Plan re-envisioning areas along Maple Avenue and Flower Avenue, including the Washington Adventist campus, heads to County Council, County Executive for review
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 Planning Board Draft at its December 14 weekly meeting. The draft plan will be transmitted to the Montgomery County Council and County Executive for public review and final County Council approval.
The public is invited to provide additional comments during the County Council’s public hearing on the plan scheduled for Thursday, January 25, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. at Takoma Park Middle School (7611 Piney Branch Road, Takoma Park, MD 20912). Individuals may sign up to testify via the County Council’s website starting December 15, 2023.
View the red-lined version of the plan’s Public Hearing Draft. The final Planning Board-approved plan will be posted soon.
“On behalf of the Planning Board, thank you to the Takoma Park community for its outstanding collaboration and extensive input that made this plan a reality,” said Planning Board Chair Artie Harris. “The community told us what it continues to love about Takoma Park while also expressing what would make their neighborhoods even more vibrant, affordable, and environmentally resilient. I am excited for a future Takoma Park that blends its historic charm with modern takes on housing, transportation, and community facilities as well as parks and open space.”
The plan is a comprehensive set of recommended actions for future growth in a section of the City of Takoma Park covering roughly 132 acres from the Takoma Park Community Center in the west to Washington Adventist University and the former Washington Adventist hospital site in the east. Recommendations are provided for land use, zoning, housing, transportation, parks, trails and open space, the environment, community facilities, and historic preservation – each developed through the lens of racial equity and social justice for all who live, work, or visit the plan area.
The Planning Board’s approval follows extensive equitable community engagement on the plan since 2021 by the Montgomery County Planning Department, also part of The M-NCPPC, using a variety of methods to reach key audiences, which include residents, property owners, local government and institutions, small businesses, users of community facilities within the plan area and those who have a stake in the future of the area but may live outside the plan’s boundary. The Planning Board held a public hearing on the plan in September 2023 and followed with six livestreamed work sessions throughout the fall to incorporate the public’s input and comments from Planning Board members.
“Understanding the community’s needs guided the plan’s vision of reimagined, reconnected, and resilient neighborhoods in this section of the city,” said Montgomery Planning Director Jason Sartori. “The plan is the product of our great collaboration with residents, property owners, and the staff and Councilmembers of the City of Takoma Park that will guide the city’s growth over the next 10 to 20 years.”
The plan is a partnership between Montgomery Planning and the City of Takoma Park. The Takoma Park City Council also conducted a robust engagement process that included discussions with stakeholders and work sessions that included Planning staff. These sessions were in preparation for the Takoma Park City Council review of the current draft plan.
“The plan recommends flexible zoning to preserve and expand affordable housing and create more potential for commercial uses in higher-density areas to advance economic development and employment opportunities,” said project lead Melissa Williams. “The plan also envisions a new mixed-use future for the vacant Washington Adventist Hospital campus that allows for medical, educational, commercial, and residential uses with improved connectivity to make it easier to access amenities without a vehicle.”
Key Recommendations of the Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment
Land Use, Zoning and Housing
- For compatible future development flexibility, recommend residential and commercial mixed-use zoning for properties on and around Washington Adventist campus and along Maple Avenue.
- Promote retention of existing affordable housing while encouraging development of a diversity of new affordable housing types.
- Highlight new and existing strategies for compatibility of new development with the surrounding communities.
- Provide pedestrian-oriented environments with walkable blocks, attractive public spaces, neighborhood serving retail, and attractive stormwater management.
- Improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity.
- Incorporate a well-lit, walkable Green Promenade from Town Hall to the Washington Adventist campus.
- Seek opportunities for a micro-mobility hub for better multi-modal access.
- Enhance the community’s ability to adapt to, mitigate for, and thrive in the face of climate change.
- Support the city’s Stormwater Management Program to improve Sligo Creek water quality and reduce untreated runoff and flooding.
- Provide methods to reduce impervious surfaces.
- Minimize urban heat islands by incorporating cooling elements like street trees and shaded seating areas into the streetscape.
Parks and Open Space
- Provide significant new public open space on the Washington Adventist campus.
- Enhance the ecological health and performance of Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park.
- Study the potential for a community garden at Opal A. Daniels Park.
- Connect surrounding communities through Washington Adventist campus to Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park and Maple Avenue.
- Evaluate the Heffner Park Community Center, Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Krestview sites for potential historic significance and listing on the Master Plan for Historic Preservation.
- Study Takoma Park’s historic African American neighborhoods for potential future listing on the Master Plan for Historic Preservation and/or the National Register of Historic Places.
- Promote cultural heritage and further exploration of the community’s past.
- Seek opportunities to retain historic design elements and resources.
More About the Plan
The Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment updates portions of the 2000 Takoma Park Master Plan to re-envision the section of the city that includes the Washington Adventist Hospital and University campuses, the Erie Center (located at the intersection of Flower Avenue and Erie Avenue), and multi-family properties, parks and the Takoma Park Community Center located along Maple and Lee avenues. This plan boundary was determined by the Planning Board in coordination with the City of Takoma Park and approved by the Planning Board on September 30, 2021.
The Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment’s webpage is updated with more information about the plan and on the ways the community can get involved and stay connected. The website has an updated plan timeline, frequently asked questions, how you can set up a meeting with a planner, and a place to sign up for the Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment eLetter.