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Montgomery Parks and Montgomery County Planning Department Present Newest Achievements and Future Projects to County Council

April 1, 2015

Streamlined development review process, housing and transportation tools, urban parks, athletic fields and more are highlighted in Spring 2015 Semi-Annual Report

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery Parks and Montgomery County Planning, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented the Departments’ Spring 2015 Semi-Annual Report to the Montgomery County Council on March 31, 2015. The 47-page report, available online for review, summarizes key projects and plans from the past six months and work that will be completed over the next six months.

Review the Spring 2015 Semi-Annual Report.

This progress report is the second to be submitted by Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, who assumed his current position in July 2014. Anderson outlines several initiatives aimed at meeting County demand for housing and jobs in close proximity to retail and public transit, as well as the creation of recreational spaces and protection of natural resources.

The Planning Department’s initiatives for the next six months include:
-Streamlining the development review process to meet the 120-day, acceptance-to-approval time frame required by the new County Zoning Ordinance.
-Studying rental housing and transportation tools to improve the assessment of County infrastructure.
-Advancing the Design Excellence Initiative to improve the quality of new developments, buildings and public spaces in the County.
-Expanding community outreach and staff training efforts to increase community participation in the planning process.

The Spring 2015 Semi-Annual Report highlights recent efforts by Montgomery Parks to improve parks in dense areas of the County, including:
-Launching a program to activate urban parks in Silver Spring, White Flint and Germantown.
-Designing the County’s first urban dog park at Ellsworth Urban Park in Silver Spring.
-Developing new plans for improving and maintaining the County’s 290 athletic fields.

The report focuses on ongoing master planning efforts, including:
-The Bethesda Downtown Plan, which is building on the success of the area’s vibrant, walkable district. Scenarios for several areas were advanced through feedback from a wide range of stakeholders in Bethesda that was obtained through new outreach techniques. 

-The Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan, which is considering ways of preserving the village character of the area while upgrading transportation networks and residential neighborhoods. Innovative engagement efforts, including events aimed at business owners and families, helped guide the planning efforts.

-The Montgomery Village Master Plan is the first discrete master plan for the planned community of Montgomery Village. The plan’s initial strategies were approved by the Planning Board in December 2014. Planners have worked on innovative community outreach efforts through the MV Matters series that focused on how best to rezone the entire Village since the Town Sector zone is no longer available.

-The Westbard Sector Plan, which was advanced through weeklong public workshops in 2014. Planners are currently analyzing the potential impact of increased density in the Westbard area as the result of proposed commercial buildings and housing units, and will discuss the findings at a public meeting this spring.

In addition, the Spring 2015 Semi-Annual Report reveals major park projects now underway, including:
-Development of a comprehensive plan to provide a trail experience within three miles of every County resident by the year 2030.
-Construction of three new parks: Laytonia Recreational Park in Derwood, Greenbriar Local Park in Potomac and Germantown Town Center Urban Park.
-New history-based programming at historic and archeological sites, including the Agricultural History Farm Park.
-Expansion of the Community Gardens program, including new plots in Germantown.