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Planning Board

May 22 15

Planning Board Schedules June 24 Public Hearing for Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover

Public invited to testify on Public Hearing Draft at B-CC Regional Services Center from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, approved the Staff Draft as the Public Hearing Draft for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, May 21. The Board’s public hearing about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, when the community is invited to comment on the Plan’s recommendations.

The community is invited to sign up to testify on the Bethesda Downtown Plan at the Public Hearing on Wednesday, June 24 from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. and from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center located at 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814. Spaces are limited, so the public is encouraged to call 301.495.4605 or sign up to testify online http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp

The public is also invited to submit online comments about the Bethesda Downtown Plan via email to bethesdadowntownplan@montgomeryplanning.org. These comments will become part of the public testimony and public record for the Plan.

In order to accommodate enough time for testimony, the Board approved the change in the normal Thursday Board meeting schedule for Wednesday, June 24, as well as for the public hearing to be held at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.

View the Bethesda Downtown Plan Public Hearing Draft.

View the May 21 Bethesda Downtown Plan Board presentation.

The new 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 are 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 make Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially, and environmentally. 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 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.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work on the Staff Draft of 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.

After the Board’s public hearing in June, the plan will be revised through work sessions with the Planning Board during the summer and early Fall 2015 before being sent to the Council for additional worksessions and approval. Final Council action is anticipated in the spring of 2016.

Learn more about the planning process for the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

For questions or comments about the Staff Draft, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Apr 27 15

Planning Board Tours Downtown Silver Spring to Advance Design Excellence Agenda

by Bridget Schwiesow

Board_tour shot

Visit to housing, library and fire station underscores possibilities for improving quality of architecture and urban design throughout Montgomery County

SILVER SPRING, MD –  The Montgomery County Planning Board part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, visited several new buildings in Downtown Silver Spring on April 16, 2015 to gain a better understanding of how projects recently approved by the Board have come to fruition. In addition, the afternoon walking tour underscored the goals of the Planning Department’s newly launched Design Excellence initiative to elevate architecture and urban design in the County.

“The tour gave us the chance to see the impact of high quality design and the ways these new buildings fit into the fabric of the County,” said Planning Board Casey Anderson, who led the tour.

Also in attendance were Planning Board members Norman Dreyfuss, Natali Fani-González and Marye Wells-Harley, as well as Planning Department Director Gwen Wright, Deputy Director Rose Krasnow and Parks and Planning staff.

Tour stops included the new Fenwick and Eleven55 Apartments, Silver Spring Fire Station No. 1 and the Silver Spring Public Library, which is now under construction.

“It was gratifying to see these buildings come to be,” said Wells-Harley. “I now know what design excellence really means.”

The projects were selected for the tour based on their incorporation of key strategies promoted by the Design Excellence program and recent County Master and Sector Plans, as follows:

-Fresh, contemporary civic and residential architecture appropriate for urban-style density, as in Downtown Silver Spring.

-Proximity of affordable housing and community resources, as evident in the new Silver Spring Public Library.

-Low-impact, environmentally sensitive stormwater management areas integrated into landscaped open spaces and streetscapes, as realized at the Fenwick Apartments.

-Provision of a public park and connections to surrounding businesses and Metrorail, as in the Eleven55 Apartments development.

-Co-location of several public uses on a single parcel as in the fire station, which shares its site with a police substation, offices and community space.

View the video recap of the Board’s Design Excellence tour of downtown Silver Spring.

About the Design Excellence Initiative:
As one of the nation’s wealthiest and most educated counties, Montgomery County deserves neighborhoods, public spaces and buildings of the highest quality design to reflect this prosperity and maintain a competitive edge within our region. Design excellence is becoming increasingly important as the amount of available land for development in the County is shrinking and densities in our centers are increasing. These development challenges present a greater need to create attractive, safe and sustainable places to live, work and play.

In January 2015, the Planning Department advanced its Design Excellence Initiative by consulting with nationally recognized urban design and planning expert Noré Winter for three days. Winter met with planning staff about the creation and implementation of effective design guidelines and then presented many of these ideas to the Planning Board and community.

