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Planning Board

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

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


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

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:

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

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

Tom Autrey, Functional Planning and Policy

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 


Jan 10 14

Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Will Not Seek Second Term

by Bridget Schwiesow

Françoise Carrier announces decision to retire from Board after one term

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier announced today that she will not seek a second term as Chair. Carrier sent an email to the Planning and Parks Department staff on Thursday evening announcing her decision:

“It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you I have decided not to seek a second term as Planning Board Chair. It has been wonderful working with such fine people, and I will always love this agency, but for me, one term feels right.”

Appointed in 2010 by the Montgomery County Council, Carrier’s tenure has been marked as one of the busiest and most productive terms during the Board’s history with the approval of Master Plans such as: Chevy Chase Lake, Takoma/Langley, Glenmont, Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Plan and Long Branch. Carrier also oversaw the zoning code rewrite and is responsible for significant changes to the subdivision staging policy. During Carrier’s term, the Planning Board adopted a new Park and Planning Master Plan, the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan for Parks and Recreation; approved park master plans and capital programs; and oversaw the renewed development of the Montgomery Parks Foundation, which successfully cultivates financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as donors and advocates.

Carrier will serve until the end of her term, retiring on June 14, 2014.

Françoise Carrier became chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board in June 2010 after being unanimously supported by the County Council.  Carrier replaced Royce Hanson after his second stint as chairman. Carrier was a director and hearing examiner with the Montgomery County Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings. She had worked for that office since 2001, carrying out the functions of an administrative law judge in land use and human rights cases decided in trial-type hearings. In some 20 cases each year, Ms. Carrier issued detailed recommendations for the County Council or other agencies. She also issued final opinions for a few cases each year. A graduate of Stanford Law School with a background in economics and land use law, Ms. Carrier previously worked for three Washington, D.C., law firms for nine years.

The Montgomery County Planning Board Chair position is a full-time position appointed by the County Council to lead the Planning Board. The Chair serves with four Board members: Casey Anderson, Norman Dreyfuss, Marye Wells-Harley and Amy Presley. Ms. Carrier commented that she could not have worked with a finer group of Board members.

Jul 31 12

In Last Session Before Summer Recess, Montgomery County Planning Board Approves Far-Reaching Plans

by Valerie Berton

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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Jul 17 09

Montgomery County Planning Board Approves Two Master Plans, Growth Blueprint, New Zone

by Valerie Berton

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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Jul 3 07

Montgomery County Planning Board Agenda Highlights

by Valerie Berton



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
1:15 p.m.
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.



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
7:45 p.m.

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.