June 13, 2012
SILVER SPRING – As Montgomery County continues to grow, planners are devising a set of policies that ensure new and existing residents have adequate roads, transit, schools and other infrastructure.
The draft 2012-2016 Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP), which planners will present to the Planning Board on Thursday, matches services like transportation and schools to serve existing and future growth. It also outlines the way growth should occur to create better communities through economic development, natural resource protection and strategies to create more social interaction and physical activity.
The SSP, formerly called the Growth Policy, manages growth over the next four years by setting policies and establishing tests to measure the impact of development.
In the report, planners forecast a continuing increase in growth, with the number of Montgomery County households increasing by 21 percent in the next 20 years, to 436,202 in 2030. To help grow where infrastructure exists, planners are drafting community plans that direct growth along the I-270 Corridor and in inner-ring urban areas, where nearly 90 percent of job, household, and population growth is expected.
Given the small amount of vacant, developable land in Montgomery County – just 2.8 percent or 9,249 acres – planners are encouraging more efficient development patterns to accommodate new residents and businesses. The recommendation is in keeping with the Planning Board’s direction for at least the last five years: compact, walkable redevelopment in urban centers near public transportation.
Recent master plans in White Flint and Wheaton are designed to achieve that. Plans nearing completion, such as Long Branch, Chevy Chase Lake, Glenmont and White Oak Science Gateway, will set a vision for smart growth and redevelopment to occur.
The 2012-2016 SSP differs from previous growth policies by introducing a new traffic test, Transportation Policy Area Review, which calculates the effects of all new development over different time periods on roads and transit. The traffic test analyzes roadway congestion and transit service and provides tools to match funding of improvements where growth pressure is highest. Road and transit improvement funding would come from a mix of public funds and contributions from developers.
Like the Growth Policy, the SSP continues the same standards for classroom capacity to ensure enough desks for all school-age children. However, it recommends that school facility payments charged to new development be updated to reflect current construction costs.
The Board will review the SSP report Thursday, and schedule a public hearing in late June. After the Board refines the SSP during worksessions, it will deliver its draft to the County Council for review by August 1.
Montgomery County Planning Board
2012-2016 Subdivision Staging Policy
10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 14 (time approximate)
Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring