Groups Representing 10,000 Bethesda-Area Homes Co-Sign Letter Objecting to Aspects of Downtown Plan

Letter offers County Council members recommendations to limit school overcrowding, congestion


Cover page of the Bethesda Downtown Plan

Via Montgomery County Planning Board

A coalition of community groups and mayors representing 10,000 Bethesda-area homes have co-authored a letter documenting perceived flaws in the proposed Bethesda Downtown Plan and offering a range of possible solutions.

The 10-page letter addressed to Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner details concerns about the school overcrowding, neighborhood disruption and traffic congestion that could result from the plan, a visioning document intended to guide downtown development in coming decades. The message organized by the Coalition of Bethesda Area Residents also suggests ways of avoiding these problems.

“We’re not saying, ‘No,’ ” CBAR founder Mary Flynn said. “We tried very hard to be constructive, to be reasonable. What we’re trying to do is make sure that the community well-being and welfare is incorporated into the plan.”

The 168-page plan addresses a wide sweep of land use guidelines like building heights, the location of parks and transportation infrastructure. The first county council committee work session on the plan is scheduled for Monday.

The viewpoints described in the letter to Berliner reflected the consensus of more than a dozen community groups along with municipal officials including Chevy Chase Mayor Scott Fosler and Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin. The organizers also secured an endorsement from life members of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.

Coalition members held numerous meetings to hammer out their differences and arrive at a common perspective on the downtown plan, said Flynn, who’s also a council member for the Town of Chevy Chase.

The groups are advocating for: Phasing in development over time and conducting periodic assessments of the community impact, focusing tall structures near transportation hubs and limiting building height near existing homes, converting county-owned surface parking lots into parks, using updated school enrollment projections and rejecting mixed-use zoning for fire and rescue facilities.

“We are confident that with these changes, the Plan will achieve its stated goal of a vibrant, diverse and economically thriving Bethesda, providing enhanced quality of life for current and future residents throughout the area,” the letter stated.

Berliner on Wednesday said he shared some of the overarching concerns expressed by the Bethesda groups and predicted the council will change the plan version approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board. For example, it’s crucial to achieve smooth transitions between downtown areas with tall buildings and residential neighborhoods, he said. 

“It does call on us to be more sensitive than I believe the planning board was to getting the edges right,” he said.

Flynn hand-delivered the letter and an attached spreadsheet with listed recommendations to council members and the county executive Tuesday afternoon. She said her group now intends to hold one-on-one meetings with council members.

CBAR sent a revised copy of the letter on Wednesday evening. The attached letter reflects the updates.

Cbar - Bdp Joint Letter to Council - Corrected by Bethany Rodgers on Scribd

Back to Bethesda Beat

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Police Blotter: Burglars Swipe TV from Apartment, Hit Another Car While Driving Away; Girl with Knife at Wootton High School Arrested

Crimes reported to Montgomery County and Rockville police from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

School Notes: County Executive, MCPS Leaders Kick-Off Suicide and Drug Abuse Prevention Campaign

Plus: Montgomery College seeks candidates for trustees board; council candidate to hold schools forum

Pepco Granted Partial Rate Increase Again; Residential Power Bills To Increase

Average customer’s bill will rise about $4 per month immediately

Planning Board Approves Adding Apartments, Five Stories to Guardian Building in Silver Spring

Officials say project is a way to reinvent struggling office complex
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored Content

Wireless Telecommunication Community Meeting

Join Montgomery County on Monday, October 23, in Rockville to discuss proposed zoning changes to address deployment of microtowers and small cell antennas.

Interested in Learning More About the Democratic Candidates for County Executive?

Join The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce and Bethesda Beat as we host a debate featuring the Democratic Candidates for County Executive on November 15. Click to get your free tickets.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »

New Construction

Potomac, $1,999,999

Remodeled Colonial

Potomac, $1,075,000

Classic Chevy Chase Colonial

Chevy Chase, $1,319,000

Stunning Updated Tudor

Bethesda, $1,529,000

Transformed Colonial

North Bethesda, $1,295,000
Edit Module


Your Guides to Leading
Local Professionals

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit Module