Planning Board To Vote Next Week on ZOM Apartment Project in Bethesda

Project would overhaul block of Arlington Road


Published:

Rendering of proposed apartments along Arlington Road in Bethesda.

VIA ZOM LIVING

The county planning board next week is scheduled to consider plans to build an apartment across the 7500 block of Arlington Road in Bethesda.

The developer is asking for permission to construct a six-story complex with up to 235 homes across an assemblage of eight properties. The community, ZOM Bethesda, would replace a series of older single-family homes that are being used as professional offices.

The proposal submitted by ZMA Development LLC requests approval to build up to 257,675 square feet. Constructing a building of that size would require drawing about 172,700 square feet from the bank of development density created earlier this year by the Bethesda Overlay Zone.

Inside the zone covering downtown Bethesda, developers can increase the square footage allowed on their properties by buying additional density from the county. The funds will be used to pay for creating new parks in Bethesda.

The ZOM plans call for building underground parking a paved walking path that connects Moorland and Edgemoor lanes.

The apartment complex as planned would have a fitness area and a rooftop pool, according to the ZOM website. The building is limited to 60 feet in height and is envisioned as a transition between the high-rises near Wisconsin and Woodmont avenues and the Edgemoor community, the site stated.

The developer wanted to increase the height cap to 75 feet, but the Edgemoor Citizens Association opposed the request. The association was satisfied with the project by the time the developer filed a sketch plan application, and the planning board has heard from nearby residents excited about ZOM Bethesda.

“I find that the building’s design is tastefully done, and will appropriately blend in with the taller commercial buildings on the east side of Arlington Road,” Jeff Chyatte, who lives a few blocks from the project, wrote to the board. “The proposed enhancements to make the landscaping and sidewalks more pedestrian-friendly are also much needed, and will be a major benefit to both residents and visitors of the site.”

Chyatte, a sculptor, also praised the developer’s plan to set up public art around the project.

ZOM Bethesda is also the first project to be reviewed by the newly assembled Bethesda Downtown Design Advisory Panel. The panel said the project design was “headed in a positive direction,” but suggested that more distinction between the north and south sections of the building could create interest along the building’s long Arlington Road stretch.

The planning board is set to review the proposal Nov. 30.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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