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Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan Approved By Council
July 31st, 2013
Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan

Yesterday, the Council approved a Sector Plan for the Chevy Chase Lake area by an 8-1 vote.  If you live in or around the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan area, you have probably been watching this plan closely and at some point written to me.  I want you to know that I heard you loud and clear and took your concerns seriously.

 

In most -- if not all, master plans -- there are differing views on density of development and heights of buildings and concerns about things like traffic, school capacity, and public amenities. And this plan was no different.  From the very beginning, it was clear to me that the residents in the area were very concerned about the scope and scale of the plan. While some asserted there should be no additional development in the area, others cautiously accepted the idea of new growth as long as it would be done at an appropriate scale and in keeping with the character of the existing neighborhoods.  And there were a few that welcomed the idea of new development with open arms. 

 

I want you to know that I thought long and hard about what kind of development was appropriate for Chevy Chase Lake.  But like many things in life, the definition of appropriate is quite subjective so when one discusses the appropriate scope and scale or the appropriate height of buildings, one can get as many opinions as there are people opining.  Further complicating my deliberation was the fact that the Chevy Chase Land Company already held a pre-existing approval for redevelopment on the site of their current shopping center, the County's need for increased affordable housing, the expected construction of the Purple Line, and the need to properly plan for the County's future.  I asked myself:  Is the master planning process intended to serve our existing communities and reflect their desires or is the purpose to plan for the future needs of the County?  In the end, I determined it was both. One of our fundamental roles at the Council is to plan for future growth in the County, but in my opinion, it is not necessary to do this to the detriment of our existing neighborhoods.  I have said this before and I will say it again:  We can continue to grow and remain competitive as a jurisdiction, and we can do it while maintaining the integrity of our existing neighborhoods.

 

While I am a firm believer in smart growth, transit-oriented development and a supporter of the Purple Line, I ultimately could not concur with the Planning Board on a number of items in their recommended plan. I voted for a lower height limit of 90 feet (vs. the Planning Board's 150 foot recommendation) on the Chevy Chase Land Company's property, a lower height of 45 feet at Newdale Mews, lower height on the gas station property at 8500 Connecticut Avenue, and greater setbacks and stronger buffering language to protect neighboring communities.  I also voted for a scaled-back development on the HOC property and staging that will require most properties to wait until Phase 2 before they can redevelop.  And in the end, I believe we approved a sound staging trigger which will tie redevelopment to the construction of the Purple Line - not simply a funding agreement.  I worked hard to try to find the right balance on these issues and whether or not we agree or disagree on some of them, please know I gave all my votes great thought.

 

One of the personal benefits of working on a sector plan is that I get an opportunity to work closely with a handful of neighborhoods.  I have enjoyed meeting and getting to know many residents in the Chevy Chase area and am grateful to those of you who took the time to meet with me and discuss issues important to your neighborhoods. Please stay in touch with me and my office - we are always here to help if you need us.

Planning Committee Finishes Review of Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan
Full Council Worksession on July 9
June 27, 2013
Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan For those of you following the Chevy Chase lake Sector Plan, I want to provide you a few updates. First, the Council's Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee (PHED) finished its review of the Planning Board's recommendations on Monday. The Plan will now go to a full Council worksession the morning of Tuesday, July 9. You can attend this worksession in person, watch it live on Montgomery County Cable Television, or view it at your convenience on the Council website.
   

Although I am not a member of the PHED Committee, I attended both worksessions and listened in attentively. Chair of the Committee, Councilmember Nancy Floreen and Committee Members Councilmembers Elrich and Leventhal discussed the transportation issues surrounding the plan and discussed each property and made recommendations for heights, densities and zoning on each parcel.   I will share a few of their recommendations with you.

 

Chevy Chase Lake East Shopping Center

The Chevy Chase land Company holds a pre-existing approval to redevelop now under commercial zoning. The Committee recommended mixed-use zoning on this property with 80 feet maximum heights on the property except the southwestern portion where they recommended a maximum height of 120 feet. The floor area ratio (FAR) or density is 2.0. Rezoning would take place upon adoption of the Sector Plan (Stage 1). Planning Board and Council staff's analysis is that the traffic generated by the new development will be no greater than the development plans previously approved in 2005.

 

Newdale Mews

The Committee recommended that this property be rezoned only in Stage 2. In addition, they recommended height of 45 feet and setbacks of a minimum of 35 feet, and buffering/landscaping between the garden apartments and single-family homes.

 

8401 Connecticut

The Committee recommended Stage 2 zoning with a height of 150 feet on the western portion of the site and 125 feet on the eastern portion of the site and an FAR of 4.0. This parcel currently houses a 150 foot building that would need to be torn down if redevelopment were to occur.

 

Chevy Chase Lake West Shopping Center / 8402 CT

The Committee recommended maximum heights of 70 feet in Stage 2 with an FAR of 1.0.

