Planning Board recommends approval of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Minor Master Plan Amendment

July 6, 2021

Great Seneca Science Center Minor Master Plan
Wheaton, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), has completed its review of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Minor Master Plan Amendment and recommended transmittal of the Planning Board Draft Plan to the County Executive and County Council.

The Planning Board held a Public Hearing on the Public Hearing Draft of the plan amendment on June 3. This was followed by two work sessions that examined the recommendations in the plan amendment.

The purpose of the plan amendment is to balance support for economic development and opportunity with the critical transportation connections envisioned in the 2010 Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan. The plan amendment suggests changes to the 2010 Plan’s staging requirements to address the urgent need to accommodate growth in the life sciences industry, which contributes to the county’s economic health and advancements in science. The draft plan amendment recommends an adjustment to the staging requirements to allow additional non-residential development capacity in the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center. It also recommends a comprehensive amendment to the 2010 Plan to fully evaluate the plan’s vision, recommendations and staging requirements as well as integrate countywide plans and policies adopted over the last decade.

The County Executive and County Council are expected to begin reviewing the Planning Board’s Draft Plan this fall.

Background on the Great Seneca Science Corridor Minor Master Plan Amendment

The 2010 Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan (2010 Plan) created a vision for a dynamic live/work community that would support a globally recognized biotechnology hub in the Shady Grove Life Science Center. Ten years later, the biotechnology sector is thriving, providing needed jobs to county residents.  While the life sciences industry is strong, regulations—called staging requirements—established by the 2010 Plan have impeded further growth in this leading biotech hub.

The Great Seneca Science Corridor Minor Master Plan Amendment identifies strategies to advance progress toward the 2010 Plan vision and goals. The Great Seneca Science Corridor Minor Master Plan Amendment reviews the framework that established these regulations in 2010, and assesses the growth, development and infrastructure investment that has occurred over the past decade.

This plan amendment does not amend any of the zoning recommendations from the 2010 Plan, which dictate the maximum height and area of buildings and type of allowable land uses for each property. Rather, this plan amendment recommends adjustments to the 2010 Plan’s staging requirements to address the urgent need to accommodate growth in the life sciences industry, critical to the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery.