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Posted at 6:44 PM ET, 03/30/2010

MoCo development theory ... and practice

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Bette Petrides
Bethesda

The March 28 editorial “Science and the suburban future” was seriously off the mark. It contends, “What critics mostly miss is that the development plan [for the Life Sciences Center slated for Gaithersburg West] is highly staged, meaning that each new round of building is contingent on major improvements in infrastructure to mitigate the infusions of new workers and cars. ... It could be 30 years or more before the vision of a full-fledged LSC worthy of the name comes to pass.”

While the plans for the Life Sciences Center are long term, no one should assume that the public will be protected because the planning is staged. In fact, both King Farm in Rockville and Clarksburg’s development were contingent on the promise of the Corridor Cities Transitway being built and were considered long-term projects.

Unfortunately, in good times development leapfrogs infrastructure, and when times are tough, planning controls are waived. The result, at least in the case of Clarksburg, has been to make planning in Montgomery County synonymous with irresponsible oversight of development, unfair tax burdens for residents and poor fixes for problems that wouldn’t have occurred if the original plans had been adhered to. Given that record, resident reaction to Gaithersburg West is hardly “overblown” or “theoretical.”

Montgomery County’s new commercial/residential zoning for a similarly large project at White Flint is expected to become a model for revision of the zoning code for the rest of the county. It is also the zone intended for Gaithersburg West. Part of that code limits residents’ input on building that affects their communities. If people don’t protest to protect themselves now, they may never have the opportunity.


The writer is president of Citizens for a Better Bethesda.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | March 30, 2010; 6:44 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland, Montgomery County, development  
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Comments

"If people dot protest to protect themselves..."

The NIMBY folks think they area protecting themselves now? From what? Development?

Are they taking your house? Is your property being stolen? Are they building on your property?

Posted by: jboogie1 | March 31, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"If people dot protest to protect themselves..."

The NIMBY folks think they area protecting themselves now? From what? Development?

Are they taking your house? Is your property being stolen? Are they building on your property?

Posted by: jboogie1 | March 31, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I find it selfish that the NIMBY crowd would oppose something that would bring jobs and revenue to the area during an indefinite recession

Posted by: jboogie1 | March 31, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

If you are a NIMBY and you dont want any development move to alabama change is going to happen in this region whether you want it or not

Posted by: skinsfan15 | April 1, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Until they put a garbage dump or a rowdy night club right next to my house, I'm not too worried about any of this. What a bunch of whinging pansies.

Posted by: Wallenstein | April 1, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Adding some 40,000 additional folks to Gaithersburg, without better mass transit will make 270 the world's largest parking lot.

Smart development versus development-at-any-cost - you decide.

Posted by: urbanangler | April 1, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, Ms. Petredis does not deserve the derision she has gotten from many of the posters here. She's making important points about the way development should be done, not closing herself off to any development. Her concerns are shared by many people all over this county. They don't want repeats of the mistakes like those in the Clarksburg mess. Who would? Montgomery County's planning and development process has very little credibility at this time, and for good reason. We should listen when someone like Ms. Petrides tries to give some explanation of why, and we should try to make sure these mistakes do not happen again. That sure beats these derisive barbs about NIMBYism. Sure, we suffer from that too, but Ms. Petrides is addressing a higher-order issue.

Posted by: dorofacol | April 2, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

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