Montgomery County Planning Board approves Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment Scope of Work to reimagine Washington Adventist Hospital and University campuses as well as surrounding area
September 30, 2021
Update to 2000 Takoma Park Master Plan will guide future growth with focus on equity through partnership with City of Takoma Park
WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), approved the Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment Scope of Work during its September 30 meeting. At the meeting, Montgomery Planning staff presented an approach to reimagine the Washington Adventist Hospital and University campuses in Takoma Park and the surrounding area along Maple Avenue. The Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment, which will update a small part of the 2000 Takoma Park Master Plan, will guide the area’s future growth with a focus on equity and climate impact, including reviewing housing options, considering access to parks and open space, and achieving Vision Zero walkability goals. The plan will be created in partnership with the City of Takoma Park.
For the Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment, Montgomery Planning and the City of Takoma Park have a partnership to work through the engagement and plan recommendations with the community throughout the planning process. The City of Takoma Park’s Mayor and Council must first review and approve updates to master plans and development projects. From there, the Montgomery County Planning Board conducts their review.
Learn about the Montgomery Planning master planning process.
Previously one of the largest employers in Takoma Park, the Washington Adventist Hospital was part of the community for over 100 years before moving to White Oak in 2019. The plan’s recommendations, offered in collaboration with the City of Takoma Park, Washington Adventist, community members, and other stakeholders, will guide the reuse and reinvestment of this site for the community in a holistic and comprehensive way. This will be done to meet the needs of property owners, residents, the University, and the local government.
“The vacant Washington Adventist Hospital site creates an exciting opportunity to reinvigorate the surrounding community with opportunities for potential housing, retail, and green space,” said Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright. “We are proud to partner with the City of Takoma Park on this plan, especially based on our strong history together of creating successful plans.”
In recent years, the Montgomery County Council and the M-NCPPC have approved and adopted two Sector Plans for communities in Takoma Park and adjacent areas, the 2012 Takoma-Langley Crossroads Sector Plan and the 2013 Long Branch Sector Plan. These plans, in addition to the 2021 Retail in Diverse Communities Study, will inform the Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment process. In addition to the Washington Adventist Hospital and University campuses and adjacent areas, the plan’s Scope of Work has outlined the following elements staff will explore to create the plan’s recommendations:
- Housing: This plan will examine the existing zoning and land use in and around the Plan Area to determine how, where, and what type of new residential development can be accommodated.
- Economic Development: The plan will analyze the existing economic profile of the Plan Area and explore ways to continue to build on Takoma Park’s commitment to its small neighborhood-oriented businesses.
- Transportation, Access and Connectivity: The plan will examine access to transportation systems and connectivity both within the Plan Area, between the Plan Area and the surrounding region to improve circulation, accessibility, and multi-modal safety at key intersections, consistent with Vision Zero.
- Energy and Environment: The plan will explore various approaches to realizing a sustainable Takoma Park consistent with the county’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal.
- Parks and Open Space: The team will assess current deficits in resources and will develop recommendations for the Plan Area that will support accessible green spaces of various types and sizes to meet the needs of the community.
- Historic Resources: The team will expand and recontextualize our understanding of the history of The Washington Adventist Hospital and University campuses and the surrounding area to include communities that may have been historically and systemically underrepresented.
- Community Identity and Character: The planning team will learn about all of the various communities during the engagement process to ensure that future development for this area is reflective of and responsive to these different identities.
Takoma Park is a diverse community with a mix of single-family and multi-family housing, and small-scale retail. The Study Area contains a population of about 29,402 residents. While 38 percent of the area’s population is White, over a quarter is Black or African-American (27 percent) as well as Hispanic or Latino (26 percent). Roughly one-third of the study area’s population (34 percent) is cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. About 50 percent of residents rent their home—26 percent of which are cost-burdened compared to 9 percent of homeowners who are cost-burdened.
To ensure the plan is strongly rooted in the community’s identity and core values, planning staff will implement an inclusive Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment engagement strategy over the two-year planning process. The planning team hopes to pilot new ways of reaching stakeholders and has been working with staff from recently completed plans to hear their “lessons learned” from reaching diverse populations thoughtfully. Engagement will be carried out in four phases—Listening, Visioning, Refining, and Sharing—to involve the community during all critical stages of the project.
Sign up for the Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment eLetter.
Montgomery Planning and City of Takoma Park staff kicked off their first community event in support of the proposed master plan amendment in August at Takoma Park’s National Night Out event. Since that time, the planning team has attended local farmers markets to answer questions about the plan, give out educational materials, and gather feedback from the community through a questionnaire in multiple languages— English, Spanish, French, and Amharic. Now that the Scope of Work and Boundary for the plan have been approved, the team will next be at the Takoma Park Farmers Market on October 17 and the Crossroads Farmers Market on October 27. More community events will be announced soon.
About the Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment
The Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment, which will be created in partnership with the City of Takoma Park, will reimagine the vacant Washington Adventist Hospital site as well as parts of Washington Adventist University campus and the surrounding area along Maple Avenue. The plan, which will update a small part of the 2000 Takoma Park Master Plan, will guide the area’s future growth with a focus on equity. Its recommendations will guide the reuse and reinvestment of the Plan Area for the community in a holistic and comprehensive way. 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.
About the Equity Agenda for Planning
Montgomery Planning recognizes and acknowledges the role that our plans and policies have played in creating and perpetuating racial inequity in Montgomery County. We are committed to transforming the way we work as we seek to address, mitigate, and eliminate inequities from the past and develop planning solutions to create equitable communities in the future. While it will take time to fully develop a new methodology for equity in the planning process, we cannot delay applying an equity lens to our work. Efforts to date include
- Developing an Equity Agenda for Planning. The Planning Board approved Equity in Master Planning Framework, and staff is working on action items.
- Prioritizing equity in Thrive Montgomery 2050. Community Equity is one of the three priority areas of our county General Plan update, Thrive Montgomery 2050.
- Focusing on equity in upcoming plans. Equity is a central focus of the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan, the first master plan to launch since Montgomery County’s Racial Equity & Social Justice Act passed. All upcoming plans and studies will have an equity focus.
- Created an Equity Focus Areas mapping tool and developing an Equity Opportunity Index. Equity Focus Areas in Montgomery County have high concentrations of lower-income people of color, who may also speak English less than very well. Montgomery Planning developed this data-driven tool to identify and map these areas to assess potential racial and social inequities and produce master plans that will foster more equitable outcomes for communities in Montgomery County.
- Viewing management and operations through an equity lens. Our efforts are not limited to the master planning process. Management and operational functions like communications and human resources are developing approaches, tools, plans, and training to ensure that we look at everything through an equity lens.