Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright Announces Retirement as of January 1, 2023

From Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright: I have informed Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson that I will be retiring from the Montgomery County Planning Department and M-NCPPC as of January 1, 2023.

Since July 2013, I have had the honor of serving as Director of the Montgomery County Planning Department. During my tenure with M-NCPPC, which began in 1987, I have seen Montgomery County change and grow in a positive direction. I am grateful for the many roles I have held with the Commission, including serving as Historic Preservation Supervisor for Montgomery County’s robust preservation program, as Chief of the Countywide Planning Division, and as Acting Planning Director in 2007-2008.

I am very proud of all the work that we have accomplished over my 30-year career. Some significant projects include:

  • Building Montgomery County’s historic preservation program, including the creation of numerous publications, the acquisition and interpretation of important historic sites in the Parks system, and the creation of the Heritage Area Program.
  • Improving the forest conservation program when I was chief of the Countywide Planning Division, which has led to programs like Reforest Montgomery.
  • Implementing significant changes and improvements to the Development Review Process such as Concept Plans and Speed to Market procedures.
  • Launching the first Design Excellence initiative, the Placemaking initiative, and the first Design Advisory Panel in the county, which has resulted in numerous outstanding new buildings and places.
  • Completing a record number of master plans in communities such as Bethesda, Silver Spring, Grosvenor, Rock Spring, Montgomery Village, Westbard, Lyttonsville, White Flint II, and Chevy Chase Lake.
  • Overseeing the completion of the Zoning Code Rewrite.
  • Leading the first full update to the General Plan in over 50 years.
  • Initiating the Equity in Planning Agenda to focus our engagement and planning process with an equity lens.
  • Providing stability, strength, and direction for the Montgomery County Planning Department for over 9.5 years.

It has been a privilege to serve the community of Montgomery County, and to lead the land-use and planning of this special place. My time with M-NCPPC has been incredible and fulfilling – both professionally and personally – and I will always value the relationships I have created with Planning Board members, staff, and community members. From now until January 1, 2023, there is important work to be done at the Planning Department and I look forward to continuing to work with the community to keep our county thriving.

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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.



2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES



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