Third Towne Crest redevelopment plan dies -- Gazette.Net


A developer is going back to the drawing board for the third time after the county rejected its plans for Gaithersburg’s Towne Crest community Tuesday.

The developer, Towne Crest Apartments LLC, has presented plans for the redevelopment of the 8-acre parcel off Washington Grove Lane in Gaithersburg.

About 100 townhouses and apartment units, built in the 1960s, occupy the site now. Developers are seeking to build more than 300 units on that space, but need the parcel to be rezoned first.

The developer requested in 2011 and 2012 that the parcel be rezoned to a higher residential density, but community opposition and planning board concerns defeated their applications. In January 2013, the current plan was presented.

The County Council denied the plan June 27. The developer asked the council to reconsider their vote, but also sought to withdraw their application retroactively. The developer could not be reached for comment.

The plan came before the council at a Tuesday meeting, where they decided not to revisit their decision.

Jeffrey Zyontz, a legislative attorney with the county, had cautioned the council that reopening the topic for consideration might set a precedent.

“If this type of post decision ‘do over’ is allowed, it will be requested again in the future,” he wrote to the council.

County hearing examiner Lynn Robeson wrote a letter to the council explaining the developer’s rationale.

“The request is not in the public interest because it does not ask the Council to ‘reconsider’ its decision on the merits; rather, it is made solely to avoid statutorily mandated waiting periods on re-filing a zoning application,” Robeson wrote in a July 3 letter.

Towne Crest Apartments LLC, represented by law firm Linowes and Blocher LLP, wrote to the council that circumventing the 36-month waiting period between zoning applications “would better serve the public interest” because the property is in need of “revitalization.”