Monday, May 04, 2015
Part of this stems from the number of agencies who are represented on the DRC, which has members from utilities like WSSC and Pepco, the Maryland State Highway Administration, and county departments like Public Works and Transportation, Permitting Services and Environmental Protection. Addressing concerns from all of those agencies at once can be a complicated task.
The requested extensions are all 2.5 months, pushing the deadline back to July 30, 2015. Planning staff are recommending approval of the request. That request will be taken up by the Planning Board at its May 14 meeting.
Renderings via EYA/Montgomery County
Planning Department, All rights reserved
Douglas Development's accommodations to BRT right-of-way issues are contained in a letter from their attorney, Emily Vaias of Linowes and Blocher, LLP, to Montgomery County Planning Director Gwen Wright. In it, Douglas proposes to dedicate 13.5' of its property frontage on Wisconsin Avenue to allow the creation of the 122' right-of-way demanded by the BRT plan between Chestnut Street and Bethesda Avenue.
Douglas will also cede another 10' easement to the Maryland State Highway Administration on the Wisconsin side, to facilitate the Cordell Avenue BRT station, should it be built in the future. In exchange, the SHA would allow Douglas to extend its parking garage east underneath that SHA easement, and extend air rights over part of the easement at a 15' clearance. In other words, the underground garage would not have to shrink, and the building could bump out beyond its ground level footprint, accommodating pedestrians and BRT facilities underneath that overhang.
Also in exchange for these concessions, Douglas is asking to be exempted from a proposed truncation of its property at the corner of Cordell and Wisconsin, which Vaias says would prevent construction of the project's "vibrant" lobby and entrance that would "help to illuminate and activate the streetscape." She also notes that the easements being provided by Douglas would provide ample sight lines at the intersection, and that the full truncation would be inconsistent with the urban character of the location.
Another tradeoff on the Woodmont Avenue side of the property would give the county a 20' easement to accommodate a future bike path and other streetscape improvements, while giving Douglas a 5' reduction in the currently required truncation of the property at the intersection of Woodmont and Cordell. Vaias writes that this exemption can be justified by the applicant's generous donation of easements for the BRT considerations on the Wisconsin side.
Finally, the proposed agreement would also let Douglas out of additional development restrictions the previous property owner had agreed to with the Planning Board in the past.
Vaias is requesting that the Planning Board review the proposed plan, as well as the already-submitted Project Plan itself, at its June 18 meeting.
While it's commendable that Douglas is accommodating the County's plans, one has to wonder how the County believes a R.O.W. of this width between Chestnut and Bethesda Avenue is possible. It's true that many buildings along that stretch of Wisconsin are going to be torn down and redeveloped in the next decade. But what about those that aren't, and which jut out into the width of R.O.W. that will exist in front of 8008 (and potentially other properties, assuming those landowners come to similar terms with MoCo and the state - which isn't guaranteed)?
8200 Wisconsin, the Doubletree Hotel, Fairmont Plaza, Akridge's 7550 Wisconsin office building, Bethesda Place, the Apex Building, and several other properties aren't going anywhere for many decades. On the east side, Chevy Chase Cars, Bethesda Crescent, and the Air Rights Building aren't either. And the historic Bethesda Theatre cannot be moved, no matter what - it's on the National Register of Historic Places.
|Draw a straight line from|
the proposed 8008 Wisconsin
building footprint south...
|...and you hit a lot of buildings|
that aren't being demolished in
even the distant future. Whoops!
Perhaps I've simply miscalculated, and there's some New Math solution to the problem after all. That still won't make the $5 billion BRT boondoggle, and the $300-$1000+-per-year BRT tax (at the 10% property tax rate hike suggested by County Executive Ike Leggett's Rapid Transit Task Force) Bethesda condo and home owners would pay to fund BRT each year, any more appealing to most residents.
8008 Wisconsin is a 14-story mixed-use project combining several properties, including the venerable surplus store and "beer house" along Wisconsin, Cordell and Woodmont Avenues. It will feature up to 140 apartments, including 15% affordable units (more than the required 12.5%), up to 4500 SF of non-residential uses (most of which will go to a restaurant space at the corner of Cordell and Woodmont), an underground garage, and public space.
