Town center park, Waters Road retail approved
July 6, 2005
Jacqueline Mah
Staff Writer

The county Planning Board, minus its chairman, unanimously approved plans Thursday for additional office and retail space near Germantown Plaza and an urban-style park in the Germantown Town Center.

The board approved a seven-year, three-phase plan to build the Town Center park on a 2.4-acre area north of the new Germantown library, near Pinnacle Drive.

Planners changed the park's category from local to urban, reflecting the park's abundance of "passive recreation," including walkways, seating areas and overlooks, planner Sue Edwards said.

The park may include an "interpretive" area built around an existing wetland. The interpretive area would include an overlook and posted information about the small ecosystem, Edwards said.

In addition, the park will boast two ornamental ponds, boardwalks, lighting and connections to the library parking lot, according to the staff report.

Construction will not begin until the third or fourth year of the first phase, which will cost nearly $5.4 million. The total project is expected to cost $8.5 million, according to the report.

The funding for the park has not been earmarked yet, but planners hope to include it in the "early part" of the next six-year capital improvements planning cycle, Edwards said.

The board approved the overall plan with one small caveat. Planners will continue talks with the Department of Permitting Services and Department of Environmental Planning officials about moving one or two storm water management facilities underground, Edwards said. One or both of the facilities will be relocated in order to create more open space for the park, she said.

However, permitting officials had previously approved a storm water concept plan, which was included in the recommendations accepted by the board Thursday, she said.

Waters Road shopping center

The board also approved Germantown Plaza owner Rahim Tofigh's plans to develop a currently vacant .86-acre plot of land at the intersection of Wisteria Drive and Waters Road, just northeast of the Plaza.

The preliminary plan limits the development to 5,330 square feet of retail and 5,330 square feet of office space, according to the staff report.

The two-story building will have three retail spaces on the first floor and between one and five offices on the second, Tofigh said.

The new Waters Road shopping center will not be connected to the Plaza and is owned by a different company, which Tofigh also owns.

Architects are currently working on the building's design, and construction should begin this fall, he said. Tofigh said he purchased the property in 2003.

Tofigh is looking for tenants and does not currently have any ideas about what types of stores or offices.