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Damascus Master Plan Amendment

The existing Damascus Master Plan was approved and adopted in 1982 and has been amended twice, the most recent amendment in 1985. In May 2002, the County Council asked the Park and Planning Division to begin the process for amending the Damascus Master Plan in July 2002. This was at the request of the Damascus residents who believed that the recent pace of change in Damascus justified reconsideration of the 20-year-old Master Plan.

This Master Plan amendment will provide an opportunity to review and incorporate the recommendations of other plans and polices that have been adopted since the 1982 Damascus Master Plan and its 1993 amendment.

Approved Damascus Master Plan Process

In response to continuing Planning Board and Council concern that the master plan review process reaches the broadest cross-section of a community, a new, multi-faceted public outreach process has been proposed for this master plan.

The process began with two general public meetings in mid November 2002 (Phase 1 & 2). Each meeting, held at the Damascus High School, reviewed the master plan process and discussed potential issues to be addressed in the Master Plan. Since then, M-NCPPC staff have worked diligently to incorporated the issues and concerns raised by the Community into two resources:

  • Compendium of Issues: During the previously mentioned town meetings, the community raised questions and concerns about the Damascus Master Plan Process. Staff created a list of these questions and answers as a resource for residents to gain further information about the process.
  • Purpose and Outreach Strategy Report: An outlined version of the POSR report was distrubuted during the November 2002 town meetings (Phase 3). Based on the comments received during those meetings, a revised version of the report was presented and approved by the Planning Board on Thursday, February 13, 2002. The POSR examines any changes that have taken place since the last master plan and will also identify key issues the Master Plan Amendment should address. The report suggests using a "Task Force" approach and is further described in the report.

Community Outreach Strategy: Master Plan Review Committee with a Task Force Methodology

Any Damascus area resident and/or property owners interested in participating in the master plan process will be included in an overall Master Plan Review Committee. This genteral body is responsible for joining one or more issue-specific Task Forces noted below.

The "Task Force" approach for this Master Plan Amendment was proposed in the POSR and approved by the Planning Board at its February 13, 2003 meeting. Beginning in March 2003, several Task Forces were formed to address the issues of the Master Plan (Phase 4). This process is quite advantageous for community residents who have limited time to commit to a lengthy process, since the task forces are open to each and every Damascus resident and/or property owner. These Task Forces have addressed the following areas:

  • Land Use and Zoning in the Town Center (with Design Charrette)
  • Land Use and Zoning Outside the Town Center and Historic Preservation
  • Housing: Affordability and Senior Needs
  • Transportation Capacity and Network
  • Preservation of the Patuxent River and Other Environmental Issues
  • Rural Open Space, Parkland, Recreation, and Community Facility Needs

The members of these Task Forces and M-NCPPC Staff have met several times, as necessary, over a period of approximately six months to discuss the topics and issues outlined in the POSR. Each Task Force have presented thier recommendations to the full membership of the Master Plan Review Committee at a series of meetings following the completion of the work of the Task Forces.

Currently, the Task Force reports have been incorporated into a Staff Draft of the Master Plan (Phase 5) and will be presented to the community and the Planning Board for their consideration.

The Planning Board will review the Staff Draft Master Plan, make any necessary revisions and will then publish the Planning Board's Public Hearing (Preliminary) Draft Plan (Phase 6). Copies of the Planning Board's Public Hearing (Preliminary) Draft Plan document will be sent to the County Executive, County Council, and municipalities. The Plan will also be available to the public.

After the hearing, the Board will hold open worksessions to review the testimony and to determine whether to make any revisions to the document.

Once the Planning Board has revised the Public Hearing Draft Plan, it will be transmitted to the County Council and the County Executive as the Planning Board's (Final) Draft Plan (Phase 7,8 and 9).

During Phase 8, the County Council will hold a public hearing at which anyone may testify, either orally or in writing. At the close of the public hearing, the County Council will hold open worksessions to determine if amendments to the Plan submitted by the Planning Board are warranted.

The plan will then be approved or disapproved by the Council. After Council approval, M-NCPPC (the Montgomery and Prince George's County Planning Sectional Map Amendment (SMA) will then be prepared to implement the zoning changes recommended in the Plan. The SMA will also involve a formal public review process, including a public hearing by the District Council (Montgomery County Council).

During all phases of the master planning process, M-NCPPC staff will maintain communication with the community and interested parties via a mailing list, postings on this Website and notices in the Damascus Gazette. Please Contact the Damascus Team for additional information.