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Montgomery County's rural areas encompass the 93,000 acre Agricultural Reserve along with the larger rural communities of Damascus and Poolesville; small crossroad communities such as Beallsville, Sunshine and Dickerson; and areas with mixed open land and housing. The forward-thinking 1964 General Plan focused growth in defined corridors emanating from the population centers in and around the Capital Beltway. Between those corridors, the General Plan called for wedges of low-density residential uses, open space and protected farmland.

The County's Agricultural Services Division was created to support and promote the viability of the agricultural industry in Montgomery County. Agricultural activities occupy about one-third of Montgomery County's land area and the County's diverse agricultural industry - 540 farms and 350 horticultural enterprises - produces more than $287 million in economic contribution and employs more than 10,000 residents.

We create great communities by developing master plans, reviewing applications for development and analyzing various types of information to help public officials plan for Montgomery County's future. Learn more.

The Planning Board meets weekly to review development applications and other projects, and our planners are actively engaged in the community. Learn what planning initiatives are taking place in Area 3: Up-County, Rural Area.

What's new

  • New! Attend the Up-County Regional Services Center meeting on November 30 to discuss planning and development in Damascus
  • View the Rustic Roads Biennial Report (June 2015)
  • The approved and adopted Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan document is available and can be found here
  • The Germantown/Boyds MARC Plan will be kicking off this fall. Please email Roberto Duke with any questions.
  • The Council completed the 10 Mile Creek area of Clarksburg to determine the balance of future development with environmental and conservation goals.
  • The 2014-2015 Winter Speaker Series held the following session on February 11, 2015, “Creating and Sustaining the County’s Agricultural Reserve.” This session traces the 30-year effort to protect the rural landscape and the working farms of upper Montgomery County. It discusses the technical planning, legal and political challenges that were overcome to establish the Agricultural Reserve in 1980 and sustain a working landscape against continuing efforts to compromise its integrity. Link to original video

  • Public art, which helps build community, foster economic development and create a sense of place. View our new Public Art Guidelines.
  • The latest episode of Montgomery Plans spotlights our Zoning Code Rewrite, greening the down-county with free trees, a tour of Germantown Town Center three years after the master plan took effect and the latest big decisions of the Planning Board

Upcoming events

  • New! Attend the Up-County Regional Services Center meeting on November 30 to discuss planning and development in Damascus
    Community open house will focus on goals of Damascus Master Plan and pending applications for new development in the area

    The Montgomery County Planning Department is co-hosting a community meeting on Monday, November 30, 2015 with the Up-County Regional Services Center to discuss pending development applications in Damascus and their relationship to the Damascus Master Plan. The event will be held at the Baker Middle School cafeteria (25400 Oak Drive, Damascus, MD) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Attendees are invited to meet with Planning Department Staff from 6 to 7 p.m. prior to the meeting to answer any questions. RSVPs are not required.

    Learn more about the latest updates in Damascus (pdf, 3MB)
    Learn more about the approved and adopted Damascus plan
  • Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board (APAB) oversees the County's Public Policy and programs that protect farmland for future generation and makes recommendations to State and County officials regarding farmland preservation issues. This Board normally meets on the second Tuesday of each monthat the Upcounty Regional Service Center, Germantown, Maryland. Meetings start at 730 pm and are open to the public. Please contact Jonathan Casey for more details.
  • Agricultural Advisory committee (AAC) Provides liaison between the County Government and the agricultural sector and to coordinate local government services in rural areas and to provide input and recommendation on issues impacting the rural and agricultural areas.This committee normally meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Upcounty Regional Service Center, Germantown, Maryland. Meetings start at 7:00 pm and are open to the public. Please contact Josh Penn for more details.
  • Rustic Roads Advisory Committee (RRAC) Primary Focus Rustic Roads: Meets 4th Tuesday each month. Please contact Leslie Saville for more details. Rustic and Exceptional rustic roads are preserved under the Rustic Roads Program, which provides a system for evaluating, protecting, and enhancing these scenic roadways. The program includes nearly 100 roads. The Rustic Roads webpage outlines the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee (RRAC) meetings for the rest of the year.

Active community plans

Ongoing projects

M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Area 3 Planner to Call Telephone E-mail
Area 3 Chief Kip Reynolds (301) 495-4575
Administrative Aide Rebecca Boone (301) 495-4643
Master Plan Area Planner to Call Telephone E-mail
Supervisor Fred Boyd (301) 495-4654
MARC Stations Roberto Duke (301) 495-2168
Sandy Spring Rural Village Roberto Duke (301) 495-2168
Agricultural Reserve Josh Penn (301) 495-4546
Boyds Roberto Duke
(301) 495-2168
Leslie Saville (301) 495-2194
Clarksburg Ryan Sigworth (301) 495-2112
Cloverly Roberto Duke (301) 495-2168
Damascus Mary Beth O’Quinn (301) 495-1322
Fairland/Burtonsville Roberto Duke (301) 495-2168
Germantown Leslie Saville (301) 495-2194
Olney Roberto Duke (301) 495-2168
Potomac Subregion Fred Boyd (301) 495-4654
Sandy Spring Roberto Duke (301) 495-2168
Upper Rock Creek Roberto Duke (301) 495-2168
Forest Conservation
Water and Sewer
Patux. River PMP
Katherine Nelson (301) 495-4622
Forest Conservation Josh Penn (301) 495-4546
Recreational Guidelines/
Urban Design
Marybeth O’Quinn (301) 495-1322
Rustic Roads Leslie Saville (301) 495-2194
Zoning Amendments/
Conditional Uses
Elsabett Tesfaye (301) 495-1301
Regulatory Review Planner to Call Telephone E-mail
Supervisor Rich Weaver (301) 495-4544
Subdivision Review Ben Berbert (301) 495-4644
Subdivision Review Jonathan Casey (301) 495-2162
Subdivision Review Ryan Sigworth (301) 495-2112
Site Plan Review, 
Public Arts Panel Coordinator
Molline Jackson (301) 495-4573
Site Plan Review Sandra Pereira (301) 495-2186
Forest Conservation Ordinance- NRIs, Exemptions Mary Jo Kishter (301) 495-4701
Transportation Planning Michael Garcia (301) 495-4549

*Some jurisdictions within Montgomery County—such as the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg and some smaller taxing districts such as Poolesville—have independent planning and zoning authority over land within their boundaries. Contact those jurisdictions directly for information about properties within their borders.

Date of last update: August 10, 2015