Skip to the content
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Home / News / Community members provide feedback on Montgomery County’s development review process

Community members provide feedback on Montgomery County’s development review process

Community members shared their experiences with the county’s process at listening session led by State Delegate Lesley Lopez, in coordination with the Montgomery County Planning Department and the Montgomery County Executive’s Office

Rockville, Md. – Members of the public provided their input on Montgomery County’s development review process on Thursday, June 22 during the first of three public listening sessions for the newly formed Development Review Process Workgroup. The workgroup was created by the Montgomery County state delegation and chaired by Maryland State Delegate Lesley Lopez (D-District 39) to examine the process, with a special focus on finding opportunities to improve the county’s economic competitiveness.

The June 22 in-person and virtual listening session was hosted by the County Executive’s Office at the Montgomery County Council Building and featured testimony from community members, developers, and other stakeholders about the development review process. Watch the June 22 listening session.

The next workgroup listening session for the public will be at The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Headquarters in Wheaton (2425 Reedie Drive, 2nd Floor, Wheaton, MD, 20902) on Tuesday, July 18 with in-person and virtual testimony options (see sign-up instructions below). The last listening session will be virtual-only on Wednesday, August 2. Community input will inform the workgroup’s report on its findings and recommendations that must be delivered to the Montgomery County Delegation of the Maryland General Assembly by October 15, 2023.

State law established The M-NCPPC and Montgomery County Planning Board whose members are appointed by the Montgomery County Council and approved by the County Executive. The Council adopts the zoning code. Under County law, any subdivision, sketch plan, and site plan must be approved by the Planning Board and must substantially conform to adopted master plans as well as comply with county codes.  As a prerequisite to Planning Board review, each project must undergo an extensive review by the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The M-NCPPC, and a Development Review Committee which under county law is comprised of planners, county agencies, state agencies and utilities.

View a graphic explaining the development review process.

Sign Up to Provide Feedback

Community members are invited to sign up to participate in any of the listening sessions. Live language translation or ASL requests must be made five days ahead of each event. To make a request, please contact staff in the Planning Board Chair’s Office via email at or call 301-495-4605. The community is welcome to watch the meetings through a livestream (also available on demand under the “Speakers and Special Events” tab).

Community members are also invited to submit written comments to the Development Review Process Workgroup. Email and Meredith Wellington at

Remaining Development Review Process Workgroup Listening Sessions:

Participants will have two minutes to speak. The workgroup members are interested in:

  1. Your specific experiences with the development review process.
  2. Suggestions for improving the development review process.
  3. Your experiences with the development review process in other jurisdictions.

Workgroup Public Work Sessions

In addition to the public listening session meetings, the Development Review Process Workgroup will be meeting in public on a regular basis throughout the summer as stated below. The meeting schedule is subject to change, so please check our website for updates. The community is welcome to watch the meetings through a livestream (also available on demand under the “Speakers and Special Events” tab).

More About the Development Review Process Workgroup

The Development Review Process Workgroup, made up of county residents, M-NCPPC, county, state, regional and County Council representatives, and the development community, will deliver findings to the Montgomery County Delegation of the Maryland General Assembly by October 15, 2023.

The members of the Development Review Process Workgroup were selected by the Planning Board Chair and the County Executive and include:

Chair: Delegate Lesley Lopez (D-District 39)

In the Letter of Intent from February 2023, it was agreed that the Development Review Process Workgroup would work together in support of the following principles:

About the development review process

The Montgomery County Planning Board is responsible for planning and subdivision functions in Montgomery County pursuant to the Maryland Land Use Article. This includes the administration of subdivision regulations, approval of sketch, preliminary and site plans, preparation, and adoption of recommendations regarding zoning map amendments and conditional uses, the preparation of master plans, and mandatory referrals.

The Planning Board serves as the Montgomery County Council’s principal adviser on land use and community planning. The Council adopts zoning and subdivision laws, as well as master plans, which are then implemented by Montgomery Planning and the Planning Board. Montgomery Planning drafts master plans, and performs surveys, studies and other planning duties under a work program approved by the Montgomery County Council. Montgomery Planning also reviews proposed development projects that go to the Planning Board for approval.

Montgomery County’s development review process is largely delegated to Montgomery Planning by the Planning Board. This process ensures that new development applications are consistent with adopted master plans and state and county laws as well as considering the impact on the environment, quality of design, compatibility with neighboring uses and the availability of public facilities (water and sewer, transportation, schools).  The development review process and Planning Board approval are necessary and legally required steps that take place prior to approved projects applying for permits to construct.

The Development Review Committee (DRC) organized by Montgomery Planning is one step in the development review process, and includes representatives from the Planning Department, Parks Department; county agencies dealing with transportation (Montgomery County Department of Transportation), stormwater, rights-of way,  fire safety, and well and septic (Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services), water and sewer (Department of Environmental Protection), and housing (Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs); the State Highway Administration; and utilities (PEPCO, Washington Gas, WSSC, Verizon). Montgomery Planning reviews plans and is also the authority per county law for forest conservation compliance and enforcement. The DRC structure allows applicants to work with agency staff on clarifying and resolving specific technical queries regarding development applications at the beginning of the review process. DRC biweekly meetings are live-streamed and open to the public.

This regulatory process of reviewing developments is governed by both State and County law. Reviewing development proposals before those projects seek permits for construction ensures that every proposal aligns with community needs, legal requirements, the vision for the neighborhood’s future, and Montgomery County’s priorities, some expressed through Capital budget funding. There are multiple opportunities in the development review process for public participation, through pre-application meetings, public DRC meetings and opportunities to submit comments to agencies and testimony for the public Planning Board hearings.

After the Planning Board approves an application, the Montgomery County Departments of Permitting Services (DPS) and Montgomery County Department of Transportation review and issue required building and access permits, final stormwater management requirements, and other approvals related to sediment and erosion control. For projects that involve state roads, the MD State Highway Administration (SHA) reviews and issues necessary access permits.  During building and site construction, DPS staff also monitors for compliance and conducts final reviews and inspections when construction is complete.

Learn more about the development review process in Montgomery County.