County planners are close to completing rezoning for Glenmont that would allow more commercial and residential development in the 68.41-acre area north of Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road.
“We are encouraging mixed-use development in more areas around the Metro center than currently allowed,” planner coordinator Michael Brown said. The area is about 1½ miles north of the Wheaton-Glenmont Metro station.
No one testified at a Tuesday County Council hearing on the subject.
Council approval will mark the end of a two-year rezoning process. The changes are in the area around Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road, north of where they intersect, and a small parcel west of Georgia Avenue. This includes the Glenmont Shopping Center and areas farther north across of Layhill Road. The small area west of Georgia Avenue will be a lower-density mixed-use zone than the other spaces.
With the exception of the shopping center, most of the lots are currently more geared toward residential use, or are residential-only.
The council has already approved the amendment to the Glenmont Sector Plan Sectional Map and the Planning Board has recommended the council approve the zoning ordinance needed to complete the process.
Neighbors and local business owners have mixed views on whether the new zoning will improve the area, although most appear to be in favor of redevelopment.
“The shopping center definitely needs a facelift,” said Tim Hahn, owner of Sports World, who supports the rezoning. “It’s not pedestrian-friendly.”
Hahn would like to see a large anchor store move in, to attract customers.
“The problem with the shopping center is there are like six different landlords so it’s hard to get all the landlords to agree on what needs to be done as far as improvement is concerned at the shopping center,” Hahn said. Some business owners are skeptical of a large developer moving into the area, he said.
Another landlord, Mike Fisher, a partner at Glenmont Commercial, said all of the business owners in the shopping center are on board with rezoning and redevelopment. Glenmont Commercial owns several storefronts, including Pizza Hut, Subway and a Department of Motor Vehicles office.
Neighbor John Bogasky agrees that the rezoning would allow the area to evolve favorably. Bogasky is a board member of the Strathmore-Bel Pre Civic Association and the Glenmont Exchange — an uumbrella organization that brings together neighborhood associations and business owners.
“I generally favor the rezoning,” he said. “My hope is that it will kind of attract to Glenmont the attractive redevelopment we’ve seen at other metro stations in the county.”
But Vicki Vergagni, president of the board of directors and on-site community manager for Glen Waye Gardens Condominiums is skeptical that rezoning will bring new business. Her worry is that it will only attract new residential development, and with it more traffic.
The council is scheduled to vote on the rezoning next Tuesday.