Master Plan Reality Check for Fairland and Friendship Heights Presented to Planning Board on February 23

February 23, 2017

Analysis of 1997 Fairland Master Plan and 1998 Friendship Heights Sector Plan reveal that both plans largely met expectations

Silver Spring, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), presented an update to the ongoing Master Plan Reality Check to the Planning Board on Thursday, February 23, 2017. This analysis focused on two plans, the 1997 Fairland Master Plan and 1998 Friendship Heights Sector Plan. It follows the study of the 1989 Germantown Master Plan, which was selected as a pilot project based on data availability and other factors.

The purpose of the Master Plan Reality Check is to gauge how the goals and visions expressed in master plans have been carried out and evaluate why expected outcomes were or were not met. Each plan study involves an in-depth analysis of indicators in six categories, including residential and nonresidential development, transportation and the environment, and community facilities, such as parks. The results of this study, directed by the Planning Department’s Research and Special Projects Division, will help guide the development of future master plans and master plan monitoring.

Key findings from the 1997 Fairland Master Plan analysis

-Development that has occurred to date is only one-third of the allowable density (floor area ratio). This utilization rate is similar to the level in Germantown.

-Residential development met the plan’s expectations. The plan successfully guided a change in the housing type mix, in this case from multi-family housing to single-family units, although most of the new development was single-family attached units, not the prescribed single-family detached units.

-Rental units in the plan area are “naturally affordable” (defined as affordable to households making 80 percent of area median income).

-Public investments in parks and recreational facilities have met plan goals.

-Bike and pedestrian connectivity was a significant plan goal, and it has improved but is not yet complete.

-Traffic congestion levels today at most intersections are consistent with plan projections or even lower than plan projections.

Key findings from the 1998 Friendship Heights Sector Plan analysis

-Most of the recommended development was built within the first 10 years of plan adoption.

-Development has reached nearly 90 percent of its maximum commercial floor area ratio.

-Total built office space meets the planned land use scenario.

-Only a few residential recommendations were included in the plan, but not all have been realized.

-Creation of parks and recreational spaces relied heavily on private investment. While they have been built, the accessibility and design of some spaces are not fully consistent with the plan vision.

-Traffic congestion levels today at intersections along Wisconsin Avenue are lower than plan projections.

Consult the Master Plan Reality Check for more information.