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Montgomery Parks and Planning Departments Outline Future Plans in Fall 2015 Semi-Annual Report to County Council

October 7, 2015

Report features upcoming initiatives as well as accomplishments from past six months including the Planning Department’s work on updating sector plans and the Parks Department’s efforts on urban parks and athletic fields.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Parks and Planning Departments, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, showcased recent accomplishments and outlined plans for the next six months in a presentation on Tuesday, October 6, to the Montgomery County Council of the Fall 2015 Semi-Annual Report. The report submitted by Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, highlighted some of the following accomplishments from the past six months:

Planning Highlights:

  • Encouraging bikeable, pedestrian-friendly development near transit by working on master and sector plans such as Greater Lyttonsville, the Bethesda Downtown Plan and White Flint 2.
  • Updating the Bicycle Master Plan.
  • Looking beyond Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) to create more vibrant communities in areas without immediate access to transit, including Westbard, Montgomery Village and Rock Spring.
  • Kicking off the Subdivision Staging Policy to explore new tools for balancing growth and infrastructure.

Parks Highlights: 

  • Activating urban parks with special programs and activities. Examples include events such as Touch a Truck, Dig and Draw, and cookouts at Wall Park.
  • Assessment and maintenance of athletic fields – which is being done in coordination with Montgomery County Public Schools and the County’s Community Use of Public Facilities.
  • Efforts to improve the park trail network by amending the Countywide Park Trails Plan.

“We are working hard to build upon our agency’s past achievements to successfully confront the challenges of the future,” said Casey Anderson, Planning Board Chair. “Parks and Planning both play a critical role in building communities, and we are finding innovative ways not only to preserve the quality of life Montgomery County has enjoyed in the past but to make it even better. This means a heightened focus on design excellence, an increased emphasis on walkability and access to more diverse recreational opportunities in both urban and suburban neighborhoods, and a continued commitment to economic, social, and environmental sustainability in everything we do.”

New Parks Initiatives:

The Parks Department will be expanding on many of its recent accomplishments in the coming six months including:

  • Finding new ways to activate urban parks by working with partner organizations and introducing fun activities and amenities, such as informational kiosks, movable tables and chairs, and outdoor exercise equipment.
  • Identifying land that can be acquired for new urban parks
  • Evaluating athletic fields to determine which fields are the best candidates for future renovations.

New Planning Initiatives:

As outlined in the Fall 2015 Semi-Annual Report, the Planning Department’s initiatives for the next six months include:

  • Revising the Subdivision Staging Policy to guide the timing of private development with the availability of public services, including roads and schools.
  • Studying the factors contributing to increased housing costs to identify the best ways to preserve and encourage affordable rental apartments in the County.
  • Updating the Recreation Guidelines to encourage a greater range of activities that will appeal to residents of all ages.
  • Analyzing retail trends to guide future planning efforts and land use decisions in areas where opportunities for change are possible.
  • Expanding the Design Excellence program and creating new design guidelines for master plans.

New Master Plans:

The Fall 2015 Semi-Annual Report includes information about newly launched master planning efforts, including:

  • The Rock Spring Master Plan, focused on reimagining an office park located to the east of Montgomery Mall as a vibrant, mixed-use community.
  • The White Flint 2 Sector Plan, which will examine opportunities for redevelopment and infill in an area between Rockville and White Flint.
  • The Bicycle Master Plan, which seeks to improve routes and facilities for cyclists throughout the County.
  • The MARC Rail Station Plan for Germantown and Boyds, which will evaluate the land use, zoning, design and accessibility of station areas.