 

Loughborough Place Parking Lot

The Committee recommended maximum height of 40 feet with an FAR of 1.0.

 

HOC Property

The Committee recommended rezoning for residential zoning for Stage 2. This recommendation is for a more recent proposal which reduces the amount of units from 335 as recommended by the Planning Board Draft to 270 units, including a substantial increase in affordable housing units. The Committee recommendation also limits heights on the eastern portion of the site to 50 feet instead of the 65 feet recommended in the Planning Board Draft Plan (which would result in townhomes instead of garden apartments) and increases the FAR on the western portion of the site from 1.5 FAR to 2.0.

   

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Committee recommended maximum heights of 65 feet and 0.5 FAR for this property in Stage 1.

 

Transportation Impacts

 

At my request, staff provided an analysis of the incremental impact of the new development on intersections that will be failing regardless of new development because of the through traffic traveling down Connecticut Ave. I felt it was important that the community understand just how much "worse" this development will make the current situation. Accordingly to our staff, what the numbers tell us is that the new development will add approximately five seconds of delay. However, staff is recommending a series of improvements to the road network that would have to be accomplished (and paid for by the developers) for the developments to move forward. Those improvements would reduce the travel time by considerably more time than any potential development would add. In other words, based on our staff's analysis, from a traffic perspective only, having the developers pay for the improvements more than offsets the added traffic it would generate.
 
I have met with many members of the Chevy Chase community as well as several of the land owners in the sector plan and am weighing all the arguments carefully as we approach the full Council session on July 8. Central to my deliberations are two questions: 1) What are the policy goals of this plan and how can we best achieve them? and 2) How can we achieve those goals while respecting the character of the community and enhancing the quality of life for the existing neighborhoods? In addition, I have been conversing with our professional staff about issues like economic viability, traffic mitigation strategies, and public amenities.  Just today, I sent a memo to our Council staff seeking clarification on some issues central to my decision making on this plan. Take a look.

 
Before the worksession, I encourage you to express your views with me and my colleagues. It is never too late to weigh in. In the meantime, I will continue to do my due diligence on this sector plan. I am just one councilmember of nine, but I promise you that my votes on this plan will be well-researched and carefully considered.  

 

For more details, you can review the Planning Board Draft and/or refer to the most recent Council Staff packet.
Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan
May 16, 2013
Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan
Thank you to all of you who turned out to testify at the Council's public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan. We always appreciate hearing the feedback of our residents and that feedback helps us be more informed as we review the plan and deliberate over its key elements.

The Council's Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee (PHED) began its review of the plan last month with an overview briefing. In June, after the Council finalizes and approves the FY14 County Budget, the PHED Committee will return to the Sector Plan and resume its work in earnest.  The first few meetings of the PHED Committee will be on June 10 (2 PM), June 17 (2 PM), and June 24 (2 PM).  You are always welcome to attend or watch these sessions online or on County Cable Montgomery. 
 

While I am not a member of this committee, I plan to participate in the PHED Committee discussions, albeit as a non-voting member. Once the PHED Committee concludes its deliberations and makes its recommendations, the full Council will hold worksessions, make any necessary adjustments, and vote on its approved version of the Sector Plan.

 

Although the Council's work has not yet really begun, I have already met with members of the Connecticut Avenue Corridor Coalition, the Chevy Chase Hills neighborhood, and other residential communities in proximity to the Sector Plan boundaries to discuss preliminary thoughts on the Plan. My staff and I will continue to follow it closely and look forward to working with all interested stakeholders during the review process this summer and fall.  Please do not hesitate to call my office at (240) 777-7828 if you would like to meet on this topic.  
Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan Update
February 11, 2013

Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan

The Planning Board has finished its review of the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan and transmitted its approved draft to the Council. The next step in the process is for the Council to hold its public hearing. This will take place on March 5 at 7:30 pm at the Council Office Building in Rockville.
 
To sign up to testify, please call 240-777-7803. After the public hearing , the Council's Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee (PHED) will review the plan and make recommendations to the full Council. While I am not a member of the PHED Committee, I plan to sit in on the PHED Committee's deliberations on the plan as I do on all plans in District 1.
 
I have had the pleasure of meeting with several neighborhood representatives about this plan already and look forward to further discussion on this topic.  I will share more detail about this Sector Plan in future editions of The Berliner Brief.
Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan Update
December 19, 2012

Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan

The Planning Board has held its public hearings and is now in the process of reviewing the staff draft of the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan. There will be at least one more meeting on the sector plan on January 10th before the Planning Board approves its version of the plan and sends it over for Council review.

