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rock spring master plan

Feb 18 16

Community Meeting for Rock Spring Master Plan Now Scheduled for February 25 to Discuss Parks and Open Spaces, and Transportation Policies

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2

Meeting cancelled due to snowstorm has been rescheduled to address potential open spaces, transportation metrics and connectivity in Rock Spring area of North Bethesda

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department and Department of Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a public meeting on Thursday, February 25, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD) to discuss the Rock Spring Master Plan.

This meeting will address topics originally scheduled for the January meeting that was cancelled due to inclement weather. Staff from the Department of Parks will start the meeting by presenting information about parks and open spaces, opportunity areas and roles and responsibilities related to these topics.

The second half of the meeting will be dedicated to a discussion about transportation and connectivity. Staff from the Planning Department will present information on transportation policies, land use and transportation modeling, and review connectivity issues identified at previous community meetings.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent. Within the context of changing preferences of employers and their workforces for transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed and a new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the new County Zoning Ordinance became effective on October 30, 2014. The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will involve a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the area’s public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the lead planner:

Andrea Gilles, tel. 301.495.4541, email Andrea.Gilles@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the Rock Spring Master Plan:
www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring

Jan 27 16

Community Meeting on January 28 for Rock Spring Master Plan To Be Rescheduled

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2
Meeting focused on parks, open spaces and connectivity will be rescheduled at a later date

The community meeting scheduled for the Rock Spring Master Plan on Thursday, January 28, 2016  has been canceled due to the closing of Montgomery County Public Schools. The meeting will be rescheduled for a future date. Go to www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring for the latest updates.

Jan 19 16

Community Meeting for Rock Spring Master Plan on January 28 Will Address Parks and Open Spaces, and Transportation Policies

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2

Staff from Montgomery Planning and Montgomery Parks Departments will address potential open spaces, transportation metrics and connectivity as part of the planning effort in the Rock Spring area of North Bethesda

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will discuss the Rock Spring Master Plan. at a community meeting Thursday, January 28, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD).

Montgomery Parks’ staff will present information at the start of the meeting about parks and open spaces possible amenities, opportunity areas and roles of County agencies and developers related to these topics.

The second half of the meeting will be dedicated to a discussion about transportation and connectivity. Staff from the Planning Department will present information on transportation policies, land use and transportation modeling, and review connectivity issues identified at previous community meetings.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent. Within the context of changing preferences of employers and their workforces for transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed and a new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the new County Zoning Ordinance became effective on October 30, 2014. The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will involve a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the area’s public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the lead planner:

Andrea Gilles, tel. 301.495.4541, email Andrea.Gilles@montgomeryplanning.org

Dec 18 15

Community Offers Ideas about Improving Rock Spring at December 14 Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring 12.14

Planners encouraged feedback about transportation, community facilities, parks, connectivity and placemaking

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a community meeting on December 14, 2015 for the Rock Spring Master Plan. The planner-led discussion at Walter Johnson High School focused on placemaking and urban design strategies in the Rock Spring area of North Bethesda and drew about 40 participants.

Planners began the meeting with a summary of findings from the Technical Assistance Panel review of Rock Spring, conducted by experts from the Washington, DC chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) on December 1 and December 2, 2015.

View the ULI findings from this recent event.

The ULI team recommended many of the strategies and ideas now being studied by planners for the area, including stronger gateways, better pedestrian connections and a mixed-use village center. Planners realize there is great potential for Rock Spring to transform into a mixed-use community with enhanced amenities and connectivity.

Development Planned for Rock Spring

At the past two community meetings, staff informed participants about approved development projects within the Rock Spring Master Plan area. The first residential development in Rock Spring was completed in 2004; this 368-unit multi-family community is known as Berkshires of Rock Spring.  In the center of Rock Spring’s office park, residential builder EYA is currently constructing 168 townhouses.

A significant amount of development has been approved, but is currently unbuilt.  The mixed-use project known as Rock Spring Centre, located on 30 acres on the north side of Rock Spring Drive across from Walter Johnson High School, will include one million square feet of commercial uses and more than 800 dwelling units. The Ourisman Ford site on Westlake Terrace has been approved for 340 multi-family units and over 50,000 square feet of retail.

