Business and property owners joined residents, community association leaders and historians Thursday to testifying about the Glenmont Sector Plan before the Montgomery County Planning Board in Silver Spring.
The proposed update to the sector plan, a document that dates back to 1997, will guide development around the Glenmont Metro Station and the Glenmont Shopping Center for the next 15 to 20 years.
Montgomery County planners held three community visioning workshops last winter where stakeholders expressed enthusiasm for reviving Glenmont Shopping Center but cautious expectations for collaboration among the multiple property owners there.
Comments at Thursday's hearing indicated tension between the challenges of reducing congestion and improving walkability, given that three major roads--Georgia Avenue, Randolph Road and Layhill Road--converge in Glenmont. While residents expressed concerns about the traffic that development will bring, strategies for streamlining cars through the area can also make pedestrian crossings more dangerous.
Historic preservation in Glenmont is another issue that the Planning Board must weigh as it moves forward, particularly for the 1960s Americana Glenmont apartments, now known as Glenmont Forest.
The Board heard differing accounts of the apartments' historical importance. The Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission recommended the site for the Locational Atlas and Index of Historic Sites--but not for the Mongtomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation.
George French of the Silver Spring Historical Society read to the Board a letter from Richard Longstreth, a George Washington University professor and architectural historian who recommended the apartments for the Master Plan for Historic Preservation.
But placing the apartments on even just the Locational Atlas will make it more difficult for the property to redevelop, said Todd Brown at the hearing. Brown spoke on behalf of Grady Management, the property manager for the Glenmont Forest Apartments.
Although there will not be any more community meetings for the sector plan, written comments can be sent to the Planning Board until March 1. The Board will meet with its staff during work sessions to review the sector plan draft before transmitting it to the County Council. Then the public will have another opportunity to give input at a County Council public hearing.
Read more about the Glenmont Sector Plan: