The Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Sector Plan Design Guidelines aim to ensure that new building projects fit into the character of each area and provide stakeholders with a consistent starting point for reviewing proposed developments. They allow for flexibility in interpreting the standards and proposing creative alternatives to the guidelines that still meet their intent.
Last night, Montgomery Planning gave the public the chance to review the proposed design guidelines for White Flint 2. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the Shriver Aquatic Center, here is a summary of the guidelines and links to the actual proposed White Flint 2 Design Guidelines.
I recommend you check out the actual White Flint 2 design guidelines, which include road design, streetscapes, green space, setbacks, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and more. But for those of you who lack the time or inclination, here are a few images that provide a quick overview. When you click each image, it will expand to make it easier to read.
Montgomery Planning will hold open houses on March 26 and 28 to present design guidelines for the Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Plans. Planners will present draft recommendations for the design of buildings, streets and public spaces at two meeting locations for community feedback.
Planners will hold the White Flint 2 Sector Plan Design Guidelines open house on Tuesday, March 26 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center (5900 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD). They will follow that event with the Rock Spring Master Plan Design Guidelines open house on Thursday, March 28 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Davis Library (6400 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD).
The Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Sector Plan Design
Guidelines aim to ensure that new building projects fit into the character of
each area and provide stakeholders with a consistent starting point for
reviewing proposed developments. They allow for flexibility in interpreting the
standards and proposing creative alternatives to the guidelines that still meet
One set of design guidelines was developed for both Rock Spring and White Flint 2 since these planning areas are about 1.5 miles apart and share similar challenges and opportunities. At the open houses, planners will discuss how the guidelines affect each area with specific examples drawn from the separate communities.
The design guidelines for these areas aim to: 1) Promote the conversion of single-use areas into mixed-use places. 2) Integrate mobility alternatives with a focus on pedestrian and bike connections to amenities and destinations. 3) Design buildings, public spaces and streets for pedestrian interest and comfort. 4) Encourage the use of new school prototypes that employ adaptive reuse, colocation and multi-level designs. 5) Complement urban development with easily accessible, high quality public and private parks and open spaces. 6) Apply sustainable design practices to protect natural resources and improve the health of residents in the plan areas.
The White Flint 2 Sector Plan promotes the transformation of
parking lots into places and single-use shopping centers into mixed-use communities
along Rockville Pike (MD 355). It recommends integrating new residential and
non-residential uses into the Executive Boulevard office park and promoting
mixed-use neighborhood centers at the Loehmann’s Plaza and Randolph Hills
Shopping Centers. The County Council approved the plan in December 2017.
The Rock Spring Master Plan envisions 535 acres, now mostly
used as an office park, as an employment center that could offer new housing
and retail. New development is envisioned along a proposed central circulation
spine, which could provide a future transitway for buses and safe routes for
pedestrians, bicyclists and cars. The Montgomery County Council approved the
plan in November 2017.
Offutt Estates, a small townhouse development (5 units), along Hillery Way is returning to the Development Review Committee on January 2, 2018.
Pike and Rose Phase 1 and 2 amendments, including a new office building adjacent to Rose Park and additional changes, will be reviewed by the Planning Board in February 2018.
North Bethesda Center (LCOR) Block G will be reviewed by the Board in early 2018.
White Flint 2
The Council voted, 8-1, to approve the White Flint 2 Sector Plan last Tuesday, December 5. Next steps in the process include the approval of the new zoning (Sectional Map Amendment) and adoption of the Plan by the Planning Commission. The Committee will receive a full briefing on the WF2 Plan in 2018.
Bicycle Master Plan
The Board’s public hearing for the Bicycle Master Plan is scheduled for Thursday, January 25, 2018 at the Planning Department Headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).
ICYMI in all the Thanksgiving/Black Friday fun, below is a link to the Draft White Flint 2 Resolution. It comes before the full Council on Tuesday, December 5. If you have any comments, you need to send them to the council by 5pm today.
At yesterday’s County Council PHED committee meeting, the many emails Friends of White Flint members sent to committee members were mentioned more than a few times during the discussion about White Flint 2. Thank you to all the many, many people who advocated for a walkable White Flint 2.
While only the Guardian and Willco properties will be considered to be part of White Flint 1’s metro station priority area, it was decided that all traffic mitigating infrastructure projects in the western and northern parts of White Flint 2 will prioritize walkability and bikeability, ensuring a more urban design. This is a big win for walkability!
