Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Sept. 29, 2022
The Montgomery County Council continues deliberations on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee Draft of the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan, with two work sessions scheduled on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 9:35 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. These work sessions will provide a comprehensive review of the overall plan.
For 17 months, Councilmembers have been working with staff and listening to suggestions from residents across Montgomery County to develop a general plan for the County’s future. The Thrive Montgomery 2050 PHED Committee Draft Plan contains the text and supporting maps for a comprehensive amendment to Montgomery County’s current General Plan (On Wedges and Corridors).
The document establishes a vision for Montgomery County’s future growth and encompasses broad, countywide policy recommendations for land use, zoning, housing, the economy, equity, transportation, parks and open space, the environment and historic resources.
At the Oct. 4 and Oct. 11 Council meetings, Councilmembers will have the opportunity to propose any additional changes to the Thrive Montgomery 2050 document including any changes to the new chapters about racial equity and social justice, economic competitiveness and environmental health and resilience. These chapters were added after gathering feedback from community members.
The chapter on racial equity and social justice was written by Nspiregreen and Public Engagement Associates, which is a consulting team secured by the Council to perform targeted outreach through focus groups, community pop-up events and surveys to solicit direct feedback from Black and Indigenous residents and people of color across Montgomery County. This chapter touches on social justice in planning, the history of land use in Montgomery County, housing and environmental justice and transportation. The goal of this additional outreach was to ensure that all residents had the opportunity to provide their views about the County’s future growth.
The chapter focused on economic competitiveness provides an overview of the economic strengths and challenges facing the County and the themes connecting land use and housing production to economic goals to serve a growing and diverse population.
The chapter about environmental health and resilience emphasizes three aspects of environmental stewardship and performance: mitigating and adapting to climate change, focusing on environmental justice and protecting and improving human health.
The Council is scheduled to take straw votes on Thrive Montgomery 2050 on Oct. 11.
“The Council appreciates the vast and diverse feedback we have received from across our community about Thrive Montgomery 2050 and the additional public engagement work conducted by the consulting team at Nspiregreen and Public Engagement Associates,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz. “This work enabled us to hear from new voices and will ultimately shift the model for community outreach across a multitude of issues, including upcoming master and sector plans. The consulting team has worked collaboratively to show us the way to keep moving forward to address diverse community concerns, and the Council will continue to implement changes based on the feedback received.
“Thrive Montgomery 2050 has been the subject of more public input and review than any other general plan in our County’s history. In addition to the outreach done before the plan was submitted to the Council, we have held multiple public hearings and the PHED Committee conducted nine work sessions on the plan. In addition, we worked with the County’s Regional Service Center directors to conduct meetings across our community and enlisted the consulting team to hear from underrepresented communities. All of this work was spearheaded by the Council’s Senior Legislative Analyst Pam Dunn, and we appreciate all of her efforts to get us to this point in the process.
“Thrive Montgomery 2050 is a foundational document and much more remains to be done to encourage the growth of our community. Some of the issues that the Council will need to address include, but aren’t limited to, what policies should be implemented to encourage housing density while mitigating housing displacement; incentives to promote development in growth areas with new market-rate housing and lower-income housing to allow different housing choices across all markets; and the approach needed to ensure that transit options and road networks complement each other, so all our residents can get to work efficiently. These are tall orders, and Thrive Montgomery 2050 sets the stage for this work to begin in a comprehensive way.”
The Council staff report for the Oct. 4 meeting is available on the Council’s webpage here. Residents can also view all the Council and PHED Committee staff reports on Thrive Montgomery 2050 and watch each of the meetings on the Council’s webpage. Additional information can be found on the Thrive Montgomery 2050 resource page.