Garden Center Re-Development Moves Forward: Association Requests Consistency with Streetscape Plan and Design Guidelines

Security Development Corporation’s (SDC) Environmental Concept Plan (ECP-17-023) for the River Hill Square commercial development was submitted to the County’s Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) for review in November 2016. The ECP addresses stormwater management, sediment and erosion control, and grading and is very preliminary. The ECP must be approved prior to the submittal of the Site Development Plan that will contain more project detail. The project must also be reviewed by the County’s Design Advisory Panel. At this stage in the process, members of the community may submit written comments to the DPZ. Based on its initial review, DPZ has asked that a revised ECP be submitted

Simultaneously, the River Hill Community Association’s Board of Directors (RHCA) has asked SDC to redevelop the River Hill Garden Center property in a manner that is consistent with the Clarksville Pike Streetscape Plan and Design Guidelines adopted by the County (February 2016). It is the Boards’ opinion that while the need to address the cohesiveness of the corridor still exists, it is arguably greater now. This is due to the increase of commercial and residential development, lack of traffic re-design associated infrastructure improvements directly on the MD 108 corridor, and from development in the surrounding area.

It is the Association’s position that, in addition to any rights-of-way improvements required during re-development of this parcel, the State Highway Administration must address the ever-increasing congestion along MD 108 between MD 32 and Trotter Road. Comprehensive traffic analysis and solutions need to be developed and implemented that will ensure safety and address delay issues in the school zones, at Sheppard Lane, at the Linden Linthicum Lane intersection, and within the existing Clarksville commercial corridor. Further, it is the Board’s opinion that the necessity for a comprehensive traffic solution that is safe, scalable enough to acccomodate development that exceeds the originally approved usage and zoning application and will allow adherence to the approved Streetscape Plan should not be mitigated by any shortsighted, lower cost solutions that focus solely on the impact to the developer and the as yet unsecured commercial tenants.

The Board has asked the developer to make changes in response to the ongoing concerns of affected River Hill residents by establishing a berm and enhancing screening to mitigate the negative impact of lights and noise. The Board of Directors has also requested the design be amended to include:

•Buildings set within 25-feet of the curb to reinforce and improve upon the pedestrian character of the corridor;
•Primary building/retail entrances oriented toward the street;
and
•Pedestrian and bike accessibility enhancements.
It is the Board’s hope that the final design and development will be consistent with the Streetscape Plan and Design Guidelines and, as much as is possible, consider community input before the final selection of retailers. To ensure success, any future commercial development on the parcel must enhance the community in addition to providing establishments that are desired by residents.
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