Skip to content

Planning Board

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.

Oct 30 15

Montgomery County Planning Department Announces Calendar of November Events

by Bridget Schwiesow

Calendar of Events

Master plans move ahead with public meetings and Planning Board work sessions.

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its calendar for November 2015. These events offer opportunities for the Board and Planning Department staff to engage with communities within Montgomery County. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans.

The agenda of upcoming Planning Board meetings being held this fall is posted on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.

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 November 2015:

November 3 – Attend a community meeting about the new M-NCPPC Wheaton Headquarters building in downtown Wheaton. Hosted by Montgomery County Department of Transportation, the meeting will be held at Wheaton High School (12601 Dalewood Drive, Silver Spring, MD) at 6: 30 p.m. Find out about the progress of the design for the Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission building and the public town square to be located on parking lot 13 in Wheaton, MD. No RSVP required. Learn more about this community meeting.

November 4 – The MARC Rail Communities Plan for Boyds and Germantown will be launched at a public open house meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Upcounty Regional Services Center (12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown, MD). Learn more about the MARC Rail Communities plan.

November 5 – The Planning Board will be briefed on the goals for the update to the County’s Subdivision Staging Policy. The intent of these regulations (formerly known as the Growth Policy) is to ensure public facilities, particularly schools and roads, are adequate to meet the needs of new development and growth. Learn more about the update to the Subdivision Staging Policy. Check the Agendas & Staff Reports page two weeks prior to the meeting for details.

November 11 –The Planning Department will be closed in observance of Veterans Day.

November 18 – Attend the fourth community meeting of the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.  The meeting will be held at Rocking Horse Road Center, 4910 Macon Rd, Rockville, MD, from 6:30-8:30 pm. County Planners will focus on transportation issues within White Flint 2 and the surrounding area.  No RSVP necessary.  Learn more about the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.

November 19 – The Planning Board will hold a second work session for the Westbard Sector Plan. Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan at www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard. Check the Agendas & Staff Reports page two weeks prior to the meeting for details.

November 26-27 –The Planning Department will be closed during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Sep 30 15

Planning Department Releases Working Draft of Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

greaterLP cover

Working Draft will be presented to the Planning Board on Thursday, October 8 

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has completed the Working Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan for presentation to the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday, October 8.

The Board’s public hearing about the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, November 19, pending the approval of the Working Draft at the October 8 meeting. The community will be invited to comment on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan recommendations at the  public hearing which will be held at the Planning Department Headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD).

View the Working Draft of 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 those transit hubs, while preserving the integrity of area neighborhoods that have a rich history and a strong sense of community. It recommends ways of connecting residential, industrial and institutional districts, attracting mixed-use development and expanding parks, trails and open spaces. The Plan builds on the 2000 North and West Silver Spring Master Plan’s goal to preserve this diverse community as a desirable place to live, work and play.

After community meetings were held in January and April, the Planning team revised their 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 latest developments in the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on the Planning Department’s website.

After the Board’s public hearing in November, the plan will be revised through work sessions with the Planning Board before the final draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan is presented to the County Council.  Council action is anticipated in fall 2016, following another public hearing and additional work sessions.

Sep 25 15

Planning Department Announces Calendar of October Events

by Bridget Schwiesow

Calendar of Events
Events include community meetings, Planning Board work sessions, announcement of the Department’s first annual Design Excellence Award on October 22 celebration and the Montgomery Modern book launch party on October 30.  

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its calendar for October 2015. These events offer opportunities for the Board and Planning Department staff to engage with communities within Montgomery County. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans.

The agenda of upcoming Planning Board meetings being held this fall is posted on the Agendas & Staff Reports page.

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 October 2015:

October 1 – Following the September 10 public hearing for the Montgomery Village Master Plan, the Planning Board will hold its first work session with the planning team to discuss the key issues that were raised. Learn more about the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

October 5 – The Planning Board is holding a work session with the planning team for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan to fine-tune its recommendations. Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

October 6 – Attend the community meeting for the Bicycle Master Plan at Walter Johnson High School, 6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD, from 7 to 9 p.m. RSVP for the fifth and final Bicycle Master Plan kickoff community meeting which will focus on White Flint.

October 8 – Learn about the Scope of Work for the Rock Spring Master Plan and hear the Board’s discussion of the Working Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan at the Planning Board meeting. Check the Agendas & Staff Reports page two weeks prior to the meeting for details.

