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Council debates B-CC expansion plan

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ROCKVILLE – While the proposed Downtown Bethesda Sector Plan would expand density in Bethesda, one thing it could also expand is Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

On Monday the County Council Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee discussed buying or leasing property next to B-CC as way to find more space for the school’s increasing demands.

The council discussed several options from buying the office building located on 4401-4421 East West Highway next to B-CC in order to expand the school’s athletic fields and to leasing room from nearby office buildings to compensate for overcrowding.

“B-CC High School is the single hardest issue to for us to tackle in this,” said Council President Roger Berliner (D-1), who represents Bethesda. “Everything else seems to have a plausible answer, we don’t know what precisely what the answer is but B-CC High School – it’s a problem.”

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Council considers Bethesda area green space

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One of the key issues for the future of Bethesda is debate between more parks or more parking.

Last week, the County Council Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee discussed one of the most debated issues of the proposed Downtown Bethesda Sector plan – green space versus room for parking.

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Bethesda Attorney Inspired to Give Back Every Day

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February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM)

GJK photoGary Jay Kushner. COURTESY PHOTO  

Gary Jay Kushner remembers growing up in a home with a Jewish National Fund (JNF) Blue Box always being present. But it was an unforgettable trip to Israel in 2010 on JNF’s Culinary and Wine Tour that forever changed his life and view of Israel. “My wife Gail and I went on this trip with JNF because it looked like a great way to see Israel,” said Kushner. After visiting several JNF partner projects, especially the Be’er Sheva River Park, a 1,300-acre urban renewal project that’s rehabilitated the city into a vibrant and desirable place to live, Kushner wanted to get involved. “After that visit, Gail and I decided to make our first pledge,” Kushner said.

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Bethesda business hosts ‘A Toast to Art’ showcase

BETHESDA — Two entrepreneurs held an open house art exhibit in their own Bethesda office entitled “A Toast to Art” on Tuesday.

Sean Saidi and Sabine Roy helm Saidi-Roy Associates, or SR/A, a private business that is partly architectural and partly interior design.

SR/A is contracted to design new multifamily homes and renovate old ones in the area. Saidi and Roy’s art exhibit showcases local work from artists they know personally.

“We talk to local artists to help Bethesda because there’s not enough exhibits, and the ones available are very expensive,” said Saidi.

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Council will take up minimum wage, budget following break

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Just six days after their counterparts in Annapolis begin the legislative session for the state General Assembly, the Council returns to tackle priority issues for the County, including transportation, education and the economy.

On the agenda for the Council will be the County Budget, minimum wage and sector plans for Bethesda.

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Council hears objection to subsidizing Marriott International Headquarters

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ROCKVILLE – After Marriott executives announced they would keeping their International Headquarters in the County and would move to downtown Bethesda, County Council members said they are considering spending $11 million to help fund the project.

Money for the project would come from the recently passed recordation tax premium and would be designated for planning, infrastructure design and construction cost for Marriott’s newly proposed $500 million in downtown Bethesda, according to County Executive Ike Leggett.

“Regrettably this is a fundamental tenet of economic development these days, so these issues come up, people could say that about just about everything we do, ‘You shouldn't do this, you should do something else.’ But I think the council is united in cutting the deal with Marriott and it’s great to have the partnership of the state here,” said Council member Nancy Floreen (D-At large).

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Residents unhappy in Bethesda

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ROCKVILLE – Last week, local residents criticized the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan while developers praised it.

The County Council listened as about 100 people testified at three separate two-hour evening hearings, as they gave their thoughts on the newly proposed plan to allow for more development and growth in downtown Bethesda, expanding its economic activity, affordable housing and density.

Some residents critical of the proposed plan said allowing Bethesda to expand will put further strain on schools and roads that can barely fit to accommodate heavy traffic and building heights that would transform parts of Bethesda from suburban to urban.

“We want to have a livable community where you can take your kid to soccer practice without being stuck in gridlock traffic, where it's safe to walk to school, where there are green spaces enjoy, where towering buildings aren’t casting long shadows on neighboring residents,” said Alison MacFarlane, who asked the council to reject the plan.

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The Small Press Expo returns to Bethesda

 

SPXPO-1aComic book artists and writers gathered at the Small Press Expo in the Bethesda Marriott and Conference Center. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

BETHESDA – The Bethesda Marriott Hotel hosted the Small Press Expo (SPX), the biggest indie comic event in the nation, where both small-time comic book artists and big-name novelists gathered together to meet fans.

“This is our first time [here] so I’m really excited,” said Linnea Kataja, a student at the School of Visual Arts. “It’s great for [our school] to have a table here so students can have a chance to sell their art and get exposure.”

“(SPX) wants people who have never tabled before or just starting out because some of those people will be big names in the future,” said Tony Breed, the author of the comic strip “Finn and Charlie are Hitched.”

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Dabney set to retire from Bethesda Urban Partnership post

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Dave Dabney profile pic 8-17-16Retiring BUP Executive Director Dave Dabney.

When Dave Dabney steps down as executive director of the Bethesda Urban Partnership, it’s the long-time relationships he’ll miss the most.

First assuming the position in 1999, the 69-year-old BUP head will retire in November, leaving behind 35 full-time employees and beginning his retirement with his wife Janet in Bethany Beach, Del.

“I’m going to miss the people,” Dabney said. “I enjoy every single day going to work. I’m a people-pleaser at heart, and it’s just been a joy and an honor to have been given this opportunity that I grew up in.”

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