What is Thrive Montgomery 2050?

The MC Planning Department’s initiative resulting in the first full revision of the 1969 Montgomery County ‘General Plan’, as directed by the County Council.

  • The ‘General Plan’ outlines the high-level strategic approach for land use (zoning), transportation, community design, housing, environment and socio-economic framework that is the basis for all county master plans.  These include policy-specific master plans (like Bicycle and Ag Reserve), but most relevant to Darnestown is the 20-year ‘Potomac Sub-Region Master Plan’, which is the master blueprint for zoning and road classifications, among other things.  This is due for a revision – the last plan was done in 2002
  • This new General Plan’s objective is to outline the framework and goals to support an expected 200K new residents in Montgomery County over the next 30 years

Why is This Important to Darnestown?

The General Plan is the basis for Master Plans that will directly drive, among other things, development, transportation, and infrastructure in Darnestown proper, our neighbors in the Travilah, Ag Reserve, Germantown, and Gaithersburg, as well as the rest of the County.

A Letter from DCA President, Scott Mostrom (11/19/2021)

Thrive Montgomery 2050 is a comprehensive land use plan that will be voted on by the Montgomery County Council (anticipated vote in December). The plan:

  • Creates a strategic pattern of development for where people will work, live and play, along with supporting infrastructure, for at least the next 30 years.
  • Guides subsequent, more detailed plans and zoning laws around what kinds of activities (a house, a store, a school) and what kind of structures (a single family house, a multifamily structure, a small store, a multiple storefront building) are allowed on each parcel of land.

Thrive names 34 centers of activity “where existing and future compact growth should be concentrated” in the form of compact development. Darnestown is named as a center of activity and is by far the least populated of the 34 and the only one that’s predominantly on septic.

  • This designation as Center of Activity allows for higher density housing and commercial development within our neighborhoods with the aim of reducing car dependence
  • The controls in the plan around what is appropriate for us are not well defined: “the amount of growth and intensity of development should be commensurate with the center’s location and context”.

The DCA is very concerned about increasing development density and its impact on our community character, our roads, and our open spaces. While we have been deeply engaged in the Thrive process, multiple appeals from the DCA have so far failed to reverse the county’s decision. Most recently, we wrote a memo to policy makers (see below) again asking to be removed from the list of named centers of activity.
We are asking you to do the same to help make sure Darnestown’s entire voice is heard. Please tap the ‘Start Writing’ button to send a letter to our County Council, using your own words or the sample text or both. Thank you!

Thrive Montgomery 2050 Growth Map

DCA’s Most Recent Letter to the County Council

October 14, 2021

TO:
Hans Riemer, Montgomery County Councilmember
Will Jawando, Montgomery County Councilmember
Andrew Friedson, Montgomery County Councilmember
CC:
Craig Rice, Montgomery County Councilmember
FROM:
Scott Mostrom, President, Darnestown Civic Association
SUBJECT:
Darnestown as a Named Center of Activity
The Darnestown Civic Association has completed our review of the County Council central staff 9/20/21 decision to not recommend removing Darnestown from the Thrive Growth Map and offer the following:
While we agree that Darnestown fits the description of a Village and Neighborhood Center, we question it is appropriate to include it as a center of activity for the following reasons:

  • Darnestown is the only named center without sewer service.
  • Darnestown has a population density 2 to 8 times less than any other named Village and Neighborhood Center.
  • Darnestown is the only named center outside of Priority Funding Areas and Rural Villages.
  • Darnestown has one of the highest densities of vital natural and heritage resources in the county. The DCA sketched these in our Council testimony (p. 6) and include below for your convenience.
    • The Agricultural Reserve and the Seneca Historic District (Maryland’s largest) to our west
    • The Potomac River & the C&O National Historical Park to our south
    • Muddy Branch Stream Valley on the east
    • Seneca Creek State Park that wraps our north and west borders plus five M-NCPPC parks
  • The growth and higher population densities called for in centers of activity are not appropriate for Darnestown.

We truly appreciate your continued efforts on Thrive and hope that the inclusion of Darnestown on the Thrive Growth Map will be reconsidered by both Planning Staff and the County Council in the coming months.

What is the DCA’s Role?

The DCA has the responsibility to communicate to and represent the 5,000+ residents within Darnestown as well as provide feedback, collaborate, and directly advocate with the Planning Department, Planning Board, and County Council to drive our desired outcomes.  The DCA’s general approach for input is simple:

  • We will be a civic leader at every stage in the process to assist in the ‘solution’ – the development of a General Plan that is effective for the entire county.  Our feedback will extend beyond the directly immediate interest of Darnestown, understanding that Montgomery County is our greater community
  • We will identify and staunchly advocate for the protection and preservation of the ‘Darnestown Community’.  While this includes preservation of open-space zoning, limiting sewer extension, and limiting road widening, it also includes advocating the existing values and benefits of our existing community infrastructure, which don’t fully align to current vision planned to support future growth.
  • We will identify and advocate for infrastructure improvements and ensure alignment of Darnestown’s needs as part of the greater county planning effort.
  • The DCA was extremely engaged and influential in the development of the 1980 and 2002 Potomac Sub-Region Master Plans.  This is an extremely important opportunity for the DCA to help drive the future of Darnestown and develop a position of influence we can continue to leverage into the next Potomac Sub-Region Master Plan. 

Additional Information

Please see the County’s Thrive Montgomery 2050 website for additional details

DARNESTOWN CIVIC ASSOCIATION

14132 Darnestown Rd, Ste B Darnestown, MD 20874 dca@darnestowncivic.org