As our community ages, maintaining, enhancing and adding to our infrastructure, facilities and amenities is a must. The Montgomery Village Foundation Board of Directors is dedicated to keeping the Village a desirable, flourishing community in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Use the below links for information regarding current development and projects in and around Montgomery Village.
Apple Ridge Pool Renovation
With the pool season winding down and Apple Ridge Pool closed for the season, the pool and bathhouse renovations at Apple Ridge will soon be under way. Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) staff has been draining the pool and moving out equipment, supplies and pool furniture to other locations in preparation for the renovation.
It is anticipated that the contractor will begin getting the site ready for demolition next week. The site preparation will include installing construction fencing around the perimeter of the pool and parking lot. During the renovation, the parking lot will not be accessible to the public, as it will be used for storing materials and as a construction entrance for dump trucks and other construction vehicles.
The tennis courts will still be open, but will only be accessible through the tennis court gate on the side of the courts closest to the Georgetown Hill Early School (GHES). All other gates will be locked. The basketball court will also only be accessible through the MVF greenspace between the tennis courts and the GHES property. The soccer field will be accessible through the MVF greenspace along the west and north sides of the pool (there is a pedestrian tunnel under Apple Ridge Road that leads from the MVF Office parking lots to the described MVF greenspace).
The pool and bathhouse renovation will take approximately 9 months, and the pool is scheduled to re-open for the 2017 pool season. The new “leisure” pool will feature a “lazy river” or current channel; an open body slide; a double family slide; water features including dump buckets and pipe falls; spray ground; beach entry; in-water sun-shelf lounging area; an underwater bench sitting area with cool water jets; a bridge to an island pool deck; and an ADA compliant access ramp. Additionally, the wading pool will feature a beach entry and water features suitable for younger pool-goers.
The bathhouse renovations will include a family bathroom; individual shower/changing stalls; new sinks, counters and plumbing fixtures; and new lighting. The pool and bathhouse will be fully ADA compliant and will have new handicap parking in front of the building.
Residents are reminded to remain out of the construction area while the renovation is taking place for safety reasons. The construction work will conform to Montgomery County noise ordinances.
Village Center Revitalization
Atlantic Realty Companies (ARC) purchased the Village Center in December 2015 and has been very busy planning for the future of the site. On April 21 and June 2, 2016 ARC met with the community to share plans and receive comment from residents. Since June 2, county planning staff have been working with ARC to revise the plan so that it keeps with the master plan, new zoning and sound planning and design principles.
On Wednesday, March 29, members of the Village Center team from Atlantic Realty Companies (ARC) showed off updates to their plans for the center to about 75 interested residents. ARC Partner and Executive Vice President Adam Schulman addressed the crowd with an update as to the progress so far.
Schulman noted that a sketch plan had been filed with the county, and the next step for ARC was a site plan, although they had made one substantial change to the sketch plan—the elimination of the apartment complex and parking garage in the rear of the property. The proposed 212 units would be replaced with a cluster of townhouses, bringing the total unit count on the property down from 299 to 115. Schulman said the decision was based on community feedback that the apartment building was too large for the site. A larger park area was also added.
To further accommodate the request for a lower total height, ARC plans to turn the current “Village Quarter” section of the center into flats-style apartments. Rather than constructing new buildings in this area, they are planning a new façade and gutting the interior, resulting in about 32 rental units.
Park and Landscape Architect Omar Syed described the park plans for the site. The open, passive recreation park will be bordered by tree-lined streets, near parking and the shops. All the trees are planned to be “limbed up,” creating visibility at eye-level through the space. One corner will feature a sail canopy and seating, with the opposite corner featuring a monument gathering area with seating. Planters and seating will surround the park with all four corners open for egress.
Schulman said ARC hopes to finish the project by spring 2020. They expect the Site Plan and Preliminary Plan to be approved in fall 2017, with construction to begin in winter 2018. Phase I of Retail Construction will be internal tenant moves and new pad sites; Phase II (winter 2019) will be the façade changes, new street and anchor stores. Residential flats are slated for winter 2018, and the townhouses and 2 over 2s are slated for spring 2019.
Several audience questions centered around traffic and parking concerns. ARC noted that the streets would be private, and parking would be a mix of the spaces provided and garages for the townhouses. Traffic flow would be improved by the additional cut-throughs of the roads, but because of the reduction in current retail and proposed changes, there would be no overall net change in traffic flow around the site.
It was also noted that residential units would be subject to covenants similar to other associations in Montgomery Village, and that both the developer and Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) are working to make sure unit owners would become members of MVF.
The planning board approved the Village Center Sketch Plan on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. For more information, visit www.montgomeryplanning.org.
MV Professional Center
When the Professional Center was built by the Kettler Brothers, the Declaration of Covenants attached to the property stated that once Kettler ceased to own the property, Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) had certain rights and responsibilities, including amending the Declaration which permitted uses for the property. The original uses for the property were defined by Kettler to be “professional pharmacies, doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, engineers, chiropractors, osteopaths, opticians and related, supportive or similar type uses.”
