PHED Committee Land Use

PHED Committee Land Use

Live blogging from the February 1, 2010 meeting of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee of the Montgomery County Council on the White Flint Sector Plan. The Committee has just resolved its transportation concerns, and is now moving to the zoning and land use issues.

Committee staff Marlene Michaelson is working through her memorandum for the Committee. The memo is available here:

At the Mall, there’s a zoning conflict with the Plan. Let me work through those there and on the JBG property. We’re going to continue to match height and zoning. Making sure we add text to the Plan where there’s a difference. Twenty years from now, you’ll want clarification. Achieve consistency where possible. Committee Chair Mike Knapp: can you highlight where those are in the Plan? Michaelson: sure.

Amenities list on P. 68: I think it’s critical we add detail to the list of amenities. Co-locating facilities should be indicated on this list. Floreen: I would like to emphasize the two-acre civic Green. Michaelson: that is something that would evolve as the Plan is implemented. Green space just south of the site. Floreen: we weren’t explicit in Silver Spring and we didn’t get it. Michaelson: so change the text on Page 30 of the Plan from “a one-acre Civic Green” to read “a one-to-two acre Civic Green.” Councilmember Roger Berliner: in Silver Spring, we had to preserve a place of nature, where people can feel connected the way they can’t in an urban environment. I’m going to work to ensure that this space is alive with nature, not just space. Piera Weiss, chief Planner for White Flint: we do recommend a public use space just north of Chapman. If you want to make that a public park, that would ensure that. Under the public use space requirements, you would get about a half-acre. Something that is required. Hanson: going back to P. 30. Complementary public use space on the south side to anchor. When you get to see what’s around it, it will vary up or down. Berliner: I’m more interested right now in the green space in addition to the Civic Green. I know we will add common spaces. Live spaces and green spaces can be the same or very different. I want to ensure that those common spaces are as green as possible. I don’t think the language ensures that result. Hanson: Pp 22-23, a discussion of public open space. the idea is to create both open and green spaces in each district, and to connect them as well. I’m an advocate for public parks, but I’m also leery of requiring public management because the costs are high. Michaelson: entirely possible to say the space would be a green amenity, which would achieve your goal. Knapp: this is something we need to be aware of when we look at financing. Raise these alternative mechanisms for all the amenities.

Bob Stoddard for Washington Real Estate Investment Trust: are you talking about our green space? Berliner: 1/2 acre of that seven acre parcel. Stoddard: consider the SHA space as a school site and green space. Berliner: that’s a good idea. Michaelson: we can add text that the Plan recommend that particular space be a green space. Floreen: this is not the sort of space I’m assuming would be part of the financing. I want to be sure we have adequate flexibility. Rollin Stanley, Planning Director: the CR Zone has incentives for those things. Floreen: the CR zone incentives are sufficient for the smaller as well as the larger spaces? Michaelson: we’ll clarify.

Public Housing goals: Michaelson: given the flexibility in the CR zone, some people think those goals will not be met. the staging plan includes those, but I would like to add language in the Plan to clarify that we’ll be keeping track of whether the Plan is keeping track of its housing goals as it builds up. Elrich: what if you issue some zone? Michaelson: the earlier in the process they apply, the more flexibility there will be.

Sustainability: Pp. 50-51 of the Plan. Some people have written to the Council saying that’s not enough. But there’s a limit on what a Plan can do. The Plan reflects the general goals and does a good job in not over-stepping what the Plan can do. May need to tinker in the CR Zone and the Plan depending on what the Council does. Berliner: I disagree. We should establish aspirational goals, but I get that the Plan is not an arbiter of those goals. But tree canopy, for example, should be established in the Plan. Most sustainable, smartest growth on the planet. It ought to be state of the art when it comes to sustainability and our transportation policy. Increase our tree canopy exponentially by getting rid of the asphalt we have today. I’ll continue to have conversations with staff and the Planning Board to see if there are ways to further strengthen our goals set forth in this Master Plan.  Michaelson: goals, not targets. Berliner: we need trees. They matter to all of us. Stanley: we’ll come back to you with something on trees.

Berliner: district heating? Stanley: new use of old idea. Central heating across several buildings. Greatly reduces energy use. Very common in older areas. coming back now because of bio-mass.

The Committee then finished its White Flint consideration and moved to the Gaithersburg West plan.

Barnaby Zall

Barnaby Zall


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