Pulte: Slashing Development Will Cost Clarksburg $13 Million a Year

Pulte Homes recently submitted an analysis to the Montgomery County Planning Board showing the impact of the Planning Board staff recommendation to slash the number of homes allowed at Pulte’s Ten Mile Creek development. According to the study, massively reducing the number of homes allowed at the Ten Mile Creek development would cost local businesses more than $13 million in annual retail spending. The analysis shows local retail spending loses $16,600 for every home not built.

Details of the report provided by Pulte Homes public relations firm, Maier & Warner Public Relations.

The report compiled by respected real estate advisor RCLCO (Robert Charles Lesser & Co.) shows that each household in the Ten Mile Creek development would spend $16,600 annually on retail goods and services in Clarksburg. Once built under current zoning, which allows about 1,000 units on 538 acres with the use of Transfer Development Rights (TDRs), it is anticipated that Ten Mile Creek would pump $16.6 million into Clarksburg’s annual economy.

If adopted, a recommended down zoning of the Pulte land would allow a maximum of 215 units, at 0.4 units per acre. Based on the RCLCO projections, this down zoning would result in a fraction of the potential retail spending at Clarksburg businesses—about $3.5 million annually, or more than $13 million less than the full Pulte plan would bring.

“In a community like Clarksburg that is already desperate for successful retail services, it is hard to reconcile how planning staff justifies this outcome,” said Lewis Birnbaum, president of Pulte’s Mid-Atlantic Division, pointing out that Clarksburg has seen its share of businesses that have tried to make a go of it only to struggle and close. “There’s nothing in the staff report that addresses the realities of lost spending and lost jobs, which are absolutely essential to the vitality of Clarksburg. … And based on what we’ve heard from residents, there is widespread concern about making sure Clarksburg gets the chance it deserves to be the thriving community it was intended to be.”

The County Council last fall directed county planners to undertake a limited review of the approved Master Plan to ensure that development in the final stage of Clarksburg balances environmental concerns with the stated goals of community building.

The RCLCO retail report was submitted to the planning board along with a letter from Pulte attorney Robert R. Harris, of Lerch Early and Brewer, that states, “we are afraid staff and the consultants continue to overlook the fact that the 1994 Master Plan was already a careful balance between community building interests, County housing policies, economic development objectives and environmental protection goals. There is no clear reason to change that balance.”

Related Articles:

Gazette.Net article “Planners suggest big cuts to Pulte housing plan”

Pulte “Highly Disappointed”

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