Report highlights plans and projects completed over past six months, and outlines ongoing work and future initiatives
SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery Parks and the Montgomery Planning Departments, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented their Fall 2016 Semiannual Report to the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. The report, available online, summarizes key projects and plans from the past six months and work that will be completed over the next six months and beyond.
This progress report was submitted by Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, who emphasized the need for effective planning strategies focused on community engagement, improved connectivity and public transit to attract residents and businesses to Montgomery County. Anderson cited Marriott International’s recent decision stay in the county and move to Bethesda as evidence of this successful approach.
“It’s important to note that we don’t have limitless opportunities for transit-oriented development in the County” said Anderson. “We need to take advantage of this finite resource and plan strategically for the future.”
Planning Director Gwen Wright explained the three themes of the report – New Suburbanism, Engaging Communities and Strengthening Economic Competitiveness – as key to managing County growth.
In addition to explaining recent plans and policies, Wright noted the increasing number of digital tools, such as interactive maps, to engage more community residents in planning efforts. She said developers submitted more preliminary plans in FY16 than in FY15 facilitated in part to by a more efficient process for reviewing and approving development projects.
“When talking about new surburbanism, it’s about back to the future in terms of thinking about the great suburbs of the county” said Wright. “Walkability, interconnected streets, urban parks and gathering spaces, great design and mix of uses – this is the essence of new suburbanism and this is a specific focus for us.”
Director of Montgomery Parks Michael Riley explained the pivotal role that parks and amenities play in attracting visitors to the area and engaging people who live in the county.
“Montgomery Parks’ facilities and events attract visitors from near and far to our parks and to the restaurants, shops, businesses and hotels that surround them. Whether visiting our award-winning Brookside Gardens, hosting a wedding or party at one of our event centers or hiking on one of our natural surface trails, people rely on parks to enhance the quality of their lives,” said Riley.
Planning Department’s Notable Achievements
The Fall 2016 Semiannual Report highlights the following accomplishments achieved by the Planning Department over the past six months:
– The County Council’s approval on November 15 of the updated Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly the Growth Policy) to will help ensure that new development is supported by adequate infrastructure.
-The County Council’s approval of the Westbard Sector Plan in May.
-Drafts of the Bethesda Downtown and Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plans that have been approved by the Planning Board and transmitted to the County Council for refinement.
-Planning efforts for Rock Spring, White Flint 2, MARC Rail Communities of Boyds and Germantown, and Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan that are now underway.
-The launch of the Master Plan Reality Check to provide a better understanding of why some past plans have been realized while others have not; this study will help improve future plans.
-The Makeover Montgomery 3 conference held in May that drew more than 300 attendees.
-The second annual Design Excellence Award competition, resulting in the October 2016 design celebration to honor the Silver Spring Library with the top prize and the award of five jury citations.
Parks Department’s Notable Achievements
The Fall 2016 Semiannual Report highlights the following accomplishments, achieved by the Parks Department over the past six months:
-Opening of several new parks, including North Four Corners Local Park, Woodlawn Manor Visitor Center and Ellsworth Dog Park.
-Award-winning projects, including recognition of Evans Parkway Neighborhood Park, East Norbeck Local Park, Woodlawn Visitor Center and Darby Store.
-Fundraising success by the Montgomery Parks Foundation, enabling the purchase of a climbing wall and a mobile pump track to use at park events and facilities.
-Extensive accessibility improvements to enhance parks, facilities, programs and services.
-Numerous successful pop-up events in parks to engage people in the community. Events included Climb-A-Tree, Bollywood Dancing and Tai Chi, among other activities.
About The Montgomery County Planning Department
The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, aims to improve quality of life by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for current and future generations. The Planning Department creates great communities by developing master plans, reviewing applications for development and analyzing various types of information to help public officials plan for Montgomery County’s future. The Department comprises 140 staff members and provides recommendations, information, analysis and services to the Montgomery County Planning Board, the County Council, the County Executive, other government agencies and the public. Visit www.montgomeryplanning.org.
About The Montgomery County Department of Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org.
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission encourages the involvement and participation of all individuals in the community. In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M‑NCPPC) will not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in its services, programs or activities. M‑NCPPC works to make its facilities and materials accessible and to hold public meetings in locations that are, likewise, accessible. M‑NCPPC will generally provide, upon request, appropriate aids and services and make reasonable modifications to policies and programs for persons with disabilities (e.g., large print materials, listening devices, sign language interpretation, etc.). For assistance with such requests, please contact the M-NCPPC Montgomery County Commissioners’ Office, at least a week in advance of a meeting or event, at (301) 495-4605 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.Maryland residents can also use the free Maryland Relay Service for assistance with calls to or from hearing or speech-impaired persons; for information, go to www.mdrelay.org/ or call (866) 269-9006. Residents may also call the TTY number, (301) 495-1331, for assistance.