Next steps in continuing the Design Excellence Initiative include updating the Planning Department’s design guidelines process and creating an advisory panel of experts to consult with the Planning Director and staff on design-related decisions. Learn more about the Design Excellence Initiative: www.montgomeryplanning.org/design

Mar 18 15

Planning Board Member Natali Fani-González Wins Rising Star Award

by Bridget Schwiesow

fani_gonzalez photo

Montgomery Women honors community activism of Board’s first Hispanic member.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce that Planning Board member Natali Fani-González has been chosen for the 2015 Rising Star Award. This annual prize is given by Montgomery Women, a non-partisan leadership and political action committee, to recognize the promise and achievements of a female community activist.

“We’re proud that Natali Fani-González has received the Rising Star award. I would say she already rose quite a while back – she is a great leader and a colleague with no ceiling on her future,” said Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson at the ceremony.

Fani-González received the award at Montgomery Women’s 11th annual Power Tea on March 15 at the Strathmore Mansion. “I am committed to improving Montgomery County and honored by this award and its celebration of community service,” she said.

The Rising Star Award honors the memory of Phyllis Campbell Newsome, a founder of Montgomery Women and a director of community advocacy for the Washington Council of Agencies, who died in 2002. In prior years, the recipients of the Rising Star Award have been Denise Young (2006), Amy Presley (2007), Kathy Lally (2008), Dr. Yvette Butler (2009), Theresa Testoni (2010), Rachel Glass (2011), Hannah McCann (2012), Wendy Howard (2013) and Hedieh Mirahmadi (2014).

About Natali Fani-González
Appointed to the Montgomery County Planning Board in October 2014, the Venezuelan-born Fani-González, 34, is the founder and principal of the Rockville-based public relations firm, The Matea Group. She is the first Latino and millennial to serve on the five-member Planning Board, which reviews master plans and policies governing growth and development throughout Montgomery County.

A human and civil rights activist and entrepreneur, Fani-Gonzalez was recognized in 2013 as a “Leading Women” honoree by The Daily Record for her numerous contributions to Maryland. She started her career as a lobbyist for CASA de Maryland, the largest Latino and immigrant organization in the state, and then joined the communications team of the Service Employee International Union Local 32BJ before starting her own public relations firm.

Fani-González graduated from Goucher College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations. She lives with her husband and their two children in Kensington.

Mar 4 15

Planning Board Meeting for March 5 Canceled

by Bridget Schwiesow

The Montgomery County Planning Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 5 has been canceled in anticipation of the inclement weather. Items that were scheduled for March 5 have already been rescheduled for either March 12 or March 19. Please check the Planning Board agenda for those dates on the following link: http://www.montgomeryplanningboard.org/meetings_archive/

Feb 26 15

Montgomery County Planning Board Meeting and Board of Education Dinner Canceled for Thursday, February 26

by Bridget Schwiesow

Both meetings for February 26 canceled due to inclement weather 

The Montgomery County Planning Board meeting scheduled for today, Thursday, February 26 at 4 p.m. has been canceled due to inclement weather. The agenda items scheduled for today have been rescheduled for March 5. Please contact the Montgomery County Planning Board Chair’s Office with any questions MCP-CHAIR@mncppc-mc.org.

The Montgomery County Board of Education dinner scheduled for 6 p.m. this evening with the Planning Board is also canceled due to the weather and will be rescheduled.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Board.

 

Dec 9 14

Montgomery County Planning Department Expands Data Base of Civic and Homeowners Associations to Strengthen Community Ties

by Bridget Schwiesow

Efforts to verify and update information on local civic and homeowners groups aim to keep residents informed about planning issues in their neighborhoods

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is refreshing and revising its roster of community and homeowners associations to improve communications with these groups and the residents they serve.

The associations are being asked to update their email addresses and other contact information through an online form on the Planning Department website.

The collected data is being entered into the Association Explorer, an interactive map tool that allows the public to search for homeowner and civic groups in Montgomery County.

Planners also use the list to publicize topics of interest to specific neighborhoods. Developers access it to let communities know about their application plans. Having the most current email addresses of the civic and homeowners associations cuts costs and ensures a better, more rapid flow of information.

