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Bethesda Downtown Plan

Apr 22 16

April 28 Work Session on Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Will Address Affordable Housing Recommendations

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda-Public-Hearing-Draft-Cover-268x300

Planning Board will discuss recommended affordable housing, updated transportation analyses and property owner requests submitted after the public hearing process

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Thursday, April 28 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Discussion will focus on affordable housing recommendations for Downtown Bethesda, followed by property owner zoning requests that were submitted after the public hearing  was held last year. The goal of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan is to preserve existing, market-rate affordable housing, provide a mix of housing options and increase the number of moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs) in exchange for development incentives. The Plan identifies sites where density can be transferred in exchange for a rental agreement to retain 30 percent of housing units as affordable for 20 years. Renters eligible for affordable housing must earn 65 percent or less of area median income or about $70,000 for a four-person household.

Currently, the average rent in the Bethesda Downtown Plan area is $1,916, about 20 percent more than the average rent in the County. Newly built apartments typically rent for $2,750, which is 40 percent more than the average rent in the County.

At the April 28 work session, staff will also discuss the transportation analysis related to density increases throughout the plan area as a result of previous Planning Board work sessions. For details about the April work session, consult the Planning Board Agenda.

Another work session is scheduled for Thursday, May 12. Public participation at the work sessions is at the discretion of the Planning Board Chair. Prospective speakers must send a written description of their discussion topics at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting date to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

Following the work sessions, the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan will be revised at the direction of the Planning Board and reviewed by the Board before being sent to the County Council later this year.

Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

The new plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations is a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to create a truly sustainable downtown. Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and along part of the Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work on the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan began in January 2014. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle amendment to that Sector Plan.

For questions or comments about the Staff Draft, please send an email to: bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Feb 12 16

Planning Board Schedules Work Sessions for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on February 25 and March 10 and 24

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover
Board will address land use, density and other recommendations of the Sector Plan

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is reviewing portions of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan at work sessions held on Thursday, February 25, Thursday, March 10 and Thursday, March 24 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. MD).

The future work sessions will focus on parks and open space, environmental recommendations related to the high performance area and affordable housing in the Plan. The Planning Board and staff will also revisit the land use vision recommended by staff and the additional density recommended by the Planning Board in previous work sessions to determine the appropriate amount of overall density for the Plan area.

A vote to approve the Planning Board draft is likely to take place sometime in April 2016, and it is expected that the Draft will be transmitted to the County Council during the summer.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

Launched in 2014, the new Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. One of its recommendations is a high performance area that will incentivize more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. Making Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally – is the plan’s top priority.

Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and the proposed Purple Line light rail.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

For questions or comments about the Bethesda plan, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Jan 15 16

Work Session on Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Will Be Held on February 4 to Address South Bethesda District

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover

Planners and Planning Board will discuss recommended zoning and building heights for residential areas flanking Bradley Boulevard

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a work session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Thursday, February 4 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). Discussion will focus on zoning and building heights for the South Bethesda District, a residential area of garden apartments, townhouses and single-family homes situated to either side of Bradley Boulevard. For details about the work session, consult the Planning Board Agenda.

The next work session is scheduled for Thursday, February 25, 2016. Consult the Planning Board Agenda webpage two weeks prior to this work session to find out more specifics about the session. Following the work sessions, the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan will be revised at the direction of the Planning Board and reviewed by the Board before being sent to the County Council later this year.

Learn more about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

The new plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations is a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to create a truly sustainable downtown. Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and along part of the Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work on the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan began in January 2014. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

For questions or comments about the Bethesda Downtown Sector plan, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Dec 7 15

Planning Board Will Hold Work Session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Tuesday, December 15

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover
Session to address zoning and land use recommendations for districts

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will conduct a work session to review the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Tuesday, December 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. MD). This special Tuesday session precedes the Planning Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, December 17.

View the December 15 Staff Report for the Bethesda Sector Plan work session.

The new Plan recommends increasing density in Downtown Bethesda near identified centers of activity and civic gathering spaces. The December 15 work session will address recommended zoning and land uses for the following areas:

-Eastern Greenway Districts north and south of East-West Highway. These transitional areas lie between the Wisconsin Avenue corridor and adjacent single-family residential neighborhoods.

-Arlington North District, located between Woodmont Avenue and Arlington Road, and extending from Hampden Lane to Moorland Lane.

-Arlington South District, which includes parcels to the east and west of Arlington Road south of Bethesda Avenue.

The Planning Board will also review proposed recommendations for the Battery Lane and South Bethesda Districts, if time permits.

Future work sessions will be held in January and February 2016 to discuss zoning and building heights as well as affordable housing recommendations, density transfer incentives, parks and open space, and environmental recommendations in the Plan.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

Launched in 2014, the new Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. One of its recommendations is a high performance area that will incentivize more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. Making Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally – is the plan’s top priority.

Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and the proposed Purple Line light rail.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

For questions or comments about the Bethesda plan, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Sep 29 15

Planning Board Will Hold Third Work Session for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on October 5

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover
Session to address recommendations for Wisconsin Avenue and other districts

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will conduct the third work session to review the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Monday, October 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. MD). The session will continue the discussion of the district-by-district zoning recommended for established and emerging centers that was outlined in the Public Hearing Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

The new Plan recommends increasing density in Bethesda by approximately 20 percent with greater increases near identified centers of activity and gathering spaces, including the Farm Women’s Cooperative Market, Bethesda Metrorail Station and Veteran’s Park.

The October 5 work session will address the Pearl District, the Wisconsin Avenue District and the remaining four districts, as time permits.

A fourth work session is scheduled for October 22nd to address the high performance area, ecology, parks and open spaces, and affordable housing as outlined in the Sector Plan. All work sessions will be held at the Montgomery County Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910).

At the conclusion of these discussions, the Planning Board’s recommendations will be incorporated into the Draft of the Sector Plan and sent to the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee in November 2015.  That committee will hold a public hearing prior to its work sessions on the plan. Final Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

Launched in 2014, the new Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. One of its recommendations is a high performance area that will incentivize more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. Making Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally – is the plan’s top priority.

Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and the proposed Purple Line light rail.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

For questions or comments about the Bethesda plan, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Sep 3 15

September 17 Work Session on Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Will Address District-by-District Land Use and Zoning

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover

Planners and Planning Board will discuss recommended zoning for established and emerging districts within Downtown Bethesda

SILVER SPRING, MD –Staff from the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will meet with the Planning Board on September 17 to discuss the district-by-district zoning recommended for established and emerging centers outlined in the Public Hearing Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

Districts that will be discussed include Bethesda Row, Woodmont Triangle, Pearl and Wisconsin Avenue as time permits. This second work session follows the overview of the Plan presented to the Board in July and the public hearing about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan held in June.

A third work session is scheduled for October 5 to address zoning in residential and edge districts. Two additional Planning Board reviews are scheduled in October and November to focus on the high performance area, ecology, open spaces and affordable housing. The work sessions involve detailed discussions about various aspects of the Sector Plan to refine its recommendations for the final plan that will be reviewed by the County Council in 2016.

View the Public Hearing Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

Summary of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan:

The new Sector Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and emerging  districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations is a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to create a truly sustainable downtown. Other goals of the Plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and along parts of the Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work on the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan began in January 2014. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle amendment to that Sector Plan.

Since the Board’s public hearing in June, the plan is being revised through work sessions with the Planning Board before the final Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan is presented to the County Council for approval.  Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.

For questions or comments about the Public Hearing Draft, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

 

Jul 22 15

Planning Board Completes First of Five Work Sessions for the Bethesda Downtown Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover

First session on July 20 examined the overall zoning strategy, as well as transportation infrastructure and school capacity

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, completed the first of five work sessions to review the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. The session, held on Monday, July 20, 2015 at the Planning Department headquarters, addressed the proposed zoning strategy for Downtown Bethesda as it relates to building density and height increases, and considered transportation infrastructure and school capacity.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

View the Power Point Presentation from the July 20 Worksession #1.

The new Sector Plan recommends increasing density in Bethesda by approximately 20 percent with greater increases around centers of activity and gathering spaces, including the Farm Women’s Cooperative Market, Bethesda Metrorail Station and Veteran’s Park.

The July 20 work session also addressed how transportation elements in the Sector Plan would be affected by the zoning changes. Staff determined that all intersections within the Plan area will continue to operate at acceptable levels of congestion to the year 2040 under the proposed land use vision.

School capacity was another topic of the work session. The Downtown Bethesda Sector Plan is within the service areas of Bethesda Elementary School, Westland Middle School and Bethesda Chevy Chase High School where enrollment increases will have an impact on their available capacity. The Plan includes designation of the former Lynbrook Elementary School as a future operating elementary school. Other school options were presented during the Working Draft presentation of the Sector Plan to the Planning Board on May 21, 2015.

Finally, the initial Planning Board work session examined modifications to the density averaging rules relating to sites in the Plan area. This planning tool allows square footage to be sent from one site to another site in the Plan area to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and promote affordable housing.

Future Planning Board Work Sessions
Planners are summarizing all public testimony received from the June 24 public hearing through July 2, when the public record for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan closed.  Based on this testimony, they are preparing recommendations for review by the Planning Board at the September and October work sessions. The fall work sessions will include a district-by-district zoning review of Downtown Bethesda, as well as analysis of proposed parks and open spaces, high performance areas and affordable housing.

