Archives June 2017

FoWF receives its very first grant!

Thanks to FoWF board member Lindsay McGarity, Friends of White Flint has been awarded our very first grant! Her company, Edelman, a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations, is giving FoWF $2,000 for its Pike District Pedestrian Safety Campaign. The grant is part of their Edelman Community Investment Grant program. The Community Investment Grant Review Committee carefully reviewed all applications, and ours was among the most inspiring examples of how Edelman employees, like Lindsay, are making a difference in their communities.

Edelman was awarded the Grand Prix Cannes Lion for PR in 2014; six Cannes Lions in 2015; and the Grand Prix in the Titanium category in 2016. The firm was named “2016 Global Agency of the Year” by the Holmes Report; one of Advertising Age’s “Agencies to Watch” in 2014; and one of Forbes’ “14 Most Influential Agencies of 2014”. In 2015, Edelman was among Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” for the fifth time. Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Intelligence (research) and United Entertainment Group (entertainment, sports, experiential), a joint venture with United Talent Agency.

An invitation from LCOR to learn about its newest project

Site Plan Application Invitation to the Pre Filing Community Meeting
To be Held at Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Boulevard, North Bethesda, MD 20852 on
Monday, July 10, 2017, at 7PM

Dear Neighbor:

Please join us on Monday, July 10, 2017, at 7PM, at the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Boulevard, North Bethesda, MD 20852. We will introduce ourselves and explain the planning for the approx. 300 unit apartment building project to be developed on Parcel G of the North Bethesda Town Center. Parcel G is located at the northeast corner of Citadel Avenue and Marinelli Road. (See green star in the image below.)

A site plan application addresses, among other matters, the building’s design and height, the surrounding streetscape and lighting, and the property’s integration into the existing residential developments in the North Bethesda Town Center project and the general area.

The upcoming Site Plan application process will involve the Montgomery County Planning Board of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery County, and various agencies responsible for reviewing the Site Plan application.

We look forward to meeting you. In the interim, if you have any questions, please contact Timothy Dugan, Esq., LCOR’s zoning and land use attorney, at 301-230-5228 or

Thank you for your consideration.

LCOR White Flint, LLC, Applicant


What happened at last week’s White Flint 2 Work Session at the Planning Board

We’re so close to the finish line, folks. There’s probably only one more White Flint 2 work session which will be held on July 13th and will feature the complete mark up of the original draft White Flint 2 plan.

At last week’s work session, Nkosi Yearwood presented some of the mark up, summarizing the changes the board had approved during this six month process.

The longest and most passionate discussion was over staging.  Some on the board thought it wasn’t a good idea to include staging requirements that the county can’t control, like a MARC train station.  On the other hand, if there aren’t hard stops and triggers, how does one manage the balance of new development, traffic, infrastructure and schools?

Chairman Casey Anderson suggested that if the NADMS goals,  or non-auto driver mode share goals, are met, we move forward.  If they’re not met, then infrastructure improvements like a second metro entrance, BRT, a MARC station, and a circulator/shuttle, must be funded for development to proceed.  Casey also brought up the point that the White Flint 1 hardstops should be the same as White Flint 2 so White Flint 2 development doesn’t leapfrog over White Flint 1 development.

Here are other changes reflected in the redline of the original draft plan, many of which Friends of White Flint advocated for, like the CSX crossing and NADMS goals. You can read the planning staff memo that includes more detail here.

The north and west areas of White Flint 2 (basically Executive Boulevard and the Route 355 shopping centers) will have the same NADMS goals as White Flint 1. The east side of White Flint 2 will have lower NADMS goals than originally recommended.

Those same north and west areas will be part of the White Flint 1 taxing district while the east area will not.

Parking should be underground but it no longer says ‘must’ be below-grade.

A new pedestrian/bike crossing over the CSX tracks is now included.

The narrow tree area between the Cherrington townhouses and Montrose Parkway can now be developed.



Introducing 909 Rose, Pike & Rose’s Next Office Building

From Bethesda Beat

Rendering of plans for an 11-story office building at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda.

Rendering of plans for an 11-story office building at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda. VIA FEDERAL REALTY INVESTMENT TRUST

The developer of Pike & Rose has released the first glimpse of an 11-story office building that will claim a space in the burgeoning North Bethesda neighborhood.

Tenant construction on 909 Rose, which will stand at the corner of Rockville Pike and Rose Avenue, could get started in fall of 2019, and the first occupants could move in early the following year, according to a press release from developer Federal Realty Investment Trust. The 208,527-square-foot building will be the second office complex in Pike & Rose, with the first leased quickly to corporate tenants such as Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Regus and Hilti.

