The Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday could approve plans for redevelopment in Chevy Chase Lake, an almost three-year long process that’s sure to draw close inspection from the County Council.
At issue in the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan is the height and density of new mixed-use residential and commercial buildings that would be allowed for the section of strip malls on both sides of Connecticut Avenue between Chevy Chase Lake Drive and Manor Road.
Community representatives want smaller buildings, as to not contribute more congestion to already clogged Connecticut Avenue.
Developers want taller buildings, especially around a planned Purple Line station.
As the plan nears the County Council, which must approve it, Planning Department staff, developers and residents seem to agree the area is ripe for a facelift.
“The differences,” according to a draft Sector Plan that could be approved for submittal to the Council on Thursday, “lay in the quantity of development, in particular how tall the buildings would be.”
Last year, members of the Connecticut Avenue Corridor Committee (the main community group involved in discussions) said they would go before the County Council to protest a Board-recommended 150-foot building near the potential Purple Line station. The CACC asked for a 90-foot height limit.
“This Plan alone cannot reduce the number of cars that move through Chevy Chase Lake at peak times and does not recommend widening Connecticut Avenue, or expanding existing rights-of-way,” the draft Sector Plan states. “Instead, it focuses on enhancing the pedestrian experience and creating alternative ways to get around.”
The draft would accommodate about 2.2 million square feet of development, including 1,300 new living units, if the Purple Line is built. The draft says the development would not require new schools, libraries or fire stations, another concern of the CACC and other residents who point to an already overcrowded Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster.