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Public Hearing Draft

Mar 4 16

First Planning Board Work Session for Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Will Be Held on March 24

by Bridget Schwiesow

GreaterLP PH draft cover

Planning Board will review plan recommendations to preserve community heritage, enhance local businesses and transportation, and expand open spaces

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold its first work session on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan at its headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) on Thursday, March 24, 2016. Public testimony is typically not permitted at work sessions, but may be allowed at the discretion of Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson.

The Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan is available for review on the Planning Department’s website. This posting follows the Montgomery County Planning Board’s approval of the Working Draft as the Public Hearing Draft on Thursday, December 17, 2015.

The Public Hearing Draft reflects changes in response to necessary clarifications that were requested by the Greater Lyttonsville community regarding use of the urban road code, district boundaries and language in the Plan Draft.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan.

View the Staff Report for the December 17 Planning Board presentation, including an errata sheet.

Plan Work Sessions and Council Action
The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold work sessions on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan this spring and summer.  Work sessions allow Planning Board members to publicly review, discuss and make any needed revisions to the Plan. At the conclusion of the work sessions, the revised Plan will be 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 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan later in 2016.

The community is invited to stay involved with the progress of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan by:

-Visiting the Greater Lyttonsville Montgomery County Planning Department webpage.

-Listening or watching the staff presentation live or on-demand from the December 17 meeting.

About the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan
Two Purple Line stations and a maintenance facility have been proposed for Greater Lyttonsville as part of the future light rail line that will link Bethesda to New Carrollton, Maryland. The Sector Plan explores the possibility of capitalizing on this transit to connect Lyttonsville’s currently independent residential, industrial and institutional districts, and to create distinct gathering spaces for the community. The Plan sets a framework for positive outcomes by recommending strategies for land use, connectivity, the environment, transportation, housing and quality of life, all based on the following principles:

Preserve. The Sector Plan recommends protecting the community’s African American heritage, unique industrial and suburban character, affordable housing, established residential neighborhoods and centrally located community facilities.

Enhance. The Sector Plan recommends creating a commercial corridor to advance local business interests and attract new, emerging companies to the community’s industrial district, one of the few in Montgomery County. In addition, the Plan recommends upgrading the existing transportation network for all modes–pedestrian, bicycle, vehicles and transit – and promoting responsible development through mixed-use zoning in specific areas.

Expand. The Sector Plan recommends expanding parks, trails and open spaces in Greater Lyttonsville, along with adding more sidewalks and bikeways to better connect different districts within the community.  The Sector Plan also recommends rezoning certain multi-family zoned sites to mixed use zones to expand the allowable land uses near future transit facilities.

Feb 17 16

Public Hearing Held on February 11 for Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

GreaterLP PH draft cover

Community testimony focused on proposed changes to zoning and their effect on density, school capacity and traffic congestion

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a public hearing for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan at its headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) on Thursday, February 11, 2016.

Community residents and property owners testified primarily about proposed zoning changes in the Plan and their potential effect on density, school capacity and transportation issues.

The Public Hearing Draft is available for review on the Planning Department’s website. This posting occurred after the Montgomery County Planning Board approved the Working Draft as the Public Hearing Draft on Thursday, December 17, 2015.

The Public Hearing Draft reflects changes that were made in response to clarifications requested by the Greater Lyttonsville community regarding issues such as the urban road code, district boundaries and language in the Plan Draft.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan.

View the Staff Report for the December 17 Planning Board presentation, including an errata sheet.

Plan Work Sessions and Council Action

The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold work sessions on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan starting in March 2016. The sessions will continue as needed for the Board to fully 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 at the Planning Board’s direction before being 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 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan later in 2016.

The community is invited to stay involved with the progress of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan by:

-Visiting the Greater Lyttonsville Montgomery County Planning Department webpage.

-Listening or watching the staff presentation live or on-demand from the December 17, 2015 meeting or the February 11, 2016 public hearing.

Background on 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 these significant public infrastructure investments, while preserving the integrity of area neighborhoods that have a rich history and a strong sense of community. The Plan recommends ways of connecting residential, industrial and institutional districts, attracting mixed-use development and expanding parks, trails and open spaces. Recent planning efforts build on the goal of the 2000 North and West Silver Spring Master Plan to preserve this diverse community as a desirable place to live, work and play.