Currently, the new CRT zoning established with the Montgomery Village Master Plan allows for a broad range of uses to the site. However, in order to market the site to potential developers, the owner, NorthStar, wants to add to the list of potential uses for the property beyond Kettler’s original designation; MVF would have to change the Declaration for this to happen. In keeping with the Vision 2030 Plan and the new Montgomery Village Master Plan—which both encourage reinvestment in several commercial sites—the MVF Board of Directors set out to establish appropriate uses for the site, with cooperation from Whetstone Homes Corporation, whose property abuts the Professional Center.
The Zoning Ordinance list of uses was the basis for determining what could potentially work on the site. NorthStar’s attorney, Tim Dugan, along with MVF Executive Vice President Dave Humpton and MVF General Counsel Christopher Hitchens narrowed the list into a use table for further examination.
Humpton and Dugan attended the September 29 Whetstone Homes Corporation (WHC) meeting to discuss the need to update the Declaration and received direction from WHC as to what other uses would be tolerable that close to their borders. Prior to the WHC board meeting, Whetstone held a community meeting to discuss the use table.
Of the 58 items on the original use table, MVF staff eliminated several more based on the WHC board’s recommendation, including: community gardens; categories of household living; personal living quarters; major impact home health practitioners; hotels and charitable, philanthropic institutions. In total, 26 uses were eliminated from the use table.
In addition to specific parameters in the CRT zone (design standards, including public amenities), the county’s site plan regulatory requirements would protect the neighboring Whetstone residences. County planners have taken into account buffers, storm water management, landscaping, lighting, height and massing of buildings, rooftop structures (HVAC equipment), dumpster enclosures, etc. Within the Declaration, MVF retains architectural review, which again provides a level of control to help plan and build a project that is in harmony with the adjoining residential community. WHC’s concerns about compatibility and impacts such as increased traffic, schools, too much density, etc. can be addressed during the multi-step regulatory process which encourages public participation.
Along with the use table, other modifications to the zoning have been negotiated with the owner and will be incorporated into the final Declaration. These include: no drive thru (including gas service pumps or gas stations); no single retail store exceeding 30,000 sq. ft.; no pawn shops; commercial and residential “floor area ratio” (FAR) restrictions; and a maximum height of 75 feet.
The Declaration also allows MVF to retain the right to oversee maintenance of the property and requires the owner to reimburse MVF for any maintenance costs. Additionally, a new section was added that establishes a basis for future residential units to be annexed into MVF or for units to be brought in via a contract, if the property were to be developed with residential units.
At present, there are no plans on the table for changing the Professional Center, however NorthStar is looking to market the site to the appropriate buyers, given the agreed use table. As with any potential development, future concepts and other plans are subject to county processes and multiple opportunities for public and resident input.
In preparation for the Gaithersburg East Master Plan, later separated in to the Montgomery Village Master Plan, which Montgomery County originally set to work on in 2014, the MVF Board of Directors appointed the Vision 2030 Steering Committee to work with a professional land use consultant to: 1) develop a general vision statement that would articulate the community’s vision and would influence the county’s master plan update; and 2) hold a number of charrettes to get residents’ and others’ input on how to change, improve or enhance various areas of Montgomery Village. A series of three, two-day community charrettes were held, and various land use options were developed for each site. Feedback during the charrette process demonstrated that the community recognizes the need for change and that there needs to be an infusion of new high quality development, both residential and commercial, as well as updated public facilities in order for Montgomery Village to maintain a sense of community and serenity in an ever urbanizing county.
Questions such as “How do we make things more attractive, fresh and vibrant?” came up over and over, as residents and professional planners shared ideas and in some cases, drawings for various areas of the Village. “How do we strengthen our sense of community? How do we increase property values? What kinds of housing or commercial facilities do we need?” The committee identified four sites in the Village that will be ripe for redevelopment in the next 20 years. Concept plans were developed for each location and then presented to the MVF Board of Directors, the Montgomery County Council and the Montgomery County Planning Board.
MVGC Development/Bloom Montgomery Village
Monument Realty advises that from Wednesday, Jan. 25 through Wednesday, Feb. 8, crews will be on the site with a drill rig conducting soil borings throughout the site for soil testing. The crews will also have vehicles, including 4 wheelers, on the site at the same time. These crews will have ID’s with them at all times and the 6th District Police will be alerted of this activity.
Monument Realty also is pleased to report that the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision for Bloom Montgomery Village has been accepted by the Montgomery County Planning Board for consideration. A copy of the Notice of Application can be viewed at the Bloom website, www.BloomInMV.com. All of the technical drawings associated with this application can be viewed on the Montgomery County Planning website at http://eplans.montgomeryplanning.org/daiclinks/pdoxlinks.aspx?apno=120170150.
