July 20, 2011
County Council Approves ZTA That
Will Help Preserve Aspin Hill Memorial Park
Unanimous Vote to Regarding Historic Resource Sites
Could Lead Productive Use of Neglected Pet Cemetery
ROCKVILLE, Md., July 19, 2011—The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 11-02 that would enhance the economic viability of historic resources by allowing historic properties to revert to their historic uses. Councilmember Nancy Navarro sponsored the ZTA, which could lead to productive commercial use of the grounds of the Aspin [EDITOR’S NOTE: THAT IS THE CORRECT SPELLING OF THE PARK] Hill Memorial Park, a pet cemetery whose facilities have fallen into neglect.
ZTA 11-02 will increase the land use options for historic buildings by allowing historic uses on the site without regard to the land uses allowed by its current zoning. Vacant historic structures are generally deemed detrimental to the historic resource and to the surrounding community. Without ZTA 11-02, historic structures not in their historic use for more than 6 months use may not be re-established those uses.
ZTA 11-02 addresses the problem the County has encountered of keeping historic properties in productive use. There are approximately 430 individual properties in the Master Plan for Historic Preservation. The situation at the Aspin Hill Memorial Park illustrated the need for the ZTA.
The historic buildings on the grounds of the pet cemetery were once used for offices, educational programs and animal care. The ZTA will now allow possible commercial uses of the property that will lead to money that will help raise the funds necessary to support the property.
The Aspin Hill Memorial Park is now owned and operated by the Montgomery County Humane Society. It is located at 13630 Georgia Ave. Possible uses associated with operation of the cemetery will now be possible, such as uses of offices, kennels for boarding of animals, space for outreach and education for the care and protection of animals, a veterinary clinic or a crematory.
"This ZTA solves a long-standing problem in the Aspen Hill community and will ensure that the hundreds of historic properties in the County can continue to function as assets in their community," said Councilmember Navarro. "I am grateful to the Montgomery County Humane Society for working with the surrounding community and the Aspen Hill Civic Association to resolve this issue."