Silver Spring Downtown Plan Expanding to Make Room for the Missing Middle
Planners in Montgomery County, Maryland are considering ways to loosen single-family zoning to help alleviate rising housing prices and retain and attract young families to Silver Spring, according to an article by Dan Reed.
After a public hearing Thursday [June 4], the Planning Board voted 4-0 to expand the boundaries of the Silver Spring Downtown Plan, a 20-year vision for the area that will cover everything from parks to streets to zoning. It’ll allow planners to legalize “missing middle” homes, like duplexes, townhomes, and small apartment buildings, in areas where only single-family homes are allowed now.
According to Reed, Downtown Silver Spring is one of the youngest and most diverse neighborhoods in the county, but rising housing prices risk that status. In addition to setting the context for the plan's intended goals, Reed also digs into the specific of the plan. Presented with four options, all four planning commissioners present voted to expand the boundaries of the plan so the proposed land use changes would reach closer to the future Purple Line and Flash BRT.
The proposed expansion of the Silver Spring Downtown Plan has provoked fierce opposition from some members of the community, who argue that the change would destabilize adjacent communities by increasing traffic, lowering property values, and changing the neighborhood character.