The proposal still must go before a county hearing examiner and be approved by the Montgomery County Council.
The council recommended changes to EYA’s plan for a 76-unit complex in the fall, deeming it too dense.
Although residents along Pershing Drive and Springvale Road and members of the Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens Association still oppose the development, the planning board voted unanimously in favor of EYA’s changes.
Opponents contend that the townhouses will not blend into the single-family-home neighborhood.
“Our neighborhood is a very special place,” Vicki Warren, member of the SOECA, said. “There is a strong community spirit. This is going to ruin it.”
EYA’s revised plan has 64 townhouses instead of 76. More than 50 percent of the lot is dedicated to green space.
“We addressed every concern that was raised in those meetings to the best of our ability,” EYA President Bob Youngentob said. “I recognize the community still has concerns, and we are sensitive to those, but our goal in reducing density and modifying the plan was to create a reasonable compromise.”
The houses will be built farther from a historic pre-Civil War house on the site, the Riggs-Thompson House. In the original plan, it was 28 feet from other houses and now is 92 feet from the houses.
“I do love historical places,” Warren said. “I do think we need to preserve our past.”
A road that would have cut through the property near the historic house to Pershing Drive was also eliminated, Youngentob said. The Riggs-Thompson house will be sold as a private residence.
The Bethesda-based developer last year sought to rezone the site, which houses the Chelsea School. The school, which enrolls about 80 students with language-based learning disabilities, plans to move to Prince George’s County this summer. The school sold the site to EYA.
On Jan. 26, some residents asked county planners for even fewer residences. They also pushed to add more land to the property around the Riggs-Thompson House and worried that roads through the property would attract cut-through traffic.
“We believe strongly that, based on analysis of traffic consultants and of county staff, that the private road through the site will not have any significant impact on cut-through traffic,” Youngentob said.
Regarding the townhouses, “it’s not supposed to look like a single-family house, because it isn’t,” Planning Board Chairman Françoise Carrier said.
Eleven residents spoke against the development and two were in favor.
The revised proposal will go to the hearing examiner in March. Once the hearing examiner makes a recommendation, the Montgomery County Council will consider it this spring.