Early plans for Montgomery County Humane Society move approved

Planning Board approves initial plans to move Humane Society headquarters

Burial locations at pet cemetery would not be disturbed, documents say

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A rendering of the proposed new Montgomery County Humane Society headquarters.

Rendering via Montgomery County Planning Board

The Montgomery County Planning Board has approved a development plan submitted by the county Humane Society, which is seeking to move its headquarters to the Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery site.

The organization became a privately funded nonprofit in 2014, after nearly 50 years of operating as a county agency. It has filed an application with the county Planning Department to redevelop the Aspin Hill Memorial Park site at Aspen Hill Road and Georgia Avenue into its new headquarters.

The Humane Society is currently at 601 Stonestreet Ave. in Rockville.

The Planning Board’s support on Thursday is the second of three approvals necessary for the project to be completed.

The cemetery would remain in place under the proposal, but would be upgraded with walking paths and a park. Included in the plans are 13,000 square feet of new construction that would include space for adoption, pet education and community services.

A two-story building and dog kennel on site will be “fully rehabilitated” on the exterior with new roofing and windows and general cleaning, the plans say.

The interior of the building would be renovated to serve as administrative offices for the Humane Society staff and work would be done to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act access standards.

The kennel would be rehabilitated to house animals awaiting adoption. The two buildings would sit around an open courtyard with a covered colonnade linking the structures.

“No human burial locations will be disturbed, and the impacts on animal remains has been minimized,” according to plans filed with the Planning Department.

The Humane Society is a no-kill rescue that pulls dogs and cats from overcrowded public shelters and prepares them for adoption.

The historic Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery has the remains of more than 50,000 animals and is believed to be the second-oldest pet cemetery in the country, according to the Humane Society’s website. Its name comes from an English dog kennel, Aspin Hill, and its spelling differs from that of the Montgomery community.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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