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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council Approves Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment Plan Paves Way for Re-Use of Former Vitro/BAE Property

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Montgomery County Council today approved a minor amendment to the Aspen Hill Master Plan that provides guidance for re-use of the property that once provided offices for the Vitro and BAE companies.

The plan was approved by a vote of 7-2. Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Nancy Floreen, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer voted to approve the plan. Councilmembers Marc Elrich and George Leventhal were opposed.

The area being addressed covers about 14 acres west of Connecticut Avenue near Aspen Hill Road. The vacant Vitro/BAE property encompasses 10 of those acres. At the time the Council reviewed the 1994 Aspen Hill Master Plan Amendment, the Vitro/BAE office building was occupied and the Master Plan supported the continued office focus.

In 2008, the Planning Board approved a Georgia Avenue Study/Urban Design Framework, which envisioned an evolution of the commercial node in Aspen Hill from an auto-oriented group of strip shopping centers to a more walkable community with a grid system of streets, a mix of uses and enhanced pedestrian amenities.

Since 2010, the 265,000 square foot Vitro/BAE office building has been vacant. One of the central purposes in the minor master plan amendment is to determine whether there is a more appropriate zone that will encourage redevelopment compatible with the adjacent residential neighborhood.

This plan creates mixed use options for redevelopment of a long empty office building and neighboring properties,” said Councilmember Nancy Floreen, who chairs the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee that reviewed the proposed master plan amendment. “Based on neighborhood concerns, the Council restricted some of the ‘big box’ potential for the BAE/Vitro site while providing flexibility for future retail and possible residential use." We are grateful to the Aspen Hill community for its tireless commitment to its neighborhood's future. We listened long and hard to the concerns of residents in crafting a sustainable solution for this challenging site."

Other changes made by the Council include a change in the zoning of the Vitro site from Neighborhood Retail (NR) to Commercial Residential Town (CRT). The CRT zone has a greater focus on design and also a layout to encourage pedestrians.

If developed at the highest densities allowable, the plan requires public amenities to be provided by the developers. The Council also added new language about the transition between commercial and residential uses, including the preservation of existing trees and greenery and a new section on community facilities. It introduced a zoning text amendment in conjunction with the master plan to provide more flexibility for uses such grocery stores to be developed in the CRT zone.

Another change the Council made to original master plan amendment was to suggest minimizing additional traffic flow impacts on Aspen Hill Road near its intersection with Connecticut Avenue and to consider limiting access to and from the site from the existing full movement Home Depot driveway from Connecticut Avenue.

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Release ID: 15-105
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939 , Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931