Montgomery Planning Board discusses how to implement the recommendations of Thrive Montgomery 2050 during latest work session

February 25, 2021

Thrive Montgomery 2050
Board members provide feedback on the Conclusion chapter of the draft plan and preview the Recommended Actions List scheduled for the 10th and final Thrive Montgomery 2050 work session

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), held their ninth work session on Thursday, February 25 on the update to the county’s General Plan, known as Thrive Montgomery 2050. During the virtual meeting, board members discussed the General Plan’s final chapter titled “Conclusion.” This revised chapter, formerly called Implementation in the Public Hearing Draft, provides guidance on how the draft plan’s recommendations will be implemented over the next 30 years. The Conclusion also discusses the role of M-NCPPC, County agencies and the private sector in achieving Thrive Montgomery’s goals.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 emphasizes the importance of indicators to help evaluate how its policies and actions will help achieve the plan’s key objectives. As a high-level, long range policy plan that will be implemented through multiple master and facility plans, capital projects and other actions, Thrive Montgomery does not include cost estimates for implementation, which is typical of General Plans. However, the Conclusion chapter does provide high-level guidance on the types of public and private sector funding sources that will be tapped to support capital investments. It also highlights the policy and regulatory tools available for implementation.

“Thrive Montgomery 2050 is the product of many months of collaboration between the Park and Planning Commission and our counterparts in Montgomery County government,” said Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson. “We will need to work with our friends in these other agencies even more closely in the years ahead as we implement this ambitious set of policies and recommendations for making our community more economically competitive, racially and socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable.”

The policies and actions proposed within Thrive Montgomery 2050 focus primarily on subjects under the authority of the Planning and Parks Departments. Full implementation of its recommendations, however, will require the cooperation of many other government bodies. For example, updating the zoning code will require coordination with the county’s Department of Permitting Services while changes to street design standards require coordination with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration.

“The Planning Board is getting to the end of their review of Thrive Montgomery 2050 and we are pleased to be focusing on important implementation issues such as indicators, collaborations with other governmental activities – such as the Climate Action Plan – and future actions,” said Planning Board Director Gwen Wright. “We are proud of how involved the community has been throughout this entire process. Community members have adapted to virtual meetings and showed great resiliency, which is a theme in Thrive Montgomery 2050 for the future.”

The Conclusion chapter also discusses the roles of and coordination between Thrive Montgomery 2050 and the county’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which outlines ways to reduce the county’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035. As both plans will help the county combat climate change, Montgomery Planning staff worked with the Executive Branch to ensure that the goals, policies, and actions recommended by Thrive Montgomery 2050 and the CAP are complementary rather than duplicative.

In the next and final Thrive Montgomery work session on March 4, Montgomery Planning staff will present the standalone “Recommended Actions List” that will cover tasks to implement the policies proposed under each chapter of the plan. The last day community members can submit any final comments to the Planning Board on Thrive Montgomery 2050 is noon on Wednesday, March 3. Written comments can be submitted via email at mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

The Planning Board is scheduled to approve the Planning Board draft of Thrive Montgomery 2050 on Thursday, April 8 for transmittal to the County Council. The County Council will hold a public hearing for Thrive Montgomery 2050 (date TBD) as well as a series of work sessions. The community is invited to participate with written and live testimony as the Council works through the recommendations in the plan.

View the Thrive Montgomery 2050 February 25, 2021 Planning Board staff report
View the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Conclusion chapter
View the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Conclusion presentation

About the Climate Action Plan

The Climate Action Plan, which is set to be finalized in early 2021, is Montgomery County’s roadmap to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2027 and eliminating emissions by 2035. Since release of draft Climate Action Plan, Montgomery Planning staff have coordinated with the county’s Climate Action Plan team, led by the Office of the County Executive to ensure the draft Climate Action Plan and the draft Thrive Montgomery 2050 General Plan complement each other and to coordinate on implementation after plan completion.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 Planning Board work session schedule

Below is the remaining schedule for the Planning Board’s review of Thrive Montgomery 2050. Please visit thrivemontgomery.com for updates on the specific topics to be covered in future work sessions; the topic assigned for each work session is tentative and may change. Check the Planning Board’s website for staff reports for these work sessions.

