Skip to main content

Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council Votes to Approve Thrive Montgomery 2050

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The plan establishes a vision for Montgomery County’s future growth

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 25, 2022The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously today on a resolution to approve Thrive Montgomery 2050. 

For 18 months, Councilmembers have been working with staff and listening to suggestions from residents across Montgomery County to develop a general plan for the County’s future. The Council’s revised version of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee Draft of Thrive Montgomery 2050 contains the text and supporting maps for a comprehensive amendment to Montgomery County’s current General Plan (On Wedges and Corridors). 

“Thrive is a compelling vision for Montgomery County’s future and lays a framework to preserve things that make our community great, while meeting the unique needs of our growing County,” Council President Gabe Albornoz said. “We’re grateful to everyone who engaged with us and shared valuable insights that helped inform our decision-making. Throughout this process, the Council has made time to incorporate voices from communities across the County and gather diverse perspectives and input.” 

“Thrive affirms and deepens the vision that our County Council has embraced over the past decade of master plans and policy work - locating new development around transit to create walkable communities with great amenities,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer, who chairs the PHED Committee. “Thrive outlines strategies to promote affordability, social and racial equity and economic competitiveness, while reducing climate emissions. I am grateful to my Council colleagues, our staff and Planning staff, and all of the thousands of residents who participated in shaping this plan, whether they ultimately supported it or not. This plan represents a small shift in direction for our County that will nevertheless bring great benefits down the line.”

The document provides a framework for Montgomery County’s future growth and encompasses broad, countywide policy recommendations for land use, zoning, housing, the economy, equity, transportation, parks and open space, the environment and historic resources. The plan defines the basic land use policies for all public and private development in Montgomery County. 

"From the beginning of this process, we have worked in close partnership with community members and the County Council to think about the future of our County,” said Acting Planning Director Tanya Stern. “Thrive isn’t about reinventing the County. It’s about enhancing what’s great, reinforcing what works and rethinking what doesn’t. Using Thrive as a guide will help us realize a more equitable Montgomery County with accessible, mixed-use corridors connecting residents, employees and visitors and more housing and community amenities for all."

"The Thrive 2050 document approved today lays out a high-level vision for a prosperous, more equitable and sustainable future for our County," said Councilmember Andrew Friedson, who is a member of the PHED Committee. "Over the last 18 months, we have received an unprecedented volume of feedback on the plan and made numerous substantive changes to the document as a result. Implementation of this vision will come later and will involve significant opportunities for public engagement."

"I’m committed to ensuring that we implement Thrive Montgomery 2050 in a very measured way that reflects community concerns and hopes for housing, transportation and development,” said Councilmember Will Jawando, who sits on the PHED Committee. “I view Thrive 2050 as a tool in the toolbox to help move the County forward and create a better place to live and call home for our current and future residents. The work ahead will require the Council and Planning Department to engage in an inclusive, public process to make Montgomery County better for all." 

The Montgomery County Planning Board transmitted the Planning Board Draft Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan to the County Executive and the Council on April 13, 2021. 

The Council held two public hearings on the Planning Board draft on June 17, 2021, and June 29, 2021. The General Plan was then referred to the Council’s PHED Committee for review and recommendations. 

The PHED Committee held nine worksessions and the Council held two more listening sessions devoted to the PHED Committee draft of the plan. Community meetings were also coordinated by each of the County’s Regional Services Center directors in partnership with Council staff. 

The Council met nine times to discuss the plan. The first full Council worksession to review the PHED Committee draft was held on Feb. 15, 2022. After being briefed by the Office of Legislative Oversight regarding an equity analysis of the plan, the Council approved additional outreach and assistance with a racial equity and social justice review of the plan's recommendations. The goal of this additional outreach was to ensure that all residents had the opportunity to provide their views about the County’s future growth. 

The revised plan, as approved by the Council, adds three new chapters, one on each of the three overarching objectives of economic health, racial equity and social justice, and environmental resilience. The plan emphasizes improvements in transit, bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure, while balancing the needs of car-dependent residents and industries. Additionally, the plan supports policies to increase energy efficiency, stormwater management and other factors that increase environmental sustainability. 

The chapter on racial equity and social justice was written by Nspiregreen and Public Engagement Associates, which is a consulting team secured by the Council to perform targeted outreach through focus groups, community pop-up events and surveys to solicit direct feedback from Black and Indigenous residents and people of color across Montgomery County. This chapter touches on social justice in planning, the history of land use in Montgomery County, housing and environmental justice and transportation. The goal of this additional outreach was to ensure that all residents had the opportunity to provide their views about the County’s future growth. 

The chapter focused on economic competitiveness provides an overview of the economic strengths and challenges facing the County and the themes connecting land use and housing production to economic goals to serve a growing and diverse population.   

The chapter about environmental health and resilience emphasizes three aspects of environmental stewardship and performance: mitigating and adapting to climate change, focusing on environmental justice and protecting and improving human health. 

Thrive Montgomery 2050 promotes housing for all residents by supporting a diversity of housing types to meet the unique needs of residents; supports the strengthening of tenant protections to ensure healthy and fair housing; and supports the creation of neighborhood stabilization strategies for communities of color. 

The plan also highlights the need for strategies and partnerships to address the digital divide and bring network resources to vulnerable communities.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 is a foundational document that provides comprehensive information and tools for implementation of the plan’s recommendations.

Residents can view the Thrive Montgomery 2050 resolution here and the Council Draft of Thrive Montgomery 2050 here. Additional information can be found on the Thrive Montgomery 2050 resource page. 

Release ID: 22-366
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926, Genevieve Kurtz 240-777-7805