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2019 Winter Speaker Series

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The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is sponsoring a three-part Winter Speaker Series, “Imagine the Future of Montgomery County,” to be held in January, February and March 2019, that will focus on  the upcoming General Plan update and the broad trends and challenges facing the county over the next 20 to 30 years.

The General Plan for the Maryland-Washington Regional District in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, also known as the Wedges and Corridors Plan, was adopted by the M-NCPPC in 1964. The plan has been revised and amended numerous times through local area master plans and countywide functional plans. Its core concepts of wedge-shaped areas of land situated between major road corridors connecting different communities have shaped the county for the past 54 years.

The goals of the General Plan — efficient use of land, preservation of open spaces, opportunities for outdoor recreation, protection of environmental resources, connective transportation systems and a variety of living environments, among others — are as valid today as they were in 1964. But the technological, social, environmental and economic changes that have occurred since the plan’s adoption have led to the pressing need to refresh the plan for Montgomery County and set a direction for the future.

“Previous Winter Speaker Series have focused on specific issues, such as housing, transportation and economic development. This time, as we are preparing to update our General Plan so we want to start looking more comprehensively at the future of the county as we continue to grow and plan for our communities,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “I invite anyone who lives or works in Montgomery County to attend or tune into this series as we consider the important issues related to the update of the General Plan.”

The 2019 Winter Speakers Series will offer lessons from other jurisdictions in the DC region that have updated comprehensive plans and address issues such as resiliency, mobility and equity that will influence Montgomery County’s General Plan update.

The series is free and open to the public and planning professionals. Credits for certification maintenance (CM) for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and Landscape Architect (LACES) attending the series are available.

The presentations, which will include question-and-answer discussions, will be held at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. as follows:


Session 1: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Recent General Plan Updates in the Washington, DC Region

Several local jurisdictions have recently updated their general plans or are in the process of updating them. A panel of current and former planning officials from Washington, DC, Loudoun County, Virginia, and Howard County, Maryland, will discuss lessons learned from these updates, including community involvement in creating the new plans.

Speakers: Tanya Stern, Deputy Director of the Montgomery County Planning Department and former Deputy Director of the DC Office of Planning; Valdis Lazdins, Planning Director of Howard County; and Ricky Barker, Director of Community Planning and Development Services for the City of Rockville and former Planning and Zoning Director of Loudoun County.

Session 1 Transcript

Washington, DC Comprehensive Plan, Tanya Stern
Howard County General Plan, Valdis Lazdins
Loudoun County Comprehensive Plan, Ricky Barker

Session 2: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What is Real Resilience? Positioning our Communities to Thrive in Changing Times

This session will examine the probable disruptive technological, social, environmental and economic changes coming our way over the next few decades and the potential impacts these changes on the region, county, cities and towns.  What can we do to position ourselves to not just endure, but thrive with the changes headed our way?

Speaker:  Harriet Tregoning, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Session 2 Transcript

Real Resilience: Positioning Montgomery County to Thrive Through Changing Times, Harriet Tregoning, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and a former Planning Director for Washington DC


Session 3: Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Capital Region Blueprint for Regional Mobility by Greater Washington Partnership

Ensuring seamless, efficient transportation connections is critical to a productive and prosperous regional economy. This session will examine recommendations to address our region’s most pressing transportation challenges included in the Greater Washington Partnership’s recently released report Capital Region Blueprint for Regional Mobility, a strategy for prioritizing smart policies and investment in infrastructure.

Speaker:  Joe McAndrew, Director of Transportation Policy, Greater Washington Partnership

Capital Region Blueprint for Regional Mobility, a strategy for prioritizing smart policies and investment in infrastructure

About the Speakers

Tanya Stern joined Montgomery Planning in August 2018 as Deputy Director. Previously, she worked as the Deputy Director for Planning, Engagement and Design at the DC Office of Planning. In that position, Stern directed land use planning initiatives, including the initiation of Washington, DC’s comprehensive plan; waterfront and neighborhood planning, and urban design. These efforts included integrating the topic of resilience into the city’s comprehensive plan for the first time and partnering with local, regional and federal agencies on climate adaptation and flood management initiatives.

Valdis Lazdins is the Director of the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning. A professional planner and landscape architect, Lazdins directs and manages multi-disciplinary teams and municipal planning staff to prepare development and redevelopment strategies for new communities, mixed-use projects, brownfield sites and suburban areas. He has extensive experience with complex planning and urban design projects and much of his recent work focuses on re-inventing the suburbs.

Ricky Barker is the Director of Community Planning and Development Services for the City of Rockville. Previously, he was Planning and Zoning Director for Loudoun County, Virginia, where he led the development of a new comprehensive plan. Barker spent the prior 20 years as the Associate Planning Director for Cary, North Carolina where he worked with the town council to direct and manage growth and development through streamlined regulations. He has been a speaker at the national conferences of the American Planning Association on the development of comprehensive plans, among other topics.

Harriet Tregoning works on planning, smart mobility, disaster resilience, housing and community development issues. She served in President Barack Obama’s administration as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that position, Tregoning helped states, regions and communities across the country to build a strong foundation for resilience in the face of a changing climate. Additionally, Tregoning is the former Director of the DC Office of Planning.

Joe McAndrew has more than a decade of policy and planning experience. He is the director of transportation policy at the Greater Washington Partnership where he develops and drives all activity relating to its transportation initiative. Prior to joining the partnership, McAndrew served as legislative assistant for the United States Senate Commerce Committee. Before working on Capitol Hill, he served as the policy director for Transportation for America where he led federal and state policy efforts, and supported state and local partners

Last Updated: June 30, 2022