Updated at 5:50 p.m.- A Rockville church and private school known for its basketball program plans to sell its property, which could be redeveloped into 130 town homes if county officials grant its rezoning request.
The Montrose Baptist Church’s rezoning case will go before the Montgomery County Planning Board next week and is set for a Dec. 11 hearing in front of a county hearing examiner.
The hearing examiner will rule whether the 8.7-acre piece of property that’s zoned for single-family homes can be zoned for town homes. County planners have recommended approval of the rezoning.
The rezoning process has been delayed multiple times since the church and attorney Bob Harris first filed for the zoning change in April 2014.
Dr. Ken Fentress, the senior pastor at Montrose Baptist Church, told nearby residents in 2014 that the church would be moving to “a new home closer to those we serve,” and the church would also be working with “various experts” to file for a new zone that would allow town homes on the Randolph Road site.
Brian Hooker, president of the Randolph Civic Association, told Bethesda Beat on Monday that the group met with Harris and potential developer Stanford Properties on Oct. 14. The developer hasn’t provided any preliminary plans for the town homes.
Fentress couldn’t be reached for comment.
Montrose Baptist Church and schol site, via Montgomery County Planning Department
The site is home to the church, the Montrose Christian Child Development Center and the Montrose Christian School, a private school of about 200 students long known for its basketball team. The program, which produced players such as Kevin Durant and Greivis Vasquez, was shut down under uncertain circumstances earlier this year. Coach Stu Vetter, who built the program into a national powerhouse, left in 2013.
Otis Ray Hope, the senior pastor at the church from 1996 to 2002, used $1.35 million in tuition payments for personal expenses, according to the FBI, and in 2011 was sentenced to 37 months in prison for tax evasion.
The school has paid more than $744,000 in tax liens since 2014, according to The Washington Post.
According to Montgomery County Public Schools, the proposed town home project is projected to house 23 students who attend Viers Mill Elementary School, eight middle school students for the area's Middle School Magnet Consortium and 13 high school students for the Downcounty Consortium made up of five different high schools.
The amount of rush hour vehicle trips made to and from the town homes would be significantly less than what the school sees now, according to a traffic analysis performed by a consultant for the school and reviewed by the Planning Department.