  • Thursday, March 4: Work session #10 – Recommended Actions List (to be published as a separate document). Revised (redlined) drafts of the Complete Communities and Parks and Recreation chapters.
  • Thursday, April 8: Planning Board scheduled to approve Planning Board Draft of Thrive Montgomery 2050 for transmittal to the County Executive and County Council.

For more information, visit thrivemontgomery.com or sign up for our e-letter for updates.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 Outline

At the December 17, 2020 meeting, the Planning Board approved a new outline for the Thrive Montgomery 2050 General Plan document consisting of the following chapters:

Section 1

  • Why do we need a new comprehensive plan for the county?
  • Three overarching objectives
    • Economic performance & competitiveness
    • Racial & Social Equity & Inclusion
    • Environmental resilience & sustainability
  • Other important goals:
    • Elevating design and role of arts and culture
    • Public health and active lifestyles
    • Better access to amenities for high quality of life

Section 2: Thrive Montgomery 2050 Themes

  • Compact Growth: Corridor-Focused Development
  • Complete Communities: Mix of Uses and Forms
  • Transportation and Communication Networks: Connecting People, Places and Ideas
  • Affordable and Attainable Housing: More of Everything
  • Design, Arts and Culture: Adding Value and Building Community
  • Parks and Recreation for an Increasingly Urban and Diverse Community: Active and Social

Section 3: Conclusion

Appendices:

Appendix A: Compliance with the State law requirements
Appendix B: Glossary

A revised list of Actions will be published as a separate document.

Community participation and next steps

Community members can continue to provide comments on the draft Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan for the Planning Board’s review while they conduct work sessions in January and February 2021. After the Planning Board votes to transmit the Planning Board Draft Plan to the County Council in early April, the County Council will hold their own public hearing, work sessions and final approval.

Members of the public may submit written comments to Casey Anderson, chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board. The mailing address is 2425 Reedie Drive, Wheaton, Maryland 20902; the e-mail address is mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org; the fax number is (301) 495-1320. Individuals or groups may send comments at any time; comments received by noon of the day prior to each work session will be sent to the Planning Board for review at that work session. The last day community members can submit any final comments to the Planning Board on Thrive Montgomery 2050 is noon on Wednesday, March 3.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 resources

Below are links to the Public Hearing Draft Plan, Outreach Appendix and at-a-glance information on the plan in English as well as in multiple languages.

Community Engagement

Over the summer, Montgomery Planning hosted several virtual community engagement sessions— even during this time of social distancing—on the initial Thrive Montgomery 2050 Policies and Actions Draft released in June to obtain feedback that was included in the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Working Draft Plan that was published in September.

Montgomery Planning held the Ask Me Anything virtual townhalls that Planning Director Wright hosted in May. Planning staff then invited the community to participate in the June Thrive Montgomery 2050 Virtual Community Chats. Each chat offered community members a chance to converse online with Planning staff about policy recommendations related to planning for the future of the county’s housing, transportation, economy, environment and more. View all of the distance engagement events for Thrive Montgomery 2050.

About Thrive Montgomery 2050

During summer 2019, the Montgomery County Planning Department launched the update of Montgomery County’s General Plan, the county’s long-term framework for land use and development. This effort, called Thrive Montgomery 2050, will result in new countywide policies to help Montgomery County thrive in the decades to come by addressing challenges and opportunities. A lot has changed in the county since the General Plan was originally approved in 1964. Thrive Montgomery 2050 will guide future growth in response to the demographic shifts, technological innovations, changing lifestyles and economic disruptions that have taken place in recent decades. The new General Plan will consider many issues framed by three pillars: economic health, environmental resilience and equity. This framework will help guide the recommendations of the plan with input from the community.