Montgomery County Council passes Chevy Chase Lake plan -- Gazette.Net


The Montgomery County Council approved the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan on Tuesday, delaying some of the development until construction on the Purple Line begins.

The County Council added a “trigger” to the plan to prevent development from taking place without the controversial 16-mile light rail which eventually will run through the area.

The council could have chosen to make the full funding of the light rail a trigger, said Marlene Michaelson, a senior legislative analyst with the county. That is the criteria most commonly used by the county.

But council member Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda said he wanted to “align construction of stage II with the completion of the Purple Line,” and introduced an amendment to that effect.

Construction on that stretch of the Purple Line will take between four and five years and the light rail is scheduled to be up and running by 2020.

“Once construction of the Purple Line between Bethesda to Silver Spring has started,” are the words Berliner used that will serve as the trigger for development in stage II to begin.

That amendment passed unanimously.

The Chevy Chase Lake plan covers a portion of Connecticut Avenue between Jones Bridge Road and East West Highway. The development will contribute a net $4.2 million a year to the county, according Montgomery County documents.

Phase I of the sector plan, which could go forward at any point now, includes three projects — the Chevy Chase Lake East Shopping Center, which had prior approval, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which is allowed under an exception for charitable and philanthropic projects.

The third is the Housing Opportunities Commission property on Chevy Chase Lake Drive, which also made it into the first phase, as it will provide affordable housing by way of 45 “moderately priced dwelling units” and 30 workforce housing units.

Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large) of Takoma Park was the only council member who voted against the plan.

Tuesday’s council approval means that developers in phase one now are clear to move forward with individual development plans.