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Planning Board

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.

Jun 25 15

Casey Anderson and Norman Dreyfuss Begin New Four-Year Terms on Montgomery Planning Board

by Bridget Schwiesow

swearing-in6.25

Anderson and Dreyfuss sworn in by Clerk of the Circuit Court to serve on the five-member Planning Board

SILVER SPRING, MD  The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), reinstated Casey Anderson (D) as Planning Board Chair and Norman Dreyfuss (R) as a member of the Board. Both will serve four year terms.

Anderson and Dreyfuss were sworn in by the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Barbara Meiklejohn, at the start of the Planning Board meeting on June 25. The other members of the five-person Planning Board are Amy Presley (R), Natali Fani-González (D) and Marye Wells-Harley (D).

The County Council originally appointed Anderson to the Planning Board in June 2011 and designated him as Chair in July 2014. Dreyfuss was first appointed to a partial term in February 2010 and will now begin his second full term. Both members applied for reappointment.

“I am honored to be reappointed by the County Council as Planning Board Chair,” said Anderson. “I look forward to reorienting our agency by aligning transportation rules more closely with economic development goals. We will facilitate a wider variety of housing types to meet the needs of our changing population and workforce, and streamline regulatory processes to speed up the review of new development while protecting the public interest.”

The Montgomery Planning Board oversees the Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery Parks. Several of the board’s priorities related to parks include activating urban parks; increasing ball field capacity and facilities for active recreation; and enhancing and expanding the parks’ world class trail network, according to Anderson.

“Thank you to Council President George Leventhal and the Council for their approval of my reappointment,” said Dreyfuss. “I am pleased to continue the work of the Planning Board and provide a thoughtful and realistic approach to the most pressing land use projects and issues facing our region.”

About the Montgomery County Planning Board

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

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

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

Jun 24 15

Montgomery County Planning Board provides online live streaming of Bethesda Downtown Plan public hearing

by Bridget Schwiesow

Board_bethesdaremote
Board stressed the importance of providing public hearing in community

The Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing is being streamed live online today from 2 to 5:30 p.m.  and from 7 to 9:30 p.m. The video can be accessed by clicking on the live stream link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/montgomery-planning-live

The public is 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.

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 Working 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 on June 24, 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 work sessions and approval. Final Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.

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

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

 

Jun 9 15

County Council Reappoints Casey Anderson and Norman Dreyfuss to Planning Board

by Bridget Schwiesow

CAnderson web-101IMG_0415

Anderson and Dreyfuss will both serve four-year terms on the five-member Planning Board

SILVER SPRING, MD  The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), announces the Montgomery County Council’s reappointment of Casey Anderson (D) to the position of Planning Board Chair for a four-year term. The Council also reappointed Planning Board member Norman Dreyfuss (R) to a four-year term.

In addition to Anderson and Dreyfuss, the Planning Board members are Amy Presley (R), Natali Fani-González (D) and Marye Wells-Harley (D).

The Council originally appointed Anderson to the Planning Board in June 2011 and designated him as Chair in July 2014. Norman Dreyfuss was first appointed to a partial term in February 2010 and is now completing his first full term. Both members applied for reappointment.

“I am honored to be reappointed by the County Council as Planning Board Chair,” said Anderson. “I look forward to reorienting our agency. We need to align transportation rules more closely with economic development goals. We will facilitate a wider variety of housing types to meet the needs of our changing population and workforce, and streamline regulatory processes to speed up the review of new development while protecting the public interest.”

In overseeing the County Department of Parks, Chair Anderson said he will focus on creating great urban parks, providing more ball field capacity and facilities for active recreation, and building a world-class trail network.

“Thank you to Council President George Leventhal and the Council for their approval of my reappointment,” said Norman Dreyfuss. “I am pleased to continue the work of the Planning Board and provide a thoughtful and realistic approach to the most pressing land use projects and issues facing our region.”

Within three days of the Council’s appointments, the names of the appointees will be delivered to the County Executive, who will approve or disapprove the appointment within 30 days.

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

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

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

Learn more about the Montgomery County Planning Board.

About Casey Anderson
Casey Anderson is a Silver Spring resident, attorney and community activist. Previously, Anderson served on the boards of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Citizens League of Montgomery County, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Committee for Montgomery. He is also a former vice president of the Woodside Civic Association and executive vice chairman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board. Anderson holds undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University, and a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University.

About Norman Dreyfuss
Appointed to the Planning Board in February 2010, Norman Dreyfuss, is executive vice president of IDI MD, the developer of Leisure World and many other developments throughout the Washington, D.C., region. Dreyfuss, who has worked in all aspects of community development, is a champion of affordable housing and co-chairs the County’s annual Affordable Housing Conference. He formerly served as Commissioner on the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission. A resident of Potomac, Dreyfuss holds a law degree from American University and degrees in mechanical engineering and fine arts from Rutgers University.

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.