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November 6, 2007 meeting: Forum Part 1

White Flint Advisory Group Summary

White Flint Sector Plan Update

Margaret Rifkin, Community-Based Planning and Dan Hardy, Transportation Planning, provided a status update on the White Flint Sector Plan.

Audience questions and comments

Natalie Goldberg

  • Do the seven neighborhoods have common elements and will there be a regional Market Place?
  • Will there be a use for the neighborhood green?

Paula Bienenfeld

  • Is it possible to require approved projects to include traffic calming measures?
  • Is weekend traffic being included in the traffic analysis?
  • Is the traffic analysis from the 1992 Plan considered?

Residents/Developers Presentations

Natalie Goldberg, resident of Garrett Park Estates, “Think Big Build Small”* (pdf, 212KB) or ppt (418KB) formats.

  • We need to reduce commuter trips and local trips by promoting TMD.
  • We need to find a balance for development and transportation.
  • We should create an urban village, not sprawl.
  • We need to remember existing communities and public facilities (schools, fire stations, libraries etc).

David Brown, resident of The Wisconsin* (pdf, 10KB) for White Flint Sector Advisory Group

  • We should consider calling the planning area, North Bethesda.
  • We need to think about how much mode split is appropriate.

Matthew Tarosky, resident of The Sterling* (pdf, 57KB) or ppt (224KB) formats.

Ed Rich, resident of Old Farm

  • There are many positive aspects to the proposed plan.
  • Consider travel demands of urban village and impact on existing neighborhood
  • Beware of adding density without sufficient infrastructure.
  • There should be buses and shuttle buses throughout the area.
  • Where are the neighborhood schools?

Rod Lawrence, JBG, Federal Reality and Holladay Corp

  • The advisory committee should consider using the planning firm, Glatting Jackson as an additional resource for the planning process.
  • Noted the website,  as a resource to use.

Ann Marie Vassallo, resident, 11720 Nebel Street

  • We need to consider the extension of the LCOR development that is immediately west of the Nebel Street property.

Bob Stoddard, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (WRIT) Shopping Center* (pdf, 212KB) on Nebel & Randolph

  • The mixed use development; retail on Nebel St. has 1 FAR with 7 to10 story buildings.

Al Blumberg, Montouri Property* (pdf, 1.6MB)

  • Consider doing only mixed use and residential development and not industrial.  If Nebel remains in I-4 zoning development opportunity will be lost.

David Kitchens, White Flint Mall and Combined Properties* (pdf, 2.17MB)

  • The project will be the next emerging business and urban district  with culture, commerce, and conference
  • Mixed use will replace the mall and a new street grid will accompany it.
  • The proposed development project includes 5,000 dwelling units; 500,000 square feet of retail and 700,000 square feet of office and hotel uses at 2.9 FAR.

Perry Berman, Nicholson Lane Urban Village

  • White Flint should have mixed use and a new street network. 
  • There should be a MARC Station along Nicholson Lane.
  • There should be a school located on White Flint Neighborhood Park.

Robert Wulff, BF Saul Co.,Fitzgerald Auto Mall, White Flint Proposal presentation* (pdf, 1.9MB) and White Flint Proposal letter* (pdf, 59KB)

  • The plan needs to be bold with no fear of density.
  • White Flint should become the next preeminent district.
  • The plan should promote high density and mixed use.

Phil Perrine, Eisinger Property* (pdf, 1.0MB)

  • Proposing a 450 to 600 dwelling units development project with a Sports and Health Club.
  • The project should appeal to first-time homebuyers and young professionals.
  • The project would be located at Nicholson Lane and Huff Court.

Kap Kapastin, White Flint View

  • White Flint View has been approved for 193 dwelling units and 30,000 square feet of retail at 2.4 FAR.
  • Seeking bigger units at 3.0 FAR.
  • Provided the extension of Citadel Avenue to Nicholson Lane.

Derick Berlage, JBG, Nicholson Court

  • There are no immediate redevelopment plans for Nicholson Court at this time. 
  • White Flint should become an urban village/hamlet with a mix of research and development, trade, retail and MARC or other transit station.

Evan Goldman, Holladay Property* (pdf, 968KB)

  • The Planning Board recommended the Holladay project be rezoned at 2.2 FAR.
  • An additional 5 level building for up to 3 FAR is being proposed.

Chris Weber, Federal Realty, Mid Pike Plaza* (pdf, 528KB)

  • White Flint should be considered a district.
  • White Flint should have mix of uses, design excellence and memorable place.
  • Mid Pike Plaza has 330,000 square feet of existing retail.
  • The proposed development would have 560,000 square feet of retail, 500,000 square feet of office and 1,200 dwelling units with 3 FAR.

Reactions to presentations

  • It is imperative that we preserve the different neighborhoods.
  • Cut through traffic is a concern.
  • What about schools?  Where will the Elementary School go? A school is critical! Will it reflect the actual likely number of students based on mix of units in ultimate build out?
  • When and where will the second Metro entrance be built? Is it really feasible in the very near future?
  • Where is the land for Wall Park expansion? The Reiver property should be included in acquisition of parkland as soon as possible.
  • The presentations show examples of green spaces in the middle of boulevards and sidewalks lined with retail but none of these convincingly accomplish/describe how to redesign the Pike into pedestrian scale serving a densely developed area.
  • The increased density will mean that a police station, fire/rescue, post office, and library will be needed.
  • The designs presented are based on maximum yield, not necessarily livability.
  • How can the needed amenities be attained?

