Community encouraged to sign up to testify and continue providing feedback on draft plan that recommends better access to public transportation, housing, retail, and pedestrian connections along U.S. 29/Columbia Pike
The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold a public hearing Thursday, May 4 at 6 p.m. on the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan. At its March 23 meeting, the Planning Board added its comments and accepted the Working Draft of the plan as the Public Hearing Draft, which the public is encouraged to review and provide in-person or virtual testimony. Read the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Public Hearing Draft. Sign-up to testify in-person or virtually at the May 4 public hearing.
The community is also invited to provide written comments to the Planning Board ahead of the public hearing. Written and oral testimony will be reviewed by the Planning Board at a series of work sessions held throughout the month of May to review and revise the draft plan. Following the work sessions, the draft plan is scheduled to be submitted to the County Council in the summer to begin its public review process and final approval. The plan’s Public Hearing Draft draws from hundreds of public comments, conversations, ideas, and illustrations generated by visioning workshop participants and community stakeholders since summer 2021. The draft plan provides recommendations to support its five major goals of creating a more complete community, fostering corridor growth, promoting economic development, increasing housing opportunities, and improving connections between the natural and built environments.
“Inequitable planning policies and government decision-making of the past have stalled growth and public and private investment in the Fairland and Briggs Chaney community,” said Acting Planning Director Tanya Stern. “This master plan’s ongoing community engagement has informed draft recommendations that reflect Montgomery Planning’s Equity Agenda for Planning’s commitment to racial equity and social justice. At the same time this plan prioritizes Thrive Montgomery 2050’s goal of ‘Complete Communities’ where all residents have equitable access to housing, transportation, and other services and amenities that enhance quality of life without having to travel too far from home.”
Sign up to testify: Community members can sign up to testify remotely or in-person in upcoming Planning Board meetings by providing real-time testimony via Microsoft Teams, over the phone, or in-person during the Planning Board meeting. All persons who wish to testify at Planning Board meetings either in person or virtually must sign up in advance. To testify, fill out the Sign Up to Testify form by noon on the day before the Planning Board meeting. Once the form is completed, if you are testifying remotely, you will receive an email prior to the Planning Board meeting with a phone number to call and a link to participate in the Microsoft Teams meeting during a designated time to provide your testimony for a specific agenda item. Please note that submitting the Sign Up to Testify form online by the deadline is the only way to testify in real time on Planning Board meeting items. In addition to testifying in person or via Microsoft Teams, residents are encouraged to:
- Email your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax your testimony to the Chair at 301-495-1320
- Mail your written testimony to: Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board, 2425 Reedie Drive, 14th Floor, Wheaton, MD 20902
To be reviewed by the Planning Board and included in the official record of the hearing, your testimony MUST include the following:
- Your mailing address
- The hearing date of May 4, 2023
Key Recommendations of Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan Public Hearing Draft:
- Establish an emphasis on community gateways and activity centers as compact, high-density mixed-use centers focused on frequent transit service; safe pedestrian movement; greater tree canopy and ‘cool’ surfaces at summer hot spots; and attractive community gathering spaces.
- Prioritize U.S. 29 (Columbia Pike) as a ‘transit-first’ corridor that provides frequent, convenient regional connections from the plan area to Silver Spring, Washington D.C., and Howard County.
- Complete a continuous network of trails and paths connecting activity centers, neighborhoods, parks, open spaces, community facilities, and bus stops, both within and beyond the master plan area.
- Establish an East County Resilience Hub as a community center for daily community needs and a destination for reliable electricity, water, temporary shelter, food, indoor heating and cooling, social services, and fellowship during public emergencies.
- Support a healthy community food system that includes healthy grocery and dining destinations, farmers’ markets, and community gardens.
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 neighborhoods of Fairland and Briggs Chaney along the U.S. 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.
Featured photo courtesy of @DronifyDMV