New plans for the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area, Gaithersburg East and Veirs Mill Road Corridor among funded projects for fiscal year starting July 1, 2016
SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has secured the County Council’s approval to proceed with an ambitious work program for fiscal year 2017 (FY17), starting July 1, 2016.
The Montgomery County Council approved the Department’s $19.5 million budget for FY17 at its meeting on Thursday, May 21, 2016. These funds support the work program for 148 employees. Highlights of major projects to be undertaken by the Planning Department in FY17 include:
Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has selected a partner for the redevelopment of the parking lot at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station. This plan will explore the transit station area’s potential to serve as a cultural node and connect with surrounding uses, including the adjacent Strathmore Music Center. It will identify possible public spaces and public art for the area. The goal will be to turn the Grosvenor-Strathmore station area into a neighborhood rather than a disparate collection of buildings. Learn more about the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan.
Gaithersburg East Master Plan: In 2014, the Gaithersburg East area was divided into the Montgomery Village Master Plan and Gaithersburg East Master Plan, so the planning for Montgomery Village could be expedited. The Gaithersburg East Master Plan will address any land use and transportation issues that arise after a preferred solution has been identified for the M-83 highway alignment. Uses within the proposed plan boundaries, including the Airpark, surrounding light industrial uses and several residential communities, will be analyzed, along with redevelopment and rezoning opportunities.
Veirs Mill Road Corridor Small Area Plan: This plan will evaluate the heavily used corridor between the Wheaton and Rockville Metrorail stations. Goals include ensuring neighborhood access to the future bus rapid transit system and transit compatibility with the adjoining land uses along the Veirs Mill corridor. Redevelopment opportunities, improved pedestrian connectivity and compatibility between existing and potential uses will be analyzed.
Short-Term Residential Rentals: The County Council has charged planners with conducting outreach to help craft legislation on short-term residential rentals, such as Airbnb. Currently, the County’s Zoning Ordinance does not allow for residential rentals less than 30 days. The Council has directed Planning staff to make recommendations on best practices only after community outreach is conducted to engage stakeholders in discussing this issue. Learn more about the Short-Term Residential Rental project.
Plans in Progress:
White Flint 2 Sector Plan: Launched in July 2015, this plan has focused on land uses, transportation, infrastructure and public facilities in areas to the west, north and east of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan boundaries. The Working Draft of this plan is scheduled to be presented the Planning Board in fall 2016. Learn more about the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.
Rock Spring Master Plan: The plan for Rock Spring started last July with the exploration of new opportunities for 247 acres east of Montgomery Mall. Currently, this area is occupied mostly by office buildings, including the headquarters for Lockheed Martin and Marriott. A new street network, public amenities, residential uses and environmental upgrades have been examined for the area. School capacity issues have also been discussed and studied through a series of community meetings for this plan area. The Working Draft of the Rock Spring Master Plan is scheduled to be presented to the Planning Board in fall 2016. Learn more about the Rock Spring Master Plan.
Subdivision Staging Policy Update (Growth Policy): The update to the quadrennial Subdivision Staging Policy started in July 2015 and has progressed through a series of community meetings focused on the impact of growth on the County, specifically as it relates to schools and transportation. The goal has been to evaluate the tools that will determine the adequacy of public facilities to accommodate new development and growth in Montgomery County. Learn more about the Subdivision Staging Policy Update.
Retail Trends Study: The Planning Department has been conducting a retail trends study with the help of a consultant to understand how emerging buying patterns will influence the County’s economic competitiveness. The study, which is looking at national and regional trends affecting shopping environments, such as the growing use of e-commerce, will propose recommendations for future plans involving retail.
MARC Rail Communities Plan: Work began last fall on the MARC Rail Communities Plan, which is focusing on the areas around the Boyds and Germantown rail stations. Planners are evaluating land use, zoning, design and access at those two Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) stations. The resulting plans will recommend physical and operational improvements to the stations and enhancements to access and parking. Learn more about the MARC Rail Communities Plan.
Bicycle Master Plan: Cities across the United States have taken the lead in retrofitting streets for bikes. Now Montgomery County aims to be at the forefront among suburban jurisdictions in planning a high-quality bicycling network. The opportunities to create these facilities are immense, as older areas such as White Flint and Shady Grove are rebuilt, and newer transit projects such as the Purple Line and bus rapid transit system are implemented. Launched in 2015, the Plan is considering the newest types of bikeways, such as separated bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities. Learn more about the Bicycle Master Plan.
New Recreation Guidelines: The Recreation Guidelines, last adopted in 1992, are being revised in response to the County’s need for more urban-style recreation space in mixed-use developments near transit centers. In order to serve a variety of age groups, the updated guidelines will provide digital tools and an expanded list of recreation facilities, including rooftop areas, indoor fitness centers, community gardens and urban plazas. They will result in a more effective recreation plan for each site. Learn more about the update to the Recreation Guidelines.
Master Plan Reality Check: This study aims to determine how well recommendations in recent County Master Plans have been carried out in addressing changing density, infrastructure, transportation and land use in the County. Findings will influence the development of future Master and Sector Plans.