Montgomery County Planning Board approves Ashton Village Center Sector Plan for transmittal to County Council

December 8, 2020

Ashton Village Center Sector Plan Logo
Sector plan recommends a mix of land uses for the plan area while preserving the rural character of Ashton

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), approved the Ashton Village Center Sector Plan for transmittal to the Montgomery County Council at their meeting on December 3, 2020. Planners will now amend the Planning Board Draft of the sector plan based on edits and feedback from the Planning Board and formally send the document to the County Council for their review.

View the current draft of the Ashton Village Center Sector Plan.

Recommendations of the plan envision the area as a compact, low-rise, walkable and bikeable rural village with a mix of land uses. Several key goal areas are reflected in the specific recommendations developed in the draft plan. They include:

  • Preserve the rural character of Ashton supported by clusters of development in the village center.
  • Transition from a vehicle-centric commercial crossroads into a viable, vibrant, rural village center with a variety of travel options.
  • Prioritize walkability and bikeability while ensuring the adequacy of major transportation routes.
  • Highlight the area’s rich history, especially the Underground Railroad and Quaker Cluster of the Montgomery County Heritage Area.

“We’re pleased about the Board’s approval of recommendations in the Ashton Village Center Sector Plan,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright. “A lot of work with the community has gone into this plan and we look forward to Council’s review.”

Planning Board approval of the plan comes after several work sessions and a public hearing that took place on September 17, 2020. The plan officially kicked off with a community meeting in May 2019. Planners continued to engage the community throughout the planning process with community meetings and design workshops.

For questions and comments, contact lead planner Jamey Pratt at tel. 301-495-4588; Jamey.Pratt@montgomeryplanning.org, or Ben Berbert at tel. 301-495-4644; Benjamin.Berbert@montgomeryplanning.org.

About the Ashton Village Center Sector Plan

The Ashton Village Center Sector Plan covers approximately 125 acres around the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and Olney-Sandy Spring Road (MD 108) and has been focused on land use and zoning recommendations, the pedestrian experience, green spaces and housing.

The plan evaluates land use, zoning, transportation, environment, design and other relevant issues in Ashton, a historic crossroads community east of Olney. This sector plan follows the 2015 Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan, which evaluated similar issues in the village of Sandy Spring, just west of Ashton.

One important focus of the plan was the review of the Sandy Spring-Ashton Rural Village Overlay Zone in light of Montgomery County’s 2014 comprehensive revision of its zoning ordinance. Zones applied through the revision have enabled finer-grained management of land uses, densities and building heights than was possible under the previous ordinance.

The existing Sandy Spring-Ashton Rural Village Overlay Zone was created to ensure a “village scale” of development in the business districts of both Sandy Spring and Ashton. It limits uses, densities and building heights. The sector plan reevaluated the overlay zone, as well as the current underlying zones in Ashton and recommends the changes necessary to create a vibrant and viable pedestrian-friendly village center. Learn more about the Ashton Village Center Sector Plan.