The Citizens Coordinating Committee on Friendship Heights, Inc. (CCCFH) is a non-profit organization and a coalition of local community organizations representing neighborhoods located along Wisconsin Avenue, River Road and Massachusetts Avenue, near its border with the District of Columbia.
Originally comprised of approximately 10 neighborhood groups, the CCCFH was formed in 1971 in anticipation of Montgomery County’s revision of the Friendship Heights Sector Plan, and specifically in response to the proposal to “Manhattan-ize” the area – a term the group coined.
The group, which has met monthly since its founding, managed to get its members appointed to all of the residential positions on the Citizens Advisory Committee that assisted in the drafting of that Sector Plan revision. CCCFH members also helped to establish the standards for the Central Business District (CBD) zoning category, first used in the 1974 Friendship Heights Plan. That 1974 Plan was also the first master plan revision in Montgomery County to include the down zoning of certain properties to decrease the density of development allowed. The CCCFH joined with the government in winning a landmark State Court of Appeals decision that confirmed the county’s authority to down zone.
Membership in the CCCFH had grown to include about a dozen groups by 1990, when this umbrella organization participated in the next revision of the Friendship Heights Sector Plan. The CCCFH managed to keep the emphasis of this master plan revision on housing, rather than retail development, and helped secure the inclusion of the Wisconsin Place Community Center and a local park as public amenities in exchange for redevelopment of certain parcels on land in the area.
Over the years, CCCFH members have helped to advance issues with countywide impact, such as legislation to:
- Tighten storm water management requirements;
- Reduce the impact of mansionization on adjacent homeowners; and
- Place parking restrictions on those engaged in at-home occupations.
The CCCFH has also prevailed in a Clean Water Act enforcement suit in court that required WMATA to stop leaking oil from its garage into Little Falls Creek. CCCFH members participated on the advisory group that studied the redevelopment possibilities along the MD-355/I-270 Technology Corridor and on the Zoning Advisory Panel (ZAP), which contributed to the rewrite of the county Zoning Code, which was adopted by the Council in 2014.
CCCFH delegates and officers have gone on to serve on the county Board of Appeals (former board member Donna Barron and past chair, Allison Fultz), the Montgomery County Planning Board (Pat Baptiste, Betty Ann Krahnke and Meredith Wellington), and the County Council (Betty Ann Krahnke).
In 2008 the Montgomery County Civic Federation awarded the CCCFH the Sentinel Award in recognition of the group’s “significant contributions to good government at the local level.”
Currently comprised of 19 neighborhood associations and towns, the CCCFH is vigilant in defending the section of Wisconsin Avenue between Friendship Heights and Bethesda, known as “the green mile,” against commercial intrusions. The CCCFH is alert and concerned about commercial encroachment on its communities south of Bradley Boulevard and has been active in the county’s revision of the Westbard Sector Plan for the area along River Road and Westbard Avenue. The CCCFH participated in all stages of the Westbard Sector Plan process, consistently arguing for less density and improvement of the Willett Branch.