January 15, 2015
Planning Board Agenda
Attend or watch the Montgomery County Planning Board Thursday, January 21. View the full agenda for that meeting here.
Planning Board Member Norman Dreyfuss Honored with Awards for Business Advocacy and Community Service Leadership

The Montgomery County Planning Department, and the Montgomery County Department of Parks are pleased to announce that Planning Board member Norman Dreyfuss is being honored with two prestigious awards from local organizations.

The Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce recognized Dreyfuss with its Ron Resh Business Advocate Award at its annual Legislative Outlook Breakfast on January 8, 2016. The award honors an individual whose advocacy serves to ensure that the BCC community is regarded as the pre-eminent place to do business.

This annual award is named for the late Ron Resh, who served as president of the Montgomery County and Rockville Chambers of Commerce, and advocated for the Purple Line and lower business taxes as a public affairs consultant for the Greater BCC Chamber. Past winners of the Resh award include Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and County Councilmember Phil Andrews. Learn more.
Volunteer in your parks and community in recognition of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service! 

Several volunteer events -- including park and stream cleanups and the removal of non-native invasive plants -- will take place in parks around the county. Events are open to the public and volunteers of all ages, including students who will be able to earn Student Service Learning (SSL) hours.  MLK Day of Service volunteer events are scheduled at parks in various communities including Bethesda, Silver Spring, Aspen Hill, and White Oak.  For more details on dates, times, locations and to sign up please visit  www.MontgomeryParks.org/MLK or contact the Volunteer Services Office at 301-495-2504.
Featured Speaker Will Unveil a New Planning Approach for Buses and Streetcars at First Winter Speakers Series Event on January 20

The Montgomery County Planning Department is launching its 2016 Winter Speaker Series with a presentation by Washington, DC-based transportation planner Nat Bottigheimer of Fehr & Peers DC on the pitfalls and practicalities of planning surface transit. Free and open to the public, the event will be held on Wednesday, January 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).

Citing troubled streetcar and bus rapid transit projects in the region, Bottigheimer will show how new, data-driven tools can better predict success or failure at the outset. His presentation, Putting the Transition Back in Transit, will focus on the upfront planning of surface transportation through data collected from cell phones and GPS devices as a way to unlock transit's transformational potential. Learn more here

Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment Staff Draft Presentation at January 21 Planning Board Meeting

Montgomery Parks planners will give a staff draft presentation on the department's countywide trails plan amendment before the Planning Board on January 21. The public is welcome to attend or view the presentation online. For more details, please visit www.ParkPlanning.org.
Submission Date for Makeover Montgomery 3 Conference Proposals Extended to January 29

The gathering will be held from May 4 through May 6, 2016 in College Park and Silver Spring, MD. It will bring together planners, architects, developers, real estate professionals, economists, social scientists, ecologists and others to discuss cutting-edge ideas for transforming the suburbs.

The deadline for submitting presentation proposals online has been extended from January 8 to Friday, January 29, 2016 at 5 p.m. The selected presenters will take part in sessions to be held at the Silver Spring Civic Building (1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD) on May 5 and 6. Assistance with travel-related expenses may be available for out-of-town speakers. Learn more here.
MARC Rail Communities Plan Moves Ahead with January 28 Planning Board Presentation and Community Workshop in March

The Montgomery County Planning Department is advancing the MARC Rail Communities Plan by presenting the proposed Scope of Work to the Planning Board on Thursday, January 28, 2016. Once approved by the Board, the Scope of Work will provide the basis for the planning effort.

The Master Plan will evaluate land use, zoning, design and access conditions at the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) stations in Boyds and Germantown. This effort will make use of ongoing studies being undertaken by the Maryland Transit Administration and Montgomery County Department of Transportation looking at parking and access issues at MARC stations throughout the County. Learn more here.
Events Celebrate New Planning Department Book on Midcentury Modern Architecture in Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Planning Department is celebrating its new book, Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1930-1979, with a series of author talks and book-signing events. The 250-page, well-illustrated book is written by Clare Lise Kelly, a preservation planner and an architectural historian with the Planning Department's Historic Preservation Office. The book includes an inventory of key buildings and communities, and biographical sketches of architects and developers.

I've been researching historic sites for 25 years now and advocating for their preservation, and Montgomery County has one of the strongest preservation programs in the country," says author Kelly.  "The post-war era is a time period that has been little understood and we are raising awareness about the value of buildings in this time period." For her architectural advocacy, the American Institute of Architects' Potomac Valley Chapter honored Kelly with its 2015 Paul H. Kea medal. Learn more here.
Planning Department Announces its 2016 Winter Speaker Series

The Montgomery County Planning Department is sponsoring a three-part Winter Speaker Series in 2016 that will focus on transportation. Smart Moves: New Ideas about Bikes, Cars and Transit will address new approaches to cycling, transit, trails and other alternatives to cars. The ideas generated from the series will help inform the Department's current plans and policies, including the Bicycle Master Plan and Subdivision Staging Policy update.

The Winter Speakers Series is free and open to the public and planning professionals. Credit for certification maintenance (CM) for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) attending the series is pending. Learn more here.
County Council Will Hold Public Hearing on the Westbard Sector Plan on January 26 in Rockville

The Montgomery County Planning Board approved the Westbard Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, December 17 for transmittal to the Montgomery County Council and Office of the County Executive.

The County Council has scheduled a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan for Tuesday, January 26, 2016 in the Council Hearing Room (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD). Community members interested in testifying in person must sign up in advance online or call 240-777-7803 for more information.

The Planning Board previously held three work sessions on the Westbard Sector Plan to address schools, transportation, land uses, zoning, open spaces and historic and cultural resources. A fourth work session was held to finalize zoning language for specific properties in the Plan area. The Planning Board's revisions are reflected in the newest draft of the Sector Plan.

