A proposal for a residential community on the former Nike missile site in Gaithersburg was unanimously approved by officials at the Mayor and City Council meeting Monday.
The proposal, presented by Clarksburg-based Pleasants Development Inc., includes up to 380 multi-family units across four development blocks with a height of up to five stories. The approximately 13.71 acres at 770 Muddy Branch Road will include 40% green space and include gathering areas, open lawns and sports courts, according to officials. The site will also include up to 15% Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs).
Phillip Hummel, an attorney at the Rockville-based Miles & Stockbridge law firm who serves as land use counsel to the applicant, introduced the project at the meeting.
Hummel said the history of the property dates to 1956 when it became a U.S. Army Nike missile launch site, also known as the W-92 facility. Nike missiles refer to U.S. surface-to-air missiles which were designed from 1940s-1960s, during the Cold War, to defend against attack from high-flying jet bombers or ballistic-missile reentry vehicles.
The property was annexed into the City of Gaithersburg’s boundaries in 1967 and later decommissioned in 1975 and used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a storage, research and testing annex until 2012. From 2012-2022, the property was vacated by the federal government.
In January 2022, Pleasants Development Inc. acquired the property via auction from the U.S. government for about $12 million, according to records. The development will provide for a potential Nike missile site commemorative feature as part of the project.
According to Gaithersburg Planning officials, the property is in a mixed-use development zone.
The sketch plan calls for a pedestrian connection to the south of the Muddy Branch Square Shopping Center as well as to the north of the south side of School Drive, according to Ross Ostrander, vice president of multi-family operations for Pleasants Development Inc.
Members of the Gaithersburg community expressed concerns during the meeting about cut-through traffic, the development’s environmental footprint and the height of the buildings.
Monday’s hearing was the first stage related to the sketch plan of the proposed development. Hummell said the next steps will include a Planning Commission recommendation, a decision by the mayor and council followed by a schematic development plan review and then a final site plan for review by the Planning Commission.
Officials at the hearing recommended that the Planning Commission hold their record open on the sketch plan until April 21 at 5 p.m., with anticipated recommendation date planned for May 3, and that the mayor and City Council hold their record open until May 19 at 5 p.m. with an anticipated policy discussion scheduled for June 20.
Pleasants Development Inc. did not immediately respond to MoCo360’s requests for comment.