hills Lyttonsville Local Park.

Recommendations in the Plan focus on:
-Providing pedestrian and bicycle connections to the two proposed Purple Line light rail stations.

-Preserving, rather than rezoning, a majority of the industrial areas.

-Preserving single-family residential areas.

-Proposing zoning changes primarily in areas around the future Purple Line stations or close to the Silver Spring central business district.

Learn more about the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan and how to get involved with shaping the future of this community.

Jun 9 16

Former Planning Board Member Esther Gelman Remembered for Helping to Shape the County

by Bridget Schwiesow

Before serving on the County Council, Gelman served on the Planning Board and influenced its direction

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, sadly announces the death of Esther Gelman, who served on the County Planning Board from 1970 to 1974. Gelman died on June 6, 2016 after a long illness. She would have been 85 on June 14.

Gelman first became acquainted with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) in the 1960s while working as a local newspaper correspondent covering the organization. In 1970, she was named as a member of the Planning Board and forged a close association with Board Chair Royce Hanson.

Gelman was known for her commitment to the master and sector plans that have led to Montgomery County as it looks today. She also worked to secure the appointment of Norman Christeller as Hanson’s successor in 1981 and helping to secure the appointment of attorney Gus Bauman to the chairmanship in 1989.

After leaving the Planning Board in 1974, Gelman was elected to the County Council and served as its president in 1984 while also doing a stint as president of the Maryland Association of Counties. She remained on the Council until 1987.

Throughout her long political career, Gelman was an advocate for citizen rights and helped improve human services for residents of Montgomery County. She sponsored legislation in such areas as comparable pay, religious leave accommodations, smoking prohibitions and the establishment of the Community Crisis Center for abused women.

More details about Gelman’s life and career can be found online.

Feb 25 16

Technical Update: Planning Board live video unavailable, audio is live streaming

by Bridget Schwiesow

The live video stream of the Montgomery County Planning Board meeting is unavailable at this time due to a technical problem with the computer server from our service provider. The live audio stream is available at this link:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/montgomery-planning-live

A complete video recording will be made available on Friday, February 26, 2016. To listen to the meeting live, see the link above to access our audio streaming service.

Dec 31 15

On January 28, Planning Board Will Review Transit, Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Activities in the Life Sciences Center Area

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bicycle Master PlanLSC-lanes-coverLSC Loop Final

Planners will present an update on the Corridor Cities Transitway, review initial staff recommendations for separated bike lanes in the Life Sciences Center and seek approval for Life Sciences Center Loop Trail design guidelines

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is advancing its bus rapid transit, bicycle and pedestrian plans with progress reports on Thursday, January 28, 2016 to the Planning Board.

The three separate but related presentations will include an update on planning for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT), Life Sciences Center Loop Trail design guidelines and a separate bike lane network in the area as part of the Bicycle Master Plan. Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.

This Planning Board presentation follows a community meeting held on December 15, 2015 to discuss new transportation and recreational networks for people who walk and bike in the Life Sciences Center.

View the video recap from the December 15 community meeting.

Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.

The updated information for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) will include staff review of various aspects of the Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) preliminary engineering plans for the Phase One segment of the Bus Rapid Transit system between the Shady Grove Red Line Metrorail station and the MARC commuter rail station at Metropolitan Grove. View the MTA’s CCT web site for the latest overview of the project.

The Draft Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal aims to create separated bike lanes and provide long-term bicycle parking stations in the Life Sciences Center District of the Greater Seneca Science Corridor (GSSC). Separated bike lanes (or cycle tracks) create a low-stress environment for cyclists that can make bicycling a mainstream transportation option because they provide physical separation from both traffic and pedestrians. View the draft of the proposed Life Sciences Center Separated Bike Lane Network.

A complementary project, called the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail, will provide an off-road shared use path for walking and bicycling to connect destinations within the Life Sciences Center area. At the Planning Board meeting on January 28, planners will ask the Board to approve the LSC Loop Trail design guidelines as an amendment to the urban design guidelines for the GSSC.

