- Q. What is the vision for the project?
- Q. Why is the project beneficial to Worman’s Mill?
- Q. How would this project meet the needs of current residents?
- Q. Will this project change Worman’s Mill?
- Q. What are the key components to making the project successful?
- Q. How are you suggesting to change the retail from the current approved 2008 plan?
- Q. How do you know that you are going to achieve the vision that you have presented to the community?
- Q. Will the project be designed to provide appropriate trash removal, safety, emergency vehicles and snow removal?
- Q. What is a “lifelong community”?
- Q. Will the proposed mixed-use apartment and retail components of the project lower the value of my home?
Q. What is the vision for the project?
A. The Worman’s Mill Village Center is designed to be a resort-style mixed-use development complementing the core of the Worman’s Mill Planned Neighborhood Development. The project includes a small retail venue that is primarily serving the immediate residents within the surrounding walkable community. The multi-family residential component of the project provides the main customer base for the retail shops and dining, and is therefore an essential component to making the retail successful. The Center embraces the ideas of wellness and caregiving both within the Village Center residences and assisted living facility as well as making them available to anyone within Worman’s Mill as needed. The goal of the project is to meet the needs of Worman’s Mill residents while ensuring the success of the retail project component.
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Q. Why is the project beneficial to Worman’s Mill?
A. The Village Center project is specifically designed to address the needs of people similar to those who currently live in Worman’s Mill. The inspiration for the current design has been initiated as a result of resident comments from the former Final Site Plan approval process in 2008 and 2009. The types of residential units, the retail type and reduced scale, as well as the assisted living facility are all designed for Worman’s Mill residents or others who will enjoy the Worman’s Mill lifestyle.
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Q. How would this project meet the needs of current residents?
A. This project is the fulfillment of a vision conceived back in 1986. It’s the vision of a vibrant retail core of Worman’s Mill: A place where residents can walk their dog on the way to get a morning cup of coffee with a friend; A place where neighbors can rendezvous for dinner; A place for regular services such as hair salons or ready-made food.
It is also a place where assistance is available to those who might have particular needs related to health and wellness. An in-home care specialist is planned to be located in the project who can provide assistance throughout Worman’s Mill to folks who have in-home care needs such as assistance with driving, shopping, bathing, medications, or post-hospital recovery. Nursing care would be made available both through in-home care nurses and through a separate assisted living facility. Ultimately, the goal of the Village Center is to provide the living, shopping, dining and health needs necessary to allow folks to comfortably and securely age within their familiar home setting of Worman’s Mill and never feel the need to go somewhere else just because of health concerns. Fulfilling this need would make Worman’s Mill a true Lifelong Community.
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Q. Will this project change Worman’s Mill?
A. From 1986, Worman’s Mill has been approved for a core mixed-use residential and retail area. The approved 1986 Concept Plan approval called for a residential density of 22.4 du/acre (versus the proposed 15.4 du/acre on the 11-acre area) including roads. In the 1986 Concept Plan, the retail consisted of 125,000 sf of area (versus the proposed 27,118 sf of area) and included buildings up to four stories and up to 60 feet tall. Since 1986, there have been adjustments and modifications, but the approved uses within this Village Center area have only decreased in intensity from the original vision. Even though the maximum allowable height of 60 feet has been approved since the 1980s, the project height has been reduced to a maximum of three stories. Accordingly, the elevations have been scaled to be fitting with the surrounding buildings. As can be seen from the rendering, the building is in scale with the remainder of the community. Since the residential units average 950 sf which is almost half of the size of condominiums (1650 sf average), the building massing fits seamlessly into the available area. Also, the Village Center residential has an average of 1.5 bedrooms per home versus 2.5 bedrooms for Worman’s Mill condominiums. With the Village Center completed, the Gazebo Park will be funded through the project and still be fully available to all Worman’s Mill residents.
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Q. What are the key components to making the project successful?
A. Since the project is designed only for internal neighborhood customers, it has been carefully crafted to achieve a balance between the amount of residential and retail to make it economically viable.
1. Worman’s Mill Resident Targeted – Since the average age in Worman’s Mill is over 60 years old, the commons area and residences have been designed to be sensitive to the needs of this demographic.
2. Neighborhood Resort-Style Retail – The shops and eating venues are envisioned to be quaint and small similar to a resort area. Due to the removal of signage on Monocacy Boulevard in the 2008 approval, the retail must cater well to the internal residents and be sized accordingly. The number of residential units in the Village Center (Four buildings: 51, 51, 35, and 34 units, respectively) is essential to ensure that the retail component of the project has dedicated customers over the coming years.