After community meetings were held in January and April 2015, the Planning team revised 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 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan and how to get involved with shaping the future of this community.

Feb 8 16

Parks Department Encourages Community to Testify Before the Planning Board on Public Hearing Draft of Countywide Park Trail Plan Amendment

by Melissa Chotiner

Community invited to comment in-person March 3, 2016, or online or by mail

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) invites the public to provide input on the Public Hearing Draft of the Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment. The Planning Board will hear public testimony on March 3, 2016.  An electronic copy of the plan is available at ParkPlanning.org.
The plan proposes a new framework of countywide trails called “Loops and Links.” This framework aims to complete gaps in the countywide trail system, design sustainable trails and provide trails closer to where people live or work.
“The former plan was created many years ago before mapping tools were available, so it was difficult to determine where trails could actually be built,” said Chuck Kines, Park and Trail Planner Coordinator. “With this new plan we have a better understanding of which areas of parkland are suitable for trails and which areas to avoid.”

 

The plan supports a future network of trails for people to use in many different ways including biking, hiking, running, riding horses and walking their dogs.  The plan includes recommendations as to which trails should be built first and why.

Planning Board Public Hearing

WHEN:           Thursday, March 3, 2016, Time TBD*

WHERE:         Planning Board Auditorium, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

WHY:              Provide input on where future trails will be built and help Montgomery Parks prioritize which trails are built during what timeframe.


*The Planning Board’s Agenda is subject to change and certain items may be postponed or added.  A more precise time will be posted closer to the date of the meeting on the Planning Board agenda located at MontgomeryPlanningBoard.org. To testify on an agenda item, sign up online. Written comments may be emailed to the Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson at mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org or mailed to Chair Casey Anderson, Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910; or faxed to (301) 495-1320. Written comments must be submitted at least one full business day before a scheduled hearing (i.e. by 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning before a Thursday hearing).

Public input may also be submitted online at ParkPlanning.org.

For further information, contact Chuck Kines, Project Coordinator

c/o M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks
9500 Brunett Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20901
Charles.Kines@MontgomeryParks.org
(301) 495-2184

 

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

Accessibility
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission encourages the involvement and participation of all individuals in the community, including those with disabilities, in the planning and review processes.  In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M?NCPPC) will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs or activities.  M?NCPPC works to make its facilities and materials accessible and to hold public meetings in locations that are, likewise, accessible. M?NCPPC will generally provide, upon request, appropriate aids and services and make reasonable modifications to policies and programs for qualified persons with disabilities (e.g., large print materials, listening devices, sign language interpretation, etc.).  For assistance with such requests, please contact the M-NCPPC Montgomery County Commissioners’ Office, at least a week in advance, at (301) 495-4600 or at mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org .  Maryland residents can also use the free Maryland Relay Service for assistance with calls to or from hearing or speech-impaired persons; for information, go to www.mdrelay.org/ or call (866) 269-9006.

 

Jan 6 16

Planning Department Releases Public Hearing Draft of Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

GreaterLP PH draft cover

Community invited to review latest version of Sector Plan before the public hearing on Thursday, February 11 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 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on the Department’s web site. This posting follows the Montgomery County Planning Board’s approval of the Working Draft as the Public Hearing Draft on Thursday, December 17, 2015.

The Public Hearing Draft reflects changes in response to issues that were raised by the Lyttonsville community over zoning classifications, district boundaries and language in the Plan Draft.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan.

View the Staff Report for the December 17 Planning Board presentation, including an errata sheet.

Community Invited to Testify at Public Hearing
The Board’s public hearing on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan is scheduled for Thursday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) when the community is invited to comment on the Plan’s recommendations.

Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the public hearing.

Time slots to testify are limited, so beginning 10 days in advance of the hearing date, the public is encouraged to go online to sign up to testify: http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp.

In order to hear from as many people as possible, each speaker will only have up to three minutes to comment.

The public is also invited to submit comments on the Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville 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.

Plan Work Sessions and Council Action
Following the public hearing on February 11, 2016, the Planning Board will hold work sessions on the Sector Plan starting in March. The sessions will continue as needed for the Board 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 to reflect the Planning Board’s direction before being 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 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan later in 2016.

