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Planning Board to Discuss Bethesda Development, Glenmont Sector Plan, County Zoning Rewrite

The Montgomery County Planning Board will discuss a development in Bethesda, the county's Zoning Rewrite Project and other issues at the board's Feb. 14 meeting.

Montgomery County Planning Board members and staff planners will discuss the proposed Bethesda development at 7900 Wisconsin Ave. at the board's meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14.

The development—a 444,000-square-foot residential building with 475 units and more than 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail between Wisconsin and Woodmont avenues at St. Elmo Avenue—fits all zoning requirements and amendments, according to the board's briefing materials for the meeting.

Planning staff received only one email expressing concern about the development, according to the briefing documents.

Residents of the adjacent Fairmont Plaza Condominium Building (4801 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda) expressed concern about construction hours and noise (several residents study and work from home), air quality and dust, truck traffic, the duration of the project and the cleanliness of the condominium building's windows, building manager Winston Viana wrote in an email to county planning coordinator Elza Hisel-McCoy.

In order to accommodate the county fire marshal's request that a fire control room in the development be located more closely to Wisconsin Avenue than previously planned, the required square footage of retail space—5 percent of total square footage—needed to be reduced to 4.9 percent of total square footage, according to a memo from the law firm of Lerch, Early & Brewer to Hisel-McCoy.

The development will include a through-block, outdoor public space connecting Wisconsin and Woodmont avenues. "The ... open space incorporates a diversity of innovative and attractive features, including a landscaped stormwater management area, turfed mounds that people can climb and sit on, and a number of paths that accommodate direct and indirect circulation," according to meeting briefing documents. Read more about the project on Bethesda Patch.

Last November, developer JBG Companies backed out of a land-swap deal with the county in which JBG would build Montgomery County's Second Police District station in the development in exchange for acquiring the site of the current Second Police District station a few blocks south on Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda Patch reported.  

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Planning board and staff also will wrap up discussion about the county's ambitious Zoning Rewrite Project and will hold a public hearing about the Glenmont Sector Plan at Thursday's meeting, according to the agenda

Earlier in the day, the planning department will take a tour of Glenmont.

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Also at Thursday's planning board meeting, board members and planning staff will discuss the department's recommendations to Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's Capital Improvements Program.

The recommendations, quoted from a planning department memo, are:

  1. Rapid Transit System: Delete the Randolph Road corridor from the project and include New Hampshire Avenue, which is likely to have higher ridership and will support the new MetroExtra K9 bus service.
  2. White Flint: Include master planned public facilities projects in the current CIP.
  3. Clarksburg Library: Restore funding for design and construction in the current CIP.
  4. Wheaton Library and Recreation Center: Include construction funds in the current CIP.
  5. North Potomac Community Recreation Center: Support addition of this project to the CIP.
  6. Bethesda South Metro Station Entrance: Support retention of this project in the CIP on a schedule concurrent with Purple Line construction.
  7. Capital Crescent Trail: Support retention of this project in the CIP on a schedule concurrent with Purple Line construction.
  8. Metropolitan Branch Trail: Support retention of this project in the CIP.
  9. Revolving fund for planning developer-built projects: Include a project in the CIP for Facility Planning for developer-built projects and consider establishing a revolving fund to construct these projects and accept developer contributions as they move forward in the development process.

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