River Hill Development Issues

Due to the Comprehensive Zoning process occurring at the County level and development changes being proposed along the MD 108 corridor, the River Hill Village Board of Directors (RHBOD) has recently been very focused on development issues. At their July 8 meeting, the RHBOD heard
from a number of residents regarding the impact of development on the community and discussed zoning changes being considered during the County’s Comprehensive Zoning Process. Mary Kay Sigaty, who represents the River Hill community on the County Council, also attended the meeting. Ms. Sigaty was able to hear directly from residents and the Village Board, and she also provided clarification and updates relating to zoning changes in the Clarksville/River Hill area.

As part of its Comprehensive Zoning testimony, the RHBOD requested that the County conduct a comprehensive analysis of MD 108 in the  Clarksville/River Hill area. The goal is for the County to develop an integrated master plan that will guide future growth. The RHBOD requested
that the plan address the impact of development on residential areas, aesthetics, improvements to the streetscape, traffic flow, pedestrian and bike accessibility and safety, and other issues affecting the quality of life for residents and others utilizing the MD 108 corridor. The RHBOD feels  strongly that this plan be developed prior to approving changes, including any re-development plans for the River Hill Garden Center. In its testimony, the RHBOD also asked the County Council to consider reversing the River Hill Garden Center’s zoning from B-1 to R-20, and making
changes to the funeral home and mortuary zoning regulations.

At the July 8 RHBOD meeting, Ms. Sigaty announced that Marsha McLaughlin, Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning, has agreed to commit resources to examine the Clarksville area. The RHBOD looks forward to learning more about what this will entail and hopes that a plan can be developed that balances the needs of all stakeholders.

The RHBOD has also initiated the process for obtaining covenants and use restrictions on the three properties on Grace Drive where zoning changes have been requested: 7400 Grace Drive (W.R. Grace), 7450 Grace Drive (W.R. Grace), and 7410 Grace Drive (Chesapeake Conference of Seventh Day Adventists). The RHBOD has requested that the restrictions also extend to the 66 acre parcel owned by W.R. Grace that is adjacent to residential properties and the current W.R. Grace campus. The RHBOD has requested that the following uses be excluded from the Grace owned
properties: funeral homes, cemeteries and mausoleums, ambulatory health care facilities, commercial communication antennas, commercial communication towers, day treatment and care facilities, hotels, motels, country inns and conference centers, Housing Commission housing developments, adult book stores, convenience stores, drug and cosmetic stores, carryout restaurants, specialty stores, gasoline service stations, and public utility uses. The RHBOD has requested that the following uses be excluded from the property owned by the Seventh Day Adventists:
adult live entertainment establishments, ambulatory health care facilities, commercial communication antennas, commercial communication
towers, concert halls, day treatment or care facilities, funeral homes, adult book or video stores, hotels, motels, conference centers and country inns, retail stores carryout restaurants, cemeteries and mausoleums and public utility uses.

More recently, Greenstone Ventures has submitted their plans for Clarksville Commons, the Gateway School redevelopment project, to the County (Site Development Plan 13-079). Greenstone Ventures has requested a reduction in the permitted building setback from the road right-of-way. During the administrative hearing on this issue, the association provided verbal testimony. The RHBOD will continue to review the plans and provide comments to the County. Meanwhile, association staff is coordinating a community presentation on the project. Residents will be
notified of the date and time.

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