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The Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment

The Takoma Park Minor Master Plan process officially began in 2020. We signed a memorandum of understanding between the City of Takoma Park and Montgomery County in 2021. (The Master Plan for the City of Takoma Park was last done in 2000. There is not a clear impetus at this time that would spark a new Master Plan for our city in the near future.) The City asked the Planning office to consider the area of the Washington Adventist Hospital for rezoning due to the hospital’s closure. Our city played a large role in setting the boundaries of the plan, in choosing to include the Maple Avenue corridor, a section of Flower Avenue and the areas adjacent. This planning area mostly includes multifamily housing and municipal buildings.


The most effective way for Takoma Park residents and business owners to help guide this project is to reach out to the Montgomery County Planning staff. Any public comment submitted to Montgomery County Planning will become a part of the public record. The Planning Board will review all public comments to identify concerns from our community and create work sessions to address those concerns.


Some residents have expressed concerns about the process being too quick. As I stated in the beginning of this post, this process was started in 2020. Some residents have expressed concerns about connecting with groups along northern Maple Avenue. The Planning staff partnered with the group Everyday Canvassing to collect information from 239 residents in that area.


Washington Adventist Hospital made a presentation to Montgomery Planning and Takoma Park they called a “Redevelopment Plan” in August of 2022 that loosely identified what they are considering for their property. It had four sections on their property depicted on a map that were labeled “Residential.” They also mentioned that they envisioned this area’s benefits to the non-residents (residents living outside of whatever buildings they may erect) would be “New Community-Serving Retail” and “Parks and Open Space,” so it would seem fair to assume that they are hoping to be zoned for Mixed Use Residential (CRT) and that they do intend to provide some amount of greenspace on the hospital property.

If we were to do nothing, and leave the zoning as it is on the WAH campus, then it is likely that that single family residential would be built. In our city, the single family homes are extremely high priced and not attainable for middle class families. This would not be congruent with our city’s aspirations.


If the building that Washington Adventist Hospital is suggesting were to be for an apartment building, it is unlikely developers would build a market rate apartment in our community. The fact that we have rent stabilization means that banks don’t want to finance loans to build apartments because it isn’t a good long term investment. Even with the grace period from rent stabilization of five years, new construction is still affected by the market in which that building exists, so would not be as high rent as apartments in the market of neighboring areas. As far as traffic is concerned, renters in our community statistically are starkly less likely to have vehicles as often as homeowners. Renters are more likely to walk or use public transportation.


If the possible buildings were single owner condominiums they would likely fill a gap that we have in housing. Currently, there is not a sufficient amount of housing stock for middle income in our community. Many middle income renters are ready to make the step into home ownership, but are forced to leave Takoma Park to find housing elsewhere. The single family homes we have are too expensive and there aren’t enough condos or townhouses.


As far as the apartments in our community along Maple Avenue, many are owned by non-profit organizations and even those that are not, most receive State or Federal subsidies in order to provide housing for low income families. These contract agreements usually are made for periods of 15 to 20 years. Renters in these buildings are paying a low rent to the owners, but the rent may be as much as doubled by what the owners receive from government subsidies. These buildings being rezoned to be higher is unlikely to be enough financial incentive for developers to tear them down to build new ones. The most likely outcome from the rezoning along Maple Avenue is that owners may choose to add one to two stories of retail/commercial space, especially when they have large setbacks from the street which would allow them to do so. Presently, there are only a handful of storefront businesses on Maple Avenue, which doesn’t serve residents nor the businesses situated there well.


After the MMP process is completed, there are protections in place with possible development. Even when a developer’s project fits within the zoning of an area and is able to forgo the planning department, it still must submit its plan to Montgomery County Permitting and Takoma Park. Montgomery County Permitting will confirm if there is adequate infrastructure within the WSSC, SHA, and MCPS. Anytime a CRN or CRT building abuts a residential area, it must still go through the development review process. There are recent examples of moratoriums on new construction due to these constraints. Our city’s stronger tree protection, stormwater management, and rent stabilization requirements would also have to be met.

A possible benefit to our community in developing this plan is access to state and federal funding. There are grants that require a recipient's project to be called out in a master plan. Zoning for CRT rather than CRN allows more flexibility for our community, not just the developers. With CRT, a developer can opt to go the Planning department, where a public comment hearing would be held, to present benefits they would provide to the community in order to receive an exemption from some part of the zoning restrictions.


If you still have questions, please contact Montgomery County Planning(takomaparkmma@montgomeryplanning.org) , or Rosalind Grigsby (RosalindG@takomaparkmd.gov) at the City’s Housing and Community Development office. I would appreciate it if you would include me in emails to Planning or HCD so that I can better understand what community members want. A few other councilmembers and myself are going to host an informational meeting at the Community Center on Maple Avenue in the auditorium either Tuesday August 15th or Wednesday August 16th, from 7pm-8:30pm. This will be to help residents better understand the MMP, not to collect public comment. Public testimony should be directed to: mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.


Montgomery County Planning Department’s website for our MMP:



General Information About how the Master Planning Process works:


The Langley-Crossroads Sector Plan from 2012:


The Long Branch Sector Plan from 2013:


Takoma Park Master Plan from 2000:


Explanation of CRT:


The Takoma Park City Council’s most recent resolution regarding the MMP:


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1 commentaire


Allegra Cangelosi
Allegra Cangelosi
01 août 2023

Shannon: It is a bit misleading to say the public review process has been underway since 2020. In fact there have been a number of information gathering exercises underway since 2020, but the plan has not been available for review that long. As we are just now seeing it and deadlines are approaching it does feel rushed, and for real reasons.

Allegra Cangelosi

J'aime

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