After years of discussion, work sessions and public hearings, the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan draft may be approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday.
A work session about the sector plan draft will take place at the end of the board's day-long meeting, and planning staff are set to recommend that their draft be approved by the planning board.
If approved, the draft will be presented to the county executive and council on Jan. 31—only a couple months behind schedule, The Gazette reported.
The draft plan's "recommendations emphasize mixed residential development [and] a shift from the current commercial zoning that will help balance the ... jobs-housing ratio" in the Chevy Chase Lake Sector—which straddles Connecticut Avenue between Chevy Chase Lake Drive and Manor Road—according to the draft. (The bulk of the development is east of Connecticut Avenue.)
The Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan draft is not without contention. Many locals say that the building heights and densities proposed by the plan are too high. One building—8401 Connecticut Ave., adjacent to the planned station for the proposed Purple Line—currently is slated to be allowed to be built up to 150 feet, while the Connecticut Avenue Corridor Committee has asked that the building's height be capped at 90 feet.
Nevertheless, the recommendations are still a far cry from the developer's original 19-story high-rise plan. (Those designs were amended several months later in response to public outcry, Patch reported.) In any event, developers' plans must adhere to the final sector plan approved by the county council.
County planning staff have recommended that the sector retain its human scale, and that there be a focus on traditional architecture and pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development, Montgomery County Senior Planner Elza Hisel-McCoy said last summer, Patch reported.
For the core of the development, county planners recommend six-story buildings, Patch reported last fall.
Planning staff propose that the sector be zoned twice during development. The first zoning would allow mixed residential and commercial "uses in the Town Center—the properties on Connecticut Avenue between Chevy Chase Lake Drive and Manor Road, which currently have existing or approved single-use commercial development, plus the Newdale Mews and Chevy Chase Lake Apartments," according to the draft plan.
"The Town Center includes the Chevy Chase Lake shopping center, which is approved for about 250,000 square feet of retail and commercial uses," the draft plan added.
The second zoning would occur after the Purple Line section spanning Connecticut Avenue has been funded, and "will rezone the remaining Town Center properties, allowing over one million square feet of new mixed-use development," the draft stated.
"This expanded level of development will allow more housing options, and includes additional community amenities like a park and trails," the draft added.
Also, the Chevy Chase Lake Apartments—owned by the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission—would be allowed to increase from 68 to more than 300 apartments, according to the plan.