Montgomery Parks and Planning departments present Spring 2023 Semiannual Report to County Council
March 8, 2023
Presentation features current work program updates, equitable engagement, and new initiatives
WHEATON, Md. – The Montgomery Parks and Montgomery Planning departments, both part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), presented their Spring 2023 Semiannual Report to the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. The presentations showcased key projects, park activities and plans from the past six months, and initiatives that will be completed over the next six months and beyond. The presentation is given to the County Council every spring and fall and allows County Councilmembers to provide feedback to staff on work program items.
Watch the Spring 2023 Semiannual presentation to the County Council
Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Jeff Zyontz began the presentation by highlighting the work of the temporary acting Planning Board. “I’m grateful to Commissioners Cherri Branson, David Hill, and Amy Presley – over the last four months, they were engaged and dedicated to the task they were given, including approving 133 individual regulatory items in addition to recommending approval of master plans for the County Council’s consideration. I look forward to working with the new Planning Board members.”
Acting Montgomery County Planning Department Director Tanya Stern provided the County Council an update on the Planning Department’s Equity in Planning agenda, master planning efforts and other planning initiatives, with a focus on equitable and complete communities and implementation of Thrive Montgomery 2050. “Now that Thrive Montgomery 2050 is adopted, we are focused on working with public and private sector partners on its implementation. This is year one of a multi-decade opportunity to turn Thrive’s policies into reality on-the-ground, especially fostering complete communities where all residents can equitably access housing, services, amenities, and transportation choices in close proximity.”
Director of Montgomery Parks Mike Riley emphasized the department’s strategic efforts to update and develop new parks and amenities that align with the department’s 2022 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan.
“We recently finalized the department’s long-range plan to continue to meet the needs of our growing and changing county by encouraging physical activity, facilitating social interaction, and stewarding environmental resources. This robust plan was driven by extensive community outreach and sets an exciting course for the future of our parks.”
The Spring 2023 Semiannual presentation highlights the following accomplishments, achieved by Montgomery Planning and Montgomery Parks over the past six months and programs planned for the rest of 2023:
Montgomery Planning highlights:
- Continuing implementation of the department’s Equity Agenda for Planning by using an equity lens for master plans, conducting equitable engagement with the county’s diverse communities, and using tools such as Equity Focus Areas mapping and Trends in Racial & Ethnic Diversity data to inform master planning and implement the goals of Thrive Montgomery 2050.
- Continuing efforts on equitably engaging the community in the master planning process with plans such as the Pedestrian Master Plan, Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan, Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment, The Great Seneca Plan, and the University Boulevard Corridor Plan.
- Expediting the development review process by having concurrent application reviews and Planning Board approval, executing Speed to Market projects, and implementing action items from the Fall 2022 Development Review Committee Retreat.
- Advancing special projects and programs such as the Mapping Segregation Project, Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Project, Incentive Density Guidelines Update, the Friendship Heights Urban Design Study, Reforest Montgomery, Placemaking, and Design Excellence.
Montgomery Parks highlights:
- Secured federal and state funding to renovate and create new parks, trails and other amenities across the county.
- Finalized an update to the Wheaton Regional Park Master Plan which will significantly improve pedestrian and bicycle access and interconnectivity throughout the park, as well as add trending amenities, including a world-class, multi-generational action sports park.
- Increased the number of park activation events such as the Parks Ale Trail festival, comedy nights, free salsa lessons, movie nights and concerts.
- Several major park projects will come online this year, including Gene Lynch Urban Park, a new park adjacent to the Silver Spring Metro Station which will provide an event lawn area for gathering, public artwork and an elevated seating terrace with bench swings.
About The Montgomery County Planning Board
The Montgomery County Planning Board plans for livable communities by developing large- and small-scale plans, providing guidelines for the pattern and pace of future development, and preserving historic resources throughout the 323,000-acre county. The Planning Board implements plans through its review of development applications and its subdivision decisions. The Planning Board is also responsible for the development and management of Montgomery County’s nationally recognized 36,512-acre park system.
About Montgomery Planning
The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, aims to improve quality of life by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for current and future generations. The Planning Department creates great communities by developing master plans, reviewing applications for development and analyzing various types of information to help public officials plan for Montgomery County’s future. The Department comprises about 150 staff members and provides recommendations, information, analysis and services to the Montgomery County Planning Board, the County Council, the County Executive, other government agencies and the public. Visit www.montgomeryplanning.org.
About Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 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. 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. MontgomeryParks.org