The restaurant, with outdoor dining, should - along with the redevelopment of the parking lot next to Bruce Variety, and of JBG's land adjacent to Fairmont Plaza - help activate a currently dead block of Woodmont Avenue. Douglas is promising its lobby entrance and a zen garden will do the same on the Wisconsin side. The project sounds promising, so let's hope the Planning Board can get this moving forward.
[Top] Montgomery County
[Easements] Montgomery County Planning Department
[Maps] Google Maps
Sunday, May 03, 2015
Now that events are here, Equity One is roughly doubling the number being scheduled for this year compared to 2014. Here's the list of what's planned through October:
Drug arrest. Woodmont Avenue at Old Georgetown Road.
Burglary. 5100 block Wessling Lane at 7:58 AM.
Vehicle burglary. 7000 block Glenbrook Road.
Vehicle burglary. 4700 block Morgan Drive.
Theft. Stone Ridge School.
Assault. 4400 block Willard Avenue.
Theft. 5400 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Theft. 5300 block Western Avenue.
Burglary. 7100 block Darby Road at 2:28 PM.
Drug arrest. Walter Johnson High School.
|Palisades Eye Surgery's|
current home on Del Ray
Saturday, May 02, 2015
Theft. 7400 block Arlington Road.
Assault. 4700 block Elm Street at 1:52 AM.
Drug arrest. Bethesda Lane at Bethesda Avenue.
Theft. 4800 block Battery Lane.
Vehicle burglary. 4800 block Chevy Chase Boulevard (Chevy Chase West).
Theft. 9800 block Bristol Square Lane.
Burglary. 10300 block Dickens Avenue at 2:54 PM.
Cancer survivor and beneficiary of Lolly's Locks Susan Morales will be the guest of honor, and will speak. Light refreshments and beverages will be served, and there will also be a Laura Mercier makeup station. Shop until 9:00 PM, and 10% of your total purchase will go to Lolly's Locks.
You can RSVP online now.
Friday, May 01, 2015
Urban Country launches Spring Sale today with new Peter Jacob for Wesley Hall furniture line - #Bethesda #DC
|Peter Jacob for Wesley Hall|
Also featured during the Spring Sale are Lee Industries, C.R. Laine, Chaddock Home, Bernhardt, Lorts, Vanguard Furniture, Roberta Schilling, American Leather’s annual recliner sale with $250 off all purchases, and many other furniture brands.
The sale offers 30-40% off all furniture and upholstery including special orders, 20% off Pine Cone Hill bedding and Dash & Albert rugs, and 10% off Brown Jordan luxury outdoor furniture.
In contrast, Lucky Brand's existing store at Westfield Montgomery Mall is now walled over. Apparently, they must have felt their target audience could not sustain two stores that close together.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
On May 7, Cesco Osteria - the Italian restaurant whose Woodmont Avenue patio hosts Piazza Beer Garden, will be celebrating its 18th anniversary. They'll be serving a complimentary glass of prosecco and birthday cake to diners that day.
|Piazza Beer Garden partner Olivia Ricchi |
with Cesco Osteria owner and chef
Photos by Vithaya Phongsavan
Women in the DC area have one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the nation. Starting tonight, Westfield Montgomery Mall is launching its annual VIPink weekend to not only help educate women about cancer prevention, but to also raise money for that cause. That money will be raised through fitness and style events, and an advance screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron at ArcLight Cinemas.
Here's the schedule of events:
Tonight, Apr 30 6:30 p.m –8:30 p.m.:
VIPink Preview Party at ArcLight Cinemas catered by CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi Bar, MET Bethesda, & LOBSTER ME followed by private showing of “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
Saturday, May 2 at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.:
Exclusive Zengo cycling classes hosted in partnership with lululemon athletica
Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3:
Hair blowouts and make-up consultations in partnership with Eric Alexander Salon and Nordstrom
Sunday, May 3 between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.:
A series of special yoga classes hosted by lululemon athletica
Tickets for all of the events can be purchased online now. Proceeds will go to Bright Pink, to fund programs designed to prevent breast and ovarian cancer.
