Council Approves Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan (Video)

Chevy Chase Lake Sector TourThe Montgomery County Council approved the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan after it also approved a number of amendments addressing specific aspects of the plan at a meeting on July 30.

The plan was approved by a vote of 8-1. Council President Nancy Navarro, Council Vice President Craig Rice and Councilmember Phil Andrews, Roger Berliner, Valerie Ervin, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer voted to approve the plan. Councilmember Marc Elrich voted against the plan.

County Cable Montgomery reports in this video:

The Council and its Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee have been addressing the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan for several months. The plan will significantly alter the small community located along Connecticut Avenue near the Beltway interchange. The Purple Line is planned to go near Chevy Chase Lake and the plan approved by the Council includes certain “staging” of the redevelopment to be coordinated with the progress in building the future east-west transportation line that will connect the Bethesda and New Carrollton Metrorail stations.

The Chevy Chase Lake plan has involved many opinions from residents, current business owners and developers concerning the changes to the 1990 Bethesda-Chevy Chase Master Plan. Issues involved included how quickly development would be allowed to proceed, the height of buildings, increasing the amount of new housing to be allowed and the future of the current Chevy Chase Lake shopping centers on the east and west sides of Connecticut Avenue.

“This plan reflects the Council’s commitment to transit-oriented development and smart growth principles,” said Council President Navarro. “The Council has adopted a plan that will prepare Chevy Chase Lake for the future Purple Line stop, while improving walkability and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. At the same time, this plan protects the character of the surrounding residential community.”

The Council reduced the maximum height of new buildings on the Chevy Chase Lake East shopping center from the 150 feet recommended by the Planning Board to 120 feet. The Council also reduced heights on properties closest to existing homes including on Newdale Mews, Arman’s gas station and the eastern portion of the Housing Opportunities Commission property.

The new zoning will allow the development of a mixed-use community on the Chevy Chase Lake East shopping center including retail, commercial and residential development. The approved plan also requires the redeveloped shopping center to include public open space and amenities that make it an appealing destination for the entire community.

The sector plan recommends mixed-use zoning for most of the other properties in the Chevy Chase Lake Center.

The Chevy Chase Lake shopping center on the east side of Connecticut Avenue, which has existing development approvals, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Housing Opportunities Commission mixed-income project will be allowed to redevelop immediately after the properties are rezoned as part of an upcoming Sectional Map Amendment because they meet the criteria for Stage 1 development.

The remaining property owners will have to wait until construction begins on the Purple Line between Silver Spring and Bethesda before they can begin applying for development approvals. This will ensure that a significant portion of new development will be completed at approximately the same time that construction is completed on the Planning Line.

“The arrival of the Purple Line at Chevy Chase Lake will dramatically change the community as it currently exists,” states the adopted plan. “The transit line will bring improved access to Bethesda and Silver Spring and provide residents and visitors with a convenient alternative to automobile travel. But it will also bring physical change: two new bridges over Connecticut Avenue, one for the train and the other for the Capital Crescent Trail. It will introduce an elevated station platform, with elevators, access gates and shelters. The recommended new street connecting Manor Road and Chevy Chase Lake Drive under the elevated rail line will also offer an alternative station access point for buses, rapid transit vehicle and commuter kiss-and-ride cars.”

Councilmember Floreen, who chairs the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, said: “We heard from a lot of stakeholders and saw cordial work among those involved. Advocacy and collaboration were important parts of this process, and the plan benefitted tremendously from them. Thanks to so much thoughtful input, we were able to achieve a good product in the end.”

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