The Council will hold its own public hearing (in the beginning of March at the earliest) on the Planning Board draft before the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee begins its review of the plan.  Although I am not a member of this committee, I plan to participate in the PHED Committee discussions, albeit as a non-voting member.  Once the PHED Committee concludes its deliberations and makes its recommendations, the full Council will hold worksessions, make any necessary adjustments, and vote on its approved version of the Sector Plan. This will likely not happen until June or July.

Although the Planning Board is not yet finished with its work, I have already met with members of the Connecticut Avenue Corridor Coalition, the Chevy Chase Hills neighborhood, and other residential communities in proximity to the Sector Plan boundaries to discuss preliminary thoughts on the Plan.  My staff and I will continue to follow it closely and look forward to working with all interested stakeholders during the deliberation process once the plan makes its way to the Council.  Please do not hesitate to call my office if you would like to meet on this topic.
Chevy Chase Lake Update
September 25, 2012

Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan

Planning staff has been busy laying the framework for the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, which will update a portion of the 1990 Bethesda-Chevy Chase Master Plan. The staff draft of the plan will now be reviewed by the Planning Board who will begin by holding a public hearing at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 18 in the Planning Board auditorium at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

Anyone can testify by calling 301-495-4600 to sign up through Planning Board staff or testimony may be mailed to: Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910.  After the public hearing, the Planning Board will hold work sessions on the plan before approving the version that will then be sent over to the Council. Once at the Council, there will be yet another public hearing followed by committee work sessions of the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee (PHED). The PHED Committee will then make recommendations to the full Council who will then hold worksessions on the plan before casting its vote on the plan.

 

As you can see, the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan has a long way to go before it is approved by the Council. Although I am not on the PHED Committee, I plan to sit in on all the committee deliberations as I do for all plans that impact District 1. I know many of you have been following this plan closely as well, and I am pleased that the community is engaged in the sector plan process. Much of the discussion thus far has been centered around heights, densities, and determining the appropriate mix of uses in the plan and I suspect that will continue to be the case. But I also hope we will be able to talk about community amenities and ways to make the Chevy Chase Lake area a more walkable, pedestrian friendly area that feels like a true town center.  

Chevy Chase Lake Update
July 31, 2012

Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan

The Planning Department is continuing its work on the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan. Planning staff presented the "staff draft" to the Planning Board on July 16. 

 

Once the Planning Board makes its final recommendations by the end of the year, the Council's Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee will begin its review of the plan. Although I do not sit on the committee, I do plan to attend these worksessions, as I have with other major land use plans affecting District 1. Just know that you will have plenty of opportunity to express your views on this when it is ready for our Council's review. 

Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan Update
November 21, 2011

Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan

The Chevy Chase Land Company has been busy meeting with many neighborhoods and community groups as Planning Staff heads into the final phase of its work in drafting the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan.  It is anticipated that the Planning Board will review the staff draft in February 2012 and that the Planning Board's approved plan will come to the Council for review in the fall of 2012. 

 

As the district councilmember, my staff and I are following this plan closely, but it will be some time before my official input is sought.  In the meantime, I encourage you to provide your feedback and input to the Planning Staff and Planning Board and hope that you will participate in the Planning Board's public hearing on the plan later this winter/early spring.

Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan
July 29, 2011

Chevy Chase Lake Sector PlanI am told that Planning Department staff may have a draft of the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan ready for the Planning Board's review in late September. Many in the Chevy Chase area have been following this sector plan process carefully, and rightly so.

 

My own role has been limited to conveying to the Planning Board the need for a transparent and open process led by the staff, and I was gratified that the process has been just that.  Given that I will be called upon to review and act upon the final product, my colleagues and I generally do not take hard stances before that time.  However, I have been asked whether I believe this project must be firmly linked to construction of the Purple Line, and my answer is most definitely yes.  And I always believe that the project must be "context sensitive" - in other words, it must be a good neighbor.


Earlier this summer, Planning staff released some preliminary recommendations for the heights and densities that may be allowed in the plan, but that is about all that is known at this time. After the sector plan is fully drafted, a public hearing will be held by the Planning Board who will carefully review the plan and revise it as appropriate before it comes to the Council. My best guess is that the Council will receive the Board's recommended plan in the early winter and the PHED Committee will being its review at that time.  

 

While I am more than happy to hear from residents about the Chevy Chase Lake plan, if you are interested in weighing in on the draft in progress, I would highly encourage you to write directly to the Planning Board at this time as they, as a body, will have the first opportunity to make changes they deem necessary and appropriate.  You can email the Planning Board at mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.  

 
Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan January 27, 2011
 

Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan

The Planning Department has begun the process of developing the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, which kicked off with the first in a series of mediator-facilitated meetings on January 10th. 

 

This meeting featured presentations from landowners within the sector plan.  You can watch the meeting on the Planning Department website and download the meeting presentations from:

  • Planning Staff
  • Chevy Chase Land Co.
  • Housing Opportunities Commission
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute

You might also be interested in the background packet or the handout, also on the website.




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