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Community Meeting for Rock Spring Master Plan on January 28 Will Address Parks and Open Spaces, and Transportation Policies

January 19, 2016

Staff from Montgomery Planning and Montgomery Parks Departments will address potential open spaces, transportation metrics and connectivity as part of the planning effort in the Rock Spring area of North Bethesda

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will discuss the Rock Spring Master Plan. at a community meeting Thursday, January 28, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD).

Montgomery Parks’ staff will present information at the start of the meeting about parks and open spaces possible amenities, opportunity areas and roles of County agencies and developers related to these topics.

The second half of the meeting will be dedicated to a discussion about transportation and connectivity. Staff from the Planning Department will present information on transportation policies, land use and transportation modeling, and review connectivity issues identified at previous community meetings.

Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.

Background on Rock Spring
Once considered a premier office location, Rock Spring has been particularly hard hit by the current downturn in the office market.  Single-use business parks without access to transit, like Rock Spring, are struggling with the highest office vacancies. The current office vacancy rate in Rock Spring is 23.7 percent, higher than the County’s overall vacancy rate of 15 percent. Within the context of changing preferences of employers and their workforces for transit-served locations with a dynamic mix of uses, this planning effort will explore ways to reimagine Rock Spring.

The 1992 North Bethesda/Garrett Park Sector Plan recommended some mixed-use zoning in the Rock Spring area, and one residential development of 386 multi-family units has been completed and a new 168-unit townhouse project is under construction. Much of the property in Rock Spring was converted to the Employment Office (EOF) zone when the new County Zoning Ordinance became effective on October 30, 2014. The Rock Spring Master Plan effort will involve a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the area’s zoning.

In addition, the 1992 Sector Plan recommended the North Bethesda Transitway to connect the White Flint area with Montgomery Mall via Old Georgetown Road and Rock Spring Drive. The Transitway is included in the approved 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) and provides a framework for re-evaluating Rock Spring.

Challenges confronting the Rock Spring planners include:

-Reinventing an auto-centric suburban office park.

-Identifying opportunities for improved connectivity.

-Examining places for public use spaces and amenities.

-Introducing residential and retail uses into predominately non-residential development to create a mixed use environment.

-Identifying sustainable environmental measures.

-Analyzing the impact of potential new residential development on the area’s public schools.

-Evaluating infrastructure needs for the area.

For more information about the Rock Spring Master Plan, contact the lead planner:

Andrea Gilles, tel. 301.495.4541, email Andrea.Gilles@montgomeryplanning.org