Olney Coalition Concluding Remarks

May 16, 2010 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

May 14, 2010

Martin Grossman

Hearing Examiner for G885

100 Maryland Ave

Rockville, MD 20850

Dear Mr. Grossman,

For over seven years, the Olney community has stated the proper zone for the 32-acre Bowie Mill Road property is R200.  Application G885 should be denied because the proposed full yield PD3 plan is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.

The first Notice of Public Hearing for this application (dated August 28, 2009) stated: “The applicant must demonstrate at a public hearing that the proposed development would be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood…”  The Olney Master Plan also requires the density to be compatible with the adjacent properties (page 38).  Olney is a semi-rural suburban area which is one of the main reasons people choose to live in Olney.  The current proposed plan is more characteristic of urban areas due to the higher density and the rear load garages.  No other neighborhoods in Olney have alleys.

The smaller parcel of land being developed near Bowie Mill Road has no market rate homes.  We believe this will further divide and segregate the two community areas.  This social divide in housing units should not be overlooked or underestimated as it will naturally further divide this community in time beyond the physical separation.  It makes one question the long-term success of this community.  In 1995 the Planning Board issued recommendations to disperse MPDUs throughout a development.  This recommendation makes good sense as it ensures housing unit integration and balance within a community, which leads to sustainable community harmony.  In the neighborhoods within Olney where the MPDUs are properly dispersed, there have not been the quality of life problems or animosities being experienced in neighborhoods that have concentrated MPDUs.  Testimony was passionately presented about the recurring problems these communities have been dealing with due to this concentrated MPDU design.   Hence, we feel the current PD3 plan fails to properly integrate the mix of housing units in the smaller parcel of land near Bowie Mill Road.

The community accepts the 60 percent affordable housing requirement but cannot accept concentrating the affordable housing within the development, especially when that concentration is placed in an area that is quite isolated from the rest of the development.  The R200 zoning, on the other hand, eliminates the compatibility issues with the current PD3 plan as it reduces the overall number of units.  This in turn provides the space to better integrate the affordable units into the different housing types in both parcels of land being developed.  Reducing the number of units also reduces the urban feel resulting in real compatibility with all the surrounding communities.  Thus, the current R200 zone is the appropriate zone for the development of this property and for the future success of this new community. 

The decision to rezone this property is based on the proposed plan presented by the applicant.  The community does not feel this plan is compatible with the area.  However, if you feel the PD3 zoning is appropriate then we request that you at least remand this plan to redistribute the affordable units.

Sincerely,

Barbara Falcigno

President, Olney Coalition

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Writing a Letter There will be NO two over two style housing

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