During a 3 1/2 hour work session (yes, you read that correctly– it was a long but productive session), the planning staff and board as well as property owners and community members discussed the following Executive Boulevard, Parklawn South, and Montrose North District issues:
Everyone was in agreement that the idea of building residences on top of light industrial was a novel one that should be pursued and executed. The question is how to zone the Pickford Property on Parklawn Drive so that no new zone-types are created yet still allow for this innovative development. Planning staff was charged with figuring out the appropriate zoning.
The Planning Staff recommends that the 21-acre Wilco property on Executive Boulevard next to Pike and Rose be zoned at 2.5 FAR with a height of 200′. The developer is requesting a higher FAR. The office buildings currently on the property would remain, and the property owner would infill new development. The board split 2 to 2 over the question of increasing the FAR to 3.0 and will take a final vote when there is a new Planning Board member.
The staff recommends a height limit of 150′ for this property on Executive Boulevard. The developer is fine with that except they would like a 200′ height for the building at the corner of Executive Boulevard and Old Georgetown Road. Guardian asserts it is the architectural gateway to Executive Boulevard and topographically sits 30′ lower than the Pallas apartment building.
Guardian also wants to build a 150-unit senior living center at the part of the property that faces the stream. There was a long discussion about whether the staff-recommended 75′ buffer of woods is essential between that building and the homes in Luxmanor. The developer said that a 50′ buffer would still permit the construction of the senior living center, and there seemed to be consensus around the 50′ buffer.
Executive Boulevard South
There was quite a long conversation about whether or not to increase density and change the zoning from EOF to CR/CRT for the properties at the bend in Executive Boulevard. Chair Casey Anderson told developers that if they want commercial-residential zoning, they need to show the board what they’ll do with such a zoning. Casey also suggested that it might make sense to have an overall limit of residential units on Executive Boulevard, and whoever builds first would get that residential capacity. This would help prevent overburdening schools and the infrastructure with too many residential units.
Trees, woods and green space dominated the discussion about the Wilgus Property on Montrose Parkway. The developer talked about how he wanted to build affordable housing, which he believes the county needs more than a narrow three-acre forest. Arborists testified that the forest strip has much decay and disturbance and is full of tulip poplars, apparently not a prized tree. (The things one learns at a White Flint 2 work session.) Cherrington advocated for keeping the strip of forest behind their townhomes. The board decided it preferred having a large, activated park on the main Wilgus Property and decided to allow townhomes to be built behind the Cherrington townhouses, replacing the strip of woods. The board asked the property owner to come back with a new design that included a large, activated park.
It was noted that large properties in White Flint 2 may very well need to have a school site on their property. Casey said that FAR could be tied to the school site.
The next White Flint 2 work session will be held on June 8.