The community is invited to stay involved with the progress of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan by:

-Visiting the Greater Lyttonsville Montgomery County Planning Department webpage.

-Listening or watching the staff presentation live or on-demand from the December 17 meeting.

Signing up to participate in the public hearing or providing written testimony (a sign-up window will open once the public hearing date is officially set by the Planning Board).

Background on 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 these significant public infrastructure investments, while preserving the integrity of area neighborhoods that have a rich history and a strong sense of community. The Plan recommends ways of connecting residential, industrial and institutional districts, attracting mixed-use development and expanding parks, trails and open spaces. Recent planning efforts build on the goal of the 2000 North and West Silver Spring Master Plan to preserve this diverse community as a desirable place to live, work and play.

After community meetings were held in January and April 2015, the Planning team revised 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 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan and how to get involved with shaping the future of this community.

Dec 7 15

Planning Board Will Hold Work Session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Tuesday, December 15

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover
Session to address zoning and land use recommendations for districts

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will conduct a work session to review the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Tuesday, December 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. MD). This special Tuesday session precedes the Planning Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, December 17.

View the December 15 Staff Report for the Bethesda Sector Plan work session.

The new Plan recommends increasing density in Downtown Bethesda near identified centers of activity and civic gathering spaces. The December 15 work session will address recommended zoning and land uses for the following areas:

-Eastern Greenway Districts north and south of East-West Highway. These transitional areas lie between the Wisconsin Avenue corridor and adjacent single-family residential neighborhoods.

-Arlington North District, located between Woodmont Avenue and Arlington Road, and extending from Hampden Lane to Moorland Lane.

-Arlington South District, which includes parcels to the east and west of Arlington Road south of Bethesda Avenue.

The Planning Board will also review proposed recommendations for the Battery Lane and South Bethesda Districts, if time permits.

Future work sessions will be held in January and February 2016 to discuss zoning and building heights as well as affordable housing recommendations, density transfer incentives, parks and open space, and environmental recommendations in the Plan.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

Launched in 2014, 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. One of its recommendations is a high performance area that will incentivize more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. Making Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally – is the plan’s top priority.

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 the proposed Purple Line light rail.

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.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

For questions or comments about the Bethesda plan, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Sep 30 15

Planning Board Holds First Work Session for the Montgomery Village Master Plan on October 1

by Bridget Schwiesow

MVP public hearing draft cover
First session will examine proposed changes to zoning and transportation in Montgomery Village

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is holding its first work session on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to discuss the transportation and zoning recommendations outlined in the Public Hearing Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

Topics to be discussed during the work sessions include Wightman Road and the future of the former golf course. This first work session follows the overview of the Plan presented to the Planning Board in July and the public hearing about the Montgomery Village Master Plan held on September 10, 2015.

A second work session is scheduled for October 15 to examine any remaining topics not addressed on October 1. The work sessions involve detailed discussions about various aspects of the Master Plan to refine the recommendations that will be included in the Planning Draft Board Draft Plan, which will be transmitted to the County Council later this year.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan.

About the Montgomery Village Master Plan
The new Master Plan builds on the assets of Montgomery Village through four major recommendations:

Preserve the Village’s character: Built in the 1960s by Kettler Brothers, Montgomery Village was purposefully planned with a vast range of housing types. From the apartment communities clustered in the lower Village to the grand colonials of Whetstone, the homes appeal to a variety of lifestyles with a wide selection of designs and prices for residents. The Master Plan recommends preserving this variety and expanding housing choices in the future.

Maintain the public recreation and open spaces: The Village’s sylvan environment is one of its greatest assets. The Master Plan strongly recommends that most of its recreation and open spaces be maintained and preserved. When new development or redevelopment occurs, developers should emulate the Kettlers’ town planning principles to provide ample green spaces, vistas and recreational opportunities. Additional trail connections, with natural or hard surfaces, should be provided to enhance community connectivity.

