NEW: LATEST UPDATE (see Site History, #5):
Planners Deceive Community
PHED Committee Ignores Smart Growth (November 5, 2012)
Broad Consensus for Development
Planners Website Misleading
Public Hearing: Burtonsville Crossroads Plan (September 20, 2012)
Planning Board Divided
Planners Fail to Offer a Viable Solution
Landowners' Detailed Report: Burtonsville in Crisis
(submitted to County Council Oct. 2012, see Resources/Reports, #10)
Years of Bad Policy Results in Town's Decline
Burtonsville keeps settling for decline. Pushed by community activists for the past two decades who say they are trying to retain its "suburban" character, Burtonsville is now left with empty store fronts, vacant office buildings, and a line of cars heading North on Route 29 toward Maple Lawn and Columbia. Burtonsville has become little more than a place to get gas and groceries, if that, while customers head North to Maple Lawn and Columbia where they can find high-end restaurants, shopping, and housing.
During the past 20 years, the local politicians and a handful of activists have embraced a no-growth policy. Their anti-development stance has resulted in far too much retail space, with not enough residential housing. In fact, Burtonsville has no residential core. It has empty fields next to commercial and shopping, where housing should stand. The local politicians have lobbied for years against building housing, a public transit system, and even sidewalks. This explains why this town looks so shabby and underdeveloped. Burtonsville looks bad and lacks many of the fundamental elements that define a successful town.
Burtonsville's "no-progress" policy and the realignment of the Route 29 bypass have killed local businesses. Today, the Burtonsville Crossing Shopping Center, which was once a major hub of activity, located at the intersection of Route 29 and Maryland 198, now has a 70% vacancy rate. Many of the other businesses nearby are struggling to survive as well. Instead of attracting new business, the recently-built Burtonsville Town Square shopping center is also struggling and has cannibalized other shopping centers in the area.
The crisis in Burtonsville can only be solved by building residential housing units on the 40-acre tract North of the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center. The sooner, the better. Maple Lawn, just four miles North of Burtonsville off Route 29, has added more than 1,000 new housing units and over one million square feet of commercial space during the past four years. As Burtonsville suffers, nearby Maple Lawn has become the new destination point.
Burtonsville needs new housing to support its commercial infrastructure--quickly to save the town! A proposal has been submitted to the County Planning Board and the County Council to build townhouses next to the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center. However, the County Planners are promoting residential housing on top of the existing Burtonsville Crossing shopping center, which will have to be torn down and rebuilt in order to make this happen. The Burtonsville Crossing Shopping center owners have no plans to tear down the shopping center and build any new housing as the Planners are proposing. Consequently, the Planners have provided no real solution to the on-going crisis in Burtonsville.
The only realistic solution is to allow residential development on the 40 acres next to the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center. There is no legitimate reason for the only large tract in Burtonsville to become another park.