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July 22, 2008 Meeting

White Flint Advisory Group Summary

Status Report Presentation

July 22, 2008 Advisory Group Meeting (presentation) (pdf, 15.20 MB)

Questions and Comments from Advisory Group and Audience

Advisory Group Requests of Staff

The Advisory Group asks staff to please provide meeting materials ahead of time to allow the Advisory Group time to prepare thoughtful comments and questions about the Plan. The Advisory Group also asks that meetings be held more often between now and September to allow more discussion.

Parks and Schools Questions and Comments

  • It is good to see that there is dedicated open space within the White Flint Mall sector.
  • What is an urban park? 
    Answer: An urban park is one that has flexible spaces to meet the needs of multiple users. For example, staff would avoid filling the park up with single-use facilities such as programmed ball fields and instead provide open lawn areas that could accommodate everything from pick-up soccer to picnicking.
  • Is it possible that Wall Park would not be an aquatic center? What is planned for Wall Park?
    Answer: The aquatic park will remain in Wall Park but the Park will also include multipurpose areas for recreation to complement the Aquatic Center while retaining the current character of a green oasis.
  • How large will the “pocket parks” be?  How are you planning to compensate the property owners?
    Answer: Staff is using the 20% as a tool to fuel park development.
    Answer: Providing land for parks will give property owners credit for the public use requirement in the TMX Zone.
  • Will the school district lines be redrawn? 
    Answer:  No.
  • Can district boundaries change to include Randolph’s vacant school, Rockinghorse?  If there is going to be a new elementary school Randolph Hills would like to be served by it.
    Answer:  Randolph Hills is not in the same school cluster as White Flint and the White Flint plan will not recommend redistricting.
  • What is the cost of the infrastructure and what does it include?
    Answer:  The other County Agencies can answer that question but since we do know that the Schools Dept starts gathering funding when development reaches a certain point.  K-5:  500 housing units; 6th-8th:  531 housing units, 9th-12th: 450 housing units   The numbers are based on the absorption of multifamily units.

TMX Zone Questions and Comments

  • The TMX zone needs to be changed to include auto dealership so that Manhattan Auto Dealership, an auto dealership that has a long history in the area, can remain.  
  • If the long standing businesses like Manhattan Auto can reform themselves to conform to the area’s urban look why not allow them to remain?   
  • TMX zone: What is the minimum FAR?
    Answer:  The next Planning Board discussion on the TMX zone will be on July 24.
    Answer:  The County Council Public Hearing for the TMX zone will be on July 29.
  • As the TMX zone stands now, there will be cases such as a property having 2 FAR now will have a 0.5 FAR under TMX and be required to pay more to go up to 2.
    Answer:  Staff is aware of that issue.   TMX is a work in progress.
  • Based on the TMX zone for Twinbrook, fear it’ll be applied in White Flint.
    Answer:  don’t know yet how extensively TMX will be used in White Flint.
  • The TMX zone is a disincentive to the development community to redevelop.  If it is applied, the vision in White Flint Plan will not be realized. 
  • Many landowners feel White Flint should be a CBD and not a TMX zone.
  • Where can we get more information on TMX? And, what does BLT mean?
    Answer:  The TMX is the new transit zone not touching CBD.  It will duplicate many of the good things in a CBD. Standard and Optional 
    Answer:  BLT: Building Lot Termination 

Mobility Questions and Comments

  • Having the Marc Station located at Old Georgetown is a good idea.
  • How in-depth have the conversations been with MTA?
    Answer:  Very in-depth.  Staff has been working closely with MTA with the planning of the potential MARC station.
  • More public transit is needed to support this level of urban growth.
  • What is the goal of the second Metro station entrance?
    Answer:  The goal is to provide more access to Metro.
  • What is the status of discussions with CSX and future MARC service?  If can’t change do existing stations serve projected needs?
    Answer:  Staff is exploring having a station between Rockville and Silver Spring.
    Answer:  The second station will be for commuters working downtown.
  • Hopefully bus rapid transit is coming.
  • Cyclists community would like to be included more in the planning process.   There should be more designated bike lanes in the plan. 
    Answer:  The goal is to have bikeable sidewalks.
  • The grid network needs to work in tandem with mixed density. 
    Answer:  The proposed network accommodates pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles.
  • What about the recommendation to make Nicholson into an Interchange?
    Answer:  The current 1992 North Bethesda plan recommends that Nicholson Lane become an interchange.  The White Flint Sector Plan will not have that recommendation.
  • Mobility on the Pike is necessary. 
  • Eliminating minimum parking requirements rather than creating caps is a good idea.  And, the County Council said the minimum standard should be eliminated.
  • Is staff recommending a parking district?
    Answer:  Yes.

Design Guidelines and Density Questions and Comments

  • Will Rockville Pike have a “canyon” like form?
    Answer:  Rockville Pike will be an urban street with the tallest buildings in White Flint framing the Pike.
  • What is the tallest building approved in White Flint? 
    Answer:  North Bethesda Market Place has a 280 ft building.
  • How did that happen?  That is taller than the ones in Bethesda CBD
    Answer:  Concept is to concentrate it in the core away from lower density residential areas.
    Answer:  Taller buildings are permitted under the TSM zone.
  • Skeptical about the development communities concern that development can’t happen at this level.  Isn’t Bethesda CBD at lower height levels?
  • Traffic studies fail based on where you draw the line.  Traffic will fail by suburban standards…need to think of White Flint as urban
  • There needs to be more design excellence.  How do we get the development community to do it?
  • The development community understands that there’s a desire for good design but the County’s workforce housing, mpdu’s, and other requirements are expensive.  Without enough density, design will suffer and development will likely not occur.
  • What happened to the higher development numbers from April?
    Answer:  The transportation system can’t support higher numbers.

Overall Recommendations Questions and Comments

  • What happened to the job/housing ratio goal?  Are you trying to improve it?  If so, how?  How is the 1.6 job/housing ratio implemented?
    Answer:  We are improving the overall job housing balance by increasing the number of residential units in White Flint.
  • How did you come up with these recommendations?
    Answer:  Staff uses transportation analysis, zoning analysis (existing and proposed), and financial feasibility studies to make informed recommendations
  • How does this plan relate to growth policy and PAMR?  Will it have to change so that the growth policy doesn’t inhibit?
    Answer:  The sector plan should be more progressive than the current growth policy



Date of last update: July 31, 2008