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White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan

A new master plan for the White Oak, Cherry Hill, and Hillandale areas

ECSC plan area locator mapThe consolidation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the White Oak Federal Research Center (FRC) provides an opportunity for the county to re-examine its long-term goals and objectives for the area.

The draft master plan seeks to leverage White Oak's assets and establish the foundation upon which the area can evolve into a community that offers more local opportunities to live, work and play. The plan envisions White Oak's major centers -- Hillandale, White Oak/FDA and North White Oak/Cherry Hill -- evolving from conventional, auto-dependent suburban shopping centers, business parks and light industrial areas into vibrant, mixed-use, transit-served nodes.

White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan public hearing draft cover

NEW - View the latest version of the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan with the Planning Board's revisions from December 2013 - Report

The Planning Department provided an overview of the Planning Board Draft Master Plan to the County Council on June 17, 2014 (presentation). Worksessions on the Master Plan have been scheduled with the Council's Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee on July 1 and 3 (Transportation) and July 7, 10, and 16 (Land Use Issues). Full County Council Worksessions are scheduled for July 22 and 29.

The County Council held a public hearing on the Master Plan on Tuesday, February 4, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. at the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland. Click here to view Planning Board Chair Carrier's transmittal letter to County Council President Rice.

The documents that were pertinent for the public hearing:

Click here to view the September 2013 Planning Board Draft of the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan.

Click here to view the REVISED pages of the Planning Board Draft Master Plan (approved by the Board on December 19, 2013).

Click here to view the Planning Board's proposed amendments to the 2012-2016 Subdivision Staging Policy (approved by the County Council on November 13, 2012) that support recommendations in the Draft Master Plan.

After holding seven worksessions, on September 19, 2013, the Planning Board approved the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan for transmittal to the County Council and County Executive. On October 2, 2013, the Council President requested that the Board address the land use-transportation balance issue and prepare a package of recommendations that would allow the Council to approve a balanced Plan. Click here to see the Council President's letter.

The Planning Board held additional worksessions on December 5, 12, and 19, 2013. On December 19, the Planning Board approved revisions to the Planning Board Draft Master Plan and proposed amendments to the Subdivision Staging Policy that address the land use-transportation balance, per the Council's request. The Planning Board also decided to delete the Staging recommendations from the Draft Master Plan. Click here to see all of the documents that were transmitted to the County Council and the County Executive on December 20, 2013, including the transmittal letter, the Planning Board's revisions to the September 2013 Draft Master Plan (Attachment 1), the Board's recommended amendments to the Subdivision Staging Policy (Attachment 2), and additional materials the Board received during the December worksessions.

The Design Guidelines for the Master Plan were presented to the Planning Board on July 25, 2013. Read Design Guideline

View the plan appendix

Background

The plan provides a vision and recommendations to guide future growth by amending portions of the 1997 White Oak and Fairland Master Plans. The plan area includes several major properties and developments, the largest of which is the 610-acre Federal Research Center. The FDA occupies 130 acres of the FRC and now has 5,500 employees on site. Adventist HealthCare plans to build a new Washington Adventist Hospital and medical campus on nearly 50 acres along Plum Orchard Drive (pending approval of a Certificate of Need from the State). In addition, approximately 300 acres on two sites (Site 2 and Percontee) near the FRC and Washington Adventist Hospital may provide the potential for economic synergies, as well as the possibility of new housing and retail near jobs. The area’s largest employers are the FDA, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Kaiser Permanente, Holy Cross and Comcast.

The plan also provides recommendations for the National Labor College (located on 46 acres at New Hampshire Avenue and I-495), and the White Oak and Hillandale shopping centers. The need for more community facilities, recreational opportunities, and pedestrian and bicycle links will be explored as well.

In November 2012, the County Council adopted the 2012-2016 Subdivision Staging Policy, which sets the rules for how the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance is administered at the preliminary plan (subdivision) stage of development. The SSP contains a new transportation test – Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR), which replaces Policy Area Mobility Review (PAMR).

Given that the plan transportation modeling and analysis completed in 2012 used the PAMR test, the County Council directed the Planning Department to redo the transportation analysis applying the TPAR test. This additional transportation analysis was completed for the staff draft.

The Challenge

Transportation problems, and attempts to solve or relieve traffic congestion, have characterized the eastern county for 30 years. Transportation issues have been a major focus of the planning effort, which explored a range of mobility alternatives – both transit and road infrastructure – that could increase travel options and traffic capacity to allow additional development.

The plan focuses on the future growth of sites within the Life Sciences/FDA Village Center area – particularly Site 2 and Percontee. The adjacent FRC site presents a physical planning challenge, since it is a large, secured facility, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to truly integrate the campus with adjacent sites to create a walkable, mixed-use center. The planning process examined:

  • Development demand and potential for spin-off companies and businesses generated by FDA
  • How to preserve existing established communities while planning for possible growth
  • Options for creating mixed-use centers served by transit
  • Capacity of roads, schools, and other public facilities
  • Options for improved connectivity
  • Housing needs and demands, including workforce and affordable housing
  • Creating additional public open spaces and/or improving access to existing facilities
  • Protecting environmental resources in the watersheds
Planner points at posterCommunity planner Khalid Afzal at one of the community meetings on the draft plan.

Related studies

A Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Transportation-Land Use Connection (TLC) Grant provided a consultant to work with staff to explore various transit options. View report (3.2 MB).