Pike & Rose offers tenants proximity to transit and boasts an array of dining, shopping and housing options; Federal Realty executives are even making plans to move their own employees to the site, according to the release.

The office building will form part of Pike & Rose’s second phase, which celebrated the opening of its first retail site in April with the relocation of REI. The first phase included the luxury iPic Movie Theaters, new restaurants such as Del Frisco’s Grille and the performance venue AMP by Strathmore. Residential complexes at the Pallas and PerSei provided a combined 493 apartment units.

The new building, 909 Rose, will feature meeting rooms, outdoor collaborative spaces with on-demand catering and Wi-Fi, bike storage and a gym with showers.

“Business thrives when its people thrive, so we’re designing 909 Rose with that in mind,” said Chris Weilminster, president of mixed use at Federal Realty.

Image of lobby at 909 Rose, the next office building planned for the Pike & Rose development. Via Federal Realty Investment Trust.

Put these fun future events on your calendar

June 21, 6pm — Summer Solstice Progressive Dinner, Pike & Rose. The evening starts with seasonal cocktails from Summer House and inspired appetizers from Carluccio’s. Then, guests will check their menu cards for where to retrieve their second, third and fourth courses, taking them on a tour of neighborhood restaurants.

Every Friday and Saturday, 5pm — Live After Five, North Bethesda Market. Come join the party on Friday and Saturday evenings at North Bethesda Market for our Live After Five concert series!

Wednesday, July 12th, Noon — Walkable Wednesday. Join Friends of White Flint and Coalition for Smarter Growth for the second Walkable Wednesday and enjoy a special tour of the Pike District that shows what makes it easier and more difficult to walk around the White Flint area. Fifty folks attended the first Walkable Wednesday and loved it!

Saturday, September 9th — North Bethesda Market Tomato Fest. The second annual Tomato Fest will be even bigger and better than last year’s with music, contests, and of course, lots and lots of yummy tomatoes.

Saturday, October 14th, 2pm to 5pm — Fall Fest. Fall Fest, which is becoming one of the defining events of the Pike District, features music, sweet treats, beer, wine, and children’s activities and takes place on a closed Marinelli Road near the conference center.




Report: More Than Half of County’s Renters Are Saddled With Excessive Housing Costs

From Bethesda Beat

More than half of Montgomery County renters are paying too much for housing, with costs often gobbling up more than 50 percent of their annual incomes, a new study found.

The report slated for delivery to Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday also showed that the county is suffering from a shortage of 20,000 affordable rental units. But a menu of recommendations included in the study will offer county officials with ideas for tackling the housing needs.

High development costs have contributed to the region’s lack of moderately priced housing, said Lisa Govoni, research and special projects manager for the Montgomery County Planning Department.

“We understand that affordable housing is expensive [to build], but we think it’s important that people be able to afford to live here,” she said. “We’ve come up with a variety of ways to do that. We want to be flexible, but we also want to be predictable.”

The assessment, which has been a couple years in the making, will be presented to the board before heading to the Montgomery County Council for review in July, Govoni said. The planning department and Montgomery County Department of Housing hired consultants RKG Associates and Lisa Sturtevant & Associates to conduct the study.

One of the report’s major findings is that almost all county renters earning less than 50 percent of area median income—$96,300 for a family of three—are cost-burdened, Govoni said.

“Most are severely burdened, spending more than 50 percent of their annual income on housing. In other terms, a household earning approximately $50,000 (before taxes) is likely to be spending at least $25,000 of that income for housing,” the report stated.

To address the report’s findings, county leaders could consider overhauling the county’s moderately priced dwelling unit program, which requires developers to include affordable housing in their projects. Currently, at least 12.5 percent of homes must be moderately priced in developments of 20 homes or more, although the standard is 15 percent in downtown Bethesda and other specific parts of the county, Govoni said. Officials could consider expanding the 15 percent minimum to other areas or even make it countywide, the study suggested.

They could also look at shifting the program away from its sole focus on unit count. Most developers satisfy the MPDU mandate by constructing lofts or one-bedroom apartments and create few affordable options for families with children. Basing the MPDU requirement on square footage instead of unit count could encourage the development of two- or three-bedroom homes, Govoni said.

The county could also ease parking-space requirements in exchange for building moderately priced units.

