Rustic roads are roads in the Agricultural Reserve or rural parts of Montgomery County that exemplify the rural and agricultural character of the area. Exceptional rustic roads are roads that have such unusual and pleasing character that preservation of the road is highly desirable.
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. These roads are listed and described in the Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan and in other area Master Plans as shown below.
The Rustic Roads Program is overseen by the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee (RRAC) and three agencies. The RRAC is comprised of seven citizen members who are appointed by the County Executive; they review and advise the County Executive, County Council, Planning Board, Department of Transportation, Department of Permitting Services and other county agencies on matters concerning rustic roads. Members review and comment upon roadway classifications, policies, regulations, and promote public awareness of the Rustic Roads Program.
Visit a Rustic Road
For visitors and area residents who live outside of the Agricultural Reserve, the Rustic Roads Program may be unfamiliar. Below are just a few ideas for trips into the Agricultural Reserve, often along our Rustic Roads:
- Heritage Montgomery has created a video and podcast Rural Heritage Byway Tour, has an app of Life in a War Zone: Civil War History in Montgomery County and has a brochure, Community Cornerstones: A Selection of Historic African American Churches in Montgomery County Maryland. The majority of these tours and sites are in the Agricultural Reserve and are on Rustic Roads.
- Two Maryland Scenic Byways are located in Montgomery County, and they include several Rusic Roads. Travel the C&O Canal and the Antietam Campaign trails.
- Montgomery Countryside Alliance produces an Agricultural Reserve Resource Guide and interactive map that covers local farms, orchards, parks, equestrian facilities, historic sites, museums, and even two historic general stores.
- Countryside Artisans of Maryland host Studio Tour Days several times per year featuring paintings, prints, fiber, furniture, sculpture, and more. A number of the studios are located on Rustic Roads.
- November 2014: Staff briefed the Planning Board on the Master Plan of Highways and Transitways Update on November 20, 2014 (staff report here). Descriptions of 28 current rustic roads and consideration of 13 roads that have been nominated for addition to the rustic roads program are included in this update. Community comments may be sent to Leslie Saville and Brian Jeeves (contact info below).
- November 2014: The RRAC thanks all who provided final comments on the Final Draft of the Rustic Roads Resource Manual. The document is expected to be finalized and posted in early 2015.
- October 2014: The RRAC has released the final draft of the Rustic Roads Draft Guidelines (Resource Manual) for comment. Please submit comments (referencing the page number, section and paragraph) to the RRAC's staff coordinator, Brian Jeeves; by email at Brian.Jeeves@MontgomeryCounrtMD.gov, or by mail at Brian Jeeves, Rustic Roads Staff Coordinator, Department of Permitting Services, 255 Rockville Pike (2nd Floor), Rockville, MD 20850. Comments will be accepted until close of business on November 21, 2014.
- September 2014: Many thanks to RRAC members Christopher Marston and Marc Miller (and their wives) for hosting a display table for the Rustic Roads Program at the 2014 Montgomery County Farm Bureau Farm to Table Dinner at the Seneca Ayr Farm in Laytonsville.
- February 2014: Brian Jeeves has been appointed as the Staff Coordinator for the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee. Welcome, Brian!
- September 2013: Many thanks to RRAC members Greg Glenn and Angela Butler for creating and manning a display table for the Rustic Roads Pragram at the Farm toTable Dinner at the Ag History Farm Park, hosted by the Montgomery County Farm Bureau.
- September 2012: An overview of the policies that support the Montgomery County Rustic Roads Program was well received at the biennial Preserving the Historic Road Conference in Indianapolis.
- The historic Darby Store, at the corner of Beallsville Road and Darnestown Road, has been moved back from the intersection, and the front porch has been rebuilt. The moving of the store was documented by the National Park Service, and restoration is being done by the Parks Department.
- The replacement bridge on White Ground Road has been completed. The RRAC thanks MCDOT for designing and installing a bridge that maintains the character of this Exceptional Rustic Road.
