Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Pringle v. Montgomery County Planning Board M-NCPPC

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

June 27, 2013

GREGORY PRINGLE
v.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY PLANNING BOARD M-NCPPC

Eyler, Deborah S. Matricciani, Kenney, James A., III (Retired, Specially Assigned) JJ.

OPINION

KENNEY, J.

Appellant, Gregory Pringle, appeals the order of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County affirming the adoption of Resolutions 10-156 (Preliminary Plan Amendment) and 10-157 (Site Plan) by the Montgomery County Planning Board ("the Planning Board"), which relate to a development project known as "The Shops at Seneca Meadows."[1] Mr. Pringle presents one question for our review:

Whether substantial evidence supported the [Planning] Board's finding that its approval of the resolutions complied with the Sector Plan, despite the lack of active store fronts with multiple entrances and smaller retail uses facing Seneca Meadows Parkway and Observation Drive[?]

For the reasons that follow, we shall affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are not in dispute. On September 22, 2009, the Montgomery County Council approved the "Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan" ("the Sector Plan"), which the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission ("the Planning Commission") adopted on October 15, 2009.[2] The Sector Plan is "a comprehensive amendment to the approved and adopted 1989 Germantown Master Plan" that "establishes a vision that will transform Germantown's central employment corridor into a vibrant town center and mixed-use uptown districts." Under the "areawide recommendations" of the Sector Plan, which apply to the "roughly 2, 400-acre area in the employment and Town Center areas of Germantown, " are several "principles" which "[t]he design guidelines to implement this Sector Plan and all development must address."[3]

The Sector Plan's recommendations for the "Seneca Meadows/Milestone District" – a 390-acre area bordered by Ridge Road/MD 27 to the north, Germantown Road/MD 118 to the south, I-270 to the west, and North Frederick Road/MD 355 to the east and includes the area at issue in this case – state: (1) "Concentrate a limited amount of street level retail near the transit station. Big box retailers, [4] if proposed, should have active storefronts with multiple entrances and small retail uses facing Seneca Meadows Parkway and Observation Drive";[5] and (2) "Street level retail must conform to the plan's urban design guidance." (Emphasis added).

On May 18, 2010, the Montgomery County Council approved Sectional Map Amendment G-887, which implemented the zoning recommendations contained in the Sector Plan. More specifically, the Sectional Map Amendment rezoned land located in the Seneca Meadows/Milestone District from an I-3 zone (Technology and Business Park zone) to a TMX-2 zone (Transit Mixed Use zone).[6] The Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance (§ 59-C-14.213 of the Montgomery County Code) states that "[d]evelopment under the TMX zone must be consistent with the recommendations of the applicable master or sector plan." (Emphasis added).[7]

On June 30, 2010, Seneca Meadows Corporate Center VII, LLP filed an application for approval of Site Plan No. 820100140. On July 16, 2010, Minkoff Development Corporation filed an application for approval of Preliminary Plan Amendment 11998004A.[8] As described by the Planning Board, the Site Plan was for the

construction of a 150, 000 SF grocery store, [9] 28, 570 SF of general office, 4, 300 SF of professional office, and 56, 570 SF of retail/ restaurant uses . . . on 21.0 acres in the TMX-2 zoned land, located in the northwest quadrant of the intersection of Seneca Meadows Parkway and Observation Drive . . . within the [Sector Plan], and the purpose of the Preliminary Plan Amendment was to create two lots (Lots 11 and 12) and two recorded parcels for future dedication (Parcels K and L) approximately 21 acres, 4.4 acres, 1 acre, and 1.9 acres, respectively, in the TMX-2 Zone; located in the southwest quadrant of the intersection of Seneca Meadows Parkway and Observation Drive . . . within the [Sector Plan].

According to Mr. Pringle, the two applications "are related and dependent on one another since [the] preliminary plan creates lots at the site while [the] site plan identifies the types of buildings on these lots." On October 24, 2010, the Montgomery County Planning Department ("the Planning Department") recommended approval by the Planning Board of both applications, subject to certain conditions.[10]

On November 2, 2010, Mr. Pringle submitted written comments urging "the [Planning] Board to disapprove the Preliminary Plan Amendment and Site Plan for the Seneca Meadows property" because they are not "in conformance" with the Sector Plan. More specifically, he asserted that:

"This big-box 'destination' shopping center proposed by the Site Plan directly contradicts the basic purpose and goals of the Sector Plan";
"The Site Plan undermines the Sector Plan's vision for a transit-oriented community centered around the future [transit] ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.