These guidelines will assist developers who are required to implement the trail along the frontage of their buildings. They also will help in developing engineering plans and cost estimates for construction, allowing funding for the LSC Loop Trail to be included in the six-year County Capital Improvements Program as required for the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan to advance to the next stage. View the draft of the proposed Life Sciences Center Loop Trial Design Guidelines.

Once approved, the Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network and Loop Trail will be incorporated into the new Bicycle Master Plan for the County.

What is the LSC Loop Trail?
The Life Sciences Center (LSC) Loop Trail is recommended in the Greater Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan as one of the steps for achieving the plan goals. This 3.5-mile cycling and walking path will knit together five districts within the Life Sciences Center area near Gaithersburg and will connect to the Corridor Cities Transitway, a proposed bus rapid transit route. The Trail Loop will help to achieve the increased non-auto driver mode share requirements established in the Master Plan.

A $60,000 grant from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments enabled the Montgomery County Planning Department to hire a consultant, Alexandria, Virginia-based Rhodeside and Harwell, to develop design guidelines for the LSC Loop Trail. Inspiration came from the Indianapolis Cultural Trail with its creative mix of landscaping, signage and public art, and private funding of construction.

Next steps in the LSC Loop Trail project include a presentation to the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board on the evening of January 4, 2016.

Bicycle Master Plan Background
The Bicycle Master Plan will 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. The network will be developed using an evaluation of the varying levels of stress imposed by traffic on cyclists along each roadway in the County.

Community meetings held in five locations throughout the County during September and October 2015 allowed participants to record comments on how the bicycle connections in the County could be improved. Those comments were recorded on a digital feedback map and will be taken into account as work continues on the new Bicycle Master Plan. View the feedback map.

Questions or Comments?

Contact: Tom Autrey, Planner and CCT Coordinator
Email: Thomas.Autrey@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.4533

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

Contact: Steve Findley, Planner and LSCP Loop Project Manager
Email: Steve.Findley@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.4727

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 11 15

Montgomery County Planning Board Will Hold its Final Work Session on Westbard Sector Plan on Thursday, December 17

by Bridget Schwiesow

westbard public hearing draft
Planning Board will vote on accepting the Planning Board Draft for transmission to the County Council and County Executive

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold its fourth and final work session for the Westbard Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, December 17 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD).

It is anticipated that the Planning Board will vote to accept the Planning Board Draft of the Sector Plan and transmit it to the Montgomery County Council and to the Office of the County Executive. The County Council has tentatively scheduled a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan for Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

View the Westbard Sector Plan Staff Report for the December 17 Planning Board meeting.

The Planning Board previously held three work sessions on the Westbard Sector Plan to address the following issues:

Work Session #1: Thursday, October 22, 2015 – Overall Concept and Infrastructure – Schools and Transportation

Work Session #2: Thursday, November 19, 2015 – Land Use and Zoning

Work Session #3: Thursday, December 3, 2015 – Land use and Zoning wrap-up; Parks, Open Space and Willett Branch Renovation; Historic and Cultural Resources

Background on Westbard Sector Plan
The new Sector Plan is the first effort since 1982 to develop a unified vision for Bethesda’s Westbard area, which is located near Friendship Heights and the District of Columbia. The Plan builds on the assets of the community by offering ways to improve neighborhood retail, existing light industrial areas, housing options and recreational and open spaces over the next 20 years.

Recommendations in the Plan focus on:

-Encouraging more housing choices.

-Revitalizing older retail areas.

-Emphasizing low-scale development of five to seven stories.

-Preserving local light industrial uses.

-Restoring the Willett Branch stream as a public amenity.

-Creating better access to the Capital Crescent Trail.

-Establishing new gathering spaces and parks.

-Enhancing walkability with sidewalks shaded by street trees.

Stay Connected
Sign up for the Westbard Sector Plan eNewsletter.