Encourage reinvestment: Montgomery Village has six conveniently located shopping areas (Montgomery Village Crossing, Montgomery Village Plaza, The Village Center, Goshen Plaza, Goshen Crossing and Goshen Oaks) throughout the community which serve the everyday retail needs of residents. Over several decades, however, retail competition has grown in the mid-County area and consumer preferences have shifted, as has the tenant mix in the Village’s centers. Some redevelopment opportunities exist in the Village, and the Master Plan strongly recommends a sustainable and competitive Village Center. Short blocks with identifiable edges to reinforce the mixed uses and the introduction of new housing units can potentially transform the suburban blocks into walkable, connected and inviting areas, reinvigorating a sense of community and creating attractive centers for community life.

Enhance connectivity: The Master Plan encourages increased options for mobility and connectivity by all modes — transit, walking, biking and private motor vehicles. The Village’s private street network, coupled with many trails and pedestrian connections, offers unique opportunities to enhance multimodal links. Montgomery Village can improve connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists by providing missing links to open spaces, parks, the Village Center and other destinations around the community and beyond.

In order to help achieve these goals, the Master Plan recommends an overlay zone as an implementation measure. The Town Sector zone will not be used going forward, which means all the properties in the village must be rezoned. A large-scale rezoning of this kind is rare, and concerns have been raised about its implementation. The Montgomery Village Overlay Zone is intended to preserve the unique Village character; protect existing open space and conservation areas; and ensure a compatible relationship between new and existing development.

Past PowerPoint presentations and other materials from the Montgomery Village Master Plan process are posted on the Montgomery Village Master Plan webpage.

Sep 1 15

Community Invited to Testify at September 10 Public Hearing for Montgomery Village Master Plan in Rockville

by Bridget Schwiesow

MVP public hearing draft cover

Latest version of Master Plan is posted online for review before public hearing

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will take testimony on the Public Hearing Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan on Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the third floor hearing room of the Council Office Building located at 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland. The public is invited to testify at the meeting to offer feedback about the Master Plan, which is posted on the Planning Department’s web site.

Only a limited number of time slots for testimony on September 10 are available, so the public is encouraged to call 301-495-4605 or go online to sign up at http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp or call the Chair’s Office at 301.495.4605. In order to hear from as many people as possible, each speaker will be limited to three minutes for testimony.

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

Following the public hearing on September 10, the Planning Board will hold work sessions on the Master Plan during October to discuss the community testimony as well as issues identified by Board members.

At the conclusion of the work sessions, the Plan will be revised in accordance with the Planning Board’s direction and transmitted to the County Executive and County Council. The County Council will then hold a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft Montgomery Village Master Plan.

Background on Montgomery Village Master Plan:

The new Master Plan builds on the assets of Montgomery Village through four major recommendations:

Preserve the Village’s character: Built in the 1960s by Kettler Brothers, Montgomery Village was purposefully planned with a vast range of housing types. From the apartment communities clustered in the lower Village to the grand colonials of Whetstone, the homes appeal to a variety of lifestyles with a wide selection of designs and prices for residents. The Master Plan recommends preserving this variety and expanding housing choices in the future.

Maintain the public recreation and open spaces: The Village’s sylvan environment is one of its greatest assets. The Master Plan strongly recommends that most of its recreation and open spaces be maintained and preserved. When new development or redevelopment occurs, developers should emulate the Kettlers’ town planning principles to provide ample green spaces, vistas and recreational opportunities. Additional trail connections, with natural or hard surfaces, should be provided to enhance community connectivity.

Encourage reinvestment: Montgomery Village has six conveniently located retail centers (Montgomery Village Crossing, Montgomery Village Plaza, The Village Center, Goshen Plaza, Goshen Crossing and Goshen Oaks) throughout the community which serve the everyday retail needs of residents. Over several decades, however retail competition has grown in the mid-County area, consumer preferences have shifted, as has the tenant mix in the Village’s centers. Limited redevelopment opportunities exist in the Village and the Master Plan strongly recommends a sustainable and competitive Village Center. Short blocks with identifiable edges to reinforce the mixed uses and the introduction of new housing units can potentially transform the suburban blocks into walkable, connected and inviting areas, reinvigorating a sense of community and creating attractive centers for community life.

