Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Montgomery Council Approves Zoning Change to Allow Creation of More Urban, Walkable, Transit-Supported Communities

The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved Zoning Text Amendment 09-08 creating a new family of Commercial/Residential (CR) Zones that will allow some future redeveloped areas designated in master plans to become more dense mixed-use communities that will encourage residents and businesses to be less dependent on automobiles and more reliant on increased public transit. The CR Zone could have significant impact on the redevelopment of the White Flint area of North Bethesda that includes the White Flint Metrorail station.

Provisions of CR Zones include “optional methods of development.” Optional methods of development are allowed in local zoning codes to grant developers considerations beyond what is allowed by a standard method of development (such as greater heights for buildings or increased density) in exchange for other amenities that would benefit the community. Under CR Zones, some buildings in the White Flint area could be built as high as 300 feet (approximately 30 stories) with four square feet of floor area for every one foot of land area.
Among the provisions of CR Zones is allowance for increased density if properties are developed near public transit and provide other public benefits. This would encourage greater use of transit, control sprawl, reduce vehicle miles traveled, reduce congestion, and reduce carbon emissions.

In addition to awarding increased density for projects built near transit, CR Zones could allow increased density by providing other public benefits for improved building designs, buildings with environmental programs (including green roofs, green walls, creating vegetative areas and energy production), buildings that provide easy connections to services, projects that include affordable housing alternatives, residential projects that include units that are fully wheel chair accessible and projects that help solve traffic problems beyond their regulator requirements.

The zone lowers the number of parking spaces required and establishes a maximum number of parking spaces.

For more information, click here to read the full Council press release.
Washington Post article:  Montgomery County Council approves new building zone

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