Pulte “Highly Disappointed”
Pulte Homes is “highly disappointed” with the recommendations made by Montgomery County planning staff that drastically impact development plans for the Ten Mile Creek community in Clarksburg.
The July 18 report on the Clarksburg Limited Master Plan for the Ten Mile Creek Watershed recommends downgrading the current zoning on 538 acres of Pulte land, which sits in a receiving zone for Transfer Development Rights (TDR)—to the Rural Neighborhood Cluster (RNC) zone that allows 0.4 units per acre. The current zoning is RE-1/TDR that allows 2 units per acre with TDRs.
With TDR credits, Ten Mile Creek was planned for about 1,000 homes. The staff recommendation would allow 215 homes, and would require Pulte to maintain about 80 percent of its land as open space. Pulte’s submitted plans for Ten Mile Creek called for about 50 percent of the land to be forest and open space.
“We are highly disappointed,” said Lewis Birnbaum, president of Pulte’s Mid-Atlantic Division. “We’re still reviewing the report, but we certainly have some problems with the planning staff’s conclusions.”
The report cites the need to protect the Ten Mile Creek Watershed as a primary goal.
In a statement released by Pulte: plans for Ten Mile Creek are described as an eco-development that includes more than 600 state-of-the-art Environmental Site Design (ESD) features. Pulte officials describe these as small-scale landscape and site design treatments that slow the absorption of stormwater runoff, allowing pollutants to be filtered and trapped. According to the statement, about 70 ESD features were used in the construction of the 18-mile InterCounty Connector.
The report staff acknowledges ESD as state-of-the-art but suggest it is unproven.
“That’s simply not the case. The science and engineering is well established,” says Marcus Quigley, a principal and civil and environmental engineer with Geosyntec, a consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address complex problems involving the environment, natural resources and civil infrastructure.
Quigley is providing third-party review of the county’s findings.
You can read more about the Ten Mile Creek planning process by visiting the planning board’s website at http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/plan_areas/I270_corridor/clarksburg/clarksburg_lim_amendment.shtm