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By Artie Harris, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board

This is the story of my rain garden adventure in the front yard of my family’s Takoma Park home.

Every time there was a big rain, water rushed down our driveway into the street, joining with runoff from other houses in a fast-flowing gush along the curb. Since our house is on a hill, stormwater has never caused us any problems, but we knew our downstream neighbors suffered from flooded basements. We also knew the result of all this cumulative discharge was harmful to the beloved Chesapeake Bay.

Many Montgomery County homes have a similar problem, but in our case, it was especially obvious because we had a gravel driveway. … Continue reading

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By Artie Harris, Montgomery County Planning Board Chair and Jason K. Sartori, Montgomery Planning Director

This blog is also published in Greater Greater Washington as a guest opinion column.

Bold action by governments to tackle the country’s housing crisis has been scarce for far too long. The Biden administration is fed up too, calling for federal policies that would incentivize local governments to end discriminatory single-family home zoning.

The Montgomery County Planning Board believes it is about time Montgomery County joined a national movement to break free from outdated laws that constrain housing supply and prices too many people out of the market.

On June 13, the Planning Board voted to recommend that the Montgomery County Council relax … Continue reading

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Montgomery Planning’s strategic planning will advance the goals of Thrive Montgomery 2050

By Jason K. Sartori, Montgomery Planning Director

While I had worked at Montgomery Planning for nearly eight years before being appointed director in November 2023, stepping into this role has provided me with a fresh perspective on the department and the communities we serve. I have enjoyed building deeper relationships with Planning staff, Planning Board members, County Council, other government stakeholders, and members of the community who collaborate with us on a range of neighborhood plans and land use policy issues. As I wrote in January, I am optimistic about the opportunities ahead for our county.

One of my first priorities as director was to embark … Continue reading

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By Artie Harris, Montgomery County Planning Board Chair

Montgomery County has not been immune to the nation’s housing crisis. Addressing this multi-faceted issue requires interventions at every step — from project review through construction.

The Planning Board has sought to accelerate housing development through a variety of avenues. Among the thousands of bills introduced this legislative session, four bills stand out to us that will help us address the housing crisis.

Accelerating early project stages

Accelerating the development review process is one way to help get new residences built in the county.

Two bills, both sponsored by Delegate Lesley Lopez, HB 0989 Montgomery County Subdivision Plats – Conditions and HB 1003 Montgomery County Clerk of the circuit Court – … Continue reading

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By Bridget Broullire, Acting Deputy Director  

Community feedback is foundational to developing successful, sustainable plans. Combined with internal and external expertise and data sources, community feedback significantly informs our planning recommendations. However, stakeholder input has sometimes historically flowed from just a small portion of the community with the time and resources to participate in the process. That often led to communities of color, non-native English speakers, low-income residents, and others being excluded or marginalized from having their voices heard in community planning.

Montgomery Planning’s updated approach leverages a more equitable, transparent, and effective community outreach and engagement process to reverse historical trends and make it easy for all residents, business owners, property owners and leaders to understand and … Continue reading

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This is the fifth and final in a series of Third Place blogs taking a closer look at the winners of Montgomery Planning’s 2023 Design Excellence Awards.

Great and complete neighborhoods are focused on parks and public spaces, which foster health, recreation, and socialization. Civic buildings are often associated with these public spaces to encourage greater use of both. When we build connections through our civic facilities on public parks, we dramatically strengthen community. It is an investment in community that fosters tremendous social returns. The Design, Arts and Culture chapter of the Thrive Montgomery 2050 General Plan update speaks to the importance of these qualities incorporated into our civic buildings and all architecture. Our civic buildings should promote … Continue reading

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By Bhavna Sivasubramanian

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Research and Strategic Projects Division at Montgomery Planning developed a profile presenting key demographic, economic, and employment characteristics of the female population in Montgomery County. Gender disparity is a national and global topic of study, and this research aims to highlight such differences in the county. Considering the unique characteristics and challenges faced by females in the county helps planners, local government decision-makers, and the public develop equitable, diverse, and inclusive communities for all. All data for this research come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates. Data are from respondents who answered “Female” to ACS’s question “What is your sex?”

In 2022, women … Continue reading

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This is part of a series of Third Place blogs taking a closer look at the winners of Montgomery Planning’s 2023 Design Excellence Awards.

As stated in the Thrive Montgomery 2050 General Plan, communities should be compact, mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly to allow independence for those who do not drive, especially the elderly and the young. Transit, pedestrian, and bike systems should link communities to maximize mobility throughout the region and to further reduce vehicle dependence. The primary task of the architecture and landscape in these communities is physically defining streets and public spaces that people share. These spaces are the public realm, which we often pay a lot of money to visit on vacations around the world.

People of … Continue reading

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By Miti Figueredo, Montgomery Parks Director

The good news about running a large park system is that everyone loves parks—hikers, bikers, equestrians, soccer players, bird watchers, kids looking for slides and swing sets, their parents, conservationists, and historic preservationists. All of them can find something that gets them excited about visiting a park.

The bad news is that the demand for parks and amenities exceeds Montgomery Parks’ available resources. Everyone wants and needs something different from parks, whether it’s a new athletic field or pickleball court, a renovated playground, or more land for conservation. Our parks have something for everyone, but in the competition for limited resources, not every popular program or facility can be expanded or upgraded—at least … Continue reading