All work sessions will be held at the Montgomery County Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910). The four remaining sessions are scheduled for September 17, October 5, October 22 and November 12.

At the conclusion of this series, the Planning Board’s recommendations will be incorporated into the Draft of the Sector Plan and sent to the County Council for additional work sessions and approval. Final Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.

Background on the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan
Launched in 2014, the new Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations are a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to make Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally.

Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

View the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft.

For questions or comments about the Bethesda plan, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Jun 25 15

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Updates

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover
Public record remains open for one more week, community invited to continue to give feedback on plan

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission would like to remind Bethesda residents and business owners that the public record will remain open until Thursday, July 2 for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Written or emailed testimony can be sent to bethesdadowntownplan@montgomeryplanning.org. These comments will become part of the public testimony and public record for the Plan.

View the Bethesda Downtown Plan Public Hearing Draft.

View the May 21 Bethesda Downtown Plan Board presentation.

The Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing was held on Wednesday, June 24 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. The Planning Board was pleased to offer the public hearing in a community setting. During the session, 120 residents, business owners and developers presented their testimony to Board. The event was streamed live on the Planning Department’s live streaming channel, a first for the organization and part of the effort to provide more accessibility to the master and sector planning process.

The new Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations are a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to make Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally.

Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work began in January 2014 on the Working Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

Next steps for the plan include the Planning Board’s review of staff’s recommendations during the work sessions throughout the summer and early fall 2015 before being sent to the Council for additional work sessions and approval. Final Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.

Learn more about the planning process for the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

For questions or comments about the Working Draft, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

May 22 15

Planning Board Schedules June 24 Public Hearing for Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover

Public invited to testify on Public Hearing Draft at B-CC Regional Services Center from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, approved the Staff Draft as the Public Hearing Draft for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, May 21. The Board’s public hearing about the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, when the community is invited to comment on the Plan’s recommendations.

The community is invited to sign up to testify on the Bethesda Downtown Plan at the Public Hearing on Wednesday, June 24 from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. and from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center located at 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814. Spaces are limited, so the public is encouraged to call 301.495.4605 or sign up to testify online http://www.montgomeryapps.org/planning_board/testify.asp

The public is also invited to submit online comments about the Bethesda Downtown Plan via email to bethesdadowntownplan@montgomeryplanning.org. These comments will become part of the public testimony and public record for the Plan.

In order to accommodate enough time for testimony, the Board approved the change in the normal Thursday Board meeting schedule for Wednesday, June 24, as well as for the public hearing to be held at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.

View the Bethesda Downtown Plan Public Hearing Draft.

View the May 21 Bethesda Downtown Plan Board presentation.

The new Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations are a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to make Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially, and environmentally. Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work on the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan began in January 2014. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

After the Board’s public hearing in June, the plan will be revised through work sessions with the Planning Board during the summer and early Fall 2015 before being sent to the Council for additional worksessions and approval. Final Council action is anticipated in the spring of 2016.

Learn more about the planning process for the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

For questions or comments about the Staff Draft, please email bethesdadownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Jan 21 15

Bethesda Downtown Plan Concepts To Be Discussed at January 22 Happy Hour and January 29 Public Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda logo

Planners seek community feedback on ideas for civic spaces, transportation options, building heights and environmental practices.

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, invites stakeholders and residents to learn more about the ongoing Bethesda Downtown Plan at a happy hour on January 22 and a public meeting on January 29.

Planners will discuss the latest developments in the Bethesda Downtown Plan at the informal happy hour that is being sponsored by SK&I Architectural Design Group (4600 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD) from 5 to 8:00 p.m. Anyone who wants to learn more about the plan and the planning process are welcome to attend. The staff will be happy to answer questions from the audience and look forward to a relaxed conversation about Bethesda’s future.

For more on the ideas being proposed, consult the slide presentation, Bethesda Downtown Plan Concepts: Planning Board Briefing 12.11.14, and watch the video of the presentation to the Planning Board.

A more formal public meeting will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814). This is a drop-in question and answer session for the community to learn about and weigh in on ideas presented at the Planning Board briefing on December 11, 2014.

RSVP for the meeting on Thursday, January 29.

The concepts proposed for the Bethesda Downtown Plan include:

-New civic gathering spaces and green amenities.
-Transportation options, including bike paths and Purple Line access.
-Pedestrian networks and street extensions.
-Proposed allowable building heights.
-Transitional areas next to residential neighborhoods.
-Focal areas of sustainability incorporating best environmental practices.

After the January public events, planners will complete the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Plan by April 2015. They will present the Staff Draft to the public later in the spring to receive more feedback and fine-tune the plan.

Questions, comments?
Email: bethesdadowntownplan@montgomeryplanning.org