July, 20, 2009
TO: Royce Hanson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board
FROM: Councilmember Nancy Navarro, District 4
Councilmember Valerie Ervin, District 5
RE: Gaithersburg West Master Plan
The Planning Board and staff are working on the Gaithersburg West Master Plan, and we are aware of the creative thinking going into the proposal for the high density “Science City”. This concept is very exciting for the County. However, as Councilmembers from the eastern side of the County, we have some serious concerns.
As you work through the Gaithersburg West Plan, it is important that you don’t lose site of the vision for a second bio-tech center on Route 29. There has been a long-standing commitment to attract biotech development as well as to address the jobs/housing imbalance in the Route 29 corridor. How to ensure that the potential for employment and development in the Route 29 corridor isn’t negatively impacted by everything that is planned for the “science city” should be part of your discussion.
Just as the location of NIH in Bethesda has been the outstanding asset for the 270 corridor, the relocation of FDA to White Oak should result in a similar enhancement to Route 29 and surrounding areas. That is why it is critical that you keep the Route 29 corridor in mind as you finalize your recommendations for Germantown West. Our residents want reassurance there will also be the ability to attract future bio-science development and the capacity to grow it along the Route 29 corridor.