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Q. How are you suggesting to change the retail from the current approved 2008 plan?
A. This proposed plan was developed based upon accommodating objections that had been raised during the approvals process in 2008. The proposed 2011 plan addresses the former objections as follows:
1. Size of Retail: The 2008 plan had 65,000 sf of retail. The developer and its retail advisors believe that this amount of retail will require customers to come from outside of the community. Since the City deleted the sign from Monocacy Boulevard during the 2008 approvals, the center is challenged to bring in outside customers as currently approved. Coincidentally, the nature of the current plan will then rely primarily on the support and expenditures from the community residents. The 2011 plan reduces the retail to approximately 27,200 sf which is a sustainable interior size per retail expert advisors.
2. Location of Retail: In the 2008 plan, the retail is one-sided with the park on the other side. Retail experts repeatedly state that two-sided retail is much more vibrant for the customers and creates a more successful and appealing retail experience.
3. Target Market: Both the 2008 plan and the 2011 plan are geared to a luxury market since they have elevators and secured access with convenient access to retail. Also, both plans were intended to be for the types of folks who live in Worman’s Mill. Such features plus the numerous amenities and optional services create a project that meets the needs of professionals and seniors.
4. Addition of Health and Wellness Services: The 2008 plan did not provide any health and personal care services; whereas, the 2011 plan plans to include an in-home care provider service as part of the available retail services. By giving inhome care service providers access to the facility, residents can feel confident that they can age in-place without feeling the need to move to a continuing care retirement community. In addition, by locating an assisted living facility in the Village Center, more acute needs can be met within Worman’s Mill for a spouse or family member.
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Q. How do you know that you are going to achieve the vision that you have presented to the community?
A. Worman’s Mill has become a beautiful community of folks that like the “Lock up and Go” lifestyle. Since the Conservancy maintains the exterior yards and provides snow removal services, the community has attracted residents who enjoy the well-maintained environment. In addition, more than half of the homes in Worman’s Mill have first floor master bedrooms thereby attracting many residents over 60 years old. By creating the appropriate products and services, the Village Center will naturally appeal to the spectrum of ages already in Worman’s Mill. Since there are elevators, a Gazebo Park, a secure access and luxury appointments, the units will cost about $150 to $300 more per month in comparison to garden apartments elsewhere in order to cover the expenses of such luxury amenities. With such aforesaid distinguishing features, the proximity within Worman’s Mill, universal design elements in the units and an adjacent assisted living facility, the Village Center will fit seamlessly into the Worman’s Mill demographic and culture.
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Q. Will the project be designed to provide appropriate trash removal, safety, emergency vehicles and snow removal?
A. Yes. The turning movements throughout the parking lot have been designed to address the City life safety and municipal requirements.
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Q. What is a “lifelong community”?
A. A community designed to provide housing types and services for all ages from birth to end of life. Worman’s Mill from the beginning has been celebrated as an excellent example of intergenerational living and has been studied from as far away as Japan for this specific aspect of excellent community planning for folks of all ages.
“Ninety percent of respondents believe that communities that support the whole life cycle (children, single adults, parents, and elderly) are more vibrant.”
American Planning Association
Planning for Family Friendly Communities
By Evelyn Israel and Mildred Warner
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Q. Will the proposed mixed-use apartment and retail components of the project lower the value of my home?
A. According to professionals, the Worman’s Mill Village Center benefits from value creation due to its design as a New Urbanism traditional neighborhood development along with the core apartment density.
Researchers from Virginia Tech University concluded in 2003 that over the long run, well-placed market rate apartments with attractive design and landscaping actually increases the overall value of detached houses within the nearby area. (Reference: “Price Effects of Apartments on Nearby Single-Family Detached Residential Homes” 2003. by Arthur C. Nelson and Mitch Moody. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech University.)
Even the Sierra Club in conjunction with Urban Land Institute, American Institute of Architects and the National Multi-Family Housing Council stated in 2005. “No discernable difference exists in the appreciation rate of properties located near higher-density developments and those that are not. Some research even shows that higher-density development can increase property values.”
Mark J. Eppli and Charles C. Tu, in Valuing the New Urbanism. (Urban Land Institute, 1999) showed that properties in Kentlands were shown to be selling for $30,000 to $40,000 more, on average, than homes in the surrounding suburbs.
Note: The FAQs above are based upon the most recent stage of Worman’s Mill Village Center plan revisions after the first August 10, 2011 submission to the City by Piedmont Design Group, LLC, representative and agent for the Village Center One, LLC. Several of the changes from the original 2011 submission are results of the Worman’s Mill Resident Advisory Committee and other discussions with residents. This site was last updated on November 22, 2011.