Home Properties of New York, owner of the Falkand Apartments, finds itself once again in front of the Montgomery County Planning Department concerning the site plan for a multi-building, mixed-use development at the northeast quadrant of the intersection of 16th Street and East-West Highway near the Silver Spring CBD. The 9.7-acre site, split into three parcels, is within walking distance of the Silver Spring Metro and the MARC station.
In 1985, the area was denied eligibility for the designation in the Master Plan for Historic Preservation, but in 2007 all three parcels were found eligible and the Board “directed the Planning staff to initiate an amendment to that Master Plan,” according to the MCPD report on today’s hearing to approve the site plan. In 2008, the south and west parcels were added to the plan, but the north parcel was added to the Locational Atlas, which was created in 1976 and identifies potential historic sites.
That particular restriction called for the removal of the north parcel from the Atlas upon approval of the site plan.
"Faced with the challenge of weighing the benefits of historic preservation with those related to other planning objectives, the Board found that greater public benefit would be achieved through the redevelopment of the north parcel than by the parcel's designation in the Master Plan," according to the Staff report.
Being part of the Master Plan comes with eligibility for financial incentives for qualified rehabilitation and maintenance projects as well as certain protections.
The designation led Home Properties to revise their development plan and follow a few provisions, including 4.72 percent of the dwelling units to be subject to the County’s Workforce housing law for 20 years and the same amount provided for off-site Workforce housing. Home Properties must beautify the stream on the South parcel, and all buildings must be rated LEED-Silver.
The proposed plan is for a 1.2 million s.f., mixed-use development that includes 70,000 s.f. of retail and 1,250 townhouse units with 12.5 percent MPDUs and 4.73 percent Workforce Housing units.
The project consists of four buildings, oriented to a perimeter public street or a proposed private internal street. The buildings on the East-West Highway include ground-floor retail.
The proposed development provides 65,091 s.f. of public use space, 20 percent of the lot area. This includes a public plaza, garden and pedestrian area.
Staff recommends approval of the proposed plan today.
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