328 units will be split between single-family homes and townhomes, with 42 affordable units. It will be a "neighborhood designed around the pedestrian," they said. Residents who packed the room were more concerned about the other way of getting around - cars - and how they would impact already-congested roads nearby. The site is located at 7115 Greentree Road.
What will be done about the "traffic that's gonna get dumped onto Greentree, Newbold [Drive], Michaels [Drive] and other neighborhood streets" like Fernwood Road, one resident asked. Nancy Randall, principal associate with Wells & Associates, said the traffic study has not been completed yet. "How many automobiles?" asked another resident. Randall said the estimates show 209 additional peak A.M. trips, and 271 peak P.M. trips, would be generated by the new development. "Oh, come on!" shouted an incredulous resident from the back of the room.
One resident noted that the existing neighborhood is not within easy walking distance of any retail or restaurants, which will encourage heavy use of automobiles. Another resident of Greentree said the light at Michaels and Fernwood is already bad. Now, "you're adding another 300 homes." Randall said many options are on the table, including shuttle buses and traffic calming on nearby streets like Greyswood.
A resident of Burdette Road asked if the study would take into account further-away intersections that would be impacted by the additional traffic. He said drivers would likely be seeking to access the Beltway via Burdette Road to River Road, or via Old Georgetown Road. Randall said the study wouldn't extend that far, but would examine intersections like Bradley Boulevard and Burdette, and Democracy Boulevard and Fernwood Road. She said the "layer cake" study Toll is perfoming will not only take into account the traffic impact of its project, but also existing developments, and developments that have been approved but not necessarily built yet.
Resident Brian Thompson said he wanted to second an earlier humorous suggestion to rename Fernwood "Fernlock" for its notorious traffic. "I plan my day around the gridlock on Fernwood," Thompson said.
"I must officially object to you not reporting to us on the traffic plan," another resident said during the question portion of the meeting. With the traffic study being submitted at the same time as the site plan, he said, "we won't have time to look at it." He added that with the proposal to open access via Renita Lane to fire and rescue traffic, and possibly general traffic, "you will have fatalities on that winding road." That proposal actually came from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, not from Toll Brothers.
"Will you have a [traffic] meeting?" he asked. "I can't commit to Toll Brothers having a meeting," said Adeyinka Ogunlegan, VP of public policy and outreach for Chesapeake Public Strategies, a government and public affairs firm retained by Toll. A hissing sound came from the back of the room.
"Where's the boss?!" someone shouted. "If he's here, why don't you let him come up and talk about it?" he challenged. On cue, Toll Brothers VP John Harris rose from his seat. "I'm the boss, and we will be glad to have another meeting with you," Harris said to applause. Several Toll representatives also promised to provide an email link to residents who signed up for the mailing list (you can get on the list at the project website).
Schools were also a concern, with existing overcrowding in the Walter Johnson cluster. Wendy Calhoun, who will become coordinator for that cluster next year, said the Montgomery County Board of Education had recognized a "deficit of soccer fields since 1978," and requested two fields be built. "I don't see that on this site," she said.
The applicant's attorney, Erica Leatham of Ballard Spahr, LLP, said if a County agency wishes to use 5 acres Toll will make available to the County for purchase for soccer, they have that option. That area is denoted on the map at top in red, at the bottom left corner.
A resident of Brixton Lane termed his children's schools "ridiculously-overcrowded already. How many kids" will the Toll Brothers project generate, he asked.
Some attendees felt the number of homes planned was excessive, with one terming it a "sardine style" development plan. Resident Martha Lewis observed that when she looks at the plan, "it looks like massively-packed houses, as high as you can possibly pack them in."
Construction will be phased due to stormwater management regulations, and will begin at the northern part of the site first. Toll Brothers hopes construction will begin in Fall 2018, and last until 2022. During that time, residents will be able to contact a construction representative with concerns. Greyswood and Fernwood will be bonded for any construction damage from large trucks or heavy equipment during the construction process. A sound barrier will protect homes at the north end from noise generated by the I-270 spur. The existing Beltway sound barrier will be extended west along the south end of the property.
Several residents asked about the environmental impact of developing such a large green space. Toll Brothers assured them that stormwater management after the completion of the project will be "better than it is now, better for the Cheasapeake Bay." Resident Nancy Neff was skeptical. "I am offended by you patting yourselves on the back" for the bioswale plan to manage stormwater. "The best natural drainage is there
right now," she said. She cited the "appalling" drainage systems in King Farm in Rockville, which cause some homes in that community to flood regularly.
"I can assure you, Toll Brothers communities do not have flooded basements." said Tom Mateya, Toll Brothers' Director of Land Development.
|Green space includes connected|
trails, forested areas, and "The Green,"
in the center of
|Bioswales will capture|
|Green lines indicate the trails,|
which will be open to the public;
4 sitting/picnic areas, a tot lot, an
"open play area," a clubhouse with pool
and fitness room and a community space
round out the recreation amenities
|Packed house at 10:00 AM on a|
Saturday, reflecting the depth of
community concerns about the project
|Timeline of the project|
|Resident Rachel Berdansky listens|
as Toll Brothers representatives
try to answer her question