Live blogging from the March 5, 2009, Planning Board meeting (see below):
Presentation by Developer Collaborative. Five members of Collaborative, all are property owners involved in the process, but don’t include all property owners in the White Flint Sector. Members include JBG, the Gables, Lerner/Tower (White Flint Mall), Holladay, and Federal Realty Investment Trust.
Collaborative density proposal is centered on an “ellipse” of greater density which runs along Rockville Pike.
Representatives of Collaborative: Evan Goldman and Greg Trimmer.
Results of focus groups and polling: all about land use. Residents of Grosvenor don’t use the Metro station there because it is neither safe nor convenient, especially crossing Rockville Pike.
Evan Goldman: Density is essential to making a liveable place. Density is not evil, it is a reflection of the lack of density which makes something unsafe and unwalkable. An upward spiral of value and liveability. Density should be viewed as a positive force to achieve what everyone agreed upon.
EG: Ellipse proposal more naturally reflects both the shape of the district and the actual measured walking distances. Chairman Hanson asks about actual walking distances, attractive if you’re within sight of Metro. What’s the rationale for the ellipse other than it fits? EG: Glatting-Jackson actually tested walking times. Greg Trimmer: the actual equal walking times ends up being a diamond shape, centered on the Pike. Cmsnr Robinson: please address the issue that the ellipse is not equitable to all property owners. EG: comes closer than concentric ring concept. Talked to developers to see what their threshold for development would be; this gives more of what they told us.
Robinson: ellipse is more development. EG: only a litle more, and distributes the additional equitably. Some of the best properties are close to the Metro Station: e.g., WMATA bus holding garage is only 1/4 mile from the Metro, but is unlikely to redevelop under the plan.
Building heights: EG and GT: our proposed heights are similar to the Public Hearing draft’s. Slender, elegant buildings, but a height limit precludes that. Only way to get to development limit is to go vertical. GT: JBG already has approved (North Bethesda Market) a plan which shows that concept: we could have filled the block with 150′ developments, but it was better to go vertical.
Now property owners will present individually.