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Posted on: January 9, 2024

Planning Staff Presentation: Friendship Heights Urban Design Study Findings

During the Village Board of Managers regular meeting on January 8, the Montgomery Planning staff presented the findings of the Friendship Heights Urban Design Study.  Click on the below link to view the presentation:


CLICK HERE to access the recording of the Board’s January 8 meeting.  Planning staff advised that the study’s findings will next be presented to the Planning Board in February 2024, and the final report will be finalized and posted online in March 2024, at which time it will also be transmitted to the County Council.  No formal action will be taken on the study’s findings.

Purpose of the Study:  The Friendship Heights Urban Design Study analyzed how people experience the open spaces, pedestrian and transit networks, activity centers and public life in Friendship Heights today. The study included a significant community engagement component and is focused on the urban design strengths and needs of this cross-jurisdictional transit-oriented community. The study mainly concentrated on the area within the 1998 Friendship Heights Sector Plan boundary, but it also considered the surrounding neighborhood context on all sides.   The study does NOT recommend any changes for the future of the area.

Friendship Heights Sector Plan Re-Write to Commence in 2024:  The Planning staff confirmed that a rewrite of the 1998 Friendship Heights Sector Plan is included in their 2024 work program.  The Sector Plan re-write process should commence summer 2024 with internal work at the Planning Department, followed by a months-long public engagement process starting in fall 2024.  The Sector Plan re-write process will take several months (typically 18-24), including several opportunities for public engagement with Planning Staff, the Planning Board and County Council. Click here to learn more about the county’s Planning Processes.

To receive updates on the study, including opportunities to be involved and provide feedback, residents are highly encouraged to sign-up for the Planning Department’s Friendship Heights e-newsletter by clicking here.

Questions, comments? 
Contact Montgomery Planning staff:
Atara Margolies

Follow us: @montgomeryplans 
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Meet us: Visit the Planning Department in Wheaton or invite us to your meeting.
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About Friendship Heights

Friendship Heights is an urban area along Wisconsin Avenue on both sides of the Washington, DC and Maryland border. Within Montgomery County, Friendship Heights was included as one of the county’s four designated Central Business Districts (CBDs) along with Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton (the 2014 zoning ordinance update eliminated CBD zoning and designation). Retail, office, and restaurant uses cluster along Wisconsin Avenue on both sides of the border, while high-rise office and residential uses are predominant on the Montgomery County side. Today, Friendship Heights is a mixed-use neighborhood, although recent years have seen rising retail and office vacancies, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. Friendship Heights includes the incorporated municipalities of the Village of Friendship Heights and a small portion of Chevy Chase Village. The area is bordered on all sides by single-family residential neighborhoods, which include several towns and incorporated municipalities such as the Town of Somerset to the north and Chevy Chase Village to the east. The neighborhood of Brookdale borders Friendship Heights to the west.

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