Planning Board Discusses Pooks Hill Apartment Proposal
A proposed apartment project at the Pooks Hill Marriott hotel site was already facing questions from the community about increased traffic and the project's true level of accessibility to two nearby Metro stations. Based on comments in a Thursday morning hearing on the zoning amendment that would allow the three high-rise buildings, at least one Planning Board commissioner might have similar concerns. County planners presented the Scope of Work for the Pooks Hill minor master plan amendment, a routine procedure to outline a schedule for the plan. Property owner CMG Bethesda Owner LLC wants to build the 20-story buildings on underused parking lots of the Marriott (5151 Pooks Hill Rd.), which planners say conforms to county planning strategies by developing on surface parking lots near transit stations. The Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station is about a mile to the north. The Medical Center station is 1.3 miles to the south. But pedestrian traffic to both stations would have to contend with the major Beltway, I-270 and Rockville Pike intersection. After the presentation, Planning Board Commissioner Casey Anderson said he would like to see more in the plan about ways to connect the prospective apartments with the Metro stations. "It's over a mile from each Metro. It's a weird sort of island," Anderson said. "I just say this now in the interest of trying to get a jump start on what I would be asking at worksessions. That would be my concern." Planners will hold an open house for the project kick-off on Nov. 13, and a community workshop in February or March of next year before presenting a staff draft to the Planning Board in April.