Burtonsville could get a village green and a walkable main street shopping corridor .
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission staff presented recommendations for revitalizing Burtonsville near Md. 198 and Md. 29 at the East County Citizens Advisory Board meeting Wednesday.
The Burtonsville Commercial Crossroads Neighborhood plan aims to revitalize the commercial corridor that now is characterized by highways and disjointed strip malls.
“So much of Burtonsville has been highway or retail,” said Kristin O’Connor, senior planner for the study.
O’Connor said the plan is to transition the area from a crossroads for through-traffic to a community gathering place. She presented a vision for a main street along Md. 198 with trees and pedestrian walkways lining each side of the street.
The staff envisions benches, attractive storefronts and mixed-use residential and retail buildings. This will require rezoning the area for commercial and residential zoning.
“The important thing is to open up the door to more uses,” said David Kochanski, a member of the advisory board.
Mario Arbaiza, owner of Chapala restaurant, said he thinks plans to revamp Md. 198, where his restaurant is, ultimately will be good for his business.
“I completely support them trying to revitalize this area to keep up with the other areas that are doing the same thing,” Arbaiza said.
Chapala, which has been open more than six years, already received a new exterior this summer as part of a county grant. A strip of stores along Md. 198 updated their facades with a county grant that paid for up to half the construction costs.
‘’It was going to hurt us a lot if we didn’t look up to par with the other places,” Arbaiza said.
Northeast of Md. 198, O’Connor proposed a village green to be used for community events with trees and an open field. Behind the village green, O’Connor planned a rural park space.
“This is a really nice bookend to Main Street retail,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor also recommended a retail access road that would loop behind businesses on the east side of Md. 198 to connect the retail centers and surrounding neighborhoods.
Planners have been working on the proposal since December 2010.
The proposal will go before the Planning Board in the spring and the County Council in the summer for adoption.