Category Archives: Downtown Bethesda Sector Plan

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Dissenter Speaks

Marc Elrich, the one Montgomery County Council member to vote against the Bethesda Downtown Sector plan explains his vote here.

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Cont.

Reactions to the Sector Plan are coming in. Here is one take from our friends at Bethesda Magazine. Of particular interest was a point on additional development:

 

The plan opens the door to about 4.2 million square feet of additional development.

That might sound like a lot, but the county planning director and the chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board assert that the proposed Bethesda plan is modest in scale.

To put the number in context, county staff reports show that 23.6 million square feet of development existed in Bethesda as of September 2014. Ongoing and approved projects add up to another 4.6 million square feet. Included in that number is a roughly 940,000-square-foot redevelopment plan for the site of the Apex building at 7272 Wisconsin Ave.

What’s not included? Marriott International’s proposal to construct roughly 400,000 square feet near Woodmont Triangle for the company’s headquarters and a flagship hotel. That project will consume some of the 4.2 million square feet of new building space allowed by the Bethesda plan.

It will be interesting to get a variety of takes on this and other aspects of the plan. Feel free to email me at raj@rajabout.com

MPDU’s and the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Cont.

As I was digging into the plan I saw that there was an increased commitment to MPDU’s. As an aside, if anyone would like to discuss this program with me, feel free to give me a call at (240)486-3921 or send an email to raj@rajabout.com:

“Add more units to the marketplace by [providing] requiring a minimum 15 percent MPDUs for optional method residential development within Downtown Bethesda.  Provide 15 percent MPDUs on-site as a first priority.  [Preserve existing market-rate affordable housing by identifying some sites as Priority Sending Sites for density averaging. Affordable Housing Sending Sites that choose to transfer their density must enter into a rental agreement to retain 30 percent of their existing affordable housing units, defined as 65 percent of area median income (AMI) or below, for 20 years.]  Provide an incentive to encourage 25% or more MPDUs (by allowing an increase in FAR without additional payments otherwise required for increases in FAR).

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Cont.

As promised yesterday, I am digging into the plan for nuggets and things to be happy/ worry about. This one struck me as a good recommendation:

“Page 41: Modify language under A. Bethesda Circulator Expansion as follows: A more robust Circulator Bus route should be considered to serve an expanded Downtown Bethesda. That route should include service to the Battery Lane and Pearl Districts,[. Potential new stops should include the following locations (see Figure 2.10: Proposed Circulator Route Revisions):] new Bethesda South Metrorail station/Purple Line station on Elm Street, the Pearl District, and Medical Center Metrorail station.”

I like the idea of the Circulator connecting residents to both Bethesda and Medical Center metro stops. Hopefully with easier, all weather, access to metro, we will see more downtown residents able to leave the car at home and use metro a bit more.

More nuggets etc. to follow!

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