The next CCCFH meeting is scheduled for February 15. A special meeting that had been slated for January 25 was cancelled.
On Westbard, while not yet formally changed, the February 9 Planning Board hearing date on Equity One’s sketch plan is expected to be moved back. A likely new date is Feb 23.
On the Bethesda downtown plan, the PHED committee held its first session yesterday. Chair Floreen said that they did not yet have a schedule for the remaining sessions and as of this morning there was not one. This plan is very complex and they have some work to do. For example, the Planning Board draft plan contains soaring heights and a novel approach to allocating density, and relies on unspecified design guidelines. Fire and rescue facilities are compromised by on-site mixed-use development. The proposed zoning of areas near the edges of the plan boundaries is incompatible with nearby residential neighborhoods and needs to be scaled back and modified. There are inadequate parks and public open space for the planned population. The transportation system – roads and mass transit – is already stretched and could become increasingly inadequate. The Planning Board studies on traffic are 2 years old. After they were prepared and only several months ago, the Council adopted a new Subdivision Staging Policy. The Council will look at traffic using the new policy, as well as some work that U Maryland did for citizens. School overcrowding without clear and viable plans to accommodate rising enrollment is another significant issue