Planning Board approves Bloom Site Plan for former golf course

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On November 16, Monument Realty’s Preliminary Plan of Subdivision and Site Plan for Bloom Montgomery Village (the former golf course property) was presented by county Park & Planning staff to the Montgomery County Planning Board.
 
The staff recommendation of approval for both the preliminary and site plans was followed by resident testimony, including Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Board President Pete Young on behalf of the Board of Directors, expressing support for Monument’s plans. After listening to the staff presentation and resident testimony, and deliberating the plan’s conformity to the Montgomery Village Master Plan, the Planning Board voted unanimously to approve both the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision and the Site Plan.
 
The plan approval signals permission for Monument to develop the former golf course property, as outlined in the plan. The approved plan includes 494 new homes (467 townhomes, 26 detached single family homes and 1 duplex), of which 68 homes will be set aside as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU). During its deliberation of both plans, the Planning Board agreed that the Site Plan conformed to the Master Plan, which allows far greater development density on the site than what was presented in the Site Plan.
 
“We believe that through our collaborative planning efforts, we have created a plan that is contextually appropriate and respectful of surrounding homes, while offering multiple benefits that further enhance the quality of life and environment in Montgomery Village and the surrounding area. This approval demonstrates that we have accomplished that,” said Russell Hines, President of Monument Realty.
 
The Planning Board focused heavily on the benefits this development will provide for Montgomery Village and the county, including:
An executed Parks Facility Agreement (PFA) allowing for the dedication of roughly 49 acres of land to the county’s parks department.
Facilitating the restoration of a significant length of the Cabin Branch Stream. This type of restoration project is vitally important to improving the health of aquatic resources and the Chesapeake Bay watershed by removing pollutants and restoring the natural nutrient balance in the water. 
Forest Conservation measures and the planned stream restoration will help accomplish the Montgomery Village Master Plan’s environmental goals to reforest the stream buffer area, enhance water quality protection and improve wildlife habitat.
Transforming what was private land into what will now largely be publicly accessible and usable open space that will incorporate walking trails connecting the new 7.5 acre MVF Central Park to the existing Montgomery Village pedestrian network and the county’s regional trail system (like the very important connection between the Great Seneca Stream Valley Park and the Cabin Branch Stream Valley Park).
Adding desired community amenities—a dog park for both small and large dogs; a new playground; community gardens; and significant open space and trails—for Village residents.
Extending Stewartown Road to connect Montgomery Village Avenue and Watkins Mill Road.
A shared use path for bikes and foot pedestrian use, connecting Watkins Mill Road to Centerway Park.
Establishing more than 25 acres of new forest.
 
The Planning Board understood and recognized that Monument’s plans were the result of years of community outreach and numerous neighborhood charrettes. Monument Realty bought the golf course property in March 2013 and committed to work with the community from the start. The golf course was maintained and remained open for business through November 2014, while Monument met with residents, MVF and county staff to develop the most appropriate plans for the site. Since the golf course closed, Monument has maintained the property to county standards and has continued to work with the community to incorporate desires and feedback into the Site Plan. The previous work from the MVF Vision 2030 Committee and concurrent work during the Montgomery Village Master Plan process played a large role in Monument’s process.
 
The project now awaits the Certification of the Site Plan by the county, which is expected in early 2018.
 
In the meantime, Monument will begin detailed engineering of the property, followed by a Record Plat application to be submitted for approval in mid-2018. Once the Record Plat is approved by the county, a Building Permit application will be submitted. The anticipated timeframe for these remaining steps and a potential groundbreaking is likely to be two years (late 2019)