The application will undergo a technical review by Montgomery County Planning staff and other county agencies. Monument Realty will also be submitting a Site Plan application to the county in February. We anticipate that both the Preliminary Plan and Site Plan will be considered by the planning board at a public hearing in late spring or early summer 2017. For more information on the Bloom entitlement process, please see #6 on our list of FAQs on the Bloom website provided above.
The next community meeting will be held for information on the Site Plan application. This meeting has been scheduled for Monday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Whetstone Community Center, 19140 Brooke Grove Court.
For more information on Bloom, visit www.bloominmv.com/home.
MV Master Plan
On February 9, the Montgomery County Council unanimously adopted the Montgomery Village Master Plan. Over the last two years, the Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Board of Directors, MVF staff, Village residents, county planners and business stakeholders in the Village, including Monument Realty, worked to provide feedback and comments on the proposed plan.
County Council President Nancy Floreen thanked all that participated, noting that MVF and the Vision 2030 Plan helped lay the groundwork for this totally new Master Plan.
The comprehensive re-zoning of all properties in Montgomery Village continues to be processed by the county council. The Planning Board has recommended all the zoning recommendations in the recently adopted Montgomery Village Master Plan and the overlay zone. MVF Board President Pete Young presented testimony on behalf of the Board at a public hearing during the county council’s meeting on June 14, endorsing the zoning proposed in the master plan, including the overlay zone.
For more information or to view the Montgomery Village Master Plan, visit www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/montgomery_village.
Lake Whetstone Toe Drain Inspection
Montgomery Village Avenue is the dam for Lake Whetstone. It has an internal drainage system to collect and filter seepage, which occurs in all dams. Modern earth embankment dams, like Lake Whetstone Dam, are designed with internal drainage features to collect seepage passing through the dam. Uncontrolled or unfiltered seepage creates dam instability and concern for dam health and function. Therefore, assurance of the proper performance of the dam internal seepage collection system, including its toe drain, is critical for the stability of the dam.
Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducts routine inspections to Lake Whetstone and its dam. Recent inspection has found Lake Whetstone’s toe drain pipe has corrosion. DEP has retained Gannett Fleming, Inc. to evaluate Lake Whetstone Dam internal seepage collection system. This evaluation is the first phase of the toe drain repair project.
The evaluation work includes:
- drilling of soil borings
- installation of monitoring instrumentation in the dam and
- pressure washing and video inspection of the internal metal drain pipes
Drilling on the crest and slopes of the Lake Whetstone Dam will start soon, pending on approval of the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Field work will began on Monday, Feb.1 (weather permitting) and will occur from 7 a.m. to around 5 p.m. on weekdays. Work will be completed in about four weeks. One lane of the Montgomery Village Avenue will be closed during drilling equipment unloading and setup time on the crest of the dam, to provide sufficient space and a safe working environment. Lane closure will last three to five days during the working period and won’t be full work hours of each day (not during hours of high traffic volume). The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (DOT) approved the Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) plan designed by Gannett Fleming, Inc. to control traffic in the road during the lane closure.s
Solar Panel Installation
Among the MVF Board of Directors recent strategic goals is reducing energy costs and carbon footprint through green initiatives. This is not only environmentally friendly, but helps free up resources for other important initiatives. The Architectural Review Board regularly approves the use of solar panels on homes, and reviews new, efficient exterior home products for use in the community. The Committee on the Environment (COE) looks at ways to reduce our impact on the environment, while maintaining a balance with wildlife.
As such, a sub-committee of the COE was formed to study the effectiveness of adding solar panels to MVF facilities. This group spent 10 months researching information on the feasibility of installing solar panels on various building owned by MVF. As a result of their hard work, the Committee on the Environment and the MVF Board decided to install solar panels on Lake Marion Community Center (LMCC), with the possibility of adding other facilities in the near future.
About 300 solar panels were installed on the roof of LMCC, sending collected solar energy through nine inverters, helping to power LMCC. This project was approved by the MVF Board in 2014 and after permitting and installation, was ready for Pepco to turn on in mid-July. Through a Purchase Power Agreement with Paradise, MVF is projected to save $250,000 in energy costs over the next 25 years.
A display kiosk inside LMCC monitors real-time power usage, savings and other comparisons. The monitor shows items such as how much energy was produced on a daily basis, how much energy has been used and other useful information including the weather. The system produces a portion of the electricity used at LMCC. In addition, to further reduce energy costs, the community center will be receiving all new LED lighting. After monitoring the success of this facility, MVF plans to duplicate it at other facilities, building commitment to the future of Montgomery Village.
Webb Tract Development
Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83)
The following information is provided by the TAME Coalition regarding removing M-83 from the Montgomery County Highway Master Plan.
- The Case for Cancelling the Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83)
- The Environmental & Economic Case for Removing Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83)