Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ April 2002

The Proposed KFC Restaurant and the Vision Behind the Four Corners Master Plan

By Jim Zepp

The Master Plan adopted by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) in 1996 set out a vision for the Four Corners area that emphasized preservation of the community’s physical and social structures.  Except for a few very small sites, the land in the Four Corners area is already built upon or set aside for public open space or recreational uses.  The local housing is in good condition and among the most affordable in Montgomery County, the residents are well-educated and are economically and racially diverse, and there is ready access to most public and commercial amenities.  Consequently, the Master Plan Citizens Advisory Committee saw the greatest need is protecting these positive attributes into the future.

Specifically regarding the commercial area surrounding the Colesville Road/ University Boulevard intersection, the Master Plan states on page 14:

If Four Corners is viewed as a small town, as it is by some residents, then the commercial district is the center.  When residents of the Four Corners area look to the broader community for essential services, they discover many of their needs can be met locally.  Residents can find everything from a quart of milk to a hair stylist.  At the local bakery or post office, neighbors may meet by chance and spend a few minutes catching up on each other’s lives.  These small-scale, nearby retail and service businesses are an integral part of the Four Corners community.  Not only do they provide services that are necessary to daily life, their small town atmosphere and friendliness foster a sense of community.

Accordingly, the Master Plan recommended that the entire Woodmoor Shopping Center receive a C-4 limited commercial zoning.  The reason given for this zoning was, “The C-4 Zone is more in keeping with Woodmoor’s function as a low-density neighborhood shopping center.”  The area next to Pierce Drive was specifically cited for concern that any future development in that location would provide a transition to the adjacent residences.

With this background, the proposed Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant is clearly not an acceptable use for this property.  As was stated at the February NFCCA meeting by the KFC representatives, this restaurant’s business will be from 60 percent or greater drive-through customers.  This is characteristic of a highway-oriented business, not a neighborhood shopping area.  It will not contribute to the general character of the Woodmoor Shopping Center as a destination for local community services and it will not provide a transition to the residential area as the existing structure on Pierce Drive does.   ■

   © 2002 NFCCA  [Source:]