Montgomery Planning Announces New Development Review Procedures

March 31, 2020

online development review

Online changes in the development review process will allow for regulatory business to continue during COVID-19 crisis

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is announcing new procedures for the development review process that will allow for planning and regulatory business to continue while following Governor Larry Hogan’s stay-at-home order.

The new procedure will allow for development applicants to hold pre-submission community meetings online. This will allow the community to participate in providing comments on potential development projects in a virtual format.

Under Montgomery County Planning Board rules and prior to acceptance, each development application for a  sketch, preliminary or site plan must conduct at least one public pre-submission meeting within 90 calendar days before the initial application date. The meeting is intended to address community concerns and provide background on the proposed project. Applicants are still required to conduct the pre-submission meetings, however, due to the COVID-19 crisis, these meetings will occur online.

“We want to continue to provide the same quality of service to our residents and the development community during this time,” says Montgomery Planning Deputy Director Robert Kronenberg. “We are thinking about creative ways to keep business moving forward and to give our residents the opportunity to participate in the process while social distancing.”

For development applications to move forward, the public must to be able to comment and documentation of the pre-submission meeting is required. Applicants will still be required to host community meetings prior to submitting plans to be reviewed by the Development Review Committee. Meeting notices and posting of the proposal are still required and the new process will be available on the Development Review Committee website once the submission is accepted.

Montgomery Planning will continue to accept all applications via their ePlans service, and staff will review the applications while social distancing. Planning inspections staff is still meeting to walk sites and initiate pre-construction meetings while making every attempt to limit the number of people at job sites during their visits.

Learn more about the development review process and search for development in your neighborhood.

About the Development Review Committee

The Development Review Committee (DRC) is an inter-agency task force, led by Montgomery Planning, comprised of representatives from public agencies and utilities such as WSSC, PEPCO, the State Highway Administration, and the county Departments of Permitting Services, Environmental Protection, and Public Works and Transportation.

DRC members discuss the application with planning staff at a regularly scheduled meeting — not more than three weeks after the application has been accepted. Each agency providing comments for the DRC meeting does so in writing. Montgomery Planning staff ensures that those comments are included in the application file, along with a meeting summary and next steps. Planners then prepare recommendations that are presented to the Planning Board as part of the public hearing on the proposed site plan.

DRC meetings are open to the public but are not public hearings.

The Development Review Committee is continuing to operate remotely while social distancing. Upon request, staff will schedule a virtual meeting with community representatives to discuss relevant issues. To schedule a meeting concerning a plan, please contact the Information Counter at 301-495-4610.

Update on Montgomery Planning Operations During COVID-19
The Montgomery County Planning Department building is closed to the public until the end of April due to the COVID-19 virus. During this time, staff are teleworking and will continue to accept development applications, work on master planning efforts and be available for any inquiries from the public. Inquiries to Montgomery Planning’s information counter may be made during regular information counter hours (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) via email or telephone (301-495-4610).