Live blogging from the July 16, 2009, meeting of the Montgomery County Planning Board. Live streaming video is available at www.montgomergyplanningboard.org.
Chairman Hanson opened the meeting by pointing out that today’s schedule is “extraordinarily heavy” and it is. The agenda begins with two segments on the West Gaithersburg/Life Sciences Center Master Plan, which includes new transportation links, a new street network, connectivity to the planned Corridor Cities Transitway, and major development areas. This area has seen substantial activity in the biotechnology industry in the last decade, and the new Master Plan is intended to match the infrastructure and housing in that area with the expected heavy growth patterns.
The new White Flint Master Plan will come up next. This will be the fourteenth formal worksession the Board has held on the White Flint Plan, and those worksessions built on two years’ of meetings and planning sessions, including meetings of the “world’s largest Advisory Group.” This is expected to be the last Board meeting on the White Flint Plan, as the Plan is scheduled to be transmitted to the County Executive and County Council before the end of the month. Part of the urgency in completing the Plan is that Commissioner John Robinson, who has been active and involved in the White Flint Plan from the beginning, is leaving the Board after this meeting, and the Board wants to complete the process while he is available to participate.
Following final action on the White Flint Plan, the Board intends to discuss the new CR Zone, which is an integral part of the new White Flint process. The new zone provides a low basic level of construction density, but provides numerous opportunities for adding additional “bonus” density if the development plan includes items such as child day care, proximity to transit facilities, green building techniques, and public art. The CR Zone was developed for the White Flint process, but is now being expanded to other projects, including the West Gaithersburg Plan.