The Montgomery County Council last week approved the final draft of the Potomac master plan, which allows about 10 acres of land to be rezoned from commercial to residential.
County planners originally proposed construction of at least two new shopping centers -- at River Road and Seven Locks Road, and at Falls Road and Victory Lane -- but the plan approved by the council does not call for any. It does permit expansion of an existing shopping center at Travilah Road and Rte. 28, and of another in Darnestown at Seneca Road and Rte. 28.
Potomac residents had objected to new shopping centers, saying that a proliferation of commercial areas would change the character of their neighborhoods.
"There doesn't seem to be a need for new shopping centers in Potomac," said council member Rose Crenca. "We had pictures taken of the shopping centers and the parking lots on Saturday and they were relatively empty."
The plan also shows that Rte. 28 will be widened from a two-lane road to a four-lane road, that Montrose Road will be extended from Seven Locks Road to Falls Road and that Democracy Boulevard will be extended from Gainsborough Road to Kentsdale Drive.
The master plan recommends that assisted housing and recreational facilities be built on the site of Bradley Junior High School and at Seven Locks Road and Tuckerman Lane.
Housing would be built on those sites if the council approves and, additionally in the case of the Bradley Junior High School site, if the school board decides to declare the site surplus land.
Elizabeth Scull was the only council member who voted against the master plan.
Scull said she voted against the plan because it precluded building assisted housing on a site at Falls Road.
"Over the years I have always voted for a comprehensive piece of legislation or master plan," Scull said. "But I am voting against this one because I feel our decision on the Falls Road site is so damaging to our efforts to provide moderate-income housing in all parts of the county."
Council member Neal Potter said he abstained because his brother owns a great deal of land in Potomac.
In other action, Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist introduced legislation before the council that would permit developers who build more than 49 units to make only 10 percent of them moderately priced, instead of the current 15 percent.
Housing Opportunities Commission spokesman Joyce Segall said that HOC prefers the 15 percent requirement.