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Great Seneca Plan Existing Conditions report presented to the Planning Board

January 20, 2023

The Great Seneca Plan, Connecting Life and Science
Planners release report on current conditions, community input for master plan focused on communities along I-270 Corridor

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), presented the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science Existing Conditions Report to the Planning Board Thursday, January 19. The Great Seneca Plan is a comprehensive update to the 2010 master plan for communities in the heart of the I-270 Corridor that border the cities of Gaithersburg​ and Rockville, and includes the Universities at Shady Grove, Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove, and surrounding areas. The Existing Conditions Report evaluates the status of the plan area and provides critical community input and data that inform the Great Seneca Plan going forward. The final plan will make recommendations for land use, zoning, urban design, transportation, environment, and community facilities, as well as incorporate countywide initiatives and policies.

“Montgomery County created a vision for a diverse and dynamic community in Great Seneca where people could live and work in an area that would support a thriving life sciences hub,” said Acting Planning Director Tanya Stern. “A decade or so later, we are evaluating the vision set in the 2010 Plan and we are checking back in with the community on their experiences, needs, and desires in their neighborhoods as trends emerge.”

Read the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science Existing Conditions Report.

Review the presentation of the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science Existing Conditions Report.

Great Seneca Plan Existing Conditions Report key takeaways

Key findings from the report are:

  • The plan area’s population has grown by 20% since 2010, and over 40% since 2000; it has far outpaced population growth in Montgomery County (23%) since 2000.
  • Over 1,500 housing units have been added to the plan area since 2010.
  • The multifamily rental vacancy rate in the plan area is at a historic low at 2.5% – declining from 2.8% in 2021. In 2022, rents in the plan area surpassed the county’s average.
  • The life sciences industry is the major private employment sector in the plan area. However, the largest single employers are federal, higher education, and healthcare institutions.
  • Over 13,000 people in the county are employed in private-sector life sciences work, and over 8,000 of these people – nearly 60% – work in the Life Sciences Center.

More About the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science

The Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science is an effort to examine the Great Seneca community, to identify strengths and needs, and to create vision for the future.

Working with community members and other stakeholders, Montgomery Planning will evaluate how the area has grown over the past decade, consider current trends, and create recommendations for sustainability, housing, economic resiliency, and transportation and community connections to equitably guide future growth.

The Great Seneca Plan is a comprehensive update to the 2010 Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan and a follow up to the 2021 Great Seneca Science Corridor Minor Master Plan Amendment.

Great Seneca Plan Boundary

The planning area is in the heart of the I-270 Corridor and is completely or nearly surrounded by the City of Gaithersburg, the City of Rockville and the Town of Washington Grove. It includes Adventist Healthcare at Shady Grove, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Universities at Shady Grove, and the Life Sciences Center. In addition to the life sciences industry hub, the plan area is home to residential communities and neighborhoods such as Quince Orchard and Rosemont, as well as the Camden Shady Grove, Axis at Shady Grove, Mallory Square, Londonderry, Decoverly, and Traville Apartments.

How to get involved

To receive the latest news and information on the plan, please sign up for its eletter. Planners are also asking the community to complete a short questionnaire to help guide planning efforts, or use the MCReactMap to help identify what they like about the area, what is missing, and what needs to be improved. For questions or comments, contact lead planner Maren Hill via email or at 301-650-5613.