Advisory Group’s Neighborhood Group Discussions

  • How does land use in White Flint compare to land use in Bethesda and Silver Spring?
  • How can Metro afford another entrance?  Who pays for transit?
  • How will Metro’s capacity accommodate future growth?
  • The number of grocery stores seems excessive.  They will eat each other up.
  • Why is a major park area located at western edge rather than at Metro or another central location?
  •  Federal Realty’s development project should locate its pedestrian connection at Old Georgetown Road.
  • It is good to see that the developers are trying to be consistent.
  • It would be helpful to see copies of the work done by staff work and the property owners’ work.
  • Why is there sufficient traffic capacity with the one-way pair but not with small blocks?
  • White Flint should have small ethnic food stores like in DC.
  • White Flint should have stores that are accessible to pedestrians.
  • Why are all the large parks on the west side?
  • East/West traffic flow is critical. White Flint should have a one-way traffic flow on street grids.
  • Increasing the number of neighborhoods from four to seven neighborhoods is good.  More neighborhoods should be created when needed.
  • There is need for a satellite library, a post office, and more commercial and medical services.
  • Shouldn’t this area be family friendly?  (Incentives? places for families?)
  • Relocate the commuter rail. Why not locate it next to the Metro, between Marinelli and Old Georgetown?
  • Will the Bethesda Trolley Trail be discussed in the Plan?
  • Higher congestion levels are unacceptable.  More traffic should not be exchanged for convenience, green etc..
  • Where should industrial development be located? East of Railroad tracks would not disturb the rest of the Sector Plan area
  • Should denser industrial development be allowed?
  • Presentations should be included on the website.
  • Proposals are not linked to the staff presentation.
  • Development projects tend to be better when zoning does not exist.
  • Most of the group would like to Glatting/Jackson to give a presentation.
  • The Plan needs to be worked on more. Road networks and intersections need further consideration.
  • There should be a central committee on transportation.
  • Should Glatting/Jackson provide a transportation analysis on Rockville Pike?
  • Move the regulating station from Grosvenor to White Flint.
  • Currently, building design is stuck in 1992.    FAR is not addressing urbanization issues.
  • Was there consideration for what retail lies beyond the Sector Plan boundary (context) (Rockville, Twinbrook) ?
  • Where are the boundaries of the higher FAR area?
  • Prescriptive natures of “every neighborhood shall have…. Grocery store, etc. “Should be more organic.
  • The delineation of neighborhoods does not make sense. 
  • Model relies on unrealistic scenario because of money. Unless public funding is added it won’t work.
  • Are one way streets appropriate for the grid system?
  • Transportation grid and directionality should be based on property owners’ scenarios and citizen input.

Answers to submitted questions

What is an example of a “matched pair” of boulevards (in the Washington DC area) which we might recognize?
East-West Highway in downtown Bethesda has 3 thru lanes in each direction.

Please clarify what step the Holladay property is in the zoning and approval process. What process should be followed to provide comment on the projects?
The Planning Board recommended the approval of the Holladay project rezoning project. The case number is G-860. The proposal calls for 247 multi-family dwelling units, including 38 moderately dwelling units (mpdu’s), and 201,822 square feet of commercial development.
The Hearing Examiner in Rockville will hold a public hearing and will send its opinion to the County Council. The Council will review the Hearing Examiner’s opinion, Planning Board comments, and render the final decision on the rezoning case. The Council can approve, reject or send the application back to the Planning Board. If the rezoning is approved, the project will return to the Planning Board for preliminary and site plan approvals.
Public comments are allowed in each stage of review, including the public hearing with the Hearing Examiner and Planning Board review.

Where are the seven neighborhoods?
The seven neighborhoods are seven distinct areas within the planning area. These neighborhoods are subject to change.
The seven neighborhoods are...

  • Mid Pike Plaza, covers the Mid-Pike Plaza
  • White Flint Mall includes all of the property south of Nicholson Lane, including the Mall
  • Metro West, properties west of Rockville Pike between Nicholson Lane and Old Georgetown Road
  • White Flint Crossing, properties west of MD 355 from Hillery Way to Nicholson Lane
  • Metro East
  • NRC, properties east of MD 355 between Nicholson Lane Marinelli Road to the CSX rail tracks
  • Maple Avenue, east of Randolph Road and MD 355 to the CSX rail tracks

Where should the MARC station be located?
Some property owners in the Nicholson Court and Nicholson Lane area have suggested that a MARC station in this location would provide additional transit service to the area.

Will the Plan only promote walking, or biking trails also be included?
The new White Flint Sector Plan will build upon existing bike lanes with an integrated bikeway system that provides existing and future residents and employees multiple ways to bike and walk within White Flint.

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Date of last update: May 9, 2008