An application to rezone 62.83 acres of land from the Montgomery County Fairgrounds property has been unanimously approved by Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz and the city council.
The rezoning shifts the property to a Mixed Use Development Zone, allowing for development comprised of residential, commercial, office and public uses, according to city documents.
While still in a preliminary phase, Gaithersburg Community Planning Director Trudy Schwarz said the zoning change allows the city flexibility to work on the Frederick Avenue Corridor in the future.
"I think this will enhance that project as far as making a proposal for this property and corridor property directly adjacent to [Rt. 355]," Schwarz said.
According to a sketch released by the city, part of the northern area of the fairgrounds will focus on non-residential uses, while the middle (South of Cross Street, between McBain Avenue to Front Street) and the southern (between McBain Avenue and Front Street, stretching North past Dalamar Street) areas will focus on residential uses.
Although he did not oppose the application, Councilmember Michael A. Sesma expressed concern over the legacy of the property. Sesma called the property one of the last vestiges of the city's and county's agricultural heritage.
"I guess what's disappointing to me about the request to rezone it is it's a mixed use cookie cutter that has been applied to one of the remaining sites in the county that has the highest potential for very significant activity," Sesma said. "Some of it would maintain the heritage of the [Agricultural Fair] and some would provide other opportunities.
"I guess the biggest problem for me is there's nothing here that really I find exciting or compelling, but there's not a particularly good reason for not granting this [application]."
It was approved Monday evening.