Colocation of Public Facilities
Colocation, the establishment of several public facilities in one place, has a long history in Montgomery County. Past policy-related initiatives include:
- In 2003, the Office of Legislative Oversight undertook a county-wide analysis of strategic plans to profile coordination between facilities planning practices and the land use master plan process.
- In 2010, the County Executive created the Cross Agency Resource Sharing Committee (CARS) to provide a forum for coordination among agencies to develop resource-sharing strategies.
- In 2011, a joint working group of representatives from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) was established to discuss facility site selection processes. One recommendation was to undertake more formal colocation studies.
- In 2014, the Montgomery County Council approved funding for a formal, county-focused Public Facilities Colocation Study, with the charge to “examine ways the public can benefit from colocation as a way to more efficiently and cost effectively provide facilities such as parks, schools, community health centers, libraries or other public amenities or services.”
- In January 2015, consultants worked with M-NCPPC to complete a Colocation White Paper, which addressed possible opportunities and challenges for colocation in Montgomery County, including looking at policies and practices in other jurisdictions.
In 2016, the Planning Department and the County Executive’s Office, at the direction of the County Council, advanced this Colocation of Public Facilities Study with the assistance of a consultant. The work was also overseen by an Interdepartmental Work Group consisting of senior staff from various Montgomery County agencies, Board of Education, County Executive’s Office and County Council (referred to as the Director’s Oversight Committee or DOC).
The process resulted in a high level of engagement and participation by senior staff across agencies. One recommendation from the study was to formalize and continue the operation of the DOC through a County Council resolution, which was passed in October of 2018.
This report establishes a framework for Montgomery County to pursue colocation opportunities for county agencies and departments. Colocation, the sharing of real estate (land and building) and services (infrastructure, technology, etc.) by two or more organizations, offers many benefits, including resource conservation and operational cost-effectiveness. Tasks undertaken by the consultant as part of this process included:
The purpose of the Public Facilities Colocation Study analysis focuses on approaches to:
- Enhancing the delivery of county services.
- Addressing resource constraints (real estate and financial).
- Encouraging county agency and department engagement.
- Establishing a framework for next steps.
- Advancing the colocation conversation.
Specific objectives include:
- Compiling and reviewing agency planning procedures and metrics.
- Establishing multi-organizational colocation principles and approaches to planning.
- Dissecting constraints to colocation options.
- Exploring colocation prospects for inter-jurisdictional liaison and cooperation.
- Promoting a holistic approach to community engagement and interests.