Oct 8 14

Natali Fani-Gonzalez Appointed As New Planning Board Member

by Bridget Schwiesow

fani_gonzalez photo

The Montgomery County Council votes unanimously

The Montgomery County Planning Board is pleased to welcome Natali Fani-Gonzalez as the newest member of the Planning Board. On Tuesday, October 7, the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to appoint Natali Fani-Gonzalez to the vacant seat.

Born in Venezuela, Fani-Gonzalez, 33, is the founder and principal of the Rockville-based public relations firm, The Matea Group. She is the first Latino and first millennial to serve on the five-member Planning Board, which reviews master plans and policies governing growth and development throughout Montgomery County. Fani-Gonzalez will serve a term through mid-2018 in a part-time position that pays $30,000 annually.

In her letter requesting appointment, Fani-Gonzalez promoted her skills saying, “I will bring a pragmatic vision with a strong social conscience amplified by the use of technology.”

“I am pleased that Natali was selected to serve as the newest member of the Board,” said Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson. “I am excited for the energy and creativity that Natali brings to the job as I know she will help keep Montgomery County moving forward.”

A human and civil rights activist and entrepreneur, Fani-Gonzalez has been recognized as a 2013 “Leading Women” honoree by The Daily Record for her numerous contributions to Maryland. She started her career as a lobbyist for CASA de Maryland, the largest Latino and immigrant organization in the state, and then joined the communications team of the Service Employee International Union Local 32BJ before starting her own public relations firm.

Fani-Gonzalez graduated from Goucher College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations. She lives with her husband and their two children in Kensington.

Fani-Gonzalez was one of 25 applicants for the planning board vacancy and one of four interviewed for the position.

The vacancy now filled by Fani-Gonzalez was created when Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier decided not to seek a second term. Casey Anderson, who was already serving on the board, was designated as the new chair in July 2014. Fani-Gonzalez will serve a four-year term.

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Aug 5 14

Sandy Spring Rural Village Public Hearing Scheduled – Sept. 4

by Bridget Schwiesow

sandy_spring_logo_red_25

Public invited to testify on Public Hearing Draft plan at Planning Board meeting

SILVER SPRING, MD The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a public hearing on the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan on Thursday, Sept. 4, at their regularly scheduled Board Meeting which will be held at 8787 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910.

The public is invited to give their views on land use, transportation, and zoning changes in the Public Hearing Draft which details the concept of a new village center from the 1998 Sandy Spring/Ashton Master Plan.

View the Public Hearing Draft for the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan.

The recommendations seek to bring about the vision and address any concerns that were voiced by the community at the four-day community design workshop held in February and the community meetings held in March and May. After gathering the input from the community, planners have come up with recommendations for zoning, land use, and connectivity that will help maintain the rural feel of the area while developing a more pedestrian-friendly, sustainable community.

Those wishing to testify in person at the public hearing are requested to call the Planning Department’s Public Information Line at 301-495-4605 or sign up to speak at the hearing using on-line registration.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, written testimony may be submitted to:

Planning Board Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. Testimony may also be submitted by e-mail to mcp-chair@montgomeryplanning.org.

Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan Highlights:
The 1998 Sandy Spring/Ashton Master Plan recognized that the details of a new village center concept were beyond its scope and recommended more detailed study and analysis to develop the concept. This new Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan will follow the guidance in the 1998 Master Plan and determine how to best connect the new fire station into a village center concept using the following three goals:

-Preserve the rich cultural history of the area
-Design a civic space and village center
-Connect the community to the village center and examine right-of-way issues

Learn more about the Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan and how to get involved: http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/sandyspring

Jul 28 14

Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment Public Hearing Scheduled – Sept. 11

by Bridget Schwiesow

Aspen Hill cover 2014
Public invited to testify on Public Hearing Draft plan at Planning Board meeting

SILVER SPRING, MD The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a public hearing on the Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment on Thursday, September 11, at 6:00 p.m., at their regularly scheduled Board Meeting which will be held at 8787 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910.

The public is invited to give their views on the Public Hearing Draft which is an amendment to the 1994 Aspen Hill Master Plan and the General Plan (On Wedges and Corridors).

Learn more about the Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment.

Those wishing to testify in person at the public hearing are requested to call the Planning Department’s Public Information Line at 301-495-4605 or sign up to speak at the hearing using on-line registration.

