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August 28, 2008 Advisory Group Meeting

White Flint Advisory Group Summary

Status Report Presentation

August 28, 2008 Advisory Group Meeting (pdf, 15.4 MB)

Questions and Comments from the Advisory Group and Audience Members

Vision

  • Staff has done a good job of incorporating Advisory Group's views into the recommendations but please don’t forget the importance of making White Flint a place.  The Sense of Place vision did not come through in the presentation.
    Answer: Good idea, something for staff to consider. 
  • Glad to see the details finally!  Clearly there are issues with FAR and BLTS but we’re now starting to address the district concept.
  • It would be helpful to have a smaller working group of Advisory Group members to work on district concepts and district branding and way-finding.
    Answer:  Staff thinks this is a good idea and is open to considering it.

Design

  • What is a retail eddy?
    Answer: A retail eddy is an active area or open space along a boulevard.
  • Please look at the heights of buildings along the Pike.  Properties along the Pike should have tall heights as far as south of Edson lane. 
  • Achieving building height of up to 300’ over Metro will not happen.
  • Look at building heights along the Pike. Why drop the heights at security lane? Taller buildings should be allowed further south.
  • What is the status of the urban design guidelines?
    Answer:  The designs for the Conference Center block are the furthest along and were displyed on the slides.  We expect more to be available in the coming months.
  • Will we have a 3D model of White Flint soon?
    Answer: We are working on that now.  Maybe on the 11th we’ll have something available for the Board.  We’d like to focus on Conference Center block where design is further along

Enivornment

  • How can the perviousness goal be achieved ? Will pervious surfaces count? If so, then what can be done about maintaining them? 
    Answer: Pervious area is “Green Area”.  The lowest you can have is lawn. As for pervious surfaces, they are not considered truly pervious in stormwater management calculations so they can not be used to meet the County's perviousness goals.  Parkand Planning and Dept. of Transportation (DOT) are collaborating on these issues.
  • Houston, TX had to reinstall their permeable pavement 3 times.
  • How is parking handled in the perviousness calculation?
    Answer: Parking is impervious and therefore not counted.
  • What about green roofs?  Will a green roof count towards perviousness requirement?
    Answer: As for Green roofs, every applicant that comes in is strongly encouraged to do green roofs.  Green roofs are not considered to be pervious because they are limited in how much water they can absorb.  DPS would determine if credit can be given for green roofs. 
  • When staff talks about the plan impacting carbon emissions, will it be impacted up or down? 
    Answer: Currently, staff does not know if emissions will go up or down because the modeling for it has not be done yet. But, studies have shown that half the amount of carbon emission occurs in higher density areas than in areas with the same amount of development but spread out over a larger area of land
  • The open space concept is terrific is many areas but in some areas public use space perviousness requirement may not be realistic. 
  • Go further with ‘Green’ concepts: LED lights, wind turbines…

Parking

  •  Where are we on parking?
    Answer: Parking is considered along with land use and zoning plans for the area. The Plan recommends the establishment of a parking district.
  • Does this mean that parking will have to be built into the system?
    Answer: We have to build parking into the system, but the private community doesn’t have to.
  • Staff should explore new strategies for decreasing parking and consider using the same parking management tools other cities are using, like parking maximum requirements.
    Answer: Staff is considering new strategies but none have been specifically defined yet. The transporation analysis takes into consideration that alternative strategies may be used. One of the issues being looked at during the zoning rewrite project is how to reduce parking In the I- 270 corridor.

Implementation/Staging

  • Everyone should look at the BLT program closely.  Reports show that White Flint will absorb 400 BLTs, which will mean an 80 million dollar cost on developers.  The money will go to Agricultural Reserve but not 1% of it will go to White Flint homeowners and businesses. 
  • Some of the developments in later stages are already occurring.  White Flint Crossing is well under development.  It includes parking and significant infrastructure improvement (Executive blvd).   The Woodglen property is expected to be developed ahead of Conference Center.  This is exactly the opposite of what staging is currently recommending.   And, LCOR is already well underway so it is unlikely that the County will be able to obtain much from them in stage 3 requirements. 
  • What will happen to growth if a development cannot proceed when it is ready?  For example, stage 2 has a lot of public infrastructure investment. What if incentive strategy doesn’t work?  Why not spread investment all over rather than concentrating at it at certain times? 
    Answer: Out of sequence development can occur and will be discussed with the Planning Board to determine how to direct it. Staging plan is regularly reviewed and evaluated over the lifetime of the Plan. As for More public infrastructure investment is occurring in Stage 2 because stage 2 is in the NW quadrant. The NW quadrant of the planning area has a lot of development occurring. 
  • How are staging decisions made?
    Answer: The decision on what occurs in each stage is made according to what is most likely to be achieved.  For example, the decision to have a library in stage is made because a library is more likely to be built during.
  • The market determines the type of development you want so why stage it?
    Answer: The problem is that there is more public infrastructure needed than what can be done at one time.  When staging we need to determine what the priority public infrastructure is?  With public dollars if you don’t spend at the right time you will be playing catch up for a long time.  For example, it took Eastern County  almost 20 years to be almost built-out
    Answer: Staff does not want to stop anyone who wants to develop out of sequence but needs to discuss with the Board how it is done.  Once consideration is using a TIF like instrument to fund areas, though it has never been done in Montgomery County, but could be considered. 
  • Why are improvements to the Pike in the third stage?  In order to get retail on the Pike, we need to fix the Pike earlier.
    Answer: Our priority is to first spend public dollars on projects that will do most for the County.  Though Rockville Pike improvement is critical to White Flint Plan it won’t significantly improve mobility so fixing it will have to wait.
  • A market analysis for the area has already been done for some of the developers. If staff is interested, the report can be made available to them to help inform the staging plans for White Flint.
    Answer: Staff would appreciate seeing the report.
  •  Does staff have a methodology for out of sequence development?
    Answer:  Not yet, this is an issue that needs to be discussed with the Board.
  • Remember that the development projects themselves are done in phases.
  • Consider alternative staging based on the concept of Urban District. This type of staging was done in Bethesda.
  • LCOR is working on creating a sense of place.  If you consider all the problems of staging not working because development not occurring at the right time why not look at alternative staging approach and have triggers when the level of development occurs.
    Answer: We will continue to refine proposed staging

