Konterra would seek to build apartments in Kensington at 75 feet
Laurel developer says plans hinge on height waiver
Representatives from Laurel development group Konterra say their proposal to build an apartment complex on Metropolitan Avenue in Kensington hinges entirely on being allowed to exceed the town's 60-foot height limit.
The development group presented Monday plans for a 75-foot mixed-use apartment building for its property on Metropolitan Avenue near the town's MARC train station.
Caleb Gould, vice president of Konterra Limited Partnership, said he wants to gauge public opinion before pursuing a waiver on the height limit or design of the building.
"We're just trying to do something that will be a credit to the community that will be supported by the community," he said at Monday's meeting of the town's revitalization committee.
The proposed apartment building would reach about 75 feet high if measured from the lowest portion of the building, which is on land that slopes toward its western edge, to the highest, Gould said. The portion facing the train station, on the highest elevation, would measure 60 feet from the ground to the top of the building. The 75-foot measurement would be the official height of the building.
The area is zoned Commercial-2, which generally limits building heights to 42 feet, said Valerie Berton, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Planning Board. If approved by the Montgomery County Council, the Kensington Sector Plan an outline for development will allow buildings up to 60-feet high, according to the plan.
Konterra's proposal received mixed reviews from the nine residents who spoke Monday, many of whom said they would like to see development on the site which still has signs of the cement-mixing facilities that once stood there but worried about the impact it would have.
Pat Mulready, who lives near the site, said the 80-unit apartment building would add too much stress to a high-traffic road.
Margaret Goldsborough, co-owner of Goldsborough Glynn Antiques on Howard Avenue, said she welcomes the project and the prospective customers it could bring.
"A lot of business owners would welcome an influx of vibrant, young community members," she said.
The town of Kensington does not have the authority to approve development plans, but asks groups with projects within town boundaries to present plans to town officials as a courtesy. The Planning Board approves development plans and must approve height waivers.
Gould said Konterra won't submit plans for the project or a request for a height waiver until after the sector plan is approved.
Approval is expected this summer.
If the group cannot get the height waiver, it will likely not build anything on the site, Gould said.