PLANNING 101: HOW (REAL-ESTATE) DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS HAPPEN
What is the process to that major real-estate development projects must go through before they begin construction?
How does zoning and “planning” relate to what is allowable?
Who decides if a development can be X number of stories high? If it can have less parking spaces than ‘required’? If a ‘public amenity’ is a park, a plaza, or a work of art?
What is the difference between ‘by right’ and ‘optional method development’? What do those terms mean to begin with?!?
When can neighbors, nearby businesses and residents, and community groups have a say on what is proposed? Who do they talk to? What meeting must they attend? How do they do when these meetings are happening?
On and on and on… These are but a few questions that are asked every time a new major public* or private real-estate development project is proposed. (*The process of a major public real-estate development is slightly different. This posting deals mostly with private sector development. We will do a similar posting for public developments soon.)
While it is impossible to conclusively, definitively, and ‘forever’ answer all these questions to the satisfaction of everyone interested in this topic, we are having a community dialogue that will at least ‘keep the conversation going’ – and hopefully have some answers, tips, and references for a more informed process.
Community leaders, advisory group members, and anyone else interested in this topic is invited to join representatives from the Maryland National Park & Planning Commission staff:
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 5th 7pm in the Civic Building.
We’ll first go through the process from A to Z. Then we’ll learn where and how we can stay in touch with, get more info about, and provide input for the planning process for major real-estate development projects in our community.
Please note that this is ‘only the beginning’. It is impossible to cover all the intricacies and nuances of this very complicated process in a couple of hours… But, we hope to at least lay out some of the basics and provide valuable information for accessing detailed information.
Whether you are new to the area and want to know about development in your new community or were born here and want to catch up with all the changes and how you can have a say in the process, please join us – and let others leaders in your networks know that they too are invited.
You don’t have to wait till then to ‘get started’ learning about the planning process. The MNPPC web-site (found HERE) has a wealth of information for beginners as well as long time activists. Much of the site has recently been revamped and improved with additional link and cleaner navigational tools. In addition, there are a handful of videos that do a very good job in providing some of the information in quite an entertaining way. I encourage you to view these videos and share them with your networks before coming to the session Wednesday, September 5th.
"VIDEOS WORTH WATCHING"
What is Zoning
How Can Residents Get Involved in the Development Review Process
Development Plans & Trends
Rapid Transit / BRT
Lyttonsville Around Town
Falkland Chase Conversation
"PROPER PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE":
 MONTGOMERY PLANS are full episodes of what is happening in the "planning world". A recent episode focuses on various Silver Spring Regional Center area issues.
 REGISTER YOUR ASSOCIATION! Do you want to stay informed about planning and development in Montgomery County? If so, ensure your local organizations are registered accurately with the Planning Department, which maintains a list of homeowners organizations and civic groups countywide. Visit our new webpage to review and update your organization's information.
 HOW WE PLAN: The latest episode of Montgomery Plans spotlights the county's new Commercial Residential Zone, which is expected to transform strategic areas. Also featured: a tour of Lyttonsville, a new tool that maps the county's tree canopy and the latest big decisions of the Planning Board.
 WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT DEVELOPMENT? Wondering about that sign advertising pending development in your community? Curious about how forest conservation works? Residents and others with questions about development, community plans, zoning, transportation, or environmental issues may find the answers they seek on a new Department HELP page. The page features links, an online employee directory and an online question/comment form.
*THE BOOK: FOR DETAILED INFO ON THE FULL DEVELOPMENT PROCESS, SEE "THE BOOK" HERE!
c/u Wednesday, September 5th 7pm at the Civic Building!
Reemberto Rodriguez, Director
Silver Spring Regional Area