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Montgomery County Planning Department

As Montgomery County continues to attract an increasingly diverse, technologically savvy, well-educated population, the Montgomery County Planning Department focuses its skills and talents to bring high-quality design in both form and function to all areas, from central business districts to rural villages.

The Department 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. Each community within Montgomery County has a master plan that creates a comprehensive view of land use trends and future development. (Some jurisdictions within Montgomery County—such as the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg and some smaller taxing districts such as Poolesville—have independent planning and zoning authority over land within their boundaries. Contact those jurisdictions directly for information about properties within their borders.)

The 140-member Planning Department brings regulatory cases, master plans, functional plans and many other initiatives to the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Map of Montgomery County, divided into three areas: Upcounty, mid-county, and downcounty. Upcounty encompasses the north, east and west parts of the county from Fairland to Potomac. Midcounty follows the east side of 495 and noth 270 to Germantown. Downcounty is inside of the beltway and borders Washington, DC

The Department operates in multi-disciplinary geographic teams with regulatory as well as community planning functions. This results in better integration and flexibility and leads to faster and more balanced decision-making. Divisions include:

The team structure provides a unified point of contact and detailed knowledge about what’s happening in each area. The structure also provides for differing perspectives to be heard and resolved within the team. Mixing staff with varying areas of expertise will enhance the responsiveness and quality of decision-making. The Planning Department is part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Planning Department Goals

Enhance the community equity, economic health, and environmental resilience of Montgomery County.

Implement “Complete Communities” by planning great walkable and bikeable communities that are vibrant, livable, accessible, and sustainable. This includes:

  • Providing a mix of uses with housing near jobs, retail, and services to create livable places that are accessible and inviting to people with a variety of income levels, household sizes, and lifestyles.
  • Focusing on public amenities and the public realm of streets, plazas, and open spaces.
  • Considering how people experience spaces and placemaking opportunities.
  • Conserving and enhancing existing neighborhoods and historic places.

Balance infrastructure and growth as the County population increases and unconstrained land for development decreases.

Offer holistic, well-researched recommendations for plans and regulations that are objective, based on the best national and regional precedents, and advance equity in the county.

Equitably plan the communities of Montgomery County and engage its diverse stakeholders to develop better-informed plans.

Advance the field of planning and be recognized as a regional and national leader in all facets of planning.

Manage the County’s natural resources and direct future growth along corridors that:

  • Reduces auto dependency.
  • Improves environmental quality by protecting waterways and the natural and built environment.
  • Preserves, enhances, and expands green space for current and future generations.
  • Increases connectivity through all modes of well-considered transportation.
  • Ensures the highest quality of buildings, landscapes and streetscapes that reflect design excellence.
  • Establishes affordability and equity in all communities.

Strengthen economic competitiveness to help attract new residents and businesses to Montgomery County.

Create and increase trust in the Planning Department to gain community support for plans and appropriate resources from the County government.

Tell us how we’re doing

Montgomery Planning is committed to improving the quality of life of Montgomery County’s residents, and we want to hear from you on how we are doing. Please take this short, anonymous questionnaire by June 10. You’re feedback is greatly appreciated and will help guide our work in the future.

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