October 14 — Attend the White Flint 2 Community Open House at Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. Learn more about the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.

October 15 –The Planning Board will hold a second work session for the Montgomery Village Master Plan. Learn more about the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

October 19 – Attend the public open house discussion about the Subdivision Staging Policy update at the Montgomery County Planning Department (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. This event presents the opportunity for the community to learn about the policy and share concerns about infrastructure and growth. In addition to planners, representatives of the Montgomery County Public Schools and Department of Transportation will participate in the discussion. Learn more about the update to the Subdivision Staging Policy.

October 22 – Take part in the Celebrate Design event at the Silver Spring Civic Building from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The winner of the first Montgomery County Design Excellence Award will be announced at this celebration, co-hosted by the Planning Department and Potomac Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Developers, architects, landscape architects, designers, property owners and community members are invited to attend the reception and awards event at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Purchase $35 tickets today. Learn more about the Design Excellence initiative.

October 22 –The Planning Board will meet with the planning team for the fourth work session on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

October 26 – The Planning Board will hold the first of four work sessions on the Westbard Sector Plan. Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

October 29 –The Planning Board will hold the third work session for the Montgomery Village Master Plan. Learn more about the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

October 30Attend the Montgomery Modern book launch party for the new book authored by Clare Lise Kelly, entitled Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979 on Friday, October 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Writer’s Center (4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD). The event, sponsored by the Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Office, is free. Ms. Kelly will give a presentation and attendees will have an opportunity to purchase a signed book. RSVP’s are encouraged but not required. Register to attend the Montgomery Modern Book Launch Party.

Sep 15 15

Public Hearing on Westbard Sector Plan Will be Held September 24

by Bridget Schwiesow

westbard public hearing cover

Community invited to testify about the Sector Plan at the Planning Board meeting on Thursday, September 24 in Silver Spring

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has posted the Public Hearing Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan on the Department’s web site in advance of the Planning Board meeting on Thursday, September 24.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan.

During the September 24 session, the Board will hold a public hearing for the Westbard Sector Plan from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD) when the community is invited to comment on the Plan’s recommendations.

Time slots to testify are limited, so the public is encouraged to call 301-495-4605 or go online at http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp to sign up to testify.

The public is also invited to submit comments on the Public Hearing Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan via email to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org. These comments will become part of the public testimony and public record for the Plan.

Following the public hearing on September 24, the Planning Board will hold several work sessions on the Sector Plan from October through December 2015 to discuss the community testimony as well as issues Board members want to address.

At the conclusion of the work sessions, the Plan will be revised per the Planning Board’s direction and transmitted to the County Council and County Executive as the Planning Board Draft. The County Council will hold a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan in 2016.

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, the 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.

Since the PlanWestbard charrette, a weeklong brainstorming session held in November 2014, planners have revised the Sector Plan to address community concerns. Refinements include lower heights for new buildings, more open spaces and bike paths, and placemaking strategies, including signage and public art, which relate to Westbard’s rich history.

Stay Connected:
Sign up for the Westbard Sector Plan eNewsletter.

Jul 23 15

Planning Board Approves New Plans for Clarksburg Town Center at July 23 Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

 

Picture1 clarksburg splash
Revised design of commercial core, new community facilities and upgrades to local parks part of proposal to complete east and west sides of Town Center

SILVER SPRING, MD  The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), has approved new plans for the Clarksburg Town Center submitted by Third Try, LLC of McLean, VA. These project, preliminary and site plan amendments are limited to the unbuilt portions of the 270-acre Town Center, on both the east and west sides of the development. They include a revised design of the commercial core, new community and civic buildings, and upgrades to two local parks.

When implemented, the plans will complete the Clarksburg Town Center after years of delay, due to numerous violations associated with the build-out of the community. An agreement reached by a citizen-led group known as the Clarksburg Town Center Advisory Committee and developer NNPII Clarksburg LLC (Newlands) led to a new site plan in 2009, calling for significant improvements to the Town Center.  However, Newlands did not move forward with these plans, eventually selling the unfinished portions of the property to Third Try.

The Town Center currently includes approximately 840 occupied residential units, a new elementary school, landscaping along major roads and other improvements. The plans reviewed at the July 23 Planning Board meeting call for a total of 1,120 residential units, along with 206,185 square feet of commercial space and numerous community enhancements.

