Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan Existing Conditions Report is Presented to Planning Board by Montgomery Planning

by MCS Staff
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Report will serve as the foundation, along with community feedback, for plan recommendations

The Montgomery County Planning Department presented the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan Existing Conditions Report to the Montgomery County Planning Board on April 21, 2022. The Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan will update a portion of the 1997 Fairland Master Plan by identifying goals, policies and strategies to address community challenges, with a focus on a portion of the US 29 corridor between the Paint Branch stream valley and Greencastle Road.

The Existing Conditions Report documents the community assets and existing physical conditions of the plan area, including transportation infrastructure, parks, schools, housing, businesses, environmental conditions, and other features. The report follows months of community engagement including meetings, canvassing local businesses, a walk audit, and community pop-up events. Learn more about the engagement activities of the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Planning team.

Key takeaways of the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan Existing Conditions Report

  1. Demographics – The population is well-educated and mostly Black or African American. There are five dominant languages spoken on a regular basis, and the Fairland-Briggs Chaney community benefits from the richness of such a diverse culture.
  2. Connectivity – While transit service has improved with the introduction of the US 29 Flash BRT routes, communities and destinations are poorly connected, separated by busy roads, deep stream valleys and property lines. Route 29 and the ICC provide regional connections to Baltimore and Washington, DC (north / south), as well as to Rockville and Prince George’s County (east / west).
  3. Transportation Safety – Walking, rolling, and biking within the plan area is unsafe and uncomfortable. Travel by car is often a necessity.
  4. Equity – The Fairland and Briggs Chaney area, as with eastern Montgomery County in general, has historically experienced lower public investment and higher socioeconomic vulnerability compared to other areas of the county.
  5. Jobs – The Fairland and Briggs Chaney plan areas has a significant number of job opportunities, most of which by large employers like Verizon, Seventh Day Adventist, and the Auto Mall.
  6. Housing– Opportunities for safe, affordable, and accessible living are not readily available in the plan area due to very low residential vacancy rates, crime, and limited travel connections.
  7. Food – This community has the highest food insecurity rate in the county, but community organizations and public agencies are taking the necessary steps to distribute healthy foods and other necessary supplies to anyone in need.
  8. Recreation – Montgomery Parks’ Fairland Recreational Park is a significant community asset with numerous sports fields, courts, and trails, yet parkland should be increased and better connected to the community.
  9. Environmental conditions – Forested stream valleys provide relief in residential communities, though extreme summer heat and lack of adequate shade is a concern in portions of the plan area.

Next steps

As master plan development continues, Montgomery Planning will further engage the community during spring and summer 2022 through focus groups, community pop-up events, business and commercial property owner canvassing, an interactive mapping tool, a spring photo contest, and community visioning workshops. The Working Draft of the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan will be presented to the Planning Board sometime in Fall 2022.  The Planning Board will hold a public hearing for the plan in late 2022 or early 2023.  Montgomery Planning anticipates transmitting the Planning Board draft plan to the County Council for review and approval by the Spring of 2023.

Read the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan Existing Conditions Report April 21 Staff Report.
View the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan Existing Conditions Report.

If you are interested in the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan, sign up for the plan’s eletter or contact project managers:

Molline.Jackson@montgomeryplanning.org or Clark.Larson@montgomeryplanning.org

Equitable approach to planning

Equity is a foundational goal of the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan and racial equity and social justice is an essential theme throughout the planning process. Montgomery Planning is making every effort to understand the historical context and current experience of inequity within the plan area. Community engagement efforts are designed to meet people ‘where they are’ in the community and to provide welcoming, accessible, inclusive, and safe environments in which to learn about the master plan and offer meaningful input in the process. As a complement to the planning process Montgomery Planning is also striving to develop a stronger social network that embraces the advantages of a multi-racial and multi-cultural community.

About the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan

The Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan is an update to a portion of the 1997 Fairland Master Plan and will establish a clear vision for an equitable, just, and prosperous future for the Fairland community, mirroring the county’s long-term priorities, which include a vibrant economy, equity for all residents, and a healthy environment. The master plan boundary consists primarily of property and communities of Fairland and Briggs Chaney along the US 29 Corridor from near Paint Branch on the south to Greencastle Road on the north. The update will examine and provide policies and recommendations on existing and future land uses and zoning, housing inventory and needs, transportation systems, historic preservation opportunities, area park facilities, and the environment. This master plan will take cues from the equity framework in the update to the county’s General Plan, Thrive Montgomery 2050, which describes how places with equitable access to opportunity produce strong, successful communities. Goals of the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan include:

  • Complete Community: Identify and correct past inequitable development policies to make the Fairland and Briggs Chaney communities more whole and connected by integrating centers of housing, retail, and office development with parks and open space to make 15-minute living a reality for as many people as possible.
  • Resilient Economy: Promote economic development and job growth within the plan area and surrounding communities.
  • Housing: Promote racial and economic diversity and equity in housing to help rectify past discriminatory housing policies in every neighborhood.
  • Arts, Culture and Environment: Support arts and cultural institutions, through parks, open space and environment, recreational programming, and development, to celebrate our diversity, strengthen pride of place, and make the county more attractive and interesting.
  • Corridor Growth and Connectivity: Promote and prioritize public and private investment along the Route 29 corridor and neighboring communities to leverage and attract future private investment in community facilities and redevelopment, including a safer, more comfortable network for walking, biking, and rolling that connects the corridor communities.

About Montgomery Planning’s Equity Agenda for Planning

Montgomery Planning recognizes and acknowledges the role that our plans and policies have played in creating and perpetuating racial inequity in Montgomery County. We are committed to transforming the way we work as we seek to address, mitigate, and eliminate inequities from the past and develop planning solutions to create equitable communities in the future. While it will take time to fully develop a new methodology for equity in the planning process, we cannot delay applying an equity lens to our work. Efforts to date include:

  • Developing an Equity Agenda for Planning. The Planning Board approved Equity in Master Planning Framework, and staff is working on action items.
  • Prioritizing equity in Thrive Montgomery 2050. Community Equity is one of the three priority areas of our county General Plan update, Thrive Montgomery 2050.
  • Focusing on equity in upcoming plans. Equity is a central focus of the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan, the first master plan to launch since Montgomery County’s Racial Equity & Social Justice Act passed. All upcoming plans and studies will have an equity focus.
  • Created an Equity Focus Areas mapping tool and developing a Community Equity Index. Equity Focus Areas in Montgomery County have high concentrations of lower-income people of color, who may also speak English less than very well. Montgomery Planning developed this data-driven tool to identify and map these areas to assess potential racial and social inequities and produce master plans that will foster more equitable outcomes for communities in Montgomery County. The Community Equity Index will expand on the previous Equity Focus Area analysis, creating a more robust, diagnostic tool providing additional detail of critically selected neighborhood characteristics relevant for equity analysis countywide.
  • Viewing management and operations through an equity lens. Our efforts are not limited to the master planning process. Management and operational functions like communications and human resources are developing approaches, tools, plans, and training to ensure that we look at everything through an equity lens.
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