Planning Board approves White Flint update
After three years of discussion and debate between the Planning Board, advisory groups and citizens, the advancement of the White Flint Sector plan to the county executive and County Council is being met with excitement by most involved.
The sector plan is reworking the master plan for the area around the White Flint Metro Station, and is expected to add 9,800 new residences to the area over the next 30 years, as well as facilitate major infrastructure improvements such as a new road network and the modernization of Rockville Pike into a pedestrian friendly boulevard.
The Planning Board on Thursday approved the sector plan for the next step, which is consideration by County Executive Isiah Leggett and the County Council. Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson said White Flint could be "the most important center in the county for the next generation."
White Flint is considered to be one of the last good candidates in the county for redevelopment due to its current status as a relatively blank slate full of surface parking and strip malls that are easily repurposed into high rise mixed-use developments in the plan vision.
Ken Hurdle, a Luxmanor resident on the board of Friends of White Flint, a group representing residents, developers and businesses, said he has been pleased by planning staff responsiveness to feedback from FOWF, which made several suggestions that were incorporated into the final plan.
He said the group will next offer feedback to the County Council, and he hopes any changes remain true to the spirit of the current draft.
"This is going to be a huge economic engine for the county. We just need to make sure they don't kill the goose that's going to lay the golden egg."
Not all involved are satisfied with the plan. The White Flint Community Coalition, a group formed in April of several neighborhoods just outside the sector plan boundaries, said in a statement it "continues to be disappointed with the Planning Board and staff for pressing ahead on the White Flint Sector Plan," which it said will overcrowd schools and clog traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Coalition member Natalie Goldberg said she supports smart growth but only when done in concert with traffic control. Goldberg said growth in White Flint could come before the infrastructure to accommodate it, a message she plans to carry to the County Council.
"We will certainly stress to the County Council that there needs to be adequate infrastructure provided and there needs to be money to pay for it."