Community to weigh in on Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan
Workshop on 380 acres along Connecticut Avenue is Saturday
Chevy Chase residents will play an active role in devising plans for development along a stretch of Connecticut Avenue, Montgomery County planners said.
Residents will be asked to share at a community design workshop what they would like to see in the redevelopment of a Chevy Chase Lake, a 380-acre area along Connecticut Avenue, south of Jones Bridge Road, that planners envision as a town center for Chevy Chase.
"We're not sitting here behind our walls and telling the community what they have to have," said Valerie Berton, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County's planning department. "They're the ones who live there they know it best and we want to hear from them."
The area consists primarily of commercial and residential property, as well as North Chevy Chase Elementary School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The area will likely be rezoned under the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, as part of an effort to examine land use of areas near proposed Purple Line stations.
At the workshop, which will be held in hourlong sessions throughout the day, residents will be asked to look at pictures of town centers that represent a variety of designs and to complete questionnaires about what characteristics of each they like or dislike. Cleveland Park, in Washington, D.C., and Virginia's Old Town Alexandria and Reston Town Center will be among the town centers included.
"I feel like the planning staff is really working to mesh the concerns and the opportunities residents see as well as what the land owners are hoping for," said Patricia Burda, a Town of Chevy Chase board member who also serves on the Connecticut Avenue Corridor Committee, a recently formed group of Chevy Chase communities. "We're pleased to see it doesn't seem to be a developer-driven project."
Burda said she thinks community concerns have been taken less seriously than business desires during other recent development plans, such as Friendship Heights, a project by the same company that owns a majority of the commercial property in Chevy Chase Lake, the Chevy Chase Land Co.
The land company has reached out to residents about the sector plan, Burda said.
The workshop comes two months after the land company and the area's two other major property owners The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute presented their vision for the neighborhood.
The land company's presentation showed a combination of neighborhood retail, restaurants and housing with a street grid design.
For the land company, that vision is a development residents will be proud to include in their community, said the company's president, David M. Smith. He said he has been meeting with as many neighborhood organizations as possible.
"My door is open," he said. "I want to hear from the community groups, the neighbors even if it's something you don't want, I want to hear about it."