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White Oak master plan in Maryland delayed

The Montgomery County Council voted to extend a deadline from July 17 to Sept. 15 to complete a master plan for White Oak. After the Sept. 15 deadline passes, there will be a blackout period related to land use issues starting on Nov. 1 until a new council takes over on Dec. 1. In addition to the master plan for White Oak, a sectional map amendment must also be created.

Although there are several weeks between the Sept. 15 deadline and the Nov. 1 blackout period, time must be allotted for public comments as well as to vote on and approve both the master plan and the sectional map amendment. Although some council members are annoyed that the approval process has taken so long, there are those who believe that there is enough time to complete the process. However, others say that the council is rushing a proposal through without proper traffic studies or a consideration for the long-term development of the area.

When the new council takes office, it will have up to 180 days to review decisions made by the previous council and can then extend that deadline by 60 days. Planners have proposed a mixed-use zone with housing units, office buildings and restaurants being placed on land along U.S. Route 29 and the Hillandale Shopping Center near the Beltway and New Hampshire Avenue.

When a new development project is considered on public land, there may be many issues that have to be considered. The impact of traffic in the area being developed, the long-term impact on the community and ensuring that questions regarded zoning are answered all merit study. This is because high levels of traffic or an improperly zoned area could reduce property values in the new development and in surrounding areas.

Source: Gazette.net, "Deadline to complete White Oak master plan extended", Kate S. Alexander, July 09, 2014

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