Montpelier Hills News

Town House Plan Agreed June 15, 2006 - Update

From: MH HOA & Rec Boards
Dear Montpelier Hills (MH) Homeowners:

So much as happened in the last few days. Not the least of which is the terrific response we received from all of you on the recent petition about the issues that had not been resolved with Berman Enterprises on the 211 townhouse (TH) plan.

Your Homeowners Association (HOA) and Recreation Association (Rec) Boards are grateful for your guidance and support throughout this process. You kept us energized, reminded us of why we’re doing this, and provided the back up we needed to resolve the remaining issues with Berman Enterprises.

That’s right – we reached an agreement on the 211 TH plan.

The PG Planning Board approved the plan with conditions.

Here’s how the remaining issues were resolved:

1) Amenities:

Berman Enterprises’amenity package now includes:

  • The amenities shown on the Specific Design Plan (SDP) plan include: picnic tables/areas, connecting walking trails, benches/sitting areas, tot lots, a child-size basketball court in one court, and trash cans. On the MH Rec land, a multi-purpose court, picnic shelter with sitting area, playground, and parking. These amenities are valued at $325,000.
  • $400,000 that will be paid on a fixed schedule into an escrow account to serve as seed money for a recreational capital improvement to Montpelier Elementary School (e.g., sports building or gymnasium). MH residents would be able to sign up to use this space for their own use. The MH HOA and Rec Boards have approval of the project design or the funds won’t be released to the county. If the county does not appropriate the rest of the funds needed for this project in two years or construction has not begun on the project within four
    years, the money will return to MH for a recreational benefit approved
    by both Boards in consultation with the community. These additional monies were obtained without having to add more THs.

  • Over $60,000 to reimburse the community for current and future legal fees associated with this second and final phase of MH development.

2) Inclusion of Parcel J - MH Rec Land - in the SDP:

The Rec Board has granted permission to include Parcel J in the SDP so the amenities on that
parcel can be completed. Berman Enterprises will not encumber the property with a tree conservation easement.

3) Sidewalks:

Sidewalks will be provided throughout the new TH courts.

4) Landscaping-Offsite Mitigation:

Berman Enterprises will add trees on land owned by the HOA in Courts 1 and 6 to make the buffers denser between the phase one and [phase] two developments in these courts. The SDP contains information on the retaining walls which will include anti-graffiti coating.

5) Community Consistency in Phases One and Two:

The County Staff recommendations and resolution from the County Planning Board contain conditions to assure that the aesthetics, quality and value of the community be maintained as a whole. Signage, entry walls, building materials, architecture style, and other features will create a consistent and cohesive aesthetic between the phases.

Look at how far we’ve come.

Berman Enterprises’ original plan over a year and a half ago had 267 townhouses that were
20 feet wide in a tight layout with many back to back, more pavement than green space and wooded areas, and no specific amenities. We now have a 211 TH plan of 24-foot wide THs that preserves green space and buffers, addresses parking with two-car garages and guest parking, creates a community witha consistent layout and features between the phases, provides repayment of attorneys fees, and includes over $725,000 in recreational amenities and potential capital improvements to Montpelier Elementary School.

NEXT STEPS – We still have several things to do.

  • Berman Enterprises still needs to prove that their underground stormwater management plan is feasible. Before grading for this system, they need to enter into a Joint Multi-use Stormwater Management System Maintenance Agreement with the county Department of Public Works and Transportation and the MD National Capital Park & Planning Commission (MNCPPC) Department of Parks and Recreation for the construction, operation and maintenance of that underground system. We plan to meet with Department of Environmental Resources to review the detail design plans when they are ready, as well as review the draft maintenance agreement.
  • We will need to work with Councilman Dernoga and other county and school officials to develop plans and appropriate funds for the recreational capital improvement to
    Montpelier Elementary School.
  • We will need to monitor the construction plans to ensure the building adheres to the SDP. The MH Boards and MHIWG will monitor everything the Bermans do in this community to ensure compliance with approved plans until this second and final phase of our community is
    built. Further, we have recourse if it is clear the Bermans and their builders try to deviate
    from the approved plans.

Your help is still needed.

We need MH residents to join the MHIWG to help us carry out these next steps.

Again, we thank you for your support; you make us proud to represent MH.


Judy Gretsch, Montpelier Hills HoA Secretary