Montgomery County planners tomorrow will review plans for the massive development proposed at White Flint Mall, which could be transformed into more than five million square feet of apartments, office buildings, retail space, parks and even a brand new elementary school.
The Planning Board on Thursday will decide whether to take planning staff’s recommendation to approve the sketch plan with some caps on density, green space and public use requirements and the allotment of some of the land for a future elementary school.
The development has been in the works since before the county approved the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, which allows for mixed-use zoning on both sides of Rockville Pike near the White Flint Metro station that will bring an estimated 14,000 housing units and 13 million square feet of development to North Bethesda.
The redevelopment of the White Flint Mall, 5.22 million square feet of a number of uses, is the centerpiece of that project. The County Council approved a White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee this week to relate issues with development to the county government.
Planning staff recommended capping building heights at 250 feet along Rockville Pike and Executive Boulevard, where planners hope the tallest buildings will go. Buildings in the interior core are set at 40 to 140 feet tall and the existing Lord and Taylor building in the mall will remain at 50 feet tall.
Space for an elementary school to meet the anticipated influx of 400 new students is included on the south end of the development.
Natalie Goldberg, a resident near the mall, submitted a letter to planning staff making clear her objection to building a “Neighborhood Plaza” that could attract people late at night so close to the White Flint Neighborhood Park, which operates from sunrise to sunset.
Following sketch plan approval, developers must submit a preliminary plan and site plan, during which time the exact ratio of residential to retail space would be laid out.
All images via the Montgomery County Planning Department
The DoubleTree Bethesda hotel (8120 Wisconsin Ave.) is holding a bourbon-filled event on Thursday that will feature Maker’s Mark “distillery diplomat” John Vickers Smith (seen above), a sampling and bourbon ice cream.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. in the hotel’s first-floor bar, where Smith will explain and sample a number of small batch bourbons, said DoubleTree Food & Beverage Director Craig Luparello.
Participants (age 21 and older) will get to sample bourbons in the kitchen and see Smith’s demonstration.
DoubleTree executive chef Mente Lawson will demonstrate some of his favorite bourbon recipes, including a bourbon barbecue sauce for pulled pork sliders and a liquid nitrogen-infused vanilla bourbon ice cream that he’ll create in front of the participants.
Republican Congressional candidate Ken Timmerman claims his race with heavily favored incumbent Chris Van Hollen (D) is competitive, and a group of Tea Party supporters is coming to try to prove it.
In an email to supporters last night, the Kensington investigative journalist said his campaign’s internal polling shows that since May, Van Hollen has never polled above 48 percent.
No independent polls have been released for the race, according to The Gazette. Despite a reconfigured district that includes traditionally conservative areas in Frederick and Carroll Counties, Van Hollen is expected to cruise to a sixth term.
Since defeating incumbent Connie Morella in 2002, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee has never won less than 73 percent of the vote and has assumed a national leadership role in the Democratic party with a stint as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Timmerman, though, has managed to raise Van Hollen’s ire.
At an Oct. 14 candidates event, Van Hollen said he’s “never seen such gutter politics in our community,” according to The Gazette.
After a debate on Sept. 28 in Gaithersburg, Van Hollen could be heard telling Timmerman to “stop lying” as the two shook hands.
Van Hollen is also a resident of Kensington, where a Tea Party group called the 2012 Tea Party Express will stop on a bus tour on Monday, Oct. 29 to support Timmerman.
“The Tea Party Express organizers told us that they picked up my challenge to entrenched borrower and spender Chris Van Hollen because they consider Maryland’s 8th District to be a competitive race,” Timmerman said in the Tuesday night email.
A female bicyclist appeared to suffer minor injuries after a collision with a car on Wednesday morning near downtown.
The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. at the crosswalk of Cheltenham Drive and Wisconsin Avenue and involved a Mercedes SUV. Rescue Services and MCPD were on the scene attending to the injured bicyclist, who was put into an ambulance.
A witness said the bicyclist didn’t appear to be badly hurt and lifted herself onto a gurney.
An August report from CountyStat said there were eight reported bicycle collisions in 2011 in downtown Bethesda, most involving cars at crosswalks.
In an at-times contentious meeting on Tuesday in the school’s cafeteria, a number of parents of students in the B-CC cluster questioned whether adding an addition the size of a small elementary school would work for Montgomery County’s smallest high school campus. Another questioned whether MCPS long-range planners could accurately predict the amount of students who would come from new apartment projects in the area.
Long-range planning division chief Bruce Crispell and B-CC planner Debbie Szyfer brought along architects to present three options for the addition as part of an expansion feasibility study.
But some parents felt other options, including changing school boundaries, should be attempted instead to slow the growth of the school’s population.
“We feel boxed into this corner, like these kids are coming, we’ve gotta do this, we’ve gotta do this quickly,” one parent said. “It’s like if we don’t take this bad option, we get nothing.”
Woman Charged in Walter Reed Hit-And-Run — Angela Akosua Cobbold, the 27-year-old Manassas, Va., woman who eluded police from multiple jurisdictions in a series of incidents and drew gunfire from an officer yesterday, was charged with first degree assault and reckless endangerment. [WTOP]
Arrest Video of Cobbold — The pursuit of Cobbold ended when she crashed into a fence at a construction site near White Flint. WUSA9 got video of MCPD officers taking Cobbold into custody. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation. [WUSA9]
State Starts Criminal Investigation of County’s Campaign Tactics — Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt will investigate whether county leaders acted illegally in campaigning for Question B on the Nov. 6 ballot, which would affirm a law to do away with police “effects bargaining.” County Executive Isiah Leggett told Bethesda Now last week the county attorney cleared his office’s actions. [The Gazette]
Flickr photo by Thad Zajdowicz