County Council Approves Lyttonsville Development Plan

Council member Marc Elrich issues only vote against visioning document for historic Silver Spring community


Montgomery County Planning Board

The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday approved the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan, a growth vision for a small, historic community in western Silver Spring.

The sector plan would allow the construction of 3,749 multifamily units and 132 townhomes in the community that will accommodate two stops on the light-rail Purple Line, which will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton. Construction on the line has been delayed because of a lawsuit making its way through federal court.

The council passed the plan by an 8-1 vote, with council member Marc Elrich lodging the only dissenting vote. He issued a statement explaining his decision, saying he believed it would erode affordable housing opportunities in Lyttonsville, a neighborhood founded by a freed slave in the 1850s.

“As properties redevelop to the new densities allowed in the plan, we will lose a significant number of these units, with many of the larger units replaced with efficiency and one-bedroom units renting at much higher monthly rates,” he said in a prepared statement.

The sector plan calls for walkable streets, roadway improvements and public spaces filled with art. It also seeks to prioritize bicyclists and pedestrians in transportation planning.

Council members debated ways of incorporating smart growth principles into the community while retaining its historic character.

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