At the December 14 community meeting, staff also informed the community about potential plans for the Wildwood Medical Center site. In addition, planners presented models of successful streetscapes and intersections from communities such as Bethesda, Rockville and Silver Spring that could inspire similar designs in Rock Spring.

Participants had the opportunity to provide feedback on many of the planning issues, including pedestrian safety, transportation, community facilities, community identity, parks and economic development. They spoke about the need for a new school and community center within the Rock Spring area, pedestrian safety for Walter Johnson students, more access to public transit, improvements to local streets and other concerns.

View the Rock Spring Master Plan Scope of Work presented to the Planning Board on October 8.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent.  In recognition of the changing preferences of employers and their workforce for locating in transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed and a new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the Countywide rezoning became effective on October 30, 2014. The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will allow for a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan also recommended construction of the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the planners:

Andrea Gilles, tel. 301-495-4541, email andrea.gilles@montgomeryplanning.org

Michael Bello, tel. 301.495.4597, email Michael.Bello@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the Rock Spring Master Plan:
www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring

Dec 1 15

December 14 Community Meeting on Rock Spring Master Plan Will Focus on Future Development in the Area

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2
Planners will discuss approved and proposed projects, and encourage community feedback about transportation, parks and placemaking at event being held at Walter Johnson High School

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is holding a community meeting on December 14, 2015 for the Rock Spring Master Plan. The planner-led event will be held at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda) from 7 to 9 p.m. to discuss the goals of the Rock Spring Master Plan and development in the planning area.

RSVP for the December 14 meeting.

This meeting builds on the October 28 community meeting, which focused on development projects planned for Rock Spring. Already approved for the area is 1 million square feet of mixed-use development, including 210,000 square feet of new retail, a 200-room hotel and more than 800 residential units.

At the December 14 meeting, staff will discuss an approved mixed-use project on the Ourisman Ford site as well as potential plans for the Wildwood Medical Center site. In addition, planners will present possible ways of transforming Rock Spring Drive and Fernwood Road into more hospitable boulevards. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback during break-out sessions focused on transportation, recreation, parks and placemaking.

View the Rock Spring Master Plan Scope of Work presented to the Planning Board on October 8.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent.  In recognition of the changing preferences of employers and their workforce for locating in transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed and a new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the Countywide rezoning became effective on October 30, 2014. The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will allow for a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan also recommended construction of the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the planners:
Don Zeigler, tel.301.495.4638, email Don.Zeigler@montgomeryplanning.org
Michael Bello, tel. 301.495.4597, email Michael.Bello@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the Rock Spring Master Plan:
www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring

Oct 30 15

Rock Spring Master Plan Overview Presented at Community Meeting on October 28

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2
Planners discussed community feedback and County-approved development for Rock Spring during meeting at Walter Johnson High School

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a community meeting on Wednesday, October 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD) to discuss existing conditions and approved development in the Rock Spring Master Plan area.

The planning team summarized community feedback about the Master Plan that was received at the kick-off meeting on September 1 and September 17 meeting, which focused on school capacity issues in the Walter Johnson cluster.

In addition to concerns about school sites and overcrowding, residents have expressed interest in better transit access and connectivity; more walkable streets, open space and parks; more community and senior centers; and less traffic impact in neighborhoods adjacent to  Rock Spring. These issues will be considered by the planners when the preliminary Rock Spring Master Plan recommendations are drafted later in the process.

Staff summarized office and retail market conditions in Rock Spring, noting the premium office space that catered to large scale office tenants during the 1980s and 1990s. The current trend for executive offices is to be located in transit-friendly, mixed-use environments.

Planners also presented the concept of placemaking, which provides ideas about how a traditional suburban office park could be transformed through improved street design, connectivity and programming of activities.  These ideas will be discussed in more detail at the next Rock Spring Master Plan community meeting on December 14, 2015.

In order to inform attendees about developments that have been approved in the Master Plan area, the October 28 meeting included presentations from property owners. Jim Agliata, vice president of development for Westfield Montgomery Mall, spoke about the extensive renovations that have been undertaken at the mall, including the addition of Arclight movie theaters and remodeling of the food court.

