Promote & Protect Darnestown in Thrive Montgomery 2050
A Letter from DCA President, Scott Mostrom
Thrive Montgomery 2050 is a comprehensive land use plan that will be voted on by the Montgomery County Council (anticipated vote in December). The plan:
Creates a strategic pattern of development for where people will work, live and play, along with supporting infrastructure, for at least the next 30 years.
Guides subsequent, more detailed plans and zoning laws around what kinds of activities (a house, a store, a school) and what kind of structures (a single family house, a multifamily structure, a small store, a multiple storefront building) are allowed on each parcel of land.
Thrive names 34 centers of activity “where existing and future compact growth should be concentrated” in the form of compact development. Darnestown is named as a center of activity and is by far the least populated of the 34 and the only one that's predominantly on septic.
- This designation as Center of Activity allows for higher density housing and commercial development within our neighborhoods with the aim of reducing car dependence
The controls in the plan around what is appropriate for us are not well defined: “the amount of growth and intensity of development should be commensurate with the center’s location and context”.
The DCA is very concerned about increasing development density and its impact on our community character, our roads, and our open spaces. While we have been deeply engaged in the Thrive process, multiple appeals from the DCA have so far failed to reverse the county's decision. Most recently, we wrote a memo to policy makers (see below) again asking to be removed from the list of named centers of activity.
We are asking you to do the same to help make sure Darnestown’s entire voice is heard. Please tap the 'Start Writing' button to send a letter to our County Council, using your own words or the sample text or both. Thank you!
Thrive Montgomery 2050 Growth Map
DCA's Most Recent Letter to the County Council
October 14, 2021
Hans Riemer, Montgomery County Councilmember
Will Jawando, Montgomery County Councilmember
Andrew Friedson, Montgomery County Councilmember
Craig Rice, Montgomery County Councilmember
Scott Mostrom, President, Darnestown Civic Association
Darnestown as a Named Center of Activity
The Darnestown Civic Association has completed our review of the County Council central staff 9/20/21 decision to not recommend removing Darnestown from the Thrive Growth Map and offer the following:
While we agree that Darnestown fits the description of a Village and Neighborhood Center, we question it is appropriate to include it as a center of activity for the following reasons:
- Darnestown is the only named center without sewer service.
- Darnestown has a population density 2 to 8 times less than any other named Village and Neighborhood Center.
- Darnestown is the only named center outside of Priority Funding Areas and Rural Villages.
- Darnestown has one of the highest densities of vital natural and heritage resources in the county. The DCA sketched these in our Council testimony (p. 6) and include below for your convenience.
- The Agricultural Reserve and the Seneca Historic District (Maryland’s largest) to our west
- The Potomac River & the C&O National Historical Park to our south
- Muddy Branch Stream Valley on the east
- Seneca Creek State Park that wraps our north and west borders plus five M-NCPPC parks
- The growth and higher population densities called for in centers of activity are not appropriate for Darnestown.
We truly appreciate your continued efforts on Thrive and hope that the inclusion of Darnestown on the Thrive Growth Map will be reconsidered by both Planning Staff and the County Council in the coming months.