February 5, 2015
Planning Board Agenda
Attend or watch the Montgomery County Planning Board Thursday, February 11. View the full agenda for that meeting here.
Parks Opens Four New Athletic Fields 

The athletic fields at Northwest Branch Recreational Park will be open this spring and available to permit. There are four fields which must be permitted for use:  three full size rectangles and one adult size baseball, as well as one smaller practice rectangle. For more information on permitting these fields please click here or call 240-777-2716.

Planning Department Announces Calendar of February 2016 Events

The Montgomery County Planning Department is pleased to announce its February 2016 calendar of community meetings, work session and public events. These events offer opportunities for the Planning Board and Planning Department staff to discuss policies and engage with the public. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans. View the full list here
Planning Board Approves Fee Changes for Record Plats, Forest Conservation Exemptions and Site Plan Amendments

The Montgomery County Planning Board approved changes to the development application fee schedule at its meeting on December 10, 2015. The following changes will take effect on Monday, February 1, 2016:
  • Record Plats: The fee has been reduced from $2,100 to $2,000.
  • Forest Conservation Exemptions: The fee is increasing from $180 to $200 for some exemptions and being eliminated for others.
  • Site Plan Amendments: The fee for administrative site plan amendments will be $2,500. Previously, the administrative site plan amendment fee varied from $1,000 to $3,250 and was set by a Planning Department supervisor.
For all details of these changes, consult the Planning Board resolution and new Fee Schedule and Worksheet. View a copy of the old fee schedule.

Questions or concerns? Call the Planning Department's Information Counter at 301-495-4610 or email Jamey.Pratt@montgomeryplanning.org.

Learn more about the development review process, track development and search for specific projects at www.montgomeryplanning.org/development
Civic Groups, Homeowner Associations and Property Owners Share Perspectives for White Flint 2 Area at Public Forum on February 1

The Montgomery County Planning Department held a public forum on Monday, February 1, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Luxmanor Elementary School (6201 Tilden Lane, Rockville, MD) for the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.

This event allowed civic and homeowner associations, including representatives from the Luxmanor, Garrett Park, Cherington and Randolph Hills neighborhoods, to share ideas with planners and the approximately 40 meeting participants. The discussion focused on public schools within the Walter Johnson cluster, transportation and new parks and open spaces.

In addition, developers from Federal Realty Investment Trust explained their initial concepts for redeveloping the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center and the owner of Randolph Hills Shopping Center also presented his suggested renovation plans.

Local representatives of the Sierra Club presented the benefits of such development, including the provision of more affordable housing in proximity to transit, as well as ways to improve the energy efficiencies of buildings and sites.

View the video recap of the meeting.
Planning Board Supports Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal and Approves Design Guidelines for Life Sciences Center Loop Trail

The Montgomery County Planning Department is announcing the Planning Board's support of a substantially enhanced bicycle network and trail recommendations for the Life Sciences Center research district of the Great Seneca Science Corridor.

The Board expressed strong support for the Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal and approved an amendment to the 2010 Urban Design Guidelines for the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan. The amendment includes detailed design recommendations for the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail, a 2.5-mile walking and cycling path through the research park. Learn more here.
February is Maple Sugaring Month at Brookside Nature Center

Every Saturday and Sunday you'll have an opportunity to experience an American tradition: maple sugaring! Join us on Saturdays in February at 10am, 1pm and 3pm or Sundays in February at 1pm & 3pm and watch the whole maple sugaring process from start to finish. See sap drip from trees and taste it. Watch us boil it down into sweet maple syrup, then sample a tasty treat. Join in the fun and activities and learn something new at this family-friendly program! Space is limited so pre-registration is encouraged. $6/person. Register here.  
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.
Planning Department Encourages Community to Testify on the Public Hearing Draft of the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan

The Montgomery County Planning Department invites the Greater Lyttonsville community to sign up to testify at the February 11 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Public Hearing at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).

The Public Hearing Draft is available for review on the Planning Department's website. This posting follows the Montgomery County Planning Board's approval of the Working Draft as the Public Hearing Draft on Thursday, December 17, 2015.

The Public Hearing Draft reflects changes in response to issues that were raised by the Lyttonsville community over district boundaries and language in the Plan Draft.