Steve Robins, an attorney representing the Rock Spring Centre project, provided an overview of the development plans that have been approved, but have not been built, for a large, mixed-use project on a 50-acre site across from Walter Johnson High School. Residential builder McLean Quinn of EYA spoke about Montgomery Row, a 168-townhome community under construction on a site formerly planned for an office building on Fernwood Drive between Rock Spring and Rockledge Drives.

View the presentations from the October 28 meeting.
View the Rock Spring Master Plan Scope of Work presented to the Planning Board on October 8.
View the Rock Spring Master Plan Scope of Work presentation from October 8.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with high office vacancies.  The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent.  In the context of changing preferences of employers and their workforce for transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed and a new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the Countywide rezoning became effective on October 30, 2014. The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will allow for a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan also recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:
-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.
-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.
-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.
-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.
-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.
-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the public schools.
-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the planners:
Don Zeigler, tel.301.495.4638, email Don.Zeigler@montgomeryplanning.org or
Michael Bello, tel. 301.495.4597, email Michael.Bello@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the Rock Spring Master Plan:
www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring

Oct 13 15

Montgomery County Planning Department Invites Community to Attend Rock Spring Community Meeting on October 28

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2
Community invited to meet with planners, discuss the challenges and opportunities of the plan area at Walter Johnson High School from 7 to 9 p.m.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is inviting residents, business owners and anyone with an interest in the  Rock Spring area to attend a community meeting hosted by the Rock Spring Master Plan team on Wednesday, October 28 at  Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

RSVP for the October 28 Rock Spring Community Meeting.

View the Rock Spring Master Plan Scope of Work presented to the Planning Board on October 8.
View the Rock Spring Master Plan Scope of Work presentation from October 8.

The October 28 community meeting follows the September 17 joint meeting with the Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Master Plan teams which focused on MCPS facility concerns in the Walter Johnson High School cluster. The September 17 meeting, which drew about 100 residents, was held to begin the dialogue about how to address school facility issues in this cluster.

During the upcoming master plan process for Rock Spring, Planning Department staff and MCPS staff will collaborate with the community to ensure that land use and zoning recommendations are coordinated with the corresponding recommendations for educational facilities.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent.  In the context of changing preferences of employers and their workforce for transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed and a new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the Countywide rezoning became effective on October 30, 2014.  The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will allow for a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan also recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the planners:
Don Zeigler, tel.301.495.4638, email Don.Zeigler@montgomeryplanning.org or
Michael Bello, tel. 301.495.4597, email Michael.Bello@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the Rock Spring Master Plan:
www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring

Connect on Twitter: #ReImagineRockSpring
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning

Oct 2 15

Draft Scope of Work for Rock Spring Master Plan Will Be Presented to Planning Board on October 8

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2

Planners request Board’s approval of the Plan’s boundaries, key issues to address, and outreach strategy

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, launched the Rock Spring Master Plan on July 1.

On Thursday, October 8, the Montgomery County Planning Board members will review the Draft Scope of Work for the Rock Spring Master Plan to discuss the planning objectives they would like to achieve in this area. The meeting will be held at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).

View the draft scope for the Rock Spring Master Plan.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent.  In the context of the changing preferences of employers and their workforce for transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed  and a  new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the Countywide rezoning became effective on October 30, 2014.  The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will allow for a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan also recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the planners:
Don Zeigler, tel.301.495.4638, email Don.Zeigler@montgomeryplanning.org or
Michael Bello, tel. 301.495.4597, email Michael.Bello@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the Rock Spring Master Plan:
www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring

Connect on Twitter: #ReImagineRockSpring
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning

Sep 3 15

School Issues Raised at Rock Spring Master Plan Meeting Will Begin to Be Addressed at Community Meeting on September 17

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2

Montgomery County Public School’s Bruce Crispell will join planning teams for Rock Spring and White Flint 2 to discuss school capacity issues in the Walter Johnson school cluster

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, launched the Rock Spring Master Plan with a community meeting held at Walter Johnson High School on Tuesday, September 1 to discuss the goals of the Plan. About 150 people attended the event to learn about the demographics, existing conditions and placemaking challenges in the area, and opportunities to participate in the planning process.

Many attendees provided valuable feedback about their goals and vision for enlivening the office park. Numerous participants raised concerns about schools in the Rock Spring area, which is located within the Walter Johnson school cluster.