A Countywide Bus Rapid Transit Study managed by the County Department of Transportation analyzed the potential demand for BRT service, including routes on Colesville Road and New Hampshire Avenue that would serve the master plan area. The study confirmed the feasibility – from a demand and ridership standpoint – of a network of BRT corridors within the county. In response, the County Council initiated an amendment to the Master Plan of Highways to reflect a network of BRT corridors.

The Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan was approved by the County Council on November 25, 2013, and officially adopted by the M-NCPPC on December 18, 2013. To view the Functional Plan, click here.

Schedule

Plan milestones

  • Planning Board holds worksessions on the Public Hearing Draft of the Master Plan: June 20, 27; July 11, 18, 25; September 4, 2013
  • Planning Board approves Planning Board Draft Master Plan on September 19, 2013 and transmits it to the County Executive and County Council on September 20, 2013.
  • Council President Nancy Navarro sends letter to Planning Board Chair Carrier on October 2, 2013 requesting additional work on the land use-transportation balance.
  • Planning Board holds additional worksessions on the Master Plan on December 5, 12, and 19, 2013 to consider the options for addressing the land use-transportation balance (per the County Council's direction) as well as the staging element of the Master Plan.
  • County Council holds its Public Hearing on the Planning Board Draft Master Plan and the proposed amendments to the Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP) on February 4, 2014.

Upcoming events

  • Worksessions on the Planning Board Draft Master Plan have been scheduled with the County Council's Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee. The Planning Department will provide an overview of the Plan to the full Council on June 17. PHED Committee worksessions are scheduled for July 1, 3, 7, 10, and 16. Please check the County Council's web page to confirm the dates and times for these sessions.
  • Full County Council worksessions on the Master Plan have been scheduled for July 22 and 29; please check the Council's web page to confirm dates and times.
  • Summer/Fall 2014 (tentative) - M-NCPPC adoption of the approved Master Plan; Sectional Map Amendment (process to implement the Master Plan's zoning recommendations).

Past events

  • February 4, 2014 - County Council Public Hearing on the REVISED Planning Board Draft Master Plan and the proposed amendments to the Subdivision Staging Policy. (Please click here to view the Revised Master Plan pages. Click here to view the amendments to the Subdivision Staging Policy.)
  • December 5, 12, & 19, 2013: Planning Board worksessions to review and discuss options to balance land use and transportation. Planning Board approved revisions to the Master Plan and recommended amendments to the Subdivision Staging Policy. (Click here to view the documents.) Click here to view the December 5 worksession and staff report (item #8). Click here to view the December 12 worksession and staff report (item #4). Click here to view the December 19 worksession and staff report (item #7).
  • September 19, 2013: Planning Board approved the Planning Board Draft for transmittal to the County Executive and County Council - Watch presentation and view staff packet (item #3).
  • September 4, 2013: Planning Board worksession #6 - staging and outstanding issues - Watch presentation and view staff packet (item #2).
  • July 25, 2013: Planning Board worksession #5 --design guidelines - Watch presentation recording (click Item #4 on video menu) - Read Design Guidelines
  • July 18, 2013: Planning Board worksession #4 --parks issues - Watch presentation recording (click on Item #8 on video menu)
  • July 11, 2013: Planning Board worksession #3 --land use and zoning, historic, and staging - Watch presentation recording (click on Item #4 on video menu)
  • June 27, 2013: Planning Board worksession #2 --land use and zoning - Watch presentation recording (click on Item #2 on video menu)
  • June 20, 2013: Planning Board worksession #1 --transportation issues - Watch presentation recording (click on Item #8 on video menu)
  • May 23, 2013: Planning Board public hearing - Watch presentation recording (click on Item #8 on video menu)
  • May 21, 2013: Presentation to the Greater Colesville Citizens Association
  • May 1, 2013: Presentation to the East County Citizens Advisory Board
  • April 4, 2013: Presentation of the staff draft to the Planning Board - Watch presentation recording (click on Item #12 on video menu)
  • September 20, 27 and October 4, 2012: Presentation of preliminary recommendations to the Planning Board
  • May 31, 2012: Presentation on the results of traffic modeling and analyses to the Planning Board. View the staff report.
  • February 3, 2011: The Planning Board approved a Scope of Work (2.1MB) for the plan (then called East County Science Center Master Plan).
Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) Meetings
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Meetings with Citizens Associations / Other
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Community Outreach

The Planning Board appointed members of a Citizens Advisory Committee to provide input and guidance to planners in developing the plan. The group assisted in developing recommendations for the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan. The CAC includes representatives of groups within the plan’s boundaries, including community and civic associations, business and property owners, and area organizations and institutions.

In addition to the CAC, community engagement efforts include:

  • Periodic open house meetings for the larger community
  • Staff attendance at local community association meetings, as requested. Please contact Nancy Sturgeon to attend your citizen’s association meeting and make a presentation about the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan
  • Inter-agency coordination with public sector stakeholders, including Prince George’s County Planning Department

M-NCPPC Staff Contacts

Planner points at posterEnvironmental planner Steve Findley talks about watersheds with residents.

Nancy Sturgeon, 301-495-1308
Nancy.Sturgeon@montgomeryplanning.org

Khalid Afzal, 301-495-4650
Khalid.Afzal@montgomeryplanning.org

Date of last update: June 20, 2014