Category Montgomery County Government

Take the Vision Zero Community Survey

Help Montgomery County eliminate serious and fatal traffic crashes in the coming decade! The County is creating a 10-year Vision Zero strategy and needs your input to make it happen.

Please take the Vision Zero Community Survey so the White Flint/Pike District is represented and include specific improvements you’d like to see in our community. The deadline is August 10.

To learn more about the county’s current Vision Zero efforts read the current Plan. If you have any questions or feedback on their efforts, email them at visionzero@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Our testimony on Bill 29-20 that creates incentives to build housing at metro stations

July 20, 2020

Dear Councilmembers:

Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit organization composed of residents, property owners, and businesses, writes today to urge you to pass Bill 29-20. This legislation will encourage development at both the White Flint and Grosvenor-Strathmore metro station, something we enthusiastically support. This legislation should increase the available stock of housing and spur economic development, both of which are essential to ensure Montgomery County and the Pike District prosper.

We support exempting 100% of the real property tax that would otherwise be levied for a period of 15 years beginning in the year a use and occupancy permit is issued for the qualifying development with the important caveat that the property owner must still pay into the special White Flint taxing district. The special taxing district funds essential infrastructure and is integral to fulfilling the promise of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan.

With the hope that Bill 29-20 will create incentives to redevelop property at the White Flint and Grosvenor-Strathmore metro station, Friends of White Flint advocates for the passage of this important legislation.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Friends of White Flint if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Thank you,

Amy Ginsburg. Executive Director

It’s not too late to talk about the Subdivision Staging Policy

Montgomery Planning Board Adds Work Session for 2020 Update to the Subdivision Staging Policy

The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold an additional work session for the 2020 Update to the Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP) on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 from 7 to 9 p.m. to give Montgomery County Planning Department staff final decisions on the draft policy. The meeting will be conducted virtually and can be watched live or listened to by dialing 301-495-4708 and using the password 87871111 when the meeting starts.

Following the final work session, Montgomery Planning staff will take the Planning Board’s guidance and make edits to the draft policy, renamed as the County Growth Policy, before going back to the Planning Board for approval on July 30, 2020. Once the Planning Board approves the policy, it will be transmitted to the Montgomery County Council for its review and approval.

View past SSP 2020 Update work sessions:
Thursday, June 18, 2020 – Planning Board Work Session – Schools Element

Thursday, June 25, 2020 – Planning Board Work Session – Transportation Element

Thursday, July 2, 2020 – Planning Board Work Session – Schools Element and Taxes

Thursday, July 9, 2020 – Planning Board Work Session – Transportation Element and Taxes

Thursday, July 16, 2020 – Planning Board Work Session

The update includes recommendations that focus on school and transportation capacities as the county’s population grows and its development needs evolve. In its ongoing efforts to balance expected county growth and development needs with school and transportation capacities, Montgomery Planning recommends a series of policy changes updating calculations and tools to measure and address school overcrowding, traffic congestion, transportation safety, and ways to fund needed infrastructure.

After the Planning Board work sessions, the Planning Board Draft of the policy and related County Code amendments will be sent to the County Council and County Executive for review. By law, the Council must approve the growth policy by November 15, 2020. Community members are encouraged to continue to submit comments to inform the Planning Board draft via email until July 16. The Planning Board voted to keep the public record open through July 16. Any comments received before then will become part of the public testimony and public record for the policy. View the SSP At-a-Glance explainer in English and Español to learn more about the recommendations.

You Can Request a ‘Slow Street’ In Your Neighborhood During the Pandemic

What streets should become slow shared streets in your neighborhood?

From WAMU 88.5 Radio

During the early stages of reopening, Maryland’s largest county quickly turned downtown streets into open-air dining. Officials closed roads near trails to create temporary greenways, making more space for overcrowded trail users.  

Now, residents can request that their neighborhood streets get the “shared streets” treatment of barricades and signs at the end of a block indicating local traffic only. The idea is to open them up for safer walking, biking and play.

As people have been stuck at home, traffic has dipped way down. Some people are reluctant to get into shared, enclosed spaces like buses and ride-hailing vehicles. So cities across the world are developing new strategies: adding hundreds of miles of new bike lanes, creating “streateries” and repurposing streets for recreation.

Streets along trails in Aspen Hill and Silver Spring have been closed to thru traffic to allow more space for trail users. Greenways may also soon come to areas like Wheaton, Glenmont, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Forest Glen.

These smaller closures on neighborhood streets are a one-time request that can be made by any resident.

MCDOT will come set up signs block off half of the road with a “road closed to thru traffic” sign at the ends of the area to help cut down on traffic and alert drivers that the block is being used for walking and cycling. Drivers can still use the streets but they must slow down and share the street with people. The one-time request can be for a Monday through Thursday closure or a Friday through Sunday closure.

