The county’s Planning Board has approved and forwarded to the County Council for its consideration the board’s draft of the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan, officials announced.
“The draft recommendations in the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan reflect the input we received from the community throughout the planning process,” Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright said in a press release. “We have received feedback from residents, community organizations, business and property owners, and others who are committed to a diverse and thriving future for Silver Spring.
Highlights from the recommendations include:
- Establishing a Green Loop to expand and unify access for all residents to green, safe, and inviting sidewalks, bikeways, and parks and open spaces
- Creating new and enhance existing parks and open spaces, including a major renovation of Jesup Blair Park
- Supporting the expansion of bioscience, technology, and education uses to increase employment opportunities in the plan area
- Updating the zoning code to provide more flexibility of development, increase affordable housing, support small business growth, and realize sector plan goals
- Encouraging the development of diverse housing types in the adjacent communities blocks as recommended by the plan and the ongoing Attainable Housing Strategies, and
- Creating a Silver Spring Building Height Incentive Zone to allow properties in the commercial core of the downtown to obtain additional height up to 150 percent of the mapped maximum height for flexibility.
“As the first Sector Plan to follow the passage of Montgomery County’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Act, equity is woven throughout the plan and is reflected in the four overarching themes that emerged after engaging with stakeholders,” according to the release. “These include diversity, resiliency, connectivity, and community health.”
At the same time, the board and staff are working “to fully develop a new methodology for equity in the planning process,” the release said, but didn’t want to delay addressing the issue while formulating this plan’s recommendations.
The plan includes an area that’s within a half-mile/ten-minute pedestrian “walkshed” from the future Silver Spring Library Purple Line Station—part of the neighborhoods of Woodside, Woodside Park, Seven Oaks/Evanswood and East Silver Spring.
The next steps include a County Council where the community will be invited to testify, followed by a series of work sessions at the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development and Transportation and Environment Committees and the full council, as well as a vote on the draft plan by the County Council. The last step is adoption of the final plan by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The Planning Board’s draft, the plan’s appendices, the staff reports and resources for all four work sessions (along with recordings of the sessions) are posted online.
Planning Board graphic