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Phase 1: Build the Townhouses

Part of Fortune Parc receives site plan approval.

The first of two phases for the development of Fortune Parc was granted site plan approval by the Planning Board on Feb. 12.

Fortune Parc is a 58-acre site bounded by Montrose and Seven Locks roads and I-270. The Master Plan calls for a mixed-use development of houses, retail and offices. The development has been split into two parts, calling for 150 townhouses in the first phase. The second phase, including multi-family dwellings and commercial space is expected to come before the Planning Board on Feb. 26.

This first portion of the plan will include 14 Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs or affordable housing), the balance, 61 more MPDUs will be placed in the multi-family development.

The affordable housing will be scattered throughout the development, said Robert Kronenberg of Park and Planning. Many developments place the required affordable housing in one clearly identifiable block. Spreading the affordable housing intermixed in the development is a plus for planners. “We though that was a great contribution to the plan,” he said.

The first part of the development will also include two currently unnamed streets, one exiting onto Seven Locks Road and the other onto Montrose Road.

The houses themselves are designed to look like an urban neighborhood. “It will resemble a CBD [Central Business District] streetscape,” Kronenberg said.

“We’ve really worked hard to create a kind of brownstone architectural style,” said Robert Youngentob, of Eakin-Youngentob, the developers of this portion of the project.

Several residents hoped the developers could help solve a problem with sidewalks in the area, particularly along Seven Locks Road.

Jerry Garson, of the Seven Locks Citizen’s Association, pointed out that the project will add more than 3,000 parking spaces to Potomac, and asked that the developer be required to build a sidewalk along Seven Locks Road from Montrose Road to Goya Road.

“You would permit pedestrians to leave this place,” Garson said.

He noted that there are several religious institutions and the Cabin John Mall nearby, all on the east side of Seven Locks Road – the same side as Fortune Parc. There is currently a sidewalk on the opposite side of the road, forcing pedestrians to cross the road twice in order to access any of the facilities.

Planners could not ask developers to put in sidewalk because there is no room for one on that side of Seven Locks Road.

“The problem is there is no right-of-way, and we can’t solve that problem,” said Barbara Sears, attorney for the developers.

Initially there had been a transit center as part of this phase of development, but the transit center is now set to be put in phase two.

“In two weeks, you will see the location of a transit center,” Sears said.

There are currently ride-on bus routes along Seven Locks and Montrose roads, and it will not take a major adjustment to have a bus go through Fortune Parc. “As soon as the critical mass is there that is necessary to bring it through, it will happen,” Sears said.

While the area is being developed by two different developers, Sears represents both of them, and she was warned that the second plan should include the bus routes. ‘I’m going to be looking for how these people are going to get to the Metro,” said Commissioner Meredith Wellington.