Here’s the video of the testimony on the update to the SSP

The Montgomery County Planning Board held a virtual public hearing on June 11 on the update to the Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP). Friends of White Flint was one of the many people testifying about aspects of the policy.

View the video of the June 11 Planning Board Public Hearing.

The growth policy update includes recommendations that focus on school and transportation capacities as the county’s population grows and its development needs evolve. In its ongoing efforts to balance expected county growth and development needs with school and transportation capacities, Montgomery Planning recommends a series of policy changes updating calculations and tools to measure and address school overcrowding, traffic congestion, transportation safety, and ways to fund needed infrastructure.

Next steps for the update include a series of Planning Board work sessions that will be held virtually and are open to the public:

•           Thursday, June 18: Planning Board Work Session – Schools Element

•           Thursday, June 25: Planning Board Work Session – Transportation Element

•           Thursday, July 2: Planning Board Work Session – Schools Element and Taxes

•           Thursday, July 9: Planning Board Work Session – Transportation Element and Taxes

•           Thursday, July 16: Planning Board Work Session – Final Decisions

•           Thursday, July 30: Approval of Planning Board Draft

County Executive Sets June 19 for Phase 2 Reopening

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles today announced the County has achieved its benchmarks and will officially enter Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, June 19 at 5 p.m.

The County plans to continue with an incremental reopening, based on public health data. Phase 2 allows additional businesses and activities to start and/or increase modified operations under specified guidelines. The guidelines include:

Retail – curbside and limited in-store; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of sales space;
Restaurants – outdoor/patio seating and limited indoor dining with requirements; up to 50 percent capacity maximum indoors if social distancing can be maintained;
Childcare – childcare programs can reopen with a maximum of 15 individuals per classroom;
Gyms – fitness centers, and other indoor physical activities; open with requirements; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of fitness space;
Houses of Worship – virtual, drive-in, and limited indoor and outdoor services with requirements – one congregant/family unit per 200 sq. ft. of service space;
Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings – limited to a maximum of 50 or one person/family unit per 200 sq. ft., whichever is lower
Salons/Barbers/Nails – all personal services allowed by appointment only; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of service delivery space;
Car Washes – open for internal and external cleaning with requirements;
Office Spaces and Multi-tenant Commercial Buildings – limited use for nonessential personnel with requirements; telework strongly encouraged where applicable;
Indoor and Outdoor pools (public and private) – open with capacity restrictions;
Outdoor Day Camps – expanded opening with requirements;
Outdoor Youth Sports – expanded for low-contact sports with requirements;
Parks & Playgrounds – parks open for personal fitness and fitness classes with requirements; playgrounds open with requirements; only low-contact sports allowed;
Ride On Bus Service – expanded schedule; expanded routes.
Certain outdoor recreation activities and facilities are already permitted: golf courses, archery, shooting ranges, marinas, campgrounds, horseback riding facilities and tennis courts.

The following businesses and services will remain closed in Phase 2:

Concerts and theaters
Senior centers
Libraries
Recreation facilities.


Protective measures such as maintaining physical distancing, careful cleaning and disinfecting, and face coverings being worn by employees and customers, are just some of the measures being required of businesses that are in this second phase of recovery.

Activities allowed in this phase of reopening are based on metrics the County established with progress overall in decreasing daily numbers of new cases, increasing testing capacity, implementing a large-scale contact tracing effort with the State, decreasing hospitalizations and use of the emergency room by patients with COVID-19 related symptoms, and positive trends in the death rate and test positivity. The COVID-19 Data Dashboard can be viewed on the County’s website.

A public draft of the Complete Streets Design Guide is now available for review.

Montgomery County is developing a new approach to designing county roads using a concept called Complete Streets, roadways that are designed and operated to provide safe, accessible, and healthy travel for all users of the roadway system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists. On a Complete Street, it is intuitive and safe to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to school. Click to read the newly released Complete Streets Design Guide.

  1. Safety – maximize safety for all (pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles),
  2. Sustainability – enhance ecological functions and economic appeal of a streetscape, and
  3. Vitality – create streets that are great, dynamic places.

Schedule

In July, a formal public hearing will be provided by the Montgomery County Planning Board with additional opportunity for public comment. Planning Board work sessions will follow in September, with transmission to the County Council for their review anticipated in January 2021.

Contacts

For more information, you are encouraged to contact either of the two co-Project Managers listed below:
Montgomery Planning – Steve Aldrich (301) 495-4528 Email
Montgomery County DOT – Andrew Bossi (240) 777-7200  Email

Montgomery County Provides Guidelines for Businesses to Prepare for Phase 1 Reopening

Montgomery County began Phase 1 of its reopening at 6 a.m. Monday, June 1, as outlined in County Executive Marc Elrich’s Executive Order. To assist businesses to prepare for the transition, the County has developed reopening guidelines. These guidelines are designed to foster a safe environment for businesses and their employees and customers. 