Enhance connectivity: The Master Plan encourages increased options for mobility and connectivity by all modes — transit, walking, biking and private motor vehicles. The Village’s private street network, coupled with many trails and pedestrian connections, offers unique opportunities to enhance multimodal links. Montgomery Village can improve connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists by providing missing links to open spaces, parks, the Village Center and other destinations around the community and beyond.

In order to help achieve these goals, the Master Plan recommends an overlay zone as an implementation measure. The Town Sector zone will not be used going forward, which means all the properties in the village must be rezoned. A large-scale rezoning of this kind is rare, and concerns have been raised about its implementation and potential consequences. The Montgomery Village Overlay Zone is intended to preserve the unique Village character; protect existing open space and conservation areas; and ensure a compatible relationship between new and existing development.

Past PowerPoint presentations and other materials from the Montgomery Village Master Plan process are posted on the Montgomery Village Master Plan webpage.

Stay Connected:
Sign up: for the Montgomery Village Master Plan eNewsletter
Call: the MVPlan Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: tel. 301-495-4723
Follow: updates on Twitter using #MVPlan and learn more by visiting www.montgomeryplanning.org/mvp

Master Plan Background:
Montgomery Village has not been part of a Master Plan review since the 1985 Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan, nor has it been the subject of a discrete County master plan in the past. Although Montgomery Village was within the boundaries of both the 1971 Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan and the 1985 Master Plan, neither plan contains recommendations or guidance for this community because the Village fell within the Town Sector Zone, which did not allow the rezoning of properties for a 50-year period that comes to a close in 2015. When the Planning Department initiated an update to the Gaithersburg Master Plan in 2007, Montgomery Village was originally included within its boundaries. However, with large swaths of land on both sides of I-270 presenting different planning issues and challenges, the Planning Department realized the area was too big to be analyzed effectively.

In 2008, the Planning Department divided the large Gaithersburg Master Plan area into two planning efforts – one for the west side of I-270, which became the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan (GSSC) – and one for the east side of I-270 – Gaithersburg East. In 2014, the County Council asked the Planning Department to refine the Gaithersburg East Plan to have one plan for Montgomery Village and one plan for the remainder of Gaithersburg East. The Council also directed the Planning Director to work very efficiently on the Montgomery Village Plan, with the goal of having a draft plan transmitted to the Council within 14 months of the plan start date. The Council wanted the zoning to be reassessed holistically before the prohibition on piecemeal rezoning of Town Sector property expired in 2015.

Aug 10 15

Planning Department Releases Public Hearing Draft of Westbard Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

westbard public hearing draft

Community invited to review latest version of Sector Plan before the public hearing 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. This posting follows the Montgomery County Planning Board’s approval of the Working Draft as the Public Hearing Draft on Thursday, July 23.

The Board’s public hearing on the Westbard Sector Plan is scheduled for Thursday, September 24 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.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan.

Time slots to testify are limited, so the public is encouraged to call 301-495-4605 or to go online  http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp to sign up to testify. In order to hear from as many speakers as possible, each speaker will have up to three minutes 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, 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 31 15

Planning Department Releases Public Hearing Draft of Montgomery Village Master Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

MVP public hearing draft cover

Community invited to review latest version of Master Plan before the public hearing on Thursday, September 10 in Rockville

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 Montgomery Village Master Plan on the Department’s web site. This posting follows the Montgomery County Planning Board’s approval of the Working Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan on Thursday, July 23.

The online document allows Montgomery Village residents and business owners to review the latest draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan before the public hearing for the Plan. The hearing will be held on Thursday, September 10 in the third floor hearing room of the Council Office Building located at 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland.

View the Montgomery Village Master Plan Public Hearing Draft

View the Appendices that accompany the Public Hearing Draft

Only a limited number of time slots for testimony are available, so the public is encouraged to call 301-495-4605 or go online to sign up http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp.

The public is also invited to submit comments on the Public Hearing Draft Montgomery Village Master 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 10, the Planning Board will hold several work sessions on the Master Plan during October to discuss the community testimony as well as issues Board members wish 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. The County Council will then hold a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Montgomery Village Master Plan, possibly in January 2016.