The Plan Amendment makes recommendations for land use and zoning within the Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment area as well as recommendations intended to improve overall circulation, pedestrian connections and the network of bikeways, for approximately 14 acres west of the Aspen Hill Road and Connecticut Avenue intersection.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, written testimony may be submitted to:

Planning Board Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. Testimony may also be submitted by e-mail to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

Learn more about the planning process for the Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment, including the recap from the three community meetings.

Plan Background:
In the spring of 2013, the County Council programmed the preparation of a minor master plan amendment for approximately 14 acres of land located west of the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Aspen Hill Road, the majority of which was recommended for the office zoning in the 1994 Aspen Hill Master Plan. The minor amendment process provides an opportunity to reassess the subject area and analyze alternative redevelopment and zoning opportunities. The review considers the area’s existing development potential and reevaluates that potential within the context of a changing office market in the County as a whole, the intent and rationale of the 1994 Plan, and any impacts to the surrounding land uses and transportation network.

Mar 13 14

Planning Board Considers Purple Line Mandatory Referrals – Thursday, March 20

by Bridget Schwiesow

Public will have the opportunity to comment on the Purple Line project at Planning Board meeting 

Purple LineSILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the mandatory referrals for the Purple Line and related projects between Bethesda and Takoma Langley Crossroads at their meeting on Thursday, March 20, in the Planning Board Auditorium (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD). The Planning Board will review and take testimony related to four projects – the Purple Line, the Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance, the Capital Crescent Trail, and the Silver Spring Green Trail – all of which are mandatory referrals, which means that the Board is not the final decision maker but has an opportunity to make recommendations to the appropriate agencies for consideration.

In an effort to assure compatibility with communities and businesses along the right of way, many of the recommendations concern ways to improve station access for pedestrians and bicyclists, enhance urban design along the corridor, reduce environmental impacts, mitigate impacts to parkland, and improve transitions along the Capital Crescent Trail.

A webpage features an interactive map that highlights the recommendations that the Planning Board will be considering, provides a link to the staff report on the March 20 agenda, includes individual project descriptions, and includes all of the documents submitted to the department for review.

Purple Line Projects: Planning Board Public Hearing and Discussion of Comments to Submit
Purple Line, Bethesda Metro Station South Entrance, Capital Crescent Trail, Silver Spring Green Trail
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Planning Board Auditorium
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland
Sign up to testify before the Planning Board

About the Purple Line
The Purple Line is a proposed 16-mile Light Rail Transit (LRT) line with 21 stations, connecting Bethesda to New Carrollton. It will provide direct connections to the Metrorail Red Line in Bethesda and Silver Spring, the Green Line at College Park, and the Orange Line at New Carrollton. The Purple Line project will be constructed along with three other projects: the Capital Crescent Trail, the Silver Spring Green Trail, and a new entrance to the Bethesda Metrorail station. Learn more on the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line webpage.

What is a Mandatory Referral?
Government agencies planning construction projects located in Montgomery County must refer their plans to the Planning Board for review, in a manner similar to that followed by private developers. However, because the Planning Board’s decision and recommendations are advisory only, an applicant may decide whether to incorporate them or not. Read more about mandatory referrals. Public projects must also comply with other applicable laws and regulations.

Purple Line Functional Plan
The Purple Line Functional Plan was adopted by the County Council in September of 2010, and includes a series of recommendations for the proposed transit line’s route, mode and stations, and for the Capital Crescent Trail and the Silver Spring Green Trail. Download the approved and adopted Purple Line Functional Plan

M-NCPPC Planning Department Staff Contact
David Anspacher, Functional Planning and Policy
david.anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
301-495-2191

Tom Autrey, Functional Planning and Policy
thomas.autrey@montgomeryplanning.org
301-495-4533

About The Montgomery County Planning Department:
The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, aims to improve quality of life by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for current and future generations. The Planning Department creates great communities by developing master plans, reviewing applications for development and analyzing various types of information to help public officials plan for Montgomery County’s future. The Department is comprised of 140 staff members and provides recommendations, information, analysis and services to the Montgomery County Planning Board, the County Council, the County Executive, other government agencies and the general public. Visit www.montgomeryplanning.org