“I Could Not Vote to Approve the Chevy Chase Sector Plan”
Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich (at-large) cast his vote against adopting the Chevy Chase Sector Plan on July 30, citing its failure to deal with serious traffic issues that will result from major increases in densities and its unresponsiveness to community concerns. The plan was adopted by the Council by an 8-1 vote.
“The Council is taking an unprecedented step in passing this,” said Elrich. “This plan is not in balance—even by the county’s less than rigorous standards. There is no question that the proposed sector plan will exacerbate traffic problems. As an east-west route, the Purple Line is not a solution for the north-south traffic congestion along Connecticut Avenue. The long-term solutions proposed are road- and car-based, and do not promote transit use. They have not been spelled out in terms of scope and costs, which will likely be in the tens of millions of dollars without a plan to pay for them.”
Elrich said the Sector Plan is—at best—“marginally ‘Smart Growth.’”
“The high non-auto drive mode share (NADMS) goal is a noble aspiration, but the plan does not set forth enough options to get people out of their cars to make it a reality,” said Elrich. “Additionally, this ‘semi-Smart Growth’ area has the potential to draw commercial tenants away from other true Smart Growth areas, including Bethesda, Silver Spring and White Flint—where there are Metro stops and multiple bus lines.
“Unlike the recently adopted White Flint Sector Plan, which encourages transit use and had the support of the majority of the nearby residents, the Chevy Chase Sector Plan offers no north-south transit options and is opposed by every nearby neighborhood association. Many residents expressed their opposition to the plan, made compromises, proposed changes and took many hours of their time pressing for meaningful change. Their views for the most part were rejected, their concerns were dismissed.
“Therefore, given its major flaws, I could not vote to approve the Chevy Chase Sector Plan.”