Background on Montgomery Village Master Plan
The new Master Plan builds on the assets of Montgomery Village through four major recommendations:

Preserve the Village’s character: Built in the 1960s by Kettler Brothers, Montgomery Village was purposefully planned with a vast range of housing types.  From the apartment communities clustered in the lower Village to the grand colonials of Whetstone, the homes appeal to different lifestyles with a wide selection of designs and prices for residents. The Master Plan recommends preserving this variety and expanding housing choices in the future.

Maintain the public recreation and open spaces: The Village’s sylvan environment is one of its greatest assets. The Master Plan strongly recommends that its recreation and open spaces be maintained and preserved. When new development or redevelopment occurs, developers should emulate the Kettlers’ town planning principles to provide ample green spaces, vistas and recreational opportunities.  Additional trail connections, with natural or hard surfaces, should be provided to enhance community connectivity.

Encourage reinvestment: Small town autonomy includes conveniently located retail centers throughout the community. The Village’s six centers serve the everyday retail needs of residents; however, over several decades, as retail competition has grown in the mid-County area, consumer preferences have shifted, as has the tenant mix in the Village’s centers. Limited redevelopment opportunities exist in the Village and the Master Plan strongly recommends a sustainable and competitive Village Center.  Short blocks with identifiable edges to reinforce the mixed uses and the introduction of new housing units can potentially transform the suburban blocks into walkable, connected and inviting areas, reinvigorating a sense of community and creating attractive centers for community life.

Enhance connectivity: The Master Plan encourages increased options for mobility and connectivity by all modes — transit, walking, biking and private motor vehicles. The Village’s private street network, coupled with many trails and pedestrian connections, offers unique opportunities to enhance multimodal links. Montgomery Village can improve connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists by providing missing links to open spaces, parks, the Village Center and other destinations around the community and beyond.

In order to help achieve these goals, the Master Plan recommends an overlay zone as an implementation measure, since the Town Sector zone will not be used going forward, which means all the properties in the village must be rezoned. A large-scale rezoning of this kind is rare, and concerns have been raised about its implementation and potential consequences.  The Montgomery Village Overlay Zone is intended to preserve the unique Village character; protect existing open space and conservation areas; and ensure a compatible relationship between new and existing development.

Past PowerPoint presentations and other materials from the Montgomery Village Master Plan process are posted on the Montgomery Village Master Plan webpage.

Stay Connected:
Sign up: for the Montgomery Village Master Plan eNewsletter
Call: the MVPlan Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: tel. 301-495-4723
Follow: updates on Twitter using #MVPlan and learn more by visiting www.montgomeryplanning.org/mvp

Master Plan Background:
Montgomery Village has not been part of a Master Plan review since the 1985 Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan, nor has it been the subject of a discrete County master plan in the past. Although Montgomery Village was within the boundaries of both the 1971 Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan and the 1985 Master Plan, neither plan contains recommendations or guidance for this community because the Village fell within the Town Sector Zone, which did not allow the rezoning of properties for a 50-year period that comes to a close in 2015. When the Planning Department initiated an update to the Gaithersburg Master Plan in 2007, Montgomery Village was originally included within its boundaries. However, with large swaths of land on both sides of I-270 presenting different planning issues and challenges, the Planning Department realized the area was too big to be analyzed effectively.

In 2008, the Planning Department divided the large Gaithersburg Master Plan area into two planning efforts – one for the west side of I-270, which became the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan (GSSC) – and one for the east side of I-270 – Gaithersburg East. In 2014, the County Council asked the Planning Department to refine the Gaithersburg East Plan to have one plan for Montgomery Village and one plan for the remainder of Gaithersburg East. The Council also directed the Planning Director to work very efficiently on the Montgomery Village Plan, with the goal of having a draft plan transmitted to the Council within 14 months of the plan start date. The Council wanted the zoning to be reassessed holistically before the prohibition on piecemeal rezoning of Town Sector property expired in 2015.

Aug 29 14

Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment Public Hearing Draft Available

by Bridget Schwiesow

Aspen Hill cover 2014
Public invited to review and testify on Public Hearing Draft plan at Planning Board meeting on Sept. 11.

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, Sept. 11, at 6:00 p.m., at their regularly scheduled Board Meeting which will be held in the Auditorium 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).

Review the Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment Public Hearing Draft.

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 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.