Staff Response to Public Hearing on Growth Policy

Staff Response to Public Hearing on Growth Policy

At a June 22, 2009, public hearing on the county Growth Policy, 22 county residents testified, and an additional 24 residents submitted written comments (according to the Montgomery County Planning Staff, 23 of the 24 written responses were from residents of Kensington or Garrett Park). Several expressed concerns about the amount of density proposed in the White Flint Sector Plan, claiming that the growth would not be mitigated by transportation improvements. The staff has now responded to the public hearing testimony, and essentially rejected the claim, noting that they estimated that their proposed changes in the growth policy and measurement standards would roughly double the amount of mitigation:

The prevailing sentiment in public testimony tends to be split between investors and residents. Those in the residential community tend to be concerned that the proposal encourages more development and therefore more traffic, and reduces the amount of transportation mitigation. As previously stated, staff believes the sum total of the changes to PAMR would be expected to roughly double the total amount of mitigation, because three different proposals have offsetting effects on the amount of expected mitigation:

  • The proposal to adopt symmetrical LOS standards would substantially reduce the number of proposals for which mitigation is required. In FY 10, the effect of reduced mitigation is greatest in the Georgia Avenue corridor, where substantial growth is not expected.
  • The proposal to base mitigation on $11,000 per vehicle trip in mitigation would substantially increase the average amount of mitigation per trip for those applications requiring mitigation, including in the I-270 corridor, where substantial growth is expected.
  • The proposal to consider PAMR offsets for Smart Growth criteria would encourage development with lower trip generation characteristics Conversely, testimony from stakeholders suggested that very few applicants would use the PAMR offset process due to the cost of providing affordable housing and the inability to mix residential and commercial uses on many sites.

The staff response can be found here: http://montgomeryplanningboard.org/agenda/2009/documents/GrowthPolicy1.pdf

Barnaby Zall

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