Archives July 2018

Council approves 15% MPDUs in most expensive parts of MoCo

Recently passed MPDU Bills 34-17 and 38-17 make several changes to the county MPDU law to enhance administrative flexibility and clarify provisions of the law. These changes will take effect on October 31, 2018 and include:

Connecting MPDU eligibility expressly to household income as opposed to the MPDU sale price and financing information.

Allowing the MPDU requirement to be calculated based on floor area ratio instead of a percentage of total units. The FAR-based method permits market-rate projects to satisfy the MPDU requirement as a percentage of square feet of the building, allowing units to be larger than are offered as a percentage of total market-rate units.

Requiring a payment to the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF) for developments of between 11 and 19 units. Currently, developments of fewer than 20 units are not subject to any MPDU requirements.

Removing provisions related to density bonuses from Chapter 25A of the Montgomery County Code and placing them in Chapter 59 of the Zoning Ordinance. A related zoning text amendment (ZTA 18-06) has been introduced to ensure consistency between Chapter 25A and Chapter 59. A public hearing for the ZTA is scheduled for September 11, 2018.

Providing flexibility for the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs to accept alternative payment and alternative location agreements. Alternative payments allow an applicant to satisfy MPDU requirements via a financial contribution to the Housing Initiative Fund. Alternative location agreements allow an applicant to satisfy MPDU requirements off-site from the proposed development by allowing an alternate payment or alternative location agreement to be used or placed in a different planning area than that of the development if the location is one of the county’s higher income planning areas, or after notice of “good cause” and a 30-day comment period is provided to the County Council.

Requiring 15 percent MPDUs in planning areas in which at least 45 percent of the United States Census tracts have a median household income of at least 150 percent of the countywide median household income. Places like Bethesda, Grosvenor, and White Flint 2 already has 15 percent requirements in their master plans.

Are we building enough homes?

In a recent post on Greater Greater Washington, Dan Reed for Just Up the Pike shows that White Flint is second in Montgomery County for the number of residential units in the pipeline with 3,827 homes waiting  to be built.

If you add all of the county’s master plan or sector plan areas up, there were about 47,000 homes that have been approved to be built as of May 2018. This is what county officials call “the pipeline.” Of those 47,000 homes in the pipeline, 15,000 of those homes have building permits and are in some stage of construction. That leaves about 32,000 homes that are waiting to be built.  Nearly all of these homes are located in  urban areas with access to transit.

The pipeline may not be enough to meet current and future population growth. Montgomery County grew by 70,000 people since 2010, or about 25,000 households. But the county only added about 21,000 homes, leaving a deficit of 4,000.

On top of that, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), we expect about 208,000 new people to move here in the next 20 years, and we’ll need about 87,000 new homes for those people. So we need about 91,000 homes, and we’ve approved 48,000. That’s 43,000 houses that we need to build.

And the homes we’ve already approved to build may not be where we need them to be. It can take decades to build all the homes in the pipeline — there are homes that were approved in the 1980s and 1990s still waiting to be built — and, as a result, the pipeline doesn’t always match current trends.

Twenty years ago, most of the county’s growth and investment was happening on the suburban fringe, while closer-in urban areas were declining. Today, that trend has basically reversed, and it’s in those closer-in areas where home prices are rising the fastest due to demand.

You can read the rest of the article, including a more detailed analysis of what’s preventing homes from being built in certain areas of the county as well as the consequences of this housing shortage at

What do you think? Should Woodward be renamed Josiah Henson?

County Council President Hans Riemer and Catherine Leggett are teaming up to propose renaming the former Woodward High School after the Rev. Josiah Henson, who was enslaved on a plantation near the North Bethesda school.

Montgomery County Public Schools plans to overhaul and reopen the high school on Old Georgetown Road to relieve crowding in the Walter Johnson High School cluster and in the Downcounty Consortium. The school is currently accommodating students from Tilden Middle, whose building is being modernized. The Tilden project should be completed by 2019, and Woodward High is slated to reopen in 2022, the letter from Riemer and Leggett stated.

Read more on Bethesda Beat.

