Burtonsville McDonalds plans to redevelop

The renovations of the Burtonsville McDonald’s are finally moving forward again, after years of delays. The Planning Board is holding a public hearing on this project on July 20.

Proposed Site Plan for Burtonsville McDonalds Redevelopment
Proposed Site Landscaping Plan for Burtonsville McDonalds Redevelopment. Image from montgomeryplanning.org

The redevelopment plan proposes re-configuring the property so the building is centered on the property. It also includes reducing the dining area by 28% and the number of seats from 78 to 66.

The new site plan proposes to eliminate the outdoor seating and playground that currently exist on the front of the property.

Update: Planning Department staff suggested that McDonald’s corporate is phasing out playgrounds nationwide due to liability concerns. The outdoor seating is being removed because the existing one is underutilized and “attracts undesirables”. Meanwhile, Burtonsville’s most popular and successful restaurants (Seibel’s, Cuba de Ayer, Greene Turtle, Rita’s, and Squisito’s) either already have or are installing outdoor seating.

Photo of existing outdoor seating at Burtonsville McDonalds.
Perhaps the reason the existing outdoor seating is underused is because it’s not visually attractive or particularly well designed? Image from Google Earth.

If you would like to see outdoor seating, a playground, or anything else for that matter, they should submit comment to the Planning Board (see “What can you do to get involved?” at the bottom of this post).

Aerial view of existing conditions at the Burtonsville McDonalds
Aerial view of existing conditions at the Burtonsville McDonalds. Image from Google Earth.

The number of parking spaces would also be reduced, from ~70 to 31, and reconfiguring the parking to be on both sides of the building. The new drive-thru will have a shorter queue but will have two ordering kiosks. The new plan also includes three bicycle parking spaces.

Finally, the new plan incorporates many elements that have been recommended by the community and the Coalition to Fix MD 198, such as sidewalks, street trees, and public space (albeit no outdoor dining area).

Most importantly, the site plan is designed to be compatible with a future rear entrance and inter-parcel connection so that vehicles can access the property from a proposed traffic signal at the entrance to the Burtonsville Town Square Shopping Center, as shown below. This reconfiguration is strongly supported by the community and is being evaluated by the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Sketch of MD 198 with traffic light at intersection of Burtonsville Town Square entrance.
Illustration of potential intersection improvement at Burtonsville Town Square. Image by author.

Unfortunately, the location of the future rear entrance conflicts with a forest conservation easement and dumpster loading area, so it appears that the site plan would have to be revised for the rear entrance to work. Hopefully the Planning Department can rectify this error.

Update: Planning Department staff suggested that the forest conservation easement could be adjusted in the future to accommodate the rear entrance through a site plan amendment.

Annotated site plan showing location of future rear entrance (red) on top of forest conservation easement (green).
Annotated site plan showing location of future rear entrance (red) on top of forest conservation easement (green). Image from Montgomery County Planning Department and modified by author.

More information about the proposal is available in the Planning Department’s staff report (excerpt below).

“The McDonald’s Site Plan meets many of the Neighborhood Plan’s Main Street MD 198 Neighborhood recommendations and desired improvement. The Applicant is constructing the Master Planed 10-foot-wide shared use path connection along the frontage of the Property, the first segment of path to be constructed along MD 198 in the Neighborhood Area.

“The Site Plan also includes an entrance feature that improves the pedestrian realm and gives this section of main street character. The improvements include a lead in walkway, directly in front of the restaurant that is framed by a pair of benches and landscaping. The seating area is also flanked on either side by brick knee walls that define the pedestrian connection to the Property (Fig. 4). The streetscape, entrance feature, and new building will significantly improve the existing site and clearance of the commercial area.”

Planning Department Staff Report
Burtonsvile McDonalds: Site Plan No. 820150020
available at montgomeryplanningboard.org

What can you do to get involved?

  • Submit written comments to Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson at MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org
  • Attend the Public Hearing on July 20, 2017 at the Planning Board 8787 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910. The Burtonsville McDonalds will be reviewed sometime between 1:15 pm and 5:30 pm, according to the agenda.
  • Testify at the public hearing! To sign up to testify, visit montgomeryplanningboard.org/meetings/signup-to-testify/

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