Need to Know...

Montgomery County Planning Board Finalizes Proposed Major Changes to Subdivision Staging Policy By: Steve Elmendorf

All new development in Montgomery County will be impacted by the draft Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP) if the County Council adopts the changes to the SSP proposed by the Planning Board.  The Council will review the draft SSP this fall.


The SSP is a compilation of regulations governing the Planning Board’s administration of the County’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO), the main elements of which are the “traffic impact” and “school impact” tests which all new development projects must “pass.”  The Planning Board has proposed major changes to both tests, along with significant changes to the transportation and school impact tax rates applicable to new development.  Some of the proposed changes will facilitate new development approvals; others will not.  Stay tuned to this important issue.  Questions/comments, contact Steve Elmendorf, Advocacy Committee Chair at

Planning Board Votes Out its Recommendations for the Bethesda Sector Plan  By: Stacy Silber

On Thursday, July 21st, the Planning Board took its final vote on the Bethesda Sector Plan, and recommended that the Plan be sent to the County Council. The County Council is expected to hold public hearings on the Plan in mid-October, with final adoption expected in late 2016, early 2017. The Planning Board’s Draft Plan recommends retaining existing densities for all properties in the Bethesda Central Business District, except those that are deemed Priority Sending Sites. The Board recommends increasing heights for specific properties. There are three ways to increase density on one’s property, above the current Plan recommendations:

  1. Density Averaging. With density averaging, one uses the existing CR zone Code allowance, which permits density to be averaged between properties within a ¼ mile of each other. One may use this additional density to reach the Sector Plan mapped heights.
  2. Bethesda Overlay Zone. One may acquire ‘bonus’ density from a finite pool. The Planning Board allocated approximately 3.1 million square feet to be ‘bought’ through this process. This is a finite amount of density, and when depleted, this option will be foreclosed. To utilize this density, one must pay a Park Impact Payment (the Board recommended $10/sf), provide 15% Moderately Priced Dwelling Units, and be subject to a Design Review Panel, among other requirements. Note that the Planning Board will have review authority over how much density can be allocated to one’s property as part of its plan review.
  3. Priority Sending Sites: The Board identified Priority Sending Sites throughout the Sector Plan area. One may acquire density from Priority Sending Sites. To encourage developers to buy from these sites, the Board recommended various incentives including lifting the ¼ mile restriction, removing the Building Lot Termination (BLT) requirement, eliminating the 15% MPDU requirement on the bonus density, and waiving the Park Impact Payment.

A link to the Planning Board’s Draft Plan may be found here

Question/comments, contact Stacy Silber, Leadership Committee Chair at or 301 841-3833.

For more information on these or other issues on the agenda of the NAIOP Legislative Committee please contact Tom Ballentine, NAIOP V.P. for Policy at 410-977-2053 or


Questions?  Please contact Sally Modjeska at

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