Also at the meeting:
The committee decided that zoning for the Morgan Apartments will include increased numbers of MPDUs and workforce housing.
The Verizon property will have a zoning of CRT 3.0, C-3, R-3, H-120.
The Randolph Hills and Pickford Properties will have an overlay zone that provides an option that permits fifty percent residential and fifty percent light industrial. The goal was to preserve light industrial space and give the community the revamped, upgraded town center-like project it wants.
As we said above, Guardian and Willco properties will be come part of White Flint 1. Sufficient room will be added to the White Flint 1 plan to allow for the additional residential and commercial space. They will also become part of the White Flint 1 taxing district.
The rest of the area will use the North Bethesda congestion delay standard of 71 seconds/vehicle for intersections.
A 42% blended NADMS standard will apply to all of White Flint 2 area except for Willco and Guardian properties.
LATR will be use for White Flint 2, except for the Guardian and Willco properties.
Council staff recommended keeping the Planning Board’s zoning for the land behind Cherrington townhomes, stating that townhomes would be an appropriate use of that land. After some discussion, including comments by the Planning Board Chair and Planning Department Director, it was decided to include language that ensured that any residential development is compatible with existing development. Also, the committee agreed with staff’s suggestion to include this language: “During the development review process, explore options for preserving all or a portion of the wooded area along Montrose Parkway for passive use and for including open space/green space in the Wilgus property.
After a long discussion about light industrial space, the Twinbrook overlay zone (and how that might be modified), the Pickford Property, and the Randolph Hills Shopping Center, it was agreed to bring this topic back to the PHED committee on Monday, November 6 for additional discussion. There was broad agreement that the shopping center portion of Randolph Hills should be zoned CRT. Gwen Wright thought the Pickford property should also be given a CRT zone. Casey Anderson made a plea for a usable overlay zone. Council staff suggested a 60/40 overlay zone to preserve light industrial space.
There was a spirited debate about whether the western and northern portions of White Flint 2 should be part of the White Flint 1 taxing district, how big the MSPA should be, what NADMS goals should be, etc. There wasn’t, however, much agreement, so this issue was tabled until Monday, November 6. That said, I think it’s fair to say that council staff believes WF2 should not be an MSPA (except perhaps the Guardian and Wilco properties) and the Planning Board believes they should so that walkability and bikeability becomes the priority for traffic mitigation measures. Many expressed the desire for simplicity.
Friends of White Flint believes this part of White Flint 2 should be an MSPA, should have the same NADMS goals as White Flint 1, and should be part of the White Flint 1 taxing district. White Flint 2 should also have the same staging requirements as White Flint 1 so that mobility and transit projects will be built regardless of NADMS goals.
This was also discussed and tabled until the next PHED Committee worksession.
The next PHED Committee Worksession on White Flint 2 is Monday, November 6.
The drafted Rock Spring growth plan could bring as many as 423 new students to the crowded schools of the Walter Johnson cluster. Previously approved projects in the area could yield another 135.
The drafted White Flint 2 Sector Plan could add 690 more students, and another 149 could arrive courtesy of the drafted Grosvenor-Strathmore plan, according to county estimates.
Concerned parents in Bethesda and Rockville are wondering where the new students will go.
“[T]here’s no place to put them,” PTA representative Wendy Calhoun told County Council members last month.
County Council members, who are considering all three long-range growth plans at once, often stress that many new homes will take years or even decades to appear, and some projects might never get off the ground. However, they agree with parent advocates and Montgomery County Public Schools officials that the plans should say something about the need for new schools.
Now, consensus has formed around an approach that proponents say will give planning officials more flexibility to negotiate with landowners. The language that council members are expected to insert in all three plans states that every property undergoing development review should be evaluated for a potential school site.
The Montgomery Council PHED Committee (Planning, Housing & Economic Development) composed of Nancy Floreen, Chair, George Leventhal, Hans Riemer will discuss White Flint 2 at their worksession on Monday, October 30 at 2:30 pm. There are important discussions about NADMS goals, staging, light industrial space, and other issues in the two staff memos, labeled Packet A and Packet B below.
Friends of White Flint advocated the same staging, taxing district, and NADMS goals for the western side of White Flint 2 and White Flint 1. This is not what council staff is recommending. We believe it is critical to have the staging, NADMS goals, and other policies that will foster walkability and transit-oriented development in White Flint 2.