Mixed-use, neo-traditional core

The commercial core on the west side of the Greenway will include office and medical buildings, retail, restaurants and a grocery store. The buildings are oriented toward General Store Drive (a private street segment) and Clarksburg Square Road with surface parking located in the rear so the core is compatible with existing development.

Amenities in the commercial core include a plaza with a splash fountain and seating. A civic building and a town green are proposed to the north, across Clarksburg Square Road. The town green is envisioned to include a stage with amphitheater seating for community-wide events. The neo-traditional design of the mixed-use Town Center is meant to complement existing structures and the Clarksburg Historic District at its heart.

Community buildings and open spaces

The Planning Board also approved plans for a new, 3,200-square-foot community building adjacent to the Residents’ Club to host large, indoor gatherings. A much-needed parking area located in nearby Sinequa Square will serve the club pool and both community buildings.

Also approved are improvements to Piedmont Woods and Kings Pond Local Parks. A basketball court, tennis courts, a playground, a dog park, picnic shelters and hiking trails are proposed for Piedmont Woods Local Park. A pond with a fishing pier, a tot lot, a hiking trail and picnic shelters will be added to Kings Pond Local Park.

A land bridge across the Greenway will connect the east and west sides of the Town Center. The Greenway will be enhanced to support stormwater management and reforestation. The Planning Board recommended that a natural surface walking trail be provided within the Greenway. A shared-use path will also connect Clarksburg and Stringtown Roads.

At the Planning Board meeting, Deputy Director of the Planning Department, Rose Krasnow, who has been involved with this development since the first violations were alleged, expressed the sentiments of many when she said, “It has taken a long time to get to this point, but with the approval of these plans today, we believe that the ultimate vision of Clarksburg Town Center as a walkable, mixed-use hub with a small-town feel and numerous amenities for residents can finally be realized.”

Background on Clarksburg Town Center

In 1994, the Montgomery County Council approved the Clarksburg Master Plan and Hyattstown Special Study Area, calling for the creation of a Town Center. This Center focused on the Clarksburg Historic District and would include a mix of uses. Two years later, plans were approved for a neo-traditional community to be constructed in phases with residential units, offices and retail. By 2006, about 725 units of the approved 1,300 dwelling units had been built or were under construction. The retail phase was never approved.

In 2005, the Clarksburg Town Center Advisory Committee alleged numerous violations associated with the build-out of the community and the Planning Board held several hearings on the allegations. Mediation between the advisory committee and developer led to an amended site plan, which became known as the Compliance Plan and was approved by the Planning Board in 2006.

In 2009, the Planning Board approved planning applications for commercial spaces, more than 1,200 dwelling units, a waiver to reduce the number of parking spaces and reconfirmation of building setbacks from residentially zoned properties. Although many of these elements were recommended in the Compliance Plan, the Board did not require that all elements of that Plan be realized, such as parking structures in the retail core. Subsequent plan amendments approved by the Board in 2010 and 2013 have resulted in the completion of some additional dwellings and community improvements.

Jul 9 15

Planning Department Releases Working Draft of Westbard Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Westbard Working Draft cover

Recommendations include creating better connections to the Capital Crescent Trail, restoring the Willett Branch stream and encouraging revitalization of older retail areas

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has completed the Working Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan for presentation to the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday, July 16.

The Board’s public hearing about the Westbard Sector Plan is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, September 24, pending its approval of the Working Draft at the July 16 meeting. The community will be invited to comment on the Westbard Sector Plan recommendations at the September 24 public hearing held at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD).

View the Westbard Sector Plan Working Draft.

The new Sector Plan builds on the assess of Westbard by offering ways to improve its retail and light industrial areas, housing choices and open spaces over the next 20 years. Recommendations in the Plan focus on:

-Encouraging more housing choices and revitalizing older retail areas.
-Emphasizing low-scale development at 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.

Since the PlanWestbard charrette, a weeklong brainstorming session held in November 2014, planners have been revising the Sector Plan to address community concerns. Refinements include revisions to heights for new buildings, more open spaces and bike paths, and placemaking strategies, including signage and public art, related to Westbard’s rich history.

Learn more about the development of the Westbard Sector Plan.

After the Board’s public hearing in September, the plan will be revised through work sessions with the Planning Board before the final draft of the Westbard Sector Plan is presented to the County Council for approval. Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.