Burtonsville neighborhood plan's recommendations could become reality sooner
Plan to become part of area's overall master plan, which will speed up implementation process
The results of a study on how to improve commercial properties in Burtonsville will also become part of the area's overall master plan, meaning its ideas could more quickly be put into action.
The Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan, which was formerly called a planning study, is being conducted by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The study would have made recommendations to the county after the study was completed this fall, but the county council voted April 5 to adopt it as an amendment to the 1997 Fairland Master Plan, said Kristin O'Connor, senior planner for the study.
"Instead of sort of being shelved in a study as an idea, this is an action," O'Connor said.
As an amendment, the plan would update the 1997 Fairland Master Plan for the designated commercial district O'Connor and her staff are studying. The rest of the Master Plan would remain the same, O'Connor said.
"We are stoked," O'Connor said. "We want to keep the energy going. It couldn't be better timing or better news. We want to keep the outreach going and keep the conversation going."
The plan, which began in December, will look at the commercial properties along routes 198 and 29 and the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center. It will also examine the need for a loop road, which would connect businesses on Route 198 from Burtonsville Elementary School to the new Burtonsville Town Square shopping center.
This means the study's time table will be lengthened. The study was initially supposed to last 11 months and end in November. It will now be extended into next year, with plans to adopt it in spring 2012.
The plan's staff held a community workshop last week at the East Montgomery Regional Services Center, where more than 50 residents gave their suggestions for improving Burtonsville's commercial district, O'Connor said.
Most suggestions from residents centered on increasing development and connectivity in the area, including more mixed-use buildings in the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center, making the center a destination people will travel to, façade improvement, fixing traffic problems along routes 198 and 29 and increasing pedestrian accessibility to the commercial properties.
The study's staff will be condensing ideas they gathered at the community workshop with other ideas they received from the East County Citizens Advisory Board a few weeks earlier. They will be presenting their preliminary plan to the advisory board during their May 4 meeting.
O'Connor and her staff will then present to the Planning Board later in May. They will hold work sessions and public hearings on the study throughout the summer and fall. In the fall, it will be sent to the county executive and county council for review. In early 2012, the council will hold a public hearing and work session on the plan in hopes of adopting it in the spring.