Burtonsville planners seek ideas for commercial corridor
Staff will take more community input at open house
Burtonsville residents can offer their ideas about how to improve the commercial corridors along U.S. Route 29 and state Route 198 at an open house tonight.
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Senior Planner Kristin O'Connor and her staff will listen to another round of community insight during an open forum that will help the community move a step closer to completion of The Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan.
O'Connor already collected several rounds of suggestions from the East County Citizens Advisory Board during a meeting with members of the community in a workshop last month. More than 50 residents attended, O'Connor said.
"We are certainly interested in having everyone come and be at the open house," O'Connor said.
Yvonne Hudson of Burtonsville attended the last community meeting with her husband. They have lived in Burtonsville for 17 years and Hudson said they are very concerned about the future of the commercial community since they shop there frequently.
"It is just a little sad," Hudson said. "We have watched the area's demise over the last couple years. When we heard about the possibility of something positive going into that area we jumped at the chance to see what was happening."
Hudson said she hopes improvements can be made to the entire area the plan focuses on, and she plans to attend the open house tonight with her husband.
"That is our whole little area down there," Hudson said. "It is our hub. We were very concerned about what's happening. We didn't want it to waste away."
The meeting will not be a formal presentation. Instead, planners will have posters and drawings hanging up around the room with preliminary sketches for the neighborhood plan. O'Connor said community members can come to the open house, chat with planners, ask questions and make suggestions. People can make recommendations verbally, draw on the sketched plans or submit handwritten comments.
O'Connor has planned for around 75 to attend, but said she is unsure how many will show up.
"We should be ready to answer a variety of questions, so we really want people to come and let us know how they feel," O'Connor said.
The plan is being conducted by the park and planning commission. The plan, which began in December, will also look at whether a loop road should be built to connect businesses on Route 198 to the Burtonsville Town Square shopping center.
At a public workshop in early April, many residents suggested changes like increased connectivity between Burtonsville's commercial areas, mixed-use buildings in the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center, facade improvement and increasing pedestrian accessibility.
O'Connor will present the initial plan to the Planning Board May 26. Follow-up work sessions and public workshops will be held throughout the fall. The plan will be submitted to County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and the County Council by the end of the year. The county council will hold public hearings and work sessions in early 2012 in order to adopt the plan in the spring of 2012.
The open house will be held at 7 p.m. at the East Montgomery Regional Services Center.