Posts tagged ‘Planning Board’
SILVER SPRING – In one of its most action-filled and significant meetings of the year, the Planning Board last week approved a countywide growth management policy, a neighborhood plan for Burtonsville and guidelines for implementing a new mixed-use zone.
At its July 26 meeting, the Board also approved five development applications, including a 470-unit project in the Great Seneca Science Corridor area west of Gaithersburg. Learn more about the meetintg.
By law, the Board must deliver a draft of the Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP), formerly called the Growth Policy, to the County Council by August 1 of every fourth year. The SSP manages growth by setting policies and establishing infrastructure tests to ensure transit service, roads and schools keep pace with development.
The 2012-2016 SSP differs from previous growth policies by introducing a new Transportation Policy Area Review test, which calculates the effects of new development over different periods on transit and roads. The transportation test analyzes congestion and provides tools to match improvements of transit service and/or road capacity with the needs of development.
The County Council will review the policy in September worksessions and act on a new countywide policy in November. The policy will both set payment rates for developers as well as standards for determining whether transportation and schools are adequate in each of the county’s 32 policy areas.
Also at the meeting, the Board approved its draft of a vision for the Burtonsville Crossroads and sent that plan to the Council for review. The plan emphasizes a complete community with a main street, public green and village center while retaining the area’s rural character in the community’s northern tier. The plan envisions a mix of uses in the town center and connections that move local traffic and encourage walking and cycling. It also recommends new mixed-use zoning, a series of street and trail connections, and parks and open space to protect the headwaters of the Patuxent River.
Planners develop master and sector plans to create a framework for each community designed to last 15 to 20 years. Those visions help planners and policy-makers – such as the Planning Board and County Council – develop land use strategies and decide on proposed development.
The Commercial Residential Zones approved last fall are designed to allow a mix of uses to encourage jobs and services where people can live, work, shop and play within a given neighborhood. Planners wrote implementation guidelines for developers building in the CR Zone that will bring about dynamic building projects, handsome streetscapes, public spaces and affordable housing.
The Board approved the new document, which establishes guidelines that detail the standards and requirements for public benefits such as affordable housing or public art, on July 26.
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SILVER SPRING – In one of the most decision-filled meetings in Planning Board history, the panel yesterday approved visions for two communities – Gaithersburg West and White Flint – as well as the 2009-2011 draft Growth Policy and a new family of zones combining commercial and residential uses.
All of the initiatives will go to the County Council for consideration later this summer or fall.
The Gaithersburg West Master Plan articulates a vision for the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center and surrounding areas. With the county’s largest concentration of advanced technology companies and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Johns Hopkins University-Montgomery campus, and the Universities at Shady Grove, the area represents a thriving employment area. The plan acknowledges the county’s commitment to the life sciences and provides a blueprint for the institutions to expand apace with the market. It also guides future development into a more compact community of mixed uses including housing.
The Life Sciences Center remains a sprawling, single-use, auto-oriented area. The draft plan features recommendations to make the area more vibrant, dynamic and walkable, with growth tied to the planned Corridor Cities Transitway – a rapid bus or light rail transit project.
The White Flint Sector Plan, which covers north Bethesda along both sides of Rockville Pike, recommends ways to urbanize one of the few remaining locations in the County where excellent public transportation options and the potential to redevelop coincide. With the area dominated by surface parking lots, planners say much can be done to improve the landscape and environmental quality. The plan envisions a diverse mixed use center near the White Flint station and transforming Rockville Pike into a landscaped boulevard accompanied by a grid of new streets.
The Board also approved the 2009-2011 Growth Policy, the latest in a series of biennial reports determining how development should be analyzed for school and road capacity. This version of the growth policy addresses whether county officials should try to reduce congestion by building away from trafficked areas or instead influence traffic demand. The Planning Board adopted the staff recommendation addressing the second approach.
A key tenet of the Growth Policy is to work toward reducing travel by vehicles driven by one person, called vehicle miles traveled in planning terminology, when the Board is considering new development applications. Another important focus of the proposed Growth Policy is connecting societal values like environmental protection – encouraging mixed uses near transit, lowering the carbon output of new buildings and potentially creating energy on site – to new building projects.
The County Council will consider and eventually approve its version of the growth policy this fall, then it will be implemented through the county’s Adequate Public Facility Ordinance.
The Planning Board also voted to advance a commercial-residential (CR) zone that would encourage new development that includes a mix of commercial and residential uses at varying densities. As with the growth policy proposal, the new zone encourages development near transit, particularly daily-use-oriented commercial shops and green building elements. The proximity of services would save people time, increase a sense of community, and decrease congestion.
While the two master plans and the growth policy will be transmitted to the County Council for final action in the coming weeks, the CR zone will return to the Planning Board after Council review for additional refinement.
Yesterday’s decisions represent a landmark for the Planning Board. Together, the planning initiatives encourage strategic growth, infill development and new housing near services and jobs, all intended to improve the quality of place in the county.
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THURSDAY JULY 5
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY – 9 a.m.
Newly appointed commissioners Jean Cryor (R-Potomac) and Gene
Lynch (D-Silver Spring) will be sworn in at 9 a.m. at Park and Planning
Headquarters located at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.
SilverPlace MOU – approximately
The Board will consider an agreement on SilverPlace, its
planned new headquarters proposed on the site of its current planning offices
near downtown Silver Spring. The agreement would outline the expectations and
plan for the board’s agency, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning
Commission, to work with development team SilverPlace, LLC to plan to develop
the headquarters as well as other compatible uses. The item is approximately
scheduled for 1:15 p.m.
Recommendations to Strengthen Forest Conservation Law –
approximately 3:30 p.m.
The Board is scheduled to have a
work session on making recommendations to strengthen the county’s current Forest Conservation Law,
at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Silver Spring Transit Center — POSTPONED
The Board will postpone discussion
on the Silver Spring Transit Center until further notice.
SPECIAL SESSION – MONDAY, JULY 9 – 7 p.m.
Budget Overview for New Board Members – 7 p.m.
To orient its new members, the Board has scheduled a special
session about the Planning Department staff’s upcoming work program for the
2008 fiscal year. The session begins at 7 p.m.
Briefing – Route 355/I-270 Corridor Study – approximately
The Board will hear a briefing from its planning staff and
invited area economic experts on its comprehensive, ongoing study of the I-270/MD 355 Corridor
at approximately 8 p.m.