They have asked the project designers to utilize brick or "local Bethesda stone" on the building facade, particularly on the Rugby Avenue side of the building. Currently, the facade is proposed as concrete and CMU block (concrete blocks).
Other recommendations include creating a new sidewalk from Rugby Avenue to the public parking garage adjacent to the station site, and providing 4 short-term bicycle parking spaces in racks in front of the station.
Staff is recommending approval of the project, with recommendations. The Planning Board is currently scheduled to take up the station project at its May 7 meeting.
The station will be located at 4823 Rugby Avenue, and is being developed by StonebridgeCarras. In exchange, the developer will be able to redevelop the prime real estate of the current, aging police station at 7359 Wisconsin Avenue. That site is very close to the Bethesda Metro station (and is virtually on top of the station platform deep under Wisconsin Avenue).
Rendering courtesy Montgomery County Planning Department
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
2 downtown Bethesda assaults, car stolen in Spring Hill, Apple Store theft + more - Bethesda crime update
Assault. 7700 block Woodmont Avenue at 2:43 AM.
Assault. 4700 block Montgomery Lane at 1:13 AM.
Stolen car. 5300 block Falmouth Road at 10:24 AM (Spring Hill).
Theft. 7200 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Theft. Bethesda Row Apple Store at 5:02 PM.
Vehicle burglary. 5100 block Saratoga Avenue (Glen Cove).
Vehicle burglary. 4800 block Bayard Boulevard (Crestview).
Vehicle burglary. 4600 block Western Avenue (Crestview).
Theft. 10900 block Rockville Pike.
Assault. 11800 block Rockville Pike at 11:24 PM.
The Mazza Gallerie store is having a closing sale with "incredible prices," Pottery Barn said in its announcement. Customers are being directed to the home decor chain's Clarendon and Tysons locations between May 25 and the June grand opening in Bethesda.
Guapo's has pulled out the stops for Cinco de Mayo for the last several years, and they have another great one planned for this year. Once again, they will have what I think is a must for a Mexican holiday - a live mariachi band. For those preferring a more modern sound, they will also have a DJ in the evening. In addition, they'll have a tiki bar, food and bar specials, and prizes.
They've also got a rooftop deck, which is perfect for the spring weather.
Mexican restaurant and tequila bar.
Mexican restaurant, and home of the famous Swirl frozen margarita.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Disorderly conduct. Woodmont Avenue at Fairmont Avenue.
Liquor arrest. 4900 block Cordell Avenue.
Burglary. 5500 block Roosevelt Street at 12:11 PM.
Theft. 5300 block Western Avenue.
Assault. 5200 block Nicholson Lane at 9:47 PM (Pike District).
Vehicle burglary. 5100 block Nicholson Lane.
Theft. 5100 block Nicholson Lane.
Assault. 5700 block Grosvenor Lane at 11:17 AM.
Theft from vehicle. 5200 block Tuckerman Lane at 4:33 PM.
Bill 19-15 would ban month-to-month surcharges for tenants, require leases to contain "clear, understandable language," allow tenants to withdraw from a lease renewal within 2 days of signing it, require additional reporting of rent increase data, and create incentives for landlords to stay within the county's voluntary rent increase parameters.
In addition, the legislation would mandate annual inspection of 100% of rental apartments, rather than the 10% inspection requirement now. Buildings with a solid record of code compliance would be exempt from the increased inspections.
“I have long been interested in promoting strategies to preserve affordable housing and provide some security for renters,” Councilmember Elrich said in a press release. “These proposed reforms, annual inspections, standard lease, more flexible lease deadlines, better data collection and reporting, are first steps toward improving the quality of life for tenants, who now are about one-third of the county population.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Nancy Navarro (D - District 4) and Tom Hucker (D - District 5).
Photo via Montgomery County Council website