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Home / News / Montgomery Planning Board schedules March 14 public hearing for the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science

Montgomery Planning Board schedules March 14 public hearing for the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science

Community members encouraged to sign up to testify on draft plan focusing on Montgomery County’s life sciences industry hub in the heart of the I-270 Corridor.

WHEATON, Md. – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), scheduled a public hearing on the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science for Thursday, March 14 in the Second Floor Auditorium of The M-NCPPC’s Wheaton Headquarters (2425 Reedie Drive, Wheaton, MD, 20902). The hearing will also be livestreamed on the Planning Board’s website. At its weekly meeting today, the Planning Board added its comments to the plan’s first draft – the Working Draft – and accepted it as the Public Hearing Draft.

Read the Great Seneca Plan Working Draft and the staff report.

The Public Hearing Draft will be posted when the Planning Board’s comments are incorporated into the plan.

The community is encouraged to sign up to testify (submission form for March 14 will be available soon) live at the public hearing either in-person or online or provide written comments to the Planning Board via email ahead of the public hearing.

 “Montgomery Planning has been engaging the community on the Great Seneca Plan for the last two and a half years and we are pleased that the recommendations reflect a shared vision of the Life Sciences Center as a complete community for this important life sciences area of the county,” said Planning Board Chair Artie Harris. “Now we are asking anyone who lives, works, or visits the plan area to sign up to testify in front of the Planning Board or submit written comments about the recommendations in this plan to ensure your voice is heard as the Planning Board starts its review of this plan.”

More About the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science

The Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science covers 4,330 acres in the heart of the I-270 Corridor. A large portion of the plan area includes the Life Sciences Center, the county’s premier location for the life sciences and biohealth industries and a thriving economic hub that is host to a diverse population and acclaimed international medical and educational institutions. The Life Sciences Center and adjacent areas contain approximately 9,000 private sector life sciences jobs, more than 60% of the county’s total private life science employment. The plan focuses on strengthening the economic competitiveness of the Life Sciences Center through mixed-use development, public realm improvements, equitable access to services and amenities, and implementation strategies.

As part of the plan’s development, Montgomery Planning commissioned a study examining the real estate needs of the life sciences industry and evaluating the compatibility of integrating life sciences with housing and small-scale commercial development. Countywide, there are more than 400 life sciences-related establishments, employing over 40,000 public and private sector workers. The study developed a set of actionable recommendations to support continued growth of the life sciences industry.

View the Montgomery County Life Sciences Real Estate and Land Use Compatibility Study.

Watch Montgomery Planning’s January 25 presentation of the study to the Planning Board.

Key Recommendations of Great Seneca Plan Draft

  • Establish a Life Sciences Center Overlay Zone for the entire Life Sciences Center area that supports mixed-use life sciences development and incentivizes the production of affordable and market-rate housing.
  • Encourage compact, mixed-use development near transit that integrates and connects life sciences uses with residential uses, retail, and neighborhood services and amenities.   
  • Right-size roadways and intersections to create a safer and more comfortable environment for people who are walking, rolling, bicycling, riding transit, and driving.   
  • Advance dedicated transit lanes, including the Great Seneca Transit Network and the Corridor Connectors. 
  • Repurpose two travel lanes on Key West Avenue to establish a tree-lined promenade for people who are walking, biking, and rolling.  
  • Repurpose a portion of the Great Seneca Highway right-of-way as a greenway and space for development. This open space could provide more than 4.5 acres of new development and publicly accessible open space for active recreation and social gathering.
  • Increase on-site clean energy generation, incorporate strategies to increase building energy efficiency, and incorporate environmentally sustainable development strategies into all developments.   
  • Facilitate new development and adaptive reuse of existing buildings to meet industry demand based on quantity, type, and size of life science real estate. Encourage development of small- and medium-scale lab space.   
  • Rezone properties in the Londonderry area to achieve a mixture of uses, including additional residential and local-serving retail uses.