Tell the Montgomery County Council to Support Thrive Montgomery 2050

Tell the Montgomery County Council to Support Thrive Montgomery 2050

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Benjamin Bradley started this petition to Montgomery County Council

There are a number of challenges facing our county, state, country, and world. Climate change is real and we must act immediately to both eliminate and even reverse our contributions to climate change while preparing ourselves for its effects. There is a housing shortage facing the country and our region making housing increasingly unaffordable, displacing people, and pricing others out of our area. The way we plan, design, and build our communities--including housing, streets, sidewalks, transit, parks and more--can help us address these challenges and more.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 (commonly known as Thrive), the proposed General Plan, can help the county begin to work on addressing these challenges and is currently in front of the Montgomery County Council for its approval. A general plan is a high-level vision for the county, guiding its development over the course of the next 30 years, and carried out in local sector plans, Zoning Text Amendments (ZTA) and other formal processes. The Montgomery County Planning Department has been working on Thrive since 2019 and has gone through a number of community work sessions and other outreach. The last step of the process is for the County Council to adopt the General Plan, so the work on this plan can begin.

Thrive has 3 main objectives: Economic performance and competitiveness, racial equity and social inclusion, and environmental resilience. The plan achieves these goals through a number of chapters which are outlined below. Its primary organizing principle is Urbanism focusing on adding increased density in targeted corridors and areas to increase the amount of housing, limit sprawl and the need for car-centric infrastructure and impermeable surfaces, enable more space for trees, preserve the agricultural reserve, and promote more greenspaces.

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Thrive 2050 Chapters in Summary:

Compact Growth: The goal is largely to promote urbanism in corridors to preserve parks, other greenspace, and the agricultural reserve. There is a focus on East County growth corridors to reverse divestment and ensure growth is distributed equitable in the county. Thrive also sees the reserve as not just for farming but seeks to bring people out of the more densely populated growth corridors into the reserve for tourism and recreation. In addition, the plan will allow for more sustainable transit oriented development, crucial to reducing our car dependency as we battle climate change.

Complete Communities: Thrive sees the county having changed from "a bedroom community to the District of Columbia to a county with several distinct employment centers." The goal here is that the county should be a place all its own and residents should be able to access grocery stores, shopping, and other amenities easily whether by walking, public transit, or other options. This way of designing neighborhoods and communities promotes greater social cohesion, requires less driving, and promotes more active lifestyles.

Design, Arts & Culture:  This chapter focuses on a lot. It recommends environmentally friendly design and ensuring buildings can withstand the effects of climate change. Thrive also promotes access to public art while supporting artists with policies such as removing regulations that prevent home studios and galleries and providing greater access to affordable housing. There is also a focus on making areas more attractive to encourage business and promoting safer sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

Transportation and Communication Networks: Thrive focuses on improving infrastructure for walking, biking, and rolling; promoting and improving transit options over driving alone; and promoting high-speed fiber optic and wireless infrastructure. It calls for the end of widening and building new highways, and plans to bring more transit to parts of the county which have experienced divestment. The goal here is to create a more connected county that provides more options to get around that limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Affordable & Attainable Housing: Thrive includes a lot about ways to create more housing including subsidized, affordable housing. Some ideas for affordable housing include, finding additional income for the Housing Initiative Fund, increase income-restricted housing, "Calibrate the applicability of the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) program and other affordable housing programs to provide price-regulated units appropriate for income levels ranging from deeply affordable to workforce".

Thrive also supports developing more diverse housing types. This includes promoting multi-bedroom units in multifamily housing, promoting density in major corridors and complete communities, and "'missing middle' housing types such as tiny houses, cottages, duplexes, multiplexes, and small apartment buildings; shared housing, co-housing, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), social housing and cooperative housing."

The plan also creates and promotes tools to prevent and respond to gentrification and displacement while combating segregation and promoting integration. Thrive calls for increased data collection on neighborhood change to monitor for involuntary displacement and the creation of programs to prevent the loss of affordable housing.

Parks and Recreation: Thrive calls on the Parks Department to take on leading roles to create community building opportunities as well as healthy physical activity across interests and abilities. Altogether it calls for "integrat[ing]parks/rec/public spaces into economic development strategies and land use planning to attract employers and workers, build social connections, encourage healthy lifestyles, and create vibrant places, especially as part of Complete Communities." Notably it also requires an increased focus on equity and accessibility by calling for increased data collection, identification of barriers to access, and removing those barriers.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!