Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Montgomery County Council Unanimously Approves White Flint Sector Plan

The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved the White Flint Sector Plan that will transform the North Bethesda area around Rockville Pike into a more urban and more dense community strongly supported by public transit and designed to make residents and workers less dependent on automobiles.

The Montgomery County Planning Board began its work on the White Flint Sector Plan more than three years ago, working with an advisory board of about 50 stakeholders. The County Council and its respective committees have held extensive worksessions on the plan over the past six months.

The plan targets future growth along the Pike with development clustered around about 430 acres near the White Flint Metro Station. It will allow replacement of aging low-rise commercial properties in the area with mixed-use buildings as tall as 30 stories. The revitalized new urban neighborhood would include residences, offices, service-oriented businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues. The neighborhood would evolve through creation of a grid of streets to promote walkability for residents and employees.

White Flint was proposed as an urban, mixed-use community as the center of North Bethesda more than 30 years ago as the influence of Metro’s Red Line was starting to take hold. The sector plan covers an area bounded by the CSX train tracks and White Flint Mall to the east, the merge point of Montrose Parkway and Old Georgetown Road to the north, Old Georgetown Road to the west and an area just below Edson Lane to the south. The Georgetown Prep school and the Strathmore Performing Arts Center are south of the plan. All of the plan is within a walkable three-quarters of a mile from the White Flint Metro Station.
“I am very pleased at the Council’s strong affirmative vote in support of the White Flint Sector Plan,” said Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg, who lives close to the White Flint area. “During its consideration, we witnessed a very strong, effective and positive collaborative effort among key community stakeholders which has resulted in an exciting plan for a safe, healthy and pedestrian friendly urban community. This ‘partnership’ with the community stands as a model for future master plans in Montgomery County.

“With this effort, we have worked hard to design a plan which promotes growth, respects established neighborhoods, and incorporates innovative and environmentally-friendly solutions for traffic and mobility. Our work, however, is not over. I look forward to working with my Council colleagues on the development of a sustainable financing plan for the White Flint plan area and a development coordination mechanism which will give comfort to our neighbors and the business community about infrastructure and financing issues.”

Read the full Council press release here.

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