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Home / News / Montgomery County Council approves Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan

Montgomery County Council approves Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan

Montgomery Planning’s recommendations to improve access to public transportation, housing options, retail, and pedestrian connections along a five-mile stretch of U.S. 29 corridor receives unanimous County Council approval.

WHEATON, Md. – At its weekly meeting today, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to approve the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan, a comprehensive set of recommendations re-envisioning future growth and development along Columbia Pike (U.S. 29) that was authored by the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). The plan’s major goals are creating a more complete community, fostering corridor growth, promoting economic development, increasing housing opportunities, and improving connections between the natural and built environments.

The County Council has final approval authority for master plans and today’s vote follows a series of livestreamed work sessions and public hearings on the plan throughout 2023 conducted by the County Council and the Montgomery County Planning Board, also part of The M-NCPPC, which voted to approve the plan in June. Since the summer of 2021, Montgomery Planning’s equitable community engagement generated hundreds of public comments, conversations, ideas, and illustrations from residents and other stakeholders in the plan area that informed the development of the plan’s recommendations.

“The zoning and land use recommendations in the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan embrace a new future for this community,” said Planning Board Chair Artie Harris. “One that shifts from a spread out, disconnected suburb reliant on automobiles to a more equitable, transit-oriented, and compact community where centers of activity, employment, and open space are closer to each other to allow for safer, more comfortable access to a greater variety of travel modes. These recommended actions will improve economic mobility and the ability to experience the area’s public realm.”

“This is the first master plan crafted under our new General Plan, Thrive Montgomery 2050, and it addresses inequities in housing options, applies the best available strategies to combat climate change, and reimagines underused properties to strengthen economic development opportunities and meet the evolving needs of residents, workers, and visitors,” said Montgomery Planning Director Jason Sartori. “This part of eastern Montgomery County is way past due for a comprehensive plan that can spur public- and private-sector investment to improve quality of life for all and create a greater sense of place and inclusion. This plan offers recommendations to rectify past planning and policy decisions that stunted growth in this area decades ago and to move toward a more socially and culturally connected community that embodies racial equity and social justice.”

“While the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan will not change this community overnight, it sets the stage for significant improvements over the next 10 to 20 years through future development projects, government policymaking, and infrastructure investments,” said project co-lead Clark Larson. “Montgomery Planning spent more than two years collaborating and engaging with this great community and we crafted a plan that reflects what it already loves about its neighborhoods while taking the necessary steps to become more prosperous, equitable, environmentally resilient and economically competitive.”

Visit the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan website to view the current draft of the plan. The final County Council-approved plan will be posted soon.

Key Recommendation Themes of the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan

More About the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan

The Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan is an update to a portion of the 1997 Fairland Master Plan and establishes a clear vision for an equitable, just, and prosperous future for the Fairland and Briggs Chaney community, mirroring the county’s long-term priorities, which include a vibrant economy, equity for all residents, and a healthy environment. The master plan boundary consists primarily of property and neighborhoods of Fairland and Briggs Chaney along the U.S. 29 Corridor from near Paint Branch on the south to Greencastle Road on the north (view the plan boundary). The update will examine and provide policies and recommendations on existing and future land uses and zoning, housing inventory and needs, transportation systems, historic preservation opportunities, area park facilities, and the environment.

This master plan will take cues from the equity framework in the update to the county’s General Plan, Thrive Montgomery 2050, which describes how places with equitable access to opportunity produce strong, successful communities. Goals of the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan include: