Community invited to attend three-part virtual speaker series kicking off Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan

May 3, 2021

community conversations graphic

“CommUNITY Conversations in Fairland” will take place in May and June and will focus on racial equity, social justice and a reimagining of the Route 29 corridor  

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is inviting residents, community members and other stakeholders to attend a three-part virtual speaker series, called CommUNITY Conversations in Fairland, kicking off the official start to the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan. The series will cover key topics that will be studied in the plan such as racial equity, community connectedness, pedestrian safety, parks and open space, cultural resources, and more. The speaker series follows the Planning Board’s approval of the Scope of Work which includes a four-part engagement plan.

“I’m so excited to welcome the Fairland and Briggs Chaney residents and business owners to start a conversation about their community and what could be possible with the master planning process,” said Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright. “All are welcome to attend and we want to hear from all voices as we start the listening phase of this important planning process.”

Each session is programmed to include a presentation and question and answer/commenting segment. The events will be recorded and made available online on the Fairland and Briggs Chaney project page. The speaker series is free to attend and will be held virtually via Microsoft teleconferencing services. RSVPs are required to attend the meeting.

Sessions:

New Discoveries on Sacred Ground: Paying Homage to Local Pioneers – May 18 (6 – 8 p.m.)

After launching the African American Historic Sites project five years ago, the Historic Preservation Division is committed to an honest and equitable representation of the county’s complete history and heritage. In our efforts to broaden awareness of African American heritage sites (such as burial sites, churches, homesteads, and farmlands) and encourage dialogue between community members, attendees will view a documentary film about the legacy of Sarah Lee and Malinda Jackson, who were both prominent African American figures in the Fairland area. The documentary will tell their story from multiple perspectives. Panelists will hold a question-and-answer session following the documentary. Registration is required and this program has been approved for AICP and ASLA continuing education credits.

Opening Remarks:
Tanya Stern, Montgomery County Planning Department Deputy Director

Moderator:
Molline Jackson (co-lead planner for the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan)

Panelists:
Brian Crane, Archaeologist for the Montgomery County Planning Department
CeLillianne Green, Poet; Performing Artist
Jamie Ferguson, Senior Historian for Montgomery County Department of Parks
Ella LaGrange, Student Researcher
Michael Withers, Great, Great Grandson of Sarah Lee
Varna Boyd, Professional Archaeologist

The Importance of People-First Transportation Planning – May 25 (6 – 8 p.m.)

As we plan to strengthen connections and communities along our corridors in Montgomery County, we must consider the impact that transportation planning has on racial equity and social justice. The second session will focus on the plan area’s challenges of connectedness and pedestrian safety. The session will dive into the origins of Vision Zero, the Pedestrian Master Plan and present the latest data produced from these plans. Attendees will also hear personal stories from neighborhood champions that highlight the walking culture and pedestrian experience in the Fairland and Briggs Chaney community. Registration is required and this program has been approved for AICP and ASLA continuing education credits.

Moderator:
Lauren Campbell, Senior Transportation Planner for the Montgomery County Planning Department

Panelists:
Charles Brown Senior Researcher for Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center
Jesse Cohn McGowan, Transportation Planner for Montgomery County Planning Department
Shannon Minnick, Director of Independent Living Services for Independence Now
Rochelle Harrod, Independence Now Representative – Independent Living Specialist in Prince George’s County

Grassroots Advocacy on CommUNITY Green Space: Mastering the Art of CommUNITY Collaboration – June 1 (6 – 8 p.m.)

In the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan area and throughout the region, parks and community green spaces are in high demand. In collaboration with neighborhood champions, this session will focus on community engagement strategies, grassroots advocacy, increased access to community green spaces and food networks. In the session, we will explore how the Community Garden program (in the Fairland and Briggs Chaney area) is one of many programs that provide opportunities to strengthen community and working partnerships. Registration is required and this program has been approved for AICP and ASLA continuing education credits.

Opening Remarks & Moderator:
Tina Patterson, Montgomery County Planning Board Commissioner

Panelists:
Julian McElveen, President of Unity Thunder
Heather Bruskin, Montgomery County Food Council
Vanessa Pierre, Executive Director at Homestead Hustle & Healing
Elijah Wheeler, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Collaboration Council
Agar Mbianda, Community Engagement Manager at Manna Food Center
Michelle Nelson, Community Gardens Program with the Parks Department (M-NCPPC)
Danielle Alvarado, Program Manager II: East County Regional Center

About the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan

The Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan is an update to a portion of the 1997 Fairland Master Plan and will establish a clear vision for an equitable, just, and prosperous future for the Fairland community, mirroring the county’s long-term priorities, which include a vibrant economy, equity for all residents, and a healthy environment. The master plan boundary consists primarily of property and communities of Fairland and Briggs Chaney along the US 29 Corridor from near Paint Branch on the south to Greencastle Road on the north. The update will examine and provide policies and recommendations on existing and future land uses and zoning, housing inventory and needs, transportation systems, historic preservation opportunities, area park facilities, and the environment. This master plan will take cues from the equity framework in the update to the county’s General Plan, Thrive Montgomery 2050, which describes how places with equitable access to opportunity produce strong, successful communities.

About the Equity Agenda for Planning

Montgomery Planning recognizes and acknowledges the role that our plans and policies have played in creating and perpetuating racial inequity in Montgomery County. We are committed to transforming the way we work as we seek to address, mitigate, and eliminate inequities from the past and develop planning solutions to create equitable communities in the future. While it will take time to fully develop a new methodology for equity in the planning process, we cannot delay applying an equity lens to our work. Efforts to date include:

  • Developing an Equity Agenda for Planning. The Planning Board approved Equity in Master Planning Framework, and staff is working on action items.
  • Equity Focus Area Analysis. Montgomery Planning identified and analyzed the Equity Focus Areas of the county and developed a mapping tool that will guide planning efforts to foster more equitable outcomes for communities in Montgomery County.
  • Prioritizing equity in Thrive Montgomery 2050. Community Equity is one of the three priority areas of our county General Plan update, Thrive Montgomery 2050.
  • Focusing on equity in upcoming plans. Equity is a central focus of the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan, the first master plan to launch since Montgomery County’s Racial Equity & Social Justice Act passed. All upcoming plans and studies will have an equity focus.
  • Viewing management and operations through an equity lens. Our efforts are not limited to the master planning process. Management and operational functions like communications and human resources are developing approaches, tools, plans, and training to ensure that we look at everything through an equity lens.