Preliminary Top Issues for County’s Future Presented to the Montgomery Planning Board During Thrive Montgomery 2050 Update

December 12, 2019

Thrive Montgomery 2050
Staff presented the initial draft of eight categories of issues facing the county over the next 30 years after community feedback and initial analysis

Silver Spring, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented an initial draft of the main issue categories facing Montgomery County’s future to the Montgomery Planning Board on Thursday, December 12. The eight issue categories presented will serve as the initial framework of how the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan will be organized (scheduled for submission to the County Council by March 2021).

View the December 12 staff report for the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Issues Briefing. Watch the Planning Board briefing.

This Issues Briefing is a preliminary draft of the major issue groups to be addressed in the new Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan, the update to Montgomery County’s General Plan. This document is intended as a starting point for organizing the issues identified and considering the ideas and input Montgomery Planning staff has heard over the past seven months of outreach with residents, businesses, topic experts and elected officials.

The proposed issues — which overlap, and all relate to Thrive Montgomery 2050’s three primary outcomes of Equitable Communities, Economic Health and Environmental Resilience — are organized into eight categories:

  1. Complete Communities
  2. Connectedness
  3. Diverse Economies
  4. Safe and Efficient Travel
  5. Affordability
  6. Healthy and Sustainable Environment
  7. Diverse and Adaptable Growth
  8. Culture and Design

The Planning Board provided feedback and guidance on the categories and issues to be included in the final Issues Report scheduled for a February 2020 presentation to the Board.

Since Summer 2019, Montgomery Planning has been in conversation with the Montgomery County community to identify the issues facing the county as we plan for the next 30 years. Simultaneously, Montgomery Planning staff have analyzed trends and talked with experts to identify and examine the changes occurring so that Thrive Montgomery 2050 is a plan that shapes the future of our county with a shared vision.

“The General Plan update process started with the community – and continues with the community,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright. “We put this preliminary issues document forward now to understand whether the issues identified reflect what’s important to the Montgomery County community. Before we move ahead with developing Thrive Montgomery 2050 goals and policy recommendations, we want the community to tell us – what did we get right, what did we get wrong and what did we miss?”

Comments on the Issues Report outline are welcome until January 16, 2020. The community is invited to  provide comments online at, send an email to, or call 301-495-4556. Following release of the issues Report in late February, community members will have further opportunities to participate in the development of the general plan.

Next steps in the process include the development of the final Issues Report by February 2020 with continued engagement with the community including the Meeting in a Box tool, available now, the upcoming Big Ideas Series in early 2020, and community presentations. From there, Montgomery Planning staff will draft the Thrive Montgomery 2050 plan’s goals and policies (April 2020) and bringing final recommendations to the community and Planning Board (June 2020). The Working Draft of the Thrive Montgomery 2050 General Plan update will be delivered to the Planning Board by September 2020.

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 by addressing the challenges and opportunities in the decades to come. 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 equitable communities. These themes will help guide the recommendations of the plan with help from the community.