Montgomery County Zoning Proposals
October 22, 2013-- The Town held an informational meeting on Tuesday, October 22 hosted by the Town's Long-Range Planning and Land Use Committees. Former County Planning Board member and Chevy Chase resident Meredith Wellington led the discussion on possible implications for Chevy Chase and Bethesda. An informational handout was distributed to attendees, outlining the potential impacts.
May 20, 2013-- Recent Town testimony at the May 20 public hearing on proposed County zoning changes expressed concern that new mixed-used commercial/residential zones (CR zones) would allow far higher density development in areas close to transit without adequate opportunities for community input or sufficient infrastructure to support the level of growth.
Town testimony cautions that the CR zones “would materially alter and potentially cause irreparable harm to our town and other similar existing single family residential neighborhoods in the county.” “While we welcome additional growth,” the testimony states, “it is critical that it occur in a manner that maintains both neighborhood diversity and the public infrastructure critical to supporting such growth. Growth near transit facilities isn’t smart growth if it increases congestion on already overcrowded roads, overburdens schools and other public facilities, and eliminates transitional areas between residential and high-density neighborhoods.”
Regarding development near transit, the Town warns of the consequences of treating planned but unfunded transit stations the same as existing ones, as proposed in the amendment. The testimony also expresses concern about proposed shortcuts in the planning process. By allowing many projects to proceed “by right,” rather than with review, it noted, “the proposed CR zones would result in greater conflict between communities and developers, while eliminating a critical role the development process plays in helping to reconcile these conflicts.”
Steve Seidel, co-chair of the Long-Range Planning Committee, drafted the Town testimony. The committee has been following development of the proposed amendment, a prelude to the County’s full rewriting of existing zoning.