In the many meetings we have had with community groups and other stakeholders, some common questions arise. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Who owns the property in the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan?
The three primary property owners in the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan are The Chevy Chase Land Company, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) of Montgomery County. The Land Company owns the property immediately surrounding the proposed Purple Line station.
Why did the Planning Board take up the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan?
Areas like Chevy Chase Lake are periodically reviewed by the Montgomery County Planning Board, an independent regulatory body that is part of the Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission (MNCPPC). The Planning Board reviews existing plans to ensure the land is being used in a manner that promotes current county objectives regarding housing, transit, and economic development. Over the last few years, the Planning Board has been evaluating all of the Purple Line station area sector and master plans. Currently, planners are reviewing the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan, which includes two planned Purple Line stations.
Who makes decisions regarding the sector plan?
Montgomery County is divided into master planning areas. Each planning area is reviewed once every 20 years or so by the Planning Board, which has responsibility for drafting master plans, reviewing and approving development applications, and other duties related to land use. Planning staff hold open meetings to obtain community input before submitting a staff draft to the Planning Board, which then holds a formal public hearing before making any changes to or ruling on the plan. Once the Planning Board approves a draft plan, it is transmitted to the County Executive for comment, and then to the County Council for final review and approval. The Council holds another public hearing and then the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) committee holds worksessions before submitting its recommendations to the full Council for final approval. To proceed with redevelopment under the newly approved master plan, property owners must submit sketch and site plans to the Planning Board for approval. This development process includes additional opportunities for formal public input.
How can I learn more about the Approved and Adopted 2013 Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan?
On July 30, 2013, the Montgomery County Council approved the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, which recommended rezoning about 65 acres to allow for compact, mixed-use redevelopment of commercial and multi-family properties in the area around the planned Connecticut Avenue Purple Line station. On March 11, 2014, the Council amended the zoning map consistent with the Sector Plan recommendations.
To learn more about the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, click here.
Will redevelopment occur without the Purple Line?
The approved and adopted Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan allows certain properties to move forward before the Purple Line is under construction, including those 1) with an existing approval; 2) that are devoted primarily to charitable and philanthropic uses; or 3) that provide an extraordinary amount of affordable housing. The Chevy Chase Lake East shopping center, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the HOC-owned Chevy Chase Lake apartments meet these requirements and are eligible to move forward with the redevelopment process at any time. The rest of the rezoned properties in the area, including the Newdale Mews Apartments, the Chevy Chase Lake West shopping center, and the office building at 8401 Connecticut Avenue may not move forward with redevelopment until the Purple Line is under construction.
What is the status of the Purple Line?
In September 2013, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Purple Line project, and shortly thereafter recommended the project for funding under the “New Starts” program, which funds local transit projects around the country.
The Maryland Transit Administration expects to begin construction in 2015, with completion by 2020. For more information on the Purple Line, including schedule updates, visit the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line website.
The Land Company supports the construction of the Purple Line on the Georgetown Branch right of way, because of its economic and environmental benefits. The County and the State have recognized these benefits and made the Purple Line a priority.
How tall will the buildings be? How much density will there be?
The sector plan recommends maximum building heights of 70 feet in the “town center” area along Connecticut Avenue, except for the two buildings just north and south of the future Purple Line station on the east side of Connecticut Avenue. The maximum height for the building just north of the Purple Line is limited to 120 feet in height, and the building just south (where the Land Company’s current office building stands) is limited to 150 feet.
To put these height recommendations in context, the existing office building at 8401 Connecticut Avenue just south of the Purple Line station is already 150 feet tall, and another nearby building is 170 feet tall.
If the Purple Line is funded and the properties in the sector plan redevelop to the maximum allowable density, there would be an additional 1,300 residential units and about a total of 500,000 square feet of office and retail space in the Chevy Chase Lake sector plan area.
How long is the plan’s time line? When will the first redevelopment occur?
Like all master plans, the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan sets forth a vision for the area’s redevelopment over the next 20-30 years. We anticipate proceeding with the redevelopment of the Chevy Chase Lake East Shopping Center in the next few years, but of course this is difficult to predict with certainty because it depends on market conditions. Further post-Purple Line development will likely take much longer.
What will the redevelopment do to traffic?
At the direction of the Planning Board, the Land Company conducted a transportation analysis which showed that the redevelopment of the Lake East Shopping Center as a mixed-use residential community would generate less traffic than would our approved preliminary plan for a retail/office strip center. For this reason, the Planning Board and the Council recommended that the preliminary plan be converted into an approval for a mixed-use development instead, and allowed it to move forward before the Purple Line is under construction.
Post-Purple Line development can also be accommodated with certain infrastructure improvements that will improve traffic flow, including the planned and funded intersection improvements at Jones Bridge Road and Connecticut Avenue.
Most of the existing congestion on Connecticut Avenue results from pass-through traffic rather than internal trips generated into or out of Chevy Chase Lake. As Council Staff pointed out in this March 18, 2013 memo, the proposed new development will actually contribute very little additional traffic to the area.
It is also important to note that before any post-Purple Line development receives final approval for construction, it must satisfy additional traffic tests under the County’s Subdivision Staging Policy.
What will happen to the Capital Crescent Trail?
The trail will be built alongside the Purple Line, and will be a minimum of 12 feet wide. In certain areas where sufficient right of way is available, the trail will be 16 feet wide with an additional buffer between the rail and trail. Both the trail and the light rail will be elevated over Connecticut Avenue.
What businesses are coming to Chevy Chase Lake? Any new restaurants?
It’s too early to say what specific retailers or restaurants are coming, but a redeveloped Chevy Chase Lake will certainly include new neighborhood shops and dining options in a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment. In addition, the project will include a grocery store.
What new amenities will come with the plan?
As part of the redevelopment of the Chevy Chase Lake East shopping center, we plan to include a 1/2 acre central park that will function as a community gathering space. We are working on designs for a vibrant and inviting park that includes green space, trees, and seating areas.
In addition, when we redevelop the Chevy Chase Lake East shopping center, we will construct the northern section of a new road connection between Manor Road and Chevy Chase Lake Drive. The Housing Opportunities Commission and its development partner, EYA, will construct the southern section of the road as part of their redevelopment of the Chevy Chase Lake Apartments. This new road connection will help complete a functioning street grid in Chevy Chase Lake and provide a crucial alternative access route for residents who live along Chevy Chase Lake Drive.
Because we’re committed to encouraging sustainable transportation alternatives, including transit, bicycling, and walking, we’re also planning to install a Capital Bikeshare station in Chevy Chase Lake in advance of any redevelopment.
We are interested in hearing about other amenities that may be important to you. On the front page of this site you’ll see a link to provide feedback. Please take a moment and send us your thoughts.