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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery Council to revise plans for I-270 life sciences corridor

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Councilmember Riemer: Suburban biohealth cluster needs
new development and transportation solutions


ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 10, 2019—This morning the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to adopt an amendment to the Montgomery County Planning Department’s work program to add a minor master plan amendment for the Great Seneca Science Corridor and accelerate the completion of the I-270 Corridor Transit Plan.

Councilmember Riemer proposed the amendment, which aims to re-examine Stage 2 of the Science Corridor’s staging plan in order to allow additional development that would spur growth in the County’s biohealth sector. It further aims to reinvigorate the discussion around funding and constructing the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT), which is a 15-mile, high-capacity bus rapid transit service system that would run between Shady Grove and Clarksburg.

“The biohealth sector is one of the brightest spots in the County’s economy, and yet we have a looming moratorium where we have our strongest cluster,” said Councilmember Riemer, who serves as chair of the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “We need to find new solutions for staging rules there that could prevent the growth of high-paying jobs, and we need to reinvigorate the Corridor Cities Transitway with fresh thinking about financing. This plan will help achieve both.”

In a letter supporting the proposal, Martin Rosendale, CEO of the Maryland Technology Council wrote, “As you re-examine the Great Seneca Science Corridor staging plan, the Maryland Technology Council, and our members, urge you to consider amending the plan to open up new opportunities for the life sciences industry to have an effective hub in Montgomery County. With your help, we can continue to build one of the most desirable life science industry sectors in the country.”

The Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan, approved in 2010, set limits on how much development is allowed according to four stages. The minor master plan amendment would evaluate the staging elements of the plan. Currently, additional development in the master plan area cannot be approved until all four of the following Stage 2 triggers are met:

  • relocating the Public Safety Training Academy;
  • attaining a non-auto driver mode share (NADMS) of 18 percent;
  • fully funding the construction of the Life Sciences Center (LSC) Loop Trail within the six-year capital improvements program; and
  • fully funding construction of Phase I of the CCT (Shady Grove to Metropolitan Grove) within the six-year County or State capital improvements program.

The first two of these requirements have been met, and the LSC Loop Trail will fall will within the six-year window with the approval of the FY21-FY27 CIP in May of this year, as long is it is not delayed. The proposed changes would accelerate the planned I-270 Corridor Transit Plan to provide a transportation analysis, which would form the basis for the Planning Department to reexamine the staging requirements in the Great Seneca Science Corridor Plan.

Councilmember Riemer also has proposed asking the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to work with the Department of Finance, the Maryland Department of Transportation, businesses and potential developments along the CCT alignment between Shady Grove and Metropolitan Grove, to develop an implementation and financing plan for the CCT within the next 12-18 months. This financing plan is expected to include federal, state and local contributions.

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Release ID: 19-392
Media Contact: Ken Silverman 240-777-7964