Clarksburg Gateway Sector Plan Existing Conditions Report Presented to Planning Board

Courtesy of Montgomery Planning


Planners release report on current conditions for plan focused on Clarksburg communities between I-270 and MD 355

The Montgomery County Planning Department presented its Existing Conditions Report on the Clarksburg Gateway Sector Plan on November 30 to the Montgomery County Planning Board, and received feedback on the report from Planning Board members. The report contains a snapshot and analysis of the demographics and the natural and built environments of Clarksburg communities between I-270 and MD 355 and provides community input and data that will inform the sector plan going forward.

Key Takeaways from the Existing Conditions Report

Demographics

  • The plan area experienced significantly higher growth in population over the past two decades than the county, going from fewer than 300 people in 2000 to almost 4,000 today.
  • Since 2000, the area has shifted from majority non-Hispanic White to a far more racially diverse community. The percentage of People of Color (persons other than non-Hispanic White) in the study area is 76% compared to 59% across the county. Asians/Pacific Islanders make up the largest racial or ethnic group in the study area. The number of Black and Hispanic people has also risen dramatically over the last 20 years.

Transportation

  • The plan area suffers from a lack of transit options and traffic is predicted to worsen by as much as 23% by 2040.
  • Several key transportation network elements recommended over the past three decades have yet to be built. These include portions of Observation Drive, Little Seneca Parkway, the Clarksburg Bypass, and a new interchange on I-270.

Land Use and Zoning

  • The largest land use in the area is the combined “flex” space comprised of research and development and office uses, which account for over 29% of the plan area. A large amount of this space is undeveloped portions of the former COMSAT properties.

Housing

  • From 1990 to 2020, the number of housing units increased by 1,194 (a 1,270% increase); 97% of the units in the plan area were built after 2000. This compares to just 20% built in this period for Montgomery County overall.
  • 74% of the housing units in the plan area are single-family attached units (townhouses). There are no multi-family rental units in the plan area.

Schools

  • Enrollment at the elementary, middle, and high school levels has experienced dramatic growth over the last couple of decades primarily due to the abundance of new subdivisions in Clarksburg. There is evidence that this growth has begun slowing, with the number of elementary school students having peaked in 2019.
  • A major capital project at Damascus High School will provide relief to projected overcrowding at Clarksburg High School.

Read the Clarksburg Gateway Sector Plan Existing Conditions Report.

View Montgomery Planning’s presentation to the Planning Board.

The final plan will make recommendations for land use, zoning, urban design, transportation, environmental resilience, housing, historic preservation, and community facilities and infrastructure in the plan area, as well as guide how to incorporate related countywide initiatives and policies into the implementation of the plan.

Since early 2023, Montgomery Planning staff have conducted comprehensive research and analysis on the plan area and conducted extensive community engagement. So far, planners have received over 100 responses from Clarksburg area residents from an online questionnaire, received community input about the plan area from 177 residents during door-to-door canvassing, and conducted four community listening sessions. Planners will continue to do community engagement throughout the planning process with multiple opportunities for the community to provide input in the coming months. The online questionnaire will be available until December 13 and the plan team will open it  back up for additional feedback early next year.

About the Clarksburg Gateway Sector Plan: The Clarksburg Gateway Sector Plan is an update to the 1994 Clarksburg Master Plan and Hyattstown Special Study Area, which was last revised with the 2011 Clarksburg Master Plan and Hyattstown Special Study Area Limited Amendment and the 2014 10 Mile Creek Area Limited Amendment. The plan area consists of approximately 969 acres and is generally bounded by I-270 to the west, West Old Baltimore Road and the Little Seneca Greenway to the south, Clarksburg Road to the north, and Frederick Road (MD 355) to the east.

The plan will focus on a portion of the 1994 plan’s Transit Corridor District and small parts of a few surrounding areas, including the I-270 corridor–a significant employment resource for the county and the region. By evaluating land use, zoning, transportation, environmental resources, and historic preservation to determine if a new mix of land uses and zoning would be more appropriate for this area, this plan will make recommendations for how best to update the 1994 plan and its 2011 and 2014 amendments, including interchange design, staging of retail development, transportation corridors, and the environment.   

Major properties in the plan area include the Gateway 270 office park, the former Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) property, Clarksburg High School, the Linthicum East farm, Rocky Hill Middle School, and the residential neighborhoods of Gateway Commons, Gallery Park (formerly Eastside), Hurley Ridge, Clarksburg Square (formerly Garnkirk Farms), and Dowden’s Station.  

The Montgomery County Planning Board approved the plan’s Scope of Work at its June 22, 2023 meeting. 

 Plan timeline (subject to change):

Spring 2024​: Preliminary Recommendations

Spring/Summer 2024​: Working Draft

Summer/Fall 2024​: Planning Board Public Hearing​

Fall 2024: Planning Board Work Sessions​

Winter/Spring 2025: County Council Actions

May 2025: Plan Approved and Adopted

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