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Montgomery Council Approves Measure That Could Lead to Grocery Store in Clarksburg

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ROCKVILLE, Md., February 15, 2011—The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved a proposal pushed forward by Councilmember Craig Rice, whose District 2 includes the emerging up-county community of Clarksburg, to alter the staging of the Clarksburg Master Plan to allow the building of a grocery store outside of the planned Clarksburg Town Center commercial district. The amendment to the Montgomery County Planning Department’s work program relating to “staging” in Clarksburg also was strongly supported by Councilmember Nancy Floreen, chair of the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee.

Commercial development in Clarksburg has lagged as housing units continue to be built in the planned community about five miles north of Germantown. Currently, Clarksburg residents must drive at least five miles to the nearest grocery store. Data from the 2010 Census states that Clarksburg is the area with the fastest rate of housing growth in Montgomery County since 2000 (an increase of 460.1 percent from 2000 to 2010).

The approved Clarksburg Master Plan includes “staging” guidelines that state certain aspects of development cannot proceed until other defined aspects have been implemented. The Clarksburg plan recommends that “retail/commercial development in the Newcut Road and Cabin Branch neighborhoods be deferred until 90,000 square feet of retail uses have been established in Clarksburg’s Town Center.”

The intent of that provision of the master plan was to encourage a focus on commercial development in the Town Center area. However, the Town Center property owner that had originally planned to develop a grocery store has expressed no immediate plans to move ahead. Property owners outside of the Town Center area have indicated an interest in building a grocery store if the “staging” order could be altered.

Today’s vote does not remove all staging provisions from the Master Plan. It simply adds an exception for a grocery store and potentially ancillary uses.

“I vowed that my first priority would be to ensure the residents of Clarksburg were back on track in getting the infrastructure they need and were promised,” said Councilmember Rice. “We held a town hall meeting in Clarksburg in January and it was clear that a top priority for the residents was a grocery store. I am happy to see that my fellow Councilmembers agreed we can no longer wait for a grocery store to be built solely at the Town Center site and need to provide the residents of Clarksburg options they can have access to—now.”

The County’s Planning Department will begin work on the amendment immediately, hoping to complete that work in approximately two months. It is hoped the Council can act on the amendment this summer.

“Of all the communities I represent, Clarksburg is the one most in need of immediate attention,” said Councilmember Rice. “Clarksburg has waited too long for roads, public transit and retail stores and today is the first step in a long process of making things right.”

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Release ID: 11-035
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939, Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931