The community has the opportunity to learn more about school issues in Rock Spring at a September 17 meeting hosted by the Montgomery County Planning Department master planning teams for Rock Spring and White Flint 2.

The planners will join representatives from Montgomery County Public Schools to address common challenges and opportunities within the Walter Johnson school cluster.  The meeting will be held at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

RSVP for the September 17 Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Meeting.

The September 17 meeting represents the beginning of a dialogue about how to address school facility issues in the areas covered by the Rock Spring and White Flint 2 master plans. Representatives from the Planning Department and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will address the roles of their agencies and the various tools available to address school capacity issues.

During the upcoming master planning processes for these two areas, the Planning staff and MCPS staff will collaborate with the community to ensure that land use and zoning recommendations are coordinated with the corresponding recommendations for educational facilities.

Meeting Details:
Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Master Plans Community Meeting
Thursday, September 17
Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD)
7 to 9 p.m.
RSVP for the Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Master Plans Community Meeting

Background on the Rock Spring Master Plan:

The Rock Spring area of North Bethesda is included in the 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan and mostly comprises single-use office buildings. The headquarters for Lockheed Martin and Marriott International are located within Rock Spring and Montgomery Mall is located just to the west.

The 1992 Sector Plan recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to link the Metrorail Red Line with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway was originally conceived as a link between the Grosvenor Metrorail Station to the east, through Rock Spring, to a planned transit center at Montgomery Mall. It is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and would increase transit accessibility for this area, providing a framework for re-evaluating redevelopment of the area.

Rock Spring is part of the North Bethesda/Potomac office submarket. It accounts for 48 percent of office inventory in North Bethesda and 7 percent of office space Countywide. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 21.6 percent, higher than the overall County vacancy rate of 15 percent.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has vacated approximately 160,000 square feet of leased office space in Rock Spring for a new site in Twinbrook and Marriott International is also looking for a new location for its headquarters.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

  • Reinventing a suburban office park, with its auto-oriented street network and surface parking lots.
  • Identifying opportunities for a new street grid.
  • Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.
  • Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.
  • Planning sustainable environmental measures.
  • Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan contact:

Lead Planner, Don Zeigler, tel.301.495.4638, email Don.Zeigler@montgomeryplanning.org

Senior Urban Designer, Michael Bello, tel. 301-495-4597, email Michael.Bello@montgomeryplanning.org

Stay connected with the latest information about the Rock Spring Master Plan:
www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring

Connect on Twitter: #ReImagineRockSpring
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/montgomeryplanning

Aug 28 15

Rock Spring Master Plan to Launch on September 1 at Open House Event

by Bridget Schwiesow

Rock Spring Logo rev 2

Community invited to meet with planners, learn about goals for the area and provide feedback about initial ideas for the Master Plan

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching the Rock Spring Master Plan on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 7 p.m. at an open house to be held at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD).

Community residents and business owners are invited to discuss the goals of the Master Plan and learn about existing conditions and challenges for reimagining an older suburban office park as a vibrant, mixed-use community. Ideas for discussion include a new street network, public use spaces and amenities, residential and non-residential uses, sustainable environmental measures, and infrastructure needs within this area of North Bethesda.

County planners will explain the planning process and opportunities for public participation. Community feedback on the initial ideas for the Plan will be recorded on a “feedback wall” at the event. RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

RSVP for the September 1 Rock Spring Master Plan Open House.

Background on Rock Spring
The challenges of developing a strategy for the Rock Spring area stem from its single-use status as an office park with high vacancy rates and little in the way of amenities and uses that might attract a new generation of companies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 21.6 percent, higher than the County’s vacancy rate of 15 percent.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, but only one residential development of 390 multi-family units has been constructed. A new townhouse project has recently begun development. Most of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone during the recent zoning rewrite effort.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

  • Reinventing a suburban office park, with its auto-oriented street network and surface parking lots.
  • Identifying opportunities for a new street grid.
  • Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.
  • Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.
  • Planning sustainable environmental measures.
  • Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan and September 1 open house, contact:
Don Zeigler, tel.301.495.4638, email Don.Zeigler@montgomeryplanning.org.

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www.montgomeryplanning.org/rockspring

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