Reopening Guidelines

  • County Executive Elrich’s Executive Order outlines the type of businesses and activities that may reopen in Phase 1.
  • Only businesses referenced in the Executive Order are permitted to reopen; all others must continue to follow the “Stay-at-Home” Order.
  • In order to safely reopen, all businesses must agree to abide by safety requirements to ensure the spread of the virus remains low for employees, patrons and the general public.
  • The County’s Reopening Requirements must be reviewed and posted in a clear and visible location at the business.
  • Any restaurant that plans to offer outdoor dining in accordance with the new safety guidelines must complete an easy registration form confirming their understanding of the new guidelines.
  • Bathrooms must be made available to patrons by restaurants offering outdoor dining.
  • If providing curbside retail pickup, businesses should instruct customers to call or order online first and wait in their vehicles for employees to bring out or deliver merchandise.
  • Employees and customers of hair salons and barbershops are required to use face coverings, gloves, and any other personal protective equipment appropriate to their workplace. In addition, these requirements must be met:
    • Limit of one customer for every 200 sq. ft. of service delivery space;
    • Use of physical distancing markers for staff and customers; and
    • High-contact surfaces (those with hourly or greater contact frequency) must be cleaned with CDC- and EPA-approved disinfectant at least every two hours.
  • The Reopening Montgomery web page features resources, best practices and answers to reopening questions.

As the County moves into Phase 1 of reopening, businesses and patrons are urged to continue practicing safety measures:

  • Wear face coverings always in public indoor spaces and when physical distancing cannot be maintained outdoors;
  • Continue physical distancing;
  • Limit indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 people or fewer; and
  • Telework whenever possible.

Montgomery County Opens Up on Monday!

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles today announced critical benchmarks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have been achieved, allowing the County to begin a gradual reopening. Phase I will start this Monday, June 1 at 6 a.m. The County plans for an incremental reopening, based on public health data. 

Phase I allows additional businesses and activities to start and/or increase modified operations under specified guidelines. They are:   

  • Retail; curbside only
  • Restaurants and bars; outdoor seating (curbside pick-up still allowed)
  • Childcare; State-approved emergency programs open for dependents of essential employees and Phase 1 reopening employees
  • Personal Services; hair salons and barber shops for hair only appointments
  • Car washes; exterior cleaning only
  • Manufacturing; fully reopen with precautions and guidance
  • Outdoor Day Camps: following Maryland Department of Health guidelines
  • Outdoor Youth Sports; following Maryland Department of Health guidelines

Certain outdoor recreation continues to be permitted; golf courses, archery, shooting ranges, marinas, campgrounds, horseback riding facilities and tennis courts.

The following businesses and services remain closed:

  • Swimming pools; (however, licensing and inspection can be requested and conducted)
  • Senior Centers
  • Fitness Centers
  • Movie Theaters
  • Shopping Malls
  • Nail Salons

Protective measures such as maintaining physical distancing, careful cleaning and disinfecting by staff and face coverings being worn by employees and customers, are just some of the measures being required of businesses that are in this initial phase of recovery. 

“This is an important first step,” said County Executive Elrich. “But it is a first step, and restrictions are still in place. I know we are all eager to resume our activities, but based on careful discussions with our County Health Officer Dr. Gayles, we have identified certain restrictions that can be lifted. I urge you to follow the guidelines so that we can keep moving forward and not have spikes in the number of cases. This first phase can be successful if all of us do our part and follow the guidelines.”

County passes capital budget that includes funding for Woodward re-opening

The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to approve the County’s $5.8 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Operating Budget and a $4.4 billion FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) to fund school construction, infrastructure improvements and community projects. The Council’s focus throughout its budget work was on providing continuity of services for County government and residents.

“The Council’s approach to this budget was unlike any other,” said Council President Sidney Katz. “We had a singular goal—continuity of service. Like households across our community, we had to limit our spending and control budget growth. The $5.8 billion operating budget and the $4.4 billion capital budget provides stability for our residents and our workforce, while we await a clearer picture of expenses and revenues that will emerge during the summer and fall. We all recognize that there will be more work to do to meet the ongoing public health and financial needs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The County’s $4.4 billion Capital Improvements Program provides funding to address the County’s most urgent building needs. Some items of note in the CIP include keeping the reopening of Woodward High School and the Northwood High School Addition/Facility Upgrade on schedule. Thank you to the County Council for keeping this vital project on track.