County Council Approves Downtown Silver Spring Plan

The County Council unanimously voted to pass a resolution to approve the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities plan at its Thursday meeting.

The county’s Planning Board approved the plan and forwarded it to the council for consideration in January.

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.

One change the council the council made as the change the boundaries of the communities covered by the plan in what Councilmember Tom Hucker (D-District 5) considered a housekeeping change.

The change largely excluded Woodside, Woodside Park and potions of the Seven Oaks-Evanswood and East Silver Spring neighborhoods where there were no recommended changes, Hucker told the Source.

In addition, he said, those neighborhoods will be considered as part of an additional Silver Spring master planning process, which has not been widely publicized yet and it expected to begin later this year.

The new boundaries “retains primarily areas recommended for a change in zoning, such as several blocks that border Fenton Village west of Grove Street,” according to a press release.

“The plan includes strong recommendations on tree canopy, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, affordable housing and much more,” Hucker said in the release. “Ultimately, this plan is a clear commitment to Silver Spring’s future and takes steps to address its most pressing issues.”

Planning Department graphic. County Council map showing new plan boundary in purple.

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