Great Seneca Plan Preliminary Recommendations Presented to Montgomery County Planning Board

Courtesy of Montgomery Planning

The Montgomery County Planning Department presented the preliminary recommendations of the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science to the Montgomery County Planning Board at its December 7, 2023 meeting.

The Great Seneca Plan, a comprehensive amendment to the 2010 Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan, covers 4,330 acres in the heart of the I-270 Corridor between the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg. The preliminary recommendations are the first recommendations for the Plan and serve as an opportunity to receive community feedback and Planning Board guidance.

Key Preliminary Recommendations

The preliminary recommendations were developed through an iterative process between Montgomery Planning staff, community members, property owners, and institutional and agency partners. Recommendations represent a balance between best practices and professional expertise, data analysis and modeling, and the lived experience and desires of the community.

Land use, zoning and urban design

  • Rezone certain parcels in the Life Sciences Center and Londonderry, with limited zoning changes in other areas of the Plan.
  • Establish a Life Sciences Center Overlay Zone for the entire Life Sciences Center area that supports mixed-use life sciences development, incentivizes production of affordable and market-rate housing, and establishes financing mechanisms to achieve infrastructure and public realm improvements.
  • Encourage compact, mixed-use development near transit that integrates and connects life sciences uses with residential uses, retail, and neighborhood services and amenities.

Housing

  • Require new developments to provide at least 12.5% Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs), aligned with current county policy.
  • Preserve existing naturally occurring affordable housing where possible, striving for no net loss of naturally occurring affordable housing in the event of redevelopment.

Transportation

  • Create a recognizable and finer grain street grid network to promote walkability and connectivity.
  • Right-size roadways and intersections to create a safer and more comfortable environment for people who are walking, rolling, bicycling, riding transit, and driving.
  • Signalize, restrict, or close median breaks on Key West Avenue, Shady Grove Road, Darnestown Road, and Great Seneca Highway.

Social

  • Repurpose two travel lanes on Key West Avenue to establish a tree-lined promenade for people who are walking, biking, and rolling.
  • Repurpose a portion of the Great Seneca Highway right-of-way as a linear open space.

Environment

  • Increase on-site clean energy generation to reduce the energy demand on the power grid and energy loss in transmission from the generation site to the end user.
  • Increase tree canopy coverage through the planting of trees and forest stands wherever possible by encouraging the planting of trees on public and private land, along rights-of-way, within open space, and in existing neighborhoods.

More About the Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science

The Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science  is an effort to examine the Great Seneca community, to identify strengths and needs, and to create a vision for the future of communities in the heart of the I-270 Corridor between Rockville and Gaithersburg. It is a comprehensive update to the 2010 Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan and a follow up to the 2021 Great Seneca Science Corridor Minor Master Plan Amendment.

The community is encouraged to sign up for the plan’s eLetter to receive regular updates and important information on the plan. View the Great Seneca Plan’s preliminary recommendations staff report.

Following the presentation, planners will refine the recommendations based on feedback from stakeholders and the Planning Board and create a Working Draft, the first complete draft of the plan. Following the Planning Board’s review of the Working Draft, staff will publish a Public Hearing Draft and the Planning Board will schedule a public hearing for the plan.

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