Other suggestions are to look at using public land for housing and colocating affordable housing on properties with fire stations and libraries. Officials could keep track of affordable rental properties that are at risk for redevelopment, could offer financial education and credit counseling to lower-income renters and establish a fee or tax charged to property owners for demolishing apartments, according to the study.

Here’s what the WFDAC discussed at its June meeting

Ken Hartman reported that crews are maintaining the flower and landscaping in the medians, and weekend crews are picking up trash and cleaning up the area

Peggy Schwartz reported that 246 people registered for Bike to Work Day, a record number. The final Safe Track surge takes place June 17 to 25 and will close the Shady Grove, Rockville, and Twinbrook metro stations.

Francine Waters  said that Fall Fest will be held October 14 from 2pm to 5pm.  It will feature the Sweet Taste of Fall — sweet treats from various restaurants.  It will also have beer and and wine this year.

Nkosi Yearwood said that White Flint 2 work sessions should be wrapping up next week before proceeding to the County Council.  He also said that LCOR will be presenting their new North Bethesda Center residential  building at the Implementation Committee next month.  He said he would investigate whether pedestrians will be able to cross from Market Street to Old Georgetown Road when the first phase of the Western Workaround is completed.

The Strategic Planning committee said that a consultant, Civitas, is interviewing stakeholders and talking to them about a potential Business Improvement District. They are talking with stakeholders about branding the area, wayfinding, signage, marketing, clean and safe, events, and public art.

The next WFDAC meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 11 at 8am at Snyder Cohen.

What was discussed and decided at last week’s White Flint 2 Work Session at the Planning Board.

The June 8th White Flint 2 work session was a short meeting (relatively speaking) but a productive one.  Nkosi Yearwood was unable to complete his presentation, so look for a part-two for this work session in the near future.

First, Chair Casey Anderson invited various developers, lawyers, and community members to speak.

Wendy Calhoun of the Walter Johnson cluster requested clear responsibilities, hard caps, hard stops, and dedicated and/or reserved land for a middle school.

Steve Silverman, representing several Executive Boulevard property owners, said that they were not unalterably opposed to a taxing district but needed more information and conversation about what will be funded via this tax and when it will get funded.  He also requested more details about the staging requirements; since they are hard stops, they need  quite detailed definition.

Francois Carrier said that land for a school should not be put in reservation if it’s not clear that it will ever be used for a school and reiterated Steve’s concerns about staging, specifically questioning what defines a shuttle. She also advocated for above ground parking if it’s disguised, although she agreed that below grade parking should be encouraged.

Barbara Sears requested a 2.75 FAR for the Wilco property, suggesting anything over a 2.5 FAR would need to have a public benefit attached to it.  The board agreed with this.

Other people, board members, and planning staff discussed the overlay zone for the Light Industrial area. They like the concept of the overlay zone but determined it needs refining by the planning staff.

Allen Kronstadt said the community wants a town center at Randolph Hills.  He also said the industrial property market has moved to the upper county and Beltsville.

Steve Robbins and Matt Leiken said the Pickford property wants greater residential  FAR. Casey said he wants one to one replacement of industrial space. Staff said they didn’t want to cannibalize White Flint 1.

Jay Corbalis said FRIT was doing an engineering study for a low cost second entrance to Metro. He said Federal Realty was opposed to a school site on Montrose Crossing and suggested the SHA parking lot for a school site since it is already owned by the government.

During Nkosi Yearwood’s presentation, he said the overlay covers all IL zones. Casey suggested the overlay could be the interim step to further clarification of the industrial/residential zone to ensure industrial space doesn’t get wiped out.

Planning staff reminded everyone that any major project in White Flint 2 will require an exploration of the opportunity for a school site. Casey said that every property in the sector should be involved in the school site and said that choosing a site in the master plan ties everyone’s hands.

Wouldn’t these artsy crosswalks be perfect for the Pike District?

How can we make it safer for pedestrians, brand the Pike District, and beautify our neighborhood with  inexpensive paint, some creativity, and a bit of flexibility from MCDOT and SHA? With eye-catching crosswalks like these. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it’s wonderful. I  can’t imagine any reason why we wouldn’t we do this.

We could develop a color scheme that works for the White Flint area, hold a design contest, and allow the community to do the painting in between MCDOT/SHA’s standard white stripes. In one pretty swoop, we’d make crosswalks more visible, thereby increasing pedestrian safety, and bring a much-needed “wow” factor to our community. Seriously — why on earth would we not do this?

In his project, Funnycross, artist Christo Guelov brings Madrid crosswalks to life using colorful patterns