School Locations and Parks

  • White Flint Park is already in use so it should not be used to fulfill the open space requirements for the White Flint area.  New development in White Flint should be accompanied by new open space.
  • Luxmanor and Garrett Park show that when a school is located on the park land park maintenance declines.  
  • Many in the Advisory Group do not like the school sites chosen by staff.
  • Why is there a recommendation to locate a school at Wall Park when there is such limited open space?   Why those 2 locations?  White Flint borders the Down County Consortium school district so rather than trying to find room for a new school in the planning area, why not take this neighboring school district into consideration? 
    Answer:  Staff works closely with Montgomery County Schools Dept. (MCPS) when choosing sites.   MCPS and Park and Planning staff want a site that is suitable for a school building and close to residential neighborhoods. The problem is that there are very few school site options.   Parks are just one principle we use.
    Answer (MCPS): MCPS follows the boundary of the planning area when evaluating school needs and sites.  A school site generated by a planning area is located in a planning area because is is more cost effective and more accessible to the students.  Many times MCPS will work with parks to accommodate both needs. MCPS is willing to be flexible because of the cost of land in the area and share land with the parks.  
  • If the elementary school is located on the Gables site, will the parking remain at Wall Park?
    Answer: Yes, and that is one of the down sides with the Gables site but staff needs to offer show the alternative options.
  • Feel shortchange when schools are only 3 acres each and stealing land from parks. 
  •  As the TMX zone is progressing, it would be good to know What are staff’s feelings on car dealerships? 
    Answer: Car dealerships are a wonderful thing but not when they take up all of the parking land.  Dealerships need to be more creative in how cars are located.  As for TMX it’s at the Council and staff will not oppose car dealership inclusion. 
  • How big is an urban park? 
    Answer: It’s a neighborhood green.The sizes will vary plan will specify the minimum size of an neighborhood green
  • Concerned about the impact on Walter Johnson schools.  The recommendations should not go above 10,000  units.  Allowing for further development would have an adverse impact on the high school.
  • Dissatisfied with the timing for public comment, July-Sept does not give parents enough time to comment.

Land Use and Transportation

  • How does the new Road Code relate to White Flint?
    Answer: The Right Of Ways (ROW) and design are specified by the road code.   Road Code has passed but the working group working on road design in the Road Code.
  • Has staff considered the issue of cut-through traffic in neighboring communities?
    Answer: This is an issue for Department of Transportation (DPWT) but staff has met with communities on this issue.
  • Does the density diagram consider properties not likely to redevelop for several years?  (ex: north of LCOR)
    Answer: YES, though the map shows 3.0 on block doesn’t mean FAR will change on the entire block.  We’re being aggressive in the core.
  • The second metro entrance was supposed to be on thewest side of Pike?  Why is it now on the east?
    Answer:  Because of cost. The platform was designed to the north
  • The sector plan needs to be compatible with the existing community. 
  • Concerned about local roads becoming expressways.  Why is the Plan focused on only one small area?  Please keep the neighboring North Bethesda community in mind when planning. 
    Answer: In the past, White Flint was planned as part of the North Bethesda plan. Now the Department is focusing more on small area plans for areas selected by the the County Council.  White Flint Phase II will go further and look at the surrounding areas.  As for the transportation safety issues, the Road code will address these problems.
  • Having utilities included in the right of way is a major interest to the development community.
  • Why does SHA want a Park and Ride north of Montrose and 355 that will bring cars from I-270 and through this entire district to somewhere else? It makes White Flint a commuter district for another area.
    Answer:   Staff feels that parking is more appropriate for that site but if a Park and Ride remains the stop should be better designed. Staff is working with SHA on this issue.
  • The PAMR chart shows an increase from 25-40% mitigation for White Flint. Is staff going to discuss this with Council?
    Answer:  Remember this is for 2030.  Currently, White Flint is right below acceptable.  This is an issue that will be revisited with County Council.

 

Date of last update: September 5, 2008