</b>On May 15, 2002, the Potomac Subregion Master Plan, approved by the Montgomery County Council months before, became part of Montgomery County’s general plan. The current master plan, which is a blueprint for land-use in Potomac, updated the 1980 version.
</b>In Montgomery County, Master Plans generally look ahead approximately 20 years from the date of adoption, “although they are intended to be updated and revised every 10 years,“ according to the Master Plan and Park and Planning website.
</b>Paragraph of the “Plan Highlights” in the 2002 Master Plan: “As Potomac has evolved from rural and agricultural to a semi-rural and suburban region, it has retained much of its green character and environmental qualities. These qualities are under threat. … This Master Plan strongly recommends that sustaining the environment be the preeminent policy determinant in a subregion so defined by its natural resources. New development and redevelopment must respect the subregion’s environment quality, while helping to build communities and resources that will serve existing and future generations of residents.”
</b>The Potomac Master Plan embraces and confirms seven visions of the Maryland Economic Development, Resources Protection, and Planning Act of 1992. The visions include: development to be concentrated in suitable areas; sensitive areas to be protected; in rural areas, growth to be directed to existing population centers and resource areas to be protected; stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and land to be considered a universal ethic; and conservation of resources including a reduction in resource consumption.
</b>Potomac’s roads are limited to two lanes, one in each direction, by the Master Plan. The 2002 approval put at least a temporary end to earlier proposals to widen River Road, Falls Road and Piney Meetinghouse Road to four lanes. Some roads appear wider at intersections because of turn lanes and acceleration lanes.
</b>Roads in Potomac are designated as rustic or exceptional rustic, preserving their rural character, including portions of Glen, Glen Mill and South Glen roads, Stoney Creek Road, Boswell Lane and Turkey Foot Road. Black Rock, Pennyfield Lock, Rileys Lock and Violettes Lock roads were already designated as rustic roads and Swains Lock Road is designated as exceptional rustic.
</b>The 1980 Potomac Master Plan recognized the subregion’s unique environmental resources and relied primarily on low-density residential zoning, private and common open space, and parkland acquisition to protect the area’s sensitive natural resources. … However, with increasing demand for homes in the area and recent development trends, this strategy has not been effective in achieving environmental goals. …
</b>… Average home and garage sizes have doubled in many locations with many properties also featuring large patios, circular driveways, pools and tennis courts, markedly increasing the amount of impervious surface per lot. The primary challenge in Potomac is to maintain environmental integrity in light of these development trends. Potomac’s natural resources — forests, floodplains, wetlands, and stream valleys — benefit the entire region, and their protection is critical.
</b>Acres of wetlands in Potomac.
</b>Acres of forest in Potomac, roughly one quarter of the area. Almost 80 percent of the forest acres are dominated by deciduous species, including tulip poplar, red oak, white oak, red maple, sycamore and eastern red cedar
</b>More than any other Maryland county, Montgomery County hosts plant species now considered to be rare, threatened or endangered (RTEs). The subregion is home to many of these rare, threatened or endangered species because of unique habitats and the large tracts of forest primarily located in stream valley parks. Many rare, threatened or endangered species are found along the Potomac River, especially in the Great Falls section of C&O Canal National Historic Park. They are protected by the undisturbed parkland along the river and its adjacent tributaries.
SOURCE: 2002 Potomac Master Plan, Montgomery County Park and Planning