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2014 Speaker Series—May 28

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Montgomery County: By the Numbers and Beyond the Numbers

A discussion was held with Montgomery County’s new planning director on the county’s growth, zoning rewrite, and new initiatives that will address upcoming challenges such as affordable housing and colocation of public facilities.

This presentation will offer beneficial and educational information on new planning ideas being employed in Montgomery County, Maryland. In addition to describing current demographic trends in the county and the challenges created by these trends, the presentation will detail a variety of planning and zoning tools that the county is working on to further important goals such as transit-oriented development, affordable housing, colocation of public facilities, and design excellence. The recently adopted Zoning Ordinance Rewrite will be discussed as well as new initiatives on affordable housing and colocation of public facilities.

  •  View video of the presentation here.

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 28, 2014, at 10:30 a.m.–12:00 Noon
Location: Boardroom, 4th Floor, County Administration Building (CAB), 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
CM: 1.5

Gwen Wright, Planning Director, Montgomery County Planning Department

Since July 2013, Gwen Wright has been the Director of the Montgomery County Planning Department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. In this role, Ms. Wright oversees a wide range of projects that aim to improve the quality of life in Montgomery County by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment. Montgomery County is one of the largest jurisdictions in Maryland with over one million residents and has a key role in the dynamic Washington, D.C., metropolitan growth area. Ms. Wright also worked for the Montgomery County Planning Department from 1987 to 2008. During this period, she served as Chief of Countywide Planning, including supervising the Environmental Planning, Transportation Planning, and Historic Preservation Sections as well as serving as acting planning director.

Prior to her appointment as the Montgomery County Planning Director in 2013, Ms. Wright was Chief of the Development Division for the City of Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning for five years. In this position, she reviewed development proposals throughout the City of Alexandria and shepherded a wide variety of projects—from urban infill to major brownfields reclamation—through the regulatory process and implementation.

Ms. Wright began her career in Texas as the Director of Architectural Design and Redevelopment for the Galveston Historical Foundation in Galveston, Texas. She has degrees in architecture and architectural history from Yale University and has spoken at numerous national and regional conferences on a wide variety of planning issues.

Ms. Wright lives in the Cleveland Park neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where she is co-chair of the Cleveland Park Historical Society Architectural Review Committee. She is a member of Lambda Alpha and a graduate of ULI Washington’s Regional Leadership Institute.