Planning Board holds third work session for Thrive Montgomery 2050

January 15, 2021

Thrive Montgomery 2050
Board members provide feedback on the revised Affordable and Attainable Housing chapter of the draft plan and preview the revised transportation chapter outline scheduled for the fourth work session

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), held their third work session on Thursday, January 14 on the update to the county’s General Plan, known as Thrive Montgomery 2050. This is a long-range policy framework for guiding future land use and growth in Montgomery County.

The third work session, held during the Planning Board’s virtual meeting, focused on reviewing the revised housing chapter of the draft plan, now called “Affordable and Attainable Housing: More of Everything.” This chapter establishes the county’s existing housing affordability conditions, recommends policies and goals to address these issues, and explains how these policies will further the key objectives of the General Plan. It also includes possible measures to monitor the progress of achieving Thrive Montgomery 2050’s housing goals.

“While Montgomery County’s population is growing, the land available for housing is not,” said Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson. “We have no alternative but to find new ways to put different kinds of housing in more places – our ability to make our neighborhoods more racially and socioeconomically integrated, compete for economic opportunities, and improve the environmental sustainability of growth all depend on it.”

As part of this discussion, Montgomery County Planning Department staff summarized the General Plan’s public hearing testimony on housing on themes such as affordable housing, single-family zoning, and Missing Middle housing. Staff also presented on the Residential Development Capacity Analysis (RDCA), which was conducted to inform Thrive Montgomery 2050’s housing policy recommendations.

“Increasing affordable and attainable housing in Montgomery County is a key goal of Thrive Montgomery 2050,” said Lisa Govoni, housing planner. “This is important to not only ensure that residents have a place to live, but it can promote racial and economic equity and the county’s ability to attract a broadly skilled workforce.”

Housing policy has traditionally focused solely on affordability, a measure of whether or not households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Thrive Montgomery 2050 is shifting this focus to also include attainability. For housing to be attainable, households of various incomes and sizes must be able to obtain housing that is suitable for their needs and is affordable to them.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 contains wide-ranging policies to help make housing more attainable, including increasing housing production, preserving existing affordable and attainable housing and increasing tenant protections. Specifically, these policies involve the refinement or creation of new financial, zoning, and or policy tools.

In preparation for next week, staff also presented a preview of the January 21 work session on “Transportation and Communication Networks: Connecting People, Places and Ideas.” This revised chapter is dedicated to addressing transportation needs in Montgomery County. This presentation included an overview of a transportation analysis report that studied the impacts of trends related to the economy, climate change, demographics, technology, and lifestyle choices on the future transportation network in the county.

View the Thrive Montgomery 2050 January 14, 2021 Planning Board staff report

View the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Affordable and Attainable Housing section

View the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Affordable and Attainable Housing presentation

View the summary of the Residential Development Capacity Analysis

View the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Transportation outline

More on the Residential Development Capacity Analysis

With only 15 percent of land available for development or redevelopment in Montgomery County, MD, the county must consider the most optimal ways to meet the needs of a growing population. To help inform housing recommendations that considers these limitations in the General Plan, Thrive Montgomery 2050, the Montgomery County Planning Department conducted a Residential Development Capacity Analysis.

The Residential Development Capacity Analysis is an estimate of the total potential residential development that exists within Montgomery County. This estimate was created using assumptions and constraints such as applicable market trends, zoning rules and existing policy decisions. Municipalities that govern their own zoning were not included in this estimate (City of Rockville and the City of Gaithersburg). It is also not meant to speak to an individual parcel or property’s ability or likelihood to develop or redevelop.

You can review the Montgomery County Planning Department’s findings by reading the full report. You can also interact with this data and look up specific locations for potential residential development through this web map.

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 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, January 21: Work session #4 — Transportation and communication networks: connecting people, places and ideas. Briefing on Transportation Analysis Report.
  • Thursday, January 28: Work session #5 — Compact growth: corridor-focused development.
  • Thursday, February 4: Work session #6 — Design, arts and culture: adding value and building community. Coordination with the County’s Climate Action Plan
  • Thursday, February 11: Work session #7— Parks and recreation for an increasingly urban and diverse community: active and social.
  • Thursday, February 18: Work session #8 — Complete communities: mix of uses and forms.
  • Thursday, February 25: Work session #9 –- Section 3: How the ideas in this Plan can be implemented, Briefing on Equity Focus Areas analysis.
  • Monday, March 1 (to be confirmed): Work session #10 –- Planning Board to approve the final recommendations, Conclusion with indicators for the three big outcomes, and Actions list for the appendix. Discuss any follow up items from previous work sessions.
  • 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 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: Implementation

Appendix: consolidated Actions Appendix.

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 they vote 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; 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.

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.