Study to assess the 2009 Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan and chart a path forward for the Germantown community
Wheaton, Md. – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will present the scope of work of its upcoming Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan Study to the Montgomery County Planning Board at its meeting on February 8, 2024. The study will revisit the 2009 Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan to review and assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges Germantown faces and to work with community members to understand what could better guide the plan area’s future. The study will consider whether employment and housing growth are a major part of the plan area’s future and if a sector plan amendment might be needed in the future. The scope of work presentation is one of the first steps in the study process.
The study will:
- Assess the state of the plan area relative to the recommendations of the 2009 Sector Plan and other policies, particularly regarding the ability to attract employment and housing opportunities, planned roadway improvements, urban design, planned transit service changes, and achievement of public benefits under the Optional Method of Development.
- Include community outreach and engagement activities, an employment and economic analysis, and scenario modeling of potential alternative futures for the Germantown activity centers along I-270.
- Recommendations will address what, if any, interventions may be needed to support the plan in the years to come, including the potential for a future amendment to the Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan.
The study is being undertaken now due to a need to respond to continued trends in the county’s high vacancy office market, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, and a desire to enhance Germantown’s town center and economic activity. This study is expected to conclude by the end of 2024 with a presentation of study findings to the Montgomery Planning Board and Montgomery County Council.
The scope of work presentation will be livestreamed on the Planning Board’s website when the meeting is in session. Community members are invited to sign up for the study’s eletter to receive information and news on the study as well as to contact project manager Clark Larson at 301-495-1331 or via Email.
The Study Process
The study results will be shared with the community and the Planning Board but it’s important to note, that unlike a master plan, studies conducted by Montgomery Planning do not change zoning. Montgomery Planning begins a study by collecting information about the people who live and work in the area and information about the area itself—its homes and businesses, its growth patterns and environmental needs, and its economic and physical relationships to the surrounding county. Through community engagement and correspondence with community organizations, local business owners, government entities, and other stakeholders, planners determine what the future of the area may look like and how we can best enable a version that is equitable, viable, and carries forward what people love about their community as-is.
About the 2009 Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan
The 2009 Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan established a vision to transform Germantown’s central employment corridor into a vibrant town center and mixed-use districts, but the plan area has not grown as expected in the years since. Some parts of the sector plan area have realized that vision, while others have yet to develop accordingly and have seen densities, occupancies, and public improvements fall short of their potential. The plan’s anticipated residential and employment growth has not kept pace with projections, and the area has been slow to transition its suburban-style commercial areas—with low-rise buildings and large areas of surface parking—into compact, walkable places, especially in the desirable Town Center Core, Cloverleaf, and North End districts. The sector plan amended about 2,400 acres of the 13,000-acre Germantown Master Plan (1989).