All About Thrive #1: What’s happening with Thrive 2050?

Join us for our “All About Thrive” series over the next few months to help people learn more about Thrive 2050, Montgomery County’s new general plan. Through emails (not too many!), blog posts, events, and social media, we’ll dig into Thrive. Our first event will be our No New Highways webinar on May 16 (more on that below).

Right now, the County Council has paused progress on Thrive. We hope you will help us spread the word “All About Thrive” so that more people know about Thrive and understand what’s in it, and so that the county can move forward with passing the plan and begin its implementation.

Where things stand:

  • Spring 2021: The Planning Board completed its draft and sent it to the Council. The County Council held two public hearings. Over 90 people testified, with the majority speaking in favor of the plan.
  • Fall 2021: The County Council Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee finished its review and draft of Thrive. The committee held ten work sessions, which started in early July. The County Council then held two listening sessions with a total of over 80 speakers, a majority spoke in support of Thrive.
  • Winter 2022: At the request of Council President Albornoz, the five Regional Service Center Citizen Advisory Boards (CABs) held meetings on Thrive. Two of the CABs wrote letters in support of Thrive. The Council’s Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) published a memorandum saying that Thrive needs to solicit additional input from low-income residents and communities of color, and to take additional steps such as writing a new chapter on racial equity and social justice. Read our joint statement on OLO’s initial review of Thrive.
  • Now: The County Council is looking for consultants with a background in racial equity and land use planning. The consultant would implement OLO’s recommendations, with a deadline of July 1, meaning that Council work sessions could start as early as July. The Council faces a statutory deadline before the November election to either 1) vote to pass Thrive, 2) let the Planning Board’s draft of Thrive pass without a vote, or 3) vote to reject Thrive.
Thrive 2050 envisions turning parking lots into places. Image from Montgomery Planning.

What is Thrive, anyway?

Thrive 2050 is Montgomery County’s general plan update. It is a high-level, visionary blueprint for how and where the county will grow over the next 30+ years, and primarily covers land use, but also includes housing, transportation, parks, and more. On its own, it doesn’t change any laws or zoning, but Thrive will create a framework for future policymaking by the County Council and Planning Board.

Read our Thrive 2050 fact sheet

Thrive imagines a county in which everyone can easily find a home that fits their budget and needs. Neighborhoods have access to world-class parks, shops, and more. Nearby jobs and schools offer pathways to new opportunities, and there are multiple safe, convenient, and reliable travel options to get to where you need to go. Learn more about Thrive.

An example of how the county’s corridors could be transformed. Image from Montgomery Planning.

The county’s general plan was last comprehensively updated in 1969. A lot has changed since then, and over the next 30 years our built environment must adapt to challenges such as an aging population, climate change, and social inequities. Thrive approaches these issues and more by evaluating its vision through the lenses of economic health, equity, and environmental resilience.

There’s still more to be done

While CSG and Montgomery for All strongly support the current draft of Thrive 2050, we believe the plan can still be made even better through amendments. Primarily, we want to see stronger language around affordable housing, racial equity and social justice, and environmental protection. We also want to see language restored that commits to no new highways or highway expansions in Montgomery County.