KENSINGTON — Mayor Tracey Furman and the four-member Town Council have voiced their support for a proposed development near the intersection of Connecticut and Knowles Avenues. The development, Knowles Manor Senior Center, will be an independent-living facility for persons over the age of 62 with over 120 apartments.
At the September monthly meeting of the Mayor and Council, Donald Tucker, principal of Environmental Design Group (EDG), the developing firm, and his son, Michael, an associate with EDG, visited to outline plans for the facility and the steps the firm had taken to address public concerns.
“Affordable housing for seniors down county has been a priority for Montgomery County for many years,” Donald Tucker said. “The challenge has always been finding a location. A good senior community is one that’s convenient to transportation and other facilities such as shopping. [The Knowles Avenue location] has a number of convenient transportation and shopping options for seniors.”
Tucker said the firm had reduced the size of the project by 24 percent in response to concerns expressed by Kensington’s Development Review Board about the height of the development.
“This is a stretch for us, but it’s a stretch we’re willing to make with the active support of Kensington,” Tucker said.
“We can’t build more parking – there’s just no room – so we’re showing the same parking proposal that we showed in August, with 62 spots,” said Michael Tucker. “Having less units makes it easier to have a one-to-two parking ratio. We’re open to additional traffic mitigation. We’re also interested in operating a rideshare van, which we could purchase. We’re prepared, as much as possible, to implement traffic restrictions, should that be what the community wants. A restriction on left turn in and left turn out is something that we’re prepared to do.”
Tucker said that the firm would be willing to facilitate residents’ use of Ride On buses, which stop near the proposed development site.
Furman and the Council voiced their support for the project and the proposed changes.
“This project has been a challenge for us, not because of its use, but because of the property’s location,” Furman said. “The intersection of Knowles and Connecticut has been on the County and State’s ‘failed’ list for many years and the one solution that’s been offered is the Summit Avenue extension. The planning board supports the project, but we must continue to lobby the County Council to keep the project funded in the CIP. The Kensington Manor Apartments will have lower trips than an unrestricted-age apartment, so we welcome them to the neighborhood. With the developers’ willingness to lower the building to under 60 feet as outlined in our sector plan, this makes the project more appealing to us and the surrounding community.”
More information on the Kensington Manor project may be found at: https://tok.md.gov/redevelopment.