Planners Draft Recommendations for Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan

May 1, 2012

SILVER SPRING – Once a quiet rural crossroads with a store, post office and not much else, Burtonsville has evolved over 150 years into the busy northern edge of the US 29 corridor. The challenging retail environment, aging streetscapes, poor street pattern, and limited sidewalks and bikeways have left Burtonsville without the attractive, connected community residents want.

Planners have drafted a vision for the Burtonsville Crossroads that emphasizes a complete community with a main street, public green and village center yet retains the area’s rural character. The plan envisions a mix of uses in the town center and connections that both move local traffic and encourage walking and cycling.

The staff draft of the Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan goes to the Planning Board Thursday for a first look. The plan, reflecting input from members of the community for more than a year, recommends new mixed-use zoning, a series of street and trail connections, and parks and open space to protect the headwaters of the Patuxent River.

After reviewing the draft, the Planning Board will set a public hearing, likely in June, to invite testimony from residents, business owners and anyone interested in the future of Burtonsville. After the hearing, the Board will refine the plan in work sessions and send a draft to the County Council for consideration and eventual approval.

The plan prioritizes and coordinates future private and public projects. It establishes three areas, with the Main Street/Public Green the most visible, pedestrian-oriented place with retail, housing, services, a new street grid and a public gathering space off MD 198. The Village Center on local Route 29 would benefit from a new grid of streets and a better integrated Park and Ride lot, which, with 500 spaces, is a regional bus transit hub.

For both areas, proposed rezoning from commercial only to mixed commercial and residential uses would encourage redevelopment with homes, providing residents with easy access to jobs and services.

The Rural Edge area in the northern part of the plan area should remain at a low density to protect the tributary headwaters of the Patuxent River Watershed. The plan recommends placing stricter limits on the amount of paved surfaces for new development in the area, from 10 to 8 percent.

Planners develop master and sector plans to create a framework for each community designed to last 15 to 20 years. Those plans help policy-makers – such as the Planning Board and County Council – develop land use strategies and decide on proposed development.

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