The SSARPC supports development in the Sandy Spring-Ashton area as it conforms to the Master Plan. We are pro-Master Plan, not anti-development.
SSARPC CONSISTS OF PEOPLE who live in the Sandy Spring-Ashton area and who want to see the area remain rural. The Sandy Spring-Ashton Master Plan supports this rural concept and is our guide in assuring that this character is maintained. The Committee brings together people from different professions, including an architect, a landscape architect, educators, civic leaders and people with technical expertise. Most of all, the members are energetically dedicated to ensuring that future developments recognize the need to remain rural and conform to the Master Plan.
The Committee hired some experts residing outside the area to provide education and support for their efforts. These included a land use lawyer and a town planner, both who provided their services at greatly reduced rates. However, we still need to use a large portion of the donations we receive to pay these professionals.
One of the major goals of SSARPC is to keep the community informed and educated about development in the area. This has been accomplished through electronic mailings, town meetings and informal discussion groups. We encourage community members to voice their opinions to the Montgomery County Planning Board, the developers, and within the community, so that the community's opinions and ideas will be heard by those making decisions.
We need you to stand with us against over-development in Ashton!
While our experts have provided services at reduced rates, we still need your donations to cover costs. You can help us win this fight . . . in fact we won't be able to do it without you! If you have comments or suggestions, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning Staff is Proposing a Massive Construction Increase
At the Southeast Corner of the Ashton Crossroads
Representatives of the Montgomery County Planning Department have recommended that zoning at the Ashton crossroads be changed to permit a massive increase in the amount of building allowed. Under the proposal, more than 150 dwelling units could be constructed on the Southeast Corner (the corner where the Ashton branch of the Sandy Spring Bank is located). A representative of the developer asked for even more latitude to build more apartments and commercial space, and asked that the height limit be set at a level that would permit five-story buildings at the site. This would grant the developer the flexibility to build as many as 240 new homes! Representatives of the community and the SSARPC proposed much more moderate development, to protect Ashton’s rural town atmosphere.
We don't have much time! The Planning Board has recently finished their draft proposal. WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT in order to prevent a building project choked with stacked flats and dense townhouses like these pictured here.
URGENT! - YOUR IMMEDIATE INPUT IS REQUIRED
The developer of the undeveloped corner of Ashton (the Southeast Corner, behind the Sandy Spring Bank branch) wants to build apartment buildings there that look like these:
The Montgomery County Planning Board recently scheduled a meeting on Thursday, December 3 (a week after Thanksgiving), to consider the developer’s request to alter zoning so that the developer can build apartment buildings and commercial space like the above photo, which were taken in downtown Rockville.
The Montgomery County Planning Staff recommended zoning that would keep the buildings smaller, but still allow as many as 152 units on the eight acres of the site. The developer is pressing for even higher limits on building height and density! We ask that all residents in the area send emails immediately to the members of the Planning Board insisting that they not permit development beyond what the planning staff has recommended. Specifically,
please send an email to: with a cc to the lead planner, Jamey Pratt: , making the following points:
1. We want Ashton to remain a rural village.
2. Buildings in Ashton should be no larger than 40 feet in height. (The developer wants 45 feet to be the limit, and these heights are measured to the midpoint of the roofline, with most of the roof above that level.)
3. The density of buildings on the Southeast corner should be no more than a Floor Area Ratio of 0.5. (That is about the same density as Thomas Village in Sandy Spring. The developer has requested a F.A.R. of 0.75).
4. The length of buildings should be limited to 80 feet for residential and commercial buildings along Route 108 and New Hampshire Avenue. (The developer has asked for 90 feet for residential and 120 feet for commercial, an increase of 50%).
NOTE: If emails are received by the end of the day Tuesday, November 24, 2020, they will be placed in the Board meeting packet. If you can’t send them before then, please make sure they are delivered to the email addresses above by Tuesday, December 1, so the Board members will be aware of community opposition to the overdevelopment of Ashton.
AUGUST 11 — Regarding the Ashton Village Sector Plan Working Draft, the SSARPC continues to be concerned with the proposed density, the proposed height of 40 feet (as opposed to the current 35 feet), the potential for excessive massing and incompatibility with the surrounding area in the southeast quadrant of Rt 108/650. The Planning Staff recommendations to keep the overlay zone and include an Advisory Committee are important. We believe it is essential to keep an overlay zone as it can ensure better alignment to a rural town center and provide more “teeth” to the design reviews of any development in the future. This, in concert with an Advisory Committee, would allow a more detailed review of plans prior to finalization with the Planning Board. In our past experience, master plan design guidelines are nice in concept, but alone have not been sufficient to influence what gets built in the Sandy Spring/Ashton area. Many questions remain as to how enforceable the proposed design guidelines will be in the future without these additional tools.
We encourage others in the community to review the draft here and share their thoughts with the Planning Staff and with the SSARPC.
JULY 23 — Planning Staff presented the Working Draft to the Planning Board, which approved the draft as the Public Hearing Draft and set a public hearing date of September 17, 2020.
IT'S HARD TO FIGHT CITY HALL Among many other things, it takes time, persistence and money. Chances are, in the months ahead, our organization will need to hire a lawyer to wrestle with all the details. Pictured below are two possibilities already on the drawing board just waiting for the go-ahead from the Planning Board. The real problem here is that while SOME of the elements of the design are attractive—and we ARE in favor of many of them—we have yet to see what the developer has in mind. His lawyer is requesting a .75 FAR (Floor Area Ratio) which could mean as many as 240 dwelling units! . . . accompanied by a rough estimate of 500 more cars on roads already choked with traffic . . . just from this one site!
IF WE DO NOTHING, COMPLAINING WILL BE ALL WE HAVE LEFT!
Here are two proposals that the Planning Staff came up with. The farthest one has a FAR of .44 which allows for 67 homes. The closer one has a FAR of .50 which would allow for 159 homes. If the developer gets a .75 FAR, he could potentially build 240 new homes.
For any inquiries, questions or suggestions, please email us at:
Donate by Check
If PayPal is not your thing, feel free to send us a check :
Make checks payable to: SSARPC
c/o Elizabeth Thornton
Ashton, MD 20861