- The 1910 pony truss bridge on Montevideo Road (an exceptional rustic road), which was damaged by flooding in September 2011, was repaired by MCDOT and the bridge was reopened to traffic. The RRAC is especially appreciative of the outstanding restoration work done to retain the Seneca sandstone abutments.
- Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan (1996)
This document provides information about the program, its intent, history and regulations, as well as descriptions of the initial 66 roads designated under the program.
- Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan (2010)
- Damascus Master Plan (2006)
- Olney Master Plan (2005)
- Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan, Clarksburg Master Plan & Hyattstown Special Study Area, Boyds Master Plan & Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan Amendment (2004)
- Potomac Subregion Master Plan (2002)
- Sandy Spring/Ashton Master Plan (1998)
- Cloverly Master Plan (1997)
- Fairland Master Plan (1997)
- Clarksburg Master Plan & Hyattstown Special Study Area (1994)
The RRAC meets six or more times a year. Meetings are normally held at 6:00 p.m. in the 9st Floor Conference Room of the Executive Office Building (note new time and conference room), 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, MD. After 6:00 pm, use the cafeteria entry on the south side of the building. Meetings are open to the public. The anticipated meeting schedule is below. To confirm the meeting will be held, or to have an item placed on the agenda, please call the RRAC Staff Coordinator, Brian Jeeves, 240-777-6284.
- UPDATE Tuesday, February 3, 2015 (postponed from January 27 due to weather) | agenda
- Tuesday, February 24, 2015
- Tuesday, March 24, 2015
- Tuesday, April 28, 2015
- Tuesday, May 26, 2015 (tentative)
- Tuesday, June 23, 2015
- Tuesday, July 28, 2015 (tentative)
- Tuesday, August 25, 2015 (tentative)
- September - December dates TBD
2014 | Nov 5 agenda | minutes | Oct 7 agenda | minutes | September 3 agenda | minutes | June 24 (no quorum) agenda | unofficial minutes | May 28 agenda | minutes | April 28 agenda | minutes | March 25 agenda | minutes | February 25 agenda | minutes | February 11 (Jan meeting delayed by weather) agenda| minutes |
2013 | December | agenda | minutes | October | agenda | minutes | September | agenda | minutes | August | agenda | minutes | July | agenda | minutes | May | agenda | minutes | April | agenda | minutes | March | agenda | minutes | March | agenda | minutes | January | agenda | minutes
2012 | November | agenda (originally scheduled for October 30, 2012) | September | agenda | June | agenda | May | agenda | minutes | April | agenda | March | agenda | minutes | February | agenda | minutes | January | agenda | minutes
2008 | December | November minutes| October minutes| September minutes (Joint meeting with the Ag Advisory Committee and Ag Preservation Advisory Board) | June minutes | May minutes | April 22 minutes | April 1 minutes| February | January
Angela Butler, Farmer
Greg Deaver, Engineer, 2015 RRAC chair
Todd Greenstone, Farmer
Christopher Marston, Rural preservation
Marc T. Miller, Civic representative
Audrey Patton, Farmer, AAC representative
Jane Thompson, Civic representative
Staff coordinator:Brian Jeeves (DPS)
Non-voting member:Leslie Saville (M-NCPPC)
The three agencies overseeing the program and their responsibilities are:
- The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
- Classifications - Master Plans and Amendments
- Subdivision review and approval
- Contact: Leslie Saville, 301-495-2194, or Leslie.Saville@mncppc-mc.org
- Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Executive regulations and policies
- Roadway Maintenance, Division of Highway Services (240-777-0311)
- Review and permitting of work in rustic roads right-of-way
- Staff Coordination with Rustic Roads Advisory Committee
- Contact: Brian Jeeves, 240-777-6284, or Brian.Jeeves@montgomerycountymd.gov
- Executive Regulation 21-96
- Chapter 49, Article 8
- Proposal for a Rural/Rustic Roads Program (March 1990)
- Biennial Reports from the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee
- 2010 Rustic Roads Calendar
Date of last update: December 4, 2014