East Village residents outlined their concerns over the possible construction of warehouses at the former Nike Missile site off Snouffer School Road at a public meeting Tuesday.
The 13.7 acre site in Montgomery Village, once a missile launch site during the Cold War, is owned by the Michael and Mark Miller, who are planning to sell the property to Robert Borris who plans to construct three warehouses totaling 200,000 square feet on the property.
Borris did not reply to requests for comment.
Residents’ main concern about the construction is the increased traffic the warehouses will bring to the community, according to Terry O’Grady, an East Village resident and member of the MidCounty Citizen’s Alliance.
“We are very passionate about this,” she said. The community expressed concern after the presentation estimated that 300 cars and trucks would come in and out of the warehouses a day.
O’Grady said that the community’s roads are congested enough as it is. The community was also concerned that the warehouses would be only 100 feet from residential property, which could create noise and light pollution from passing trucks.
According to Michael Miller, an 8-foot stone wall is being considered to reduce the noise. “These are going to be high-end warehouses. They don’t export heavy traffic,” Miller said. He added that the warehouses are relatively small compared to traditional ones; trees may be used as buffers for the community as well.
The Miller brothers and Borris are planning to take the issue to the Montgomery County Planning Board within the next six months.
A Lowe’s was originally going to be built on the property but plans stopped after negotiations fell through, Miller said.
A second presentation on the development is slated for August 7 in front of the Montgomery Village Transportation, Development and Public Facilities Committee.
“We want to take time to digest what [East Village residents] said and decide what accommodations we are willing to make,” Miller said.
The Nike Missile site was used during the Cold War to protect Washington D.C. from Soviet attacks. After its closure, it became a hangout for teenagers until the Millers welded shut the doors to the underground lair in June 2011.
“We welded those doors pretty tight,” Miller said.
The Miller brothers started negotiations for the Nike Missile site in 2004 and finally purchased it in 2010.
According to O’Grady, the soil at the missile site had not been cleared for residential development though it has been deemed acceptable for commercial use. Miller said the soil had been tested, however he didn’t know when the testing was done.
“God knows what’s in that soil. We want to know what is in the soil and when the last time they tested it was,” O’Grady said.
The MidCounty Citizen’s Alliance and East Village residents are planning a site walk-through to assess problems areas around the perimeter to bring to the attention of the developer.
“[The development] doesn’t sound very healthy for the community living here,” O’Grady said.