The Montgomery County Council discussed height increases to the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan in a work session Tuesday.
Grosvenor-Strathmore Master Plan would allow for increased development around the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stop in North Bethesda. The council made no final decision on Tuesday during their work session, instead focusing on proposed height changes that planner increased to allow for more development.
“It’s always challenging when we try to maximize the potential at a Metro station because those who have lived there for some time worry that there may be disruption in their lifestyle or their view-shed or the landscape they’ve become accustomed to,” said Council member George Leventhal (D-at large). “But it’s also very important that we do look ahead to a future where we maximize the number of people who live at mass-transit in the hope that we do not foster sprawl or develop our Ag-reserve.”
During the plan’s public hearing, some residents testified they worried about the plan’s increased density in a residential area, while some agreed with the County’s effort to increase development around a Metro station.
The Grosvenor-Strathmore Master plan is part of the County’s effort to encourage new development around mass-transit stops in hopes that residents will opt to commute via the Metro rather than take their cars to work.
Council President Roger Berliner said the increased development around the Grosvenor-Strathmore station would help increase Metro ridership and help relieve a financial burden for the transit agency.
“What could be more helpful to Metro than having this kind of density right on top of its station,” Berliner said.
Staff from the planning board originally recommended increased development of 2.5 floor area ratio and 260 feet of building height but decided to increase its recommendation to 3.0 floor area ratio and 300 feet in height.
Maren Hill, a senior planner with the Montgomery County Department of Planning said the increases in the planning board recommendation are after the several studies that showed that only five percent of land within a half mile of Metro station is still able to be developed making the need to use land around the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stop critical.
“This is a very scarce resource,” said Hill of land around Metro stops.
The Council will vote on the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan during their Dec. 5 meeting.