The MoCo development round-up is the newest addition to MoCo360’s coverage of growth across the county with summaries of progress reports of various projects.
Reporter’s note: The Montgomery County planning board is on summer recess. The next meeting will be Sept. 7.
Proposed redevelopment of Loehmann’s shopping plaza to residential block
An application to redevelop Loehmann’s Plaza, a shopping center in North Bethesda, proposes to demolish the existing retail buildings and construct up to 40,000 square feet of retail use and 710,000 square feet of residential units–up to 680 dwelling units. The application was accepted by Montgomery Planning on July 19.
Behind the plan is Potomac-based Rosenfeld Investment LLC, who has proposed a staged redevelopment of three phases. Phase one will consist of constructing up to 86 townhomes and a grocery store. A date has not been set for the planning board to review the plans.
Loehmann’s Plaza is located on Randolph Road and Parklawn Drive. The shopping center includes a Subway, Toosso, El Patio, Chuck E. Cheese, Furniture & Rug Depot, Badlands play space and more. According to project plans, the development will include retail space on the first level of the apartment building.
In place of the surface parking lots and existing shopping center, the plans propose to construct a mix of town homes and multifamily residential units, with 15% being moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs).
Plans also propose open space and green areas throughout the site, including a park in the northwest corner of the property. Adding street trees, green areas and other vegetation will help reduce the heat island effect on the large surface parking lot, according to planning documents. Additionally, the redevelopment proposes to construct stormwater management where none currently exists.
Office building to residential conversion in Rockville
On July 26 the Rockville Planning Commission approved the Final Record Plat for plans that will convert an office building at 22 W. Jefferson St. into a 29-dwelling unit residential development. Now that the record plat has been approved the site can begin redevelopment.
According to Montgomery Planning, a record plat is a plan that “depicts an approved subdivision or assemblage of land” that, once approved, can be recorded in the county’s land records, and allow for the lot to be sold and approval of building permits.
Project plans will rehabilitate the existing office building on site into 16 condominiums. Thirteen new townhouse-style units will also be constructed, and parking spaces will be available on site.
Nearby the redevelopment site are residential neighborhoods, the Christ Episcopal Church and School, the Montgomery County Courthouse Historic District, Rockville City Hall, Maryland District Court House and other municipal buildings.
The planning commission approved the site plan application to permit construction of the project in April. MoCo360 has not confirmed the start date for construction with the applicant, 22 West Jefferson LLC., who did not return phone calls requesting more information.
First update to Rustic Roads Master Plan since 1996
Rustic roads are historic and scenic roadways that wind through the county’s more agricultural and rural areas, such as River Road and West Old Baltimore Road. On July 25, the Planning Board approved the Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan Update, which added 16 new roads to the program.
“Rustic roads help to maintain the rural character of Montgomery County and serve as a resource for the agricultural community and as an amenity for residents,” Acting Montgomery County Planning Director Tanya Stern said in a press release.
Before the current update, there were 99 roads in the program. Community members across the county nominated 25 additional roads to be added to the program since there has not been an update to the program since 1996.
The Rustic Roads program aims to preserve and make enhancements to the historic quality of roads in the program, which classified into two categories: rustic road and exceptional rustic road. Those that are “exceptional” are considered to contribute to the natural, agricultural or historical characteristics of the county and have unusual feature not found on other roads in the county, according to Montgomery Planning.
Next, the master plan will head to the County Council for approval and afterwards to be adopted by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) at a future meeting.
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