Urban Parks Guidelines

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks is in the second phase of developing Urban Park Guidelines for Montgomery Parks.

The Urban Park Guidelines are used by Park Planning Staff to prepare recommendations to the Planning Board for parks in community based master plans, park master plans, and park facility plans in urban areas. These guidelines provide some predictability, consistency, and practicality to urban park recommendations. This allows Parks and the Planning Board flexibility to respond to changing public interests, within the context of a particular community, incorporating demographic projections and best practices into the decision making process.

What’s Next

Throughout 2015 Park Planning Staff will develop a Draft Urban Park Guidelines document for public review and eventual Planning Board approval.

  • Tell us what you think!Tell Us What You Think!
    Please don’t hesitate to submit an online comment or contact the project coordinator with your ideas and feedback as the draft document progresses.



The purpose of the Urban Parks Guidelines is:

  • To amend the definition of urban parks to better reflect the important role urban parks play in community life.
  • To examine how the pattern of urban parks in Montgomery County relates to existing and proposed urban growth areas.
  • To propose the types of activities and amenities that are best suited for urban parks to help guide future development and redevelopment of urban parks.
  • To explore innovative ways to finance the acquisition of urban parks where dedication is not an option and to explore maintenance and management strategies that are cost-effective and efficient.
  • To develop guidelines for determining whether urban open spaces should be owned and managed as public parks or owned and managed by other entities (such as homeowners associations or development districts).
  • To consolidate urban park planning and implementation guidelines being developed for community master plans in the PROS Plan for the Departments of Parks.

Phase 1
In 2010, the Board approved the Objectives, Outreach Strategy and Schedule (PDF, 1.5MB) for the Urban Park Guidelines. Subsequently, as part of the 2012 Park Recreation & Open Space (PROS) Plan, the Planning Board approved the first phase of the Urban Park Guidelines, which:

  • Defined six new categories of urban parks in the park classification system (figure 4, page 15); and,
  • Proposed a methodology for distributing urban parkland (page 18 – 23) across community master plan team areas

Phase 2
Staff is now beginning to develop the second phase of the Guidelines, which will address the following planning objectives:

  • Clarify urban park acquisition strategies and the various conditions associated with each.
  • Describe strategies for operations, including maintenance, programming, and policing

We have been looking into models and practices from around the country to learn how other park authorities handle acquisition, ownership, maintenance, programming, and policing of public parks and open space.

Tell us what you think!

Have your voice heard!

Tell us what you think!Ideas from the public are welcome throughout the planning process and there are a number of opportunities for early input. Public meeting(s) will be scheduled for public comment on the preliminary concepts and recommendations.

Please don’t hesitate to submit an online comment or contact the project coordinator with your ideas and feedback as the Plan Amendment progresses.

Staff will rely on this web page to keep citizens updated on the Guidelines. Interested citizens and civic groups are encouraged to become part of our e-mail lists. For those interested in the plan who do not have e-mail, information can be mailed to you and traditional press releases will be issued to publicize public meetings.

Calendar and Meeting Notes

The Plan schedule and presentation materials for this project are listed on the calendar below including any, public meetings, surveys, meeting notes, and focus group notes.

Date | Time
Discussion Topic & Meeting Notes Location
2010 PHASE 1
ONGOING Inter-agency meetings on draft objectives and issues
June 3
Planning Board Briefing: Urban Park Guidelines. – June 3, 2010. Item #10 .
– Staff Memo
(.PDF, 1.5MB)
PowerPoint presentation (.PDF, 1.5MB)
M-NCPPC Montgomery Regional Office (MRO)
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Planning Board approval: 2012 PROS Plan
Staff Research
Public Outreach
SUMMER Public Review of Draft Urban Park Guidelines
FALL Planning Board Public Hearing for approval of Urban Park Guidelines
TBD Publish Approved Urban Park Guidelines

Media Center

This is where you will find links to press releases, print articles, videos and community links related to this project. If you would like to see additional links added to this site, please contact the Project Coordinator.

  • JANUARY 7, 2015 – ONLINE ARTICLE: Montgomery Parks asks whether privately owned parks make sense for downtown areas – Gazette.net

Contact Us

If you have additional questions, please contact the project manager.

Brooke Farquhar
Park and Trail Planning Supervisor – Master Planner

Park Planning and Stewardship Division
Brooke.Farquhar@MontgomeryParks.org | 301-650-4388

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Last Updated: August 11, 2016