Planning Board Begins Reviewing Existing Conditions in Downtown Silver Spring, Adjacent Areas

The county’s Planning Board last week began reviewing data and information on existing conditions in the Central Business District and some nearby neighborhoods as part of the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan process.

The study as originally intended is an update to the 2000 Silver Spring Central Business District Plan. However, the board in June directed the staff to include nearby neighborhoods in the project.

The plan boundary thus was expanded to include the neighborhoods surrounding downtown that are within a ten-minute walk from the future Silver Spring Library Purple Line Station, extending into Woodside, Woodside Park, Seven Oaks-Evanswood and East Silver Spring.

The Existing Conditions Analysis presented by planning staff included data on demographics, land use and zoning, housing, parks and the public realm, transportation, environment, economic development, school and community resources, and historic preservation.

Some of the findings include:

  • In the last 20 years, the proportion of the Black population decreased from 47% to 39%, while the white population increased from 30% to 40%
  • 46% of the downtown population is between 18 and 34 years old, while the population aged 24–35 years old increased from 28% to 38% in the past 20 years
  • 35% of downtown residents make less than $50,000 a year
  • More than 12,000 multi-family units (including those under construction) exist in the downtown core
  • The only single-family units built downtown in the last 20 years is the Cameron Hill townhouses
  • There are 618 multi-family units and 457 single-family units, including detached and attached units, in adjacent neighborhoods
  • Almost half of renters and one of five homeowners in the plan area are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on rent or housing costs
  • The median sales price in zip code 20910 has risen by more than 140% since 2000
  • There are more than 2,000 income-restricted affordable housing units in the plan area
  • There are 56 parks and public spaces in the plan boundary, including those owned by the county, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and private entities, a total of about 31.6 acres
  • There are 320 locally owned retailer and non-retail service providers; another 110 are owned by national entities, and
  • 105 of those businesses are minority owned/minority serving.
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The board will receive two more briefings related to the SSDACP: a consultant presentation on Feb. 25 on office and retail market existing conditions, and a planning staff presentation of a missing middle market study on March 4.

Photo: “File:View from Downtown Silver Spring 02.jpg” by Bohemian Baltimore is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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