January Meeting Notes

Capitol Crescent Trail and the Purple Line

At a Planning Board meeting on the Apex building in early January, the Capitol Crescent Trail Tunnel below Wisconsin Ave came up – it also came up at a meeting on bicycle aspects of the Bethesda plan organized by Hans Riemer recently.  The Tunnel has not been funded to date because people don’t know what that will entail.  At Hans’ meeting, George Leventhal has said it will be funded.

Right now, the plan extends only to build a tunnel below the Apex building down to Woodmont Ave – it will be a 16-foot wide basic shell. The Apex building design assumes a great deal of bikers (as indicated by lots of bike storage).

Until the tunnel is resolved and built, the trail will have to be re-routed, with it crossing Wisconsin Ave.  Some alternatives are under consideration.  These include crossing at Jones Bridge Road, as East-West Highway has been deemed too dangerous for bikers, and crossing in the Town of Chevy Chase although the Town opposes having the trail simply re-routed through their streets.

Westbard

Background: Equity One originally submitted Sketch plan in June, then submitted an updated Sketch Plan in September – both had significant issues. They recently submitted a second amended plan. The planners had comments on it, and Equity One responded last night (Jan 17).

Under the current schedule, the Planning Board will take up the Sketch Plan on Feb 9 at the Planning Commission. They have 3 hours planned to discuss. It will be a push for the Staff Report to be completed by Jan 27, but they are going to push for it.

A call had been made to John Marcolin, who was unsure if there had been a decision on the cemetery.  At a pre-meeting to a Little Falls Watershed stakeholders group meeting with planning staff, an archaeologist came who has contacts with the organization that the church would prefer do the cemetery delineation. They think they can complete it by April. The idea would be that the sketch plan could be reviewed, but with a caveat that the cemetery delineation would need to be completed. An issue is that there is a proposed building on parcel 175, which some believe would be on the former cemetery area. The proposed building now has about 30 residential units (up from 8-12) because the Planning department wants “eyes on the creek”.  This building also has parking.

The plan seems to be fairly baked at the planners level with the exception of how big the building is behind HOC and the resolution of the possible graveyard. This seems basically done at the planners’ level – we may be able to make some changes with the Planning Board.

Rooftop Terraces – ZTA 16-17

The Planning Board voted against the ZTA proposed by Councilmember Elrich to count rooftop terraces as part of the building height.  Planning Staff has been against this in part because single family homes do not have this restriction and they seem to like rooftop terraces for owners of new units. The ZTA is drafted only to address rooftop terraces on townhouses in the CR and CRT zones.

The issue is in front of the County Council right now.

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