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Takoma Park examines plans for New Hampshire Ave.

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The City Council discussed potential plans for the New Hampshire Avenue Corridor to improve its aesthetic and the business potential.

March 7 was also one of the first public appearances of the new city planner, Daniel Sonenklar.

Various ideas, all in the brainstorming stage at this point, were put forward, such as housing, differing architectural styles, green buildings and more.

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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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Developer seeks other tenant for Takoma Junction

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Takoma Junction moved a step closer to becoming reality after the City Council meeting on Jan. 11 allowed the developer to choose another tenant.

With a unanimous vote, the council allowed the developer, NDC, to choose another anchor tenant for the Takoma Junction project.

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Ethics questions linger in Gaithersburg

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GAITHERSBURG – Residents are questioning the legality of a vote to annex the Johnson property after a weak majority approved it last month following the departure of an angered council member who wanted a full council to decide the matter.

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Takoma Park and developers deadlocked

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As the extension for the letter of intent between the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op and developer NDC wind downs once again, progress seems to be halted.

On Dec. 7, the Takoma Park City Council granted a 30-day extension for the Co-op and NDC to come up with a letter of intent for the next steps in the process but not without strain on many involved.

“I have to say, as council member [Rizzy] Qureshi said, there were moments in the last three days where I said, ‘No, we’re not going to do the 30-day extension,’” said Mayor Kate Stewart at the Dec. 7 council meeting.

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Chestnut Lodge back before Rockville Council

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ROCKVILLE – More than 10 residents and community members told the council they should not allow townhouses to be built at the site of the former Chestnut Lodge during a public hearing Monday.

Developer JNP Chestnut Lodge LLC’s revised plan would include six town homes constructed on the site of the former Chestnut Lodge sanatorium. The council previously voted 3-2 against an earlier townhouse plan, forcing the developer to restart the application process.

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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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Residents sue over Westbard

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Thirty-three Bethesda and Chevy Chase residents sued the Montgomery County government Monday in an effort to stop the County Council from allowing the development of the Westbard Sector Plan.

The plan, as approved in May, would allow developers to build hundreds of new residential and commercial units between Westbard Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue, less than a mile from the Washington, D.C. border.

Opponents say the development would exacerbate existing traffic congestion and school overcrowding and create environmental problems through more greenhouse gas emissions from more vehicles on the road.

The SaveWestbard group filed the complaint in Montgomery County Circuit Court Monday through their attorney Michele Rosenfeld, eight days before the County Council is due to vote on changing zoning laws in the area so it allows the master plan.

“We concluded that there was basis to challenge in court because we believe the council did not follow the required process in filing the Westbard Sector Plan,” said Rosenfeld.

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Rockville clears the decks for new Tower Oaks plan

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ROCKVILLE – The City Council cleared the way for a developer to build hundreds of new townhouses at a site formerly slated for commercial office buildings along Preserver Parkway.

On Monday, the City Council unanimously agreed to instruct city staffers to draft a resolution in favor of the proposed Tower Oaks development by builder EYA.

It would allow up to 375 housing units, including townhouses, single-family houses and condos, on what is now largely wooded property near Wootton Parkway.

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