These changes affect some building heights, address the need for community-serving uses, increase affordable housing requirements in certain circumstances and add restrictions to commercial uses in areas abutting single-family residential neighborhoods.

Community Meeting on Long Branch-Wayne Local Park Renovations: February 9, 2016

Park staff will discuss ideas to renovate the Long Branch-Wayne Local Park at a community meeting on February 9 at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and provide input to improve the park. More details are available here.
Emerald Ash Borer in Montgomery Parks

A non-native invasive beetle in Montgomery County is wreaking havoc on ash trees, many which are located in stream valleys on parkland. Learn more on the department's plan to address the issue here.
Accessibility Improvements Continue

UPDATE: Accessibility Improvement work is scheduled at Olney Manor Recreational Park, Potomac Community Neighborhood Park,Pleasant View Local Park, Damascus Recreational Park, and Ayrlawn Local Park. For more information on these and other accessibility projects please visit: Accessibility Information for Montgomery Parks webpage.
Winter Festivals in Montgomery Parks 

Winter is right around the corner...and we have lots of festivals and events to help you enjoy the season! Check out www.MontgomeryParks.org/festivals for a list of major events happening in late November through February. 
On January 28, Planning Board Will Review Transit, Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Activities in the Life Sciences Center Area

The Montgomery County Planning Department is advancing its bus rapid transit, bicycle and pedestrian plans with progress reports on Thursday, January 28, 2016 to the Planning Board.

The three separate but related presentations will include an update on planning for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT), Life Sciences Center Loop Trail design guidelines and a separate bike lane network in the area as part of the Bicycle Master Plan. Consult the Planning Board Agenda for details about the session.

This Planning Board presentation follows a community meeting held on December 15, 2015 to discuss new transportation and recreational networks for people who walk and bike in the Life Sciences Center. Learn more here.
Park Projects:
  • Quince Orchard Valley Neighborhood Park:  WSSC work is scheduled to begin this January as part of the WSSC Sewer Repair, Replacement and Rehabilitation Program. Work will also include the removal of the tennis court and hard surface path and allow reforestation to the area. Please use caution around work areas.
  • NOTICE: Falls Road Local Park: The parking lot entrance at Fall Road Local Park will be intermittently closed beginning on or around January 14, 2016 as scheduled construction continues to improve traffic pattern and ADA access. Alternate parking will be limited to Falls Chapel Way during closure.
  • Olney Family Neighborhood Park: Trail work to connect the community by improving access to the hard surface trails for residents entering from the Treadway Road side are under way.
  • Kemp Mill Urban Park: The Park will be closed this winter season for renovations. The one year project will improve the overall park access including an updated water feature and expanded playground.
  • Sligo Creek Parkway: WSSC Project will require the parking lot on Sligo Creek Parkway south of Wayne Avenue to be closed for 6-9 months. For more info on WSSC projects in the park, please click here.
  • Ellsworth Urban Park:  Park improvements are underway to construct a new Dog Park. Parts of the park will be inaccessible to the public as work includes improved storm water management and better access to park. Tennis Courts and playground will not be affected.
  • Waters Landing Local Park: Playground renovations are underway requiring playground to be closed this fall. Work will include storm water management and improved access to park facilities. Public should use caution getting to tennis courts and picnic shelter as paths will be repaved. Click here for more info.
  • Plumgar Local Park: Playground is closed as part of the Playground Renovation Program. Work is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2016.
Trail Work in Parks
Bikers and Runners should use caution as improvements are taking place on several trails in Montgomery Parks:
  • Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail work is underway to coordinate the removal of high risk trees and limbs including Emerald Ash Borer infested trees along the Rock Creek Hiker- Biker Trails on Beach Drive.  For more information on tree inspection and maintenance, click here
  • Black Hill Trail Connector Project to build a new shared-use natural surface six-mile trail along the western side of Little Seneca Lake in Black Hill Regional Park is scheduled to begin this fall. Numerous construction phases will take place over the course of the next year until the trail is complete.
  • Black Hill Trail work will close portions of the trail, including bridge work at the Ten Mile Creek tributary to Little Seneca Lake, for repairs. Work areas will close access to the trail head at the end of Ten Mile Creek Road, Osprey Heights Loop, Lake View Loop and Turkey Hill Loop.  The Cool Spring Trail will remain open during the construction which is scheduled to be completed by the Spring 2016.  
  • Rock Creek Trail work continues on the trail in the Rock Creek Regional Park area around Baltimore Road and Norbeck Road. The project will require partial closure of the trail for bridge work, stream work and the repaving of the trail leading to bridge. A detour will be posted when trail repaving begins.
  • Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail Storm water management work is underway, between Franklin Street and Knowles Avenue. Trail will be intermittently closed.  Please use caution and follow detours.
  • Rock Creek Trail Signage Installation for better wayfinding on the trail and adjacent neighborhood trail connectors leading to main trail continues south on the 14 mile Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail.
For more information on Montgomery Parks Trails please visit www.MontgomeryTrails.org.
View Montgomery Parks Program GUIDES Online
Click here to see all the various programs, classes and events Montgomery Parks has to offer to you and your family. Browse the eGuide from your computer or cell via at Montgomery Parks eGuides.
Watch: The Latest Edition of Plan-It Montgomery
Learn more about the Design Excellence Award, the latest master plans, and Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson's interview with a Montgomery County legend. All this and more in this edition of Plan-It Montgomery
Watch: Montgomery Modern Initiative Promo
Montgomery Modern explores mid-century modern buildings and communities that reflect the optimistic spirit of the post-war era in Montgomery County, Maryland. Watch here.