Federal Realty requests faster creation of Pike District amenities

From Bethesda Beat

Earlier this month, Federal Realty’s chief executive officer sent County Executive Ike Leggett and the County Council a letter airing grievances related to development in the White Flint area near Pike & Rose in North Bethesda. CEO Donald Wood complained that road upgrade projects have fallen behind schedule, progress is sluggish on creating parks and civic spaces and the county isn’t adequately following through on the goals outlined in the White Flint Sector Plan passed in 2010. Moreover, the county hasn’t seemed receptive to Federal Realty Investment Trust’s push for financial incentives for a new office project, he wrote.

The four-page letter concluded with a list of requests—that the county condemn a piece of property necessary to complete the “Western Workaround” road project; furnish the company with financial incentives to construct a 210,000-square-foot office building at Pike & Rose; build a street grid in White Flint West; build a new Metro entrance; and build a civic green at the center of White Flint, among other items. Wood included suggested deadlines, written in bold, for several of the requests.

In response, the county’s chief administrative officer, Timothy Firestine, wrote that market forces, decisions of private property owners and strict state policies have all reined in the pace of White Flint’s transformation. These factors are largely out of the county’s hands, he said.

Amy Ginsburg, executive director of the advocacy group Friends of White Flint, said she understands Federal Realty’s frustration and desire to see parks and road improvements materialize. She also sympathizes with the constraints the county faces because of the roles played by the state and private landholders.

“Everyone wishes the county could wave a magic wand and poof! We’d have everything that’s in the plan tomorrow,” she said. “And it sadly doesn’t work that way.”

You can read the rest of the article at Bethesda Beat. (And we urge you to do so — this is an important and interesting issue for the White Flint/Pike District area.)

You ought to also read the actual letter Federal Realty sent to Montgomery County and Montgomery County’s official response.


A new burger joint for Pike & Rose

We’re excited to announce that BurgerFi will open at Pike and Rose this winter!

Federal Realty said the gourmet burger chain will open at 11881 Grand Park Ave. The fast-casual restaurant chain features all-natural hamburgers, hand-cut french fries, Vienna beef hot dogs, veggie and vegan burgers and frozen shakes and custards. Drinks include craft beer, wine and natural cane sugar sodas.

“We are extremely excited to become a new member of the Pike & Rose community,” BurgerFi Pike & Rose owner Maria Fabelo said in a statement  “We look forward to bringing our all-natural unique offerings to one of the fastest growing and cosmopolitan neighborhoods in the U.S.”

Read more at Bethesda Beat.

New places to eat and drink coffee in the Pike District

Now open at Montrose Crossing: a brand new Five Guys restaurant (relocating from the other side of Rockville Pike) and Slapfish, a California-based chain that’s making its first move into the D.C. area. The two eateries join CAVA and Honeygrow, rounding out the new restaurant row that replaced Timpano at that site. (Not familiar with Slapfish? Want to know what a Clobster is? Click here.)
The new Starbucks at Pike & Rose has finally opened its doors in the prime space between H&M and Sur La Table. This location replaces the older Starbucks just off Rockville Pike, which was more convenient for passing drivers but missed out on all that Pike & Rose foot traffic.

Tomorrow is our First Pike District Promenade! Join the Fun!

We hope to see you tomorrow at our very first Pike District Promenade! What is a Pike District Promenade? It’s a simple stroll along the Trolley Trail for all ages.  Go as far as you’d like and as fast as you’d like. Make some new friends and reconnect with old ones. Get some exercise and breathe some fresh air among the trees.

The first Pike District Promenade will be held this Saturday, July 21st at 10 am.  We will meet at the North Bethesda Market plaza by the water feature in between Seasons 52/CVS/Starbucks. North Bethesda Market is the development between Woodglen and Rockville Pike where Whole Foods is located. You can park two hours for free in the North Bethesda Market restaurant/retail garage. The entrance to that garage is off of Marketplace Lane. There is also free parking on the surface lot across from Quincy’s at the corner of Woodglen and Nicholson. Or better yet, bike or walk to NoBe Market.

If it’s raining, it’s cancelled, and you can join us at the Pike District Promenade on August 18.

Questions? Please email

Living the life at Pike & Rose

Some of our favorite local bloggers spent some time at Pike & Rose and shared their fun findings and to-do’s around the neighborhood.


Capital Moms – Celebrating Summer at Pike & Rose

Mom the Magnificent – Date Night at Sur la Table

Bellajenna – Style on The Pike Giveaway

Never Turn Down a Cupcake – Pike Central Farm Market and Owen’s Ordinary Brunch