View the Staff Report for the December 17 Planning Board presentation, including an errata sheet.

Learn more here
Montgomery Planning Winter Speaker Series Event on February 16 Will Focus on Suburban Bicycle Planning

The Montgomery County Planning Department is holding the second session of its three-part Winter Speaker Series on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. This free event will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring) to address recent approaches to suburban bicycle planning.

Transportation planner Jennifer Toole, president of the Silver Spring-based Toole Design Group, will discuss local examples as well as case studies from other countries. She will highlight bicycling culture in the Netherlands, where separated bike lanes are commonplace in suburban and rural areas, as well as in cities. Learn more here.
Celebrate Waterfowl at Black Hill Visitor Center on February 13

Bring the whole family for a day filled with free activities, demonstrations, and exhibits to celebrate the wondrous water birds that call Little Seneca Lake home during the winter. Stop by the Waterfowl Festival at Black Hill Visitor Center on Saturday, February 13 from Noon - 4:00 p.m. Try your hand at carving a decoy. Make a bird bonnet to look like a hooded merganser or a bufflehead. Join guided birding excursions to catch a glimpse of marine ducks, swans and maybe even the Black Hill eagles! For more info, click 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 

Check out www.MontgomeryParks.org/festivals for a list of major events happening in late November through February.
Public Input Needed on Wheaton Regional Park Master Plan Update

Montgomery Parks is updating the Wheaton Regional Park Master Plan and is soliciting input from the public. To find out more about the plan and how you can share your ideas please visit www.ParkPlanning.org
Updates to Subdivision Staging Policy Being Discussed at Planning Board and Community Meetings

The Montgomery County Planning Department is in the process of updating the Subdivision Staging Policy (formerly called Growth Policy) for review and approval by the County Council later this year. The intent of the Subdivision Staging Policy is to ensure public facilities, particularly schools and roads, are adequate to meet the needs of new development and growth.

On Tuesday, January 12, a community meeting was held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Planning Department auditorium (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to discuss current school tests and school facility funding as they relate to the staging of future subdivision development. 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.
  • Falls Road Local Park: The parking lot entrance at Falls Road Local Park will be intermittently closed through need date as scheduled construction continues to improve traffic patterns and ADA access. Alternate parking will be limited to Falls Chapel Way during closure. Click here for more information on the park project.
  • Olney Family Neighborhood Park: Work is underway to improve access to hard surface trails from Treadway Road. The project is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2016.
  • Kemp Mill Urban Park: The park is closed for renovations to improve overall access, update the pond and expand the playground. Renovations are expected to be completed by spring 2017.
  • Sligo Creek Parkway: The parking lot on Sligo Creek Parkway south of Wayne Avenue is closed through the spring of 2016 for WSSC work. 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 in Silver Spring.  Parts of the park will be inaccessible to the public as work includes improved storm water management and better access to park. Click here for more info.
  • Waters Landing Local Park: The playground is closed while renovations are underway. Work will include storm water management and improved access to park facilities. 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:
  • NOTICE: Work is scheduled over the next few weeks along the Capital Crescent Trail at the DC Line. Trail users should use caution around work zones. 
  • 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 is underway to build a new shared-use natural surface six-mile trail along the western side of Little Seneca Lake in Black Hill Regional Park. Numerous construction phases will take place over the course of the next year until the trail is complete.
  • The pedestrian bridge at the Ten Mile Creek tributary to Little Seneca Lake in Black Hill Regional Park will be closed until spring 2016.
  • Work continues on the Rock Creek trail in Rock Creek Regional Park around Baltimore Road and Norbeck Road. Trails will be partially closed 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 Trail Signs are being installed to improve wayfinding on the trail and adjacent neighborhood trail connectors leading to main trail of 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: 2016 Winter Speakers Series Session 1: Putting the Transition Back in Transit
Nat Bottigheimer of Fehr & Peers DC stopped by the Montgomery County Planning Department to tell us what it means to put the transition back in transit. Watch the full recap here.
Watch: The Planning Board Tour of Kensington
The Montgomery County Planning Board recently toured the Town of Kensington to see how some of their approvals have come to life. Watch it here.
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