Planning Board to Consider Scope of Silver Spring Downtown Sector Plan Work

The Montgomery Planning Board will consider a proposed scope of work for a Silver Spring Downtown Sector Plan at a virtual meeting Thursday, June 4.

The work, the first step in the planning process, is intended as an update to the 2000 Silver Spring Central Business District Plan.

It includes consideration of the boundaries of the current CBD and whether expansion of the area into the downtown sector plan would be a part of the process.

At its March 26 meeting, the staff recommended expansion of the boundaries to include parcels owned by the Church of St. Michael’s along Wayne Avenue.

The staff report notes that the church has requested that all of its parcels be included in the downtown sector.

Currently, the property on the north side of Wayne Avenue (containing the church itself) is part of the downtown boundary. The south parcels are included in the East Silver Spring Master Plan, and the current CBD boundary splits a recently constructed building.

However, at the March 26 meeting, the board requested that staff study options to expand the boundaries into the surrounding neighborhoods of East, North and West Silver Spring.

Consequently, the staff identified three additional options for consideration, quoted below:

  • Option B: Neighborhood Edge Expansion. Option B expands the Plan Boundary one block into the neighborhoods to the north and east of downtown Silver Spring. The expansion boundary includes properties located on the north side of the Spring Street ring-road that connects the gateways of Georgia Avenue, Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue to downtown Silver Spring.
  • Option C: Transit Corridor Expansion. Consistent with the Board’s focus on transit access as a guide for expanding the Plan Boundary, Option C is a “transit corridor” expansion on either side of Colesville Road and Wayne Ave to the limit of the half- mile/ten-minute pedestrian walkshed from the future Silver Spring Library Purple Line Station.
  • Option D: Walkshed Expansion. Option D is a “walkshed” expansion within the half-mile/ten-minute pedestrian walkshed from the future Silver Spring Library Purple Line Station. This expansion option generally includes whole blocks that are within the walkshed, extending into Woodside, Woodside Park and East Silver Spring.

According to the plan boundary study memo, “Once the plan boundary is decided, the staff will revise the Scope [of Work] to include the updated plan boundary information.”

The proposed Scope of Work also includes areas such as housing, particularly what’s known as “missing middle” (affordable) housing, which could be included within an expanded boundary, community facilities, community character, economic development, and parks and open spaces, among other topics.

The public may testify virtually at the June 4 meeting by signing up before the deadline at noon on Wednesday. June 3. Residents can also submit comments prior to the same deadline at [email protected]

The proposed schedule for the Silver Spring Downtown Sector Plan is:

  • Scope of Work approval: June 2020
  • Existing Conditions Analysis/Commence Engagement: June 2020 – October 2020
  • Visioning and Preliminary Recommendations: October 2020 – June 2021
  • Development of Staff Draft Report: June 2021 – September 2021
  • Planning Board Work Sessions and Public Hearing: October 2021 – January 2022
  • Planning Board Draft: February 2022
  • County Executive Review, County Council Review/PHED Work Sessions: February 2022 – June 2022
  • Commission Adoption of Plan: June 2022
  • Sectional Map Amendment: September 2022

The staff contacts for additional information are Atara Margolies, project manager, [email protected], 301.495.4558, and Leslye Howerton, master plan supervisor, [email protected], 301.495.4566.

Montgomery County photo

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