Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, August edition

Council Approves White Oak Master Plan

White Oak Master Plan book cover

This week, the Council approved the much-anticipated White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan transforming the area on the east side of the County around the Route 29 corridor and the Food and Drug Administration into a community of vibrant mixed-use centers. With the passage of this plan, we are realizing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to create the opportunity for robust employment and amenities in the eastern part of the County after a generation of moratoria.

The plan, which covers approximately 3,000 acres, amends portions of the approved and adopted 1997 Fairland Master Plan and portions of the approved and adopted 1997 White Oak: Master Plan. The White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan area is bounded by the Capital Beltway on the south, Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park on the west, U.S. Route 29 and Cherry Hill Road on the north and Prince George’s County on the east.

The plan recommends rezoning commercial areas to the Commercial/Residential (CR) zones, which allow a broad range of commercial uses, including general offices, technology and biotechnology, research and development, hospitals, educational institutions, some manufacturing and production. It also allows multi-family residential and supportive retail services to create a complete community.

The Food and Drug Administration, which will bring thousands of employees and visitors to the White Oak area, will serve as a catalyst for additional growth. The County is pursuing development of a major life sciences center on its 115-acre property known as Site 2 and has partnered with Percontee, owners of the adjacent 185-acre site, to create the potential for a 300-acre mixed-use development. Adjacent to both of these parcels is a nearly 50-acre property for the planned relocation of Washington Adventist Hospital.

The plan recommends a prominent civic promenade be part of the project. Mixed use zoning will encourage a combination of commercial, residential and retail uses within the compact, walkable center.

Council Names New Planning Board Chair

Congratulations to new Planning Board Chair, Casey Anderson. Mr. Anderson brings a very strong background to his new position and I look forward to working with him. He follows Chair Francoise Carrier, whose term expired on June 14 and who did not apply for reappointment. We appreciate Ms. Carrier's service and hard work.

Mr. Anderson is a Silver Spring resident. An attorney and community activist, he was appointed to the Planning Board in June 2011. Previously, Mr. Anderson served on the boards of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the Citizens League of Montgomery County and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Committee for Montgomery.

Mr. Anderson is a former vice president of the Woodside Civic Association and vice chair of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University and a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Apply Now to the Planning Board

Nancy Floreen

Now that sitting Planning Board member Casey Anderson has been selected as chair, we are looking to fill the vacancy he leaves. Get your resume in by September 3.

The Planning Board serves as the Council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning. Planning Board members also serve as commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The Planning Board’s responsibilities with regard to planning include preparation and amendment of the County General Plan; preparation and amendment of master plans and functional plans; formulation of subdivision regulations; preparation of or recommendations on text amendments to the County Zoning Code; implementation of the subdivision process by reviewing and approving all preliminary plans, site plans and other plans for development; advice on the planning implications of capital facilities and programs of the County government, Montgomery College, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission and Montgomery County Public Schools; commenting, under its mandatory referral authority, on plans for public facilities of local, state and federal agencies; and approval of the work program and the annual operating budget for the Planning Department and the Commission’s bi-county offices.

The Planning Board sits as the Park Commission and approves the annual Parks Department operating budget and Capital Improvements Program (CIP); land acquisition contracts and major development contracts for parks; development plans for individual park facilities; policies for park operations; and park user fees. Learn more.

Office of Legislative Oversight Examines Issues Affecting Economic Development

The Office of Legislative Oversight recently released two reports that looked at issues affecting economic development.

The first examines the review and approval timeframes for preliminary plans, site plans and record plats for development projects in Montgomery County. The report found that certain projects that are required to go through all stages of the review process could take more than three years to gain approval. It also states that the median processing timeframes for new preliminary plans, new site plans and record plats exceed the limited timeframe guidelines or assumptions that exist in County law or are published in agency documents. Learn more.

The second looks at the County’s procurement process for local, small or minority businesses. The report, titled “Procurement and Small, Minority, Female, Disabled and Locally-Owned Businesses,” summarizes survey data collected from approximately 1,200 businesses about the County’s procurement process and the Local Small Business Reserve and the Minority, Female and Disabled-Owned Business programs. Learn more.

Green Tip of the Month

red calf

Mark your calendar for the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair August 8-16. This showcase of farm life in Montgomery County features live animals, carnival rides, a variety of entertainment, food and fun activities for all ages. Kids especially enjoy the opportunity to see all kinds of farm animals up close, including prize-winning goats, sheep, pigs, dairy cattle and horses. Live entertainment includes monster trucks, demolition derby, pro wrestling and much more. You can also purchase quilting, clothing, canned goods, baked goods and vegetables from local farmers and enjoy arts and crafts exhibits of local youth.

Fast Fact

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking school-age students, grades 6-12, to participate in its Future Vote program.  Future Vote students will serve as Election Day student aides during the 2014 Gubernatorial General Election on Tuesday, November 4. There are also opportunities for students to assist the Board of Elections with a variety of activities before Election Day.

Students and their parents or guardians must attend mandatory training to participate in the Future Vote program and, if applicable, students will receive Student Service Learning credits. Most students work in precincts near their home. This initiative combines civic participation and the opportunity to observe democracy in action.

Note to Newsletter Editors

Did you find something useful in this e-letter? Some people have asked me if they can use the material from my newsletter in their own civic association or HOA newsletters. The answer is yes. I provide this information to help residents find what they need and participate in the legislative process, so feel free to use it.

August 2014

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