The Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday will hold its final worksession for the controversial Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan. And the developer in the center of it has a new point person on the project.
The Chevy Chase Land Company, which hopes to rebuild the strip malls on both sides of Connecticut Avenue between Chevy Chase Lake Drive and Manor Road into a mixed-use residential area, has hired Miti Figueredo to replace Lisa Fadden as its vice president for Public Affairs.
Figueredo was most recently the East County Regional Services Center Director in the office of County Executive Isiah Leggett. She’ll take over for Fadden, who community representatives against some aspects of the proposed development said helped smooth over tensions with a series of community meetings.
Still, issues remain.
The Connecticut Avenue Corridor Committee, a group of community activists wary of the potential for increased traffic, is against the height recommendations Planning Department staff has recommended so far.
Members of the group have said they will go before the County Council to protest the Planning Board’s approval of a 150-foot height limit for a building next to the proposed purple line station at Chevy Chase Lake. The group asked for a 90-foot height limit.
The worksession on Thursday will be the last before the final Planning Board review scheduled for Jan. 17. If approved, the Sector Plan would then go on to the County Council for final approval.
The Land Company says it hopes Figueredo’s experience in county government can help it in the Sector Plan process. Prior to the East County post, Figueredo worked as an aide to Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) and as chief of staff to Council President Nancy Navarro (D-East County).
“We are very happy Miti will be part of our leadership team,” Chevy Chase Land Company President David Smith said in a prepared release. “Her background in federal and local government and community relations will be an asset to us, especially as we move forward with the Chevy Chase Lake project.”
“I am thrilled to be working with the Land Company’s management team on issues I care about so deeply,” Figueredo said. “I look forward to continued collaboration with residents to ensure the Chevy Chase Lake project will be a beautiful and vibrant community gathering place for many years to come.”
(UPDATED: 3:00 p.m.) Montgomery County firefighters put out a series of brush fires that began along the right side of northbound I-270 this afternoon and threatened nearby townhomes.
The fires began at about 1 p.m. and stretched almost half a mile from the Beltway and Rockville Pike exits onto I-270 to Old Georgetown Road. At 2:50 p.m, MCFRS officials reported a fire near townhomes on Englishman Drive had been completely put out.
The fires have caused a significant traffic delay as all three lanes of I-270 North and the ramp from Rockville Pike remain closed. Cars are getting by in a single lane of traffic on the right shoulder.
MCFRS officials on the scene requested the fire marshall to help investigate what started the fires. There were no reported auto fires along I-270 at the time the fire started.
There were fires on each side of the Grosvenor Lane overpass. Firefighters requested an ambulance unit as a precaution, but nobody was reported injured.
Council President Nancy Navarro (D-East County) and Education Committee Chair Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) sent a letter to Board of Education President Chris Barclay yesterday urging the Board to speed up installation of access control systems and camera systems in elementary schools.
The Council approved funding for advanced security systems in schools four years ago, with the the final elementary school systems being installed by the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
But in light of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting and recent complaints from Montgomery County parents, Ervin and Navarro say the Council is prepared to fund an acceleration of the project.
The Gazette reported a group of parents from Bethesda’s Bradley Hills Elementary School sent a letter to MCPS superintendent Josh Starr asking the school’s temporary Radnor Center location be updated with doors that lock and a system to screen visitors.
The Board of Education took up the elementary security security issue at their meeting today.
A foreclosure auction scheduled for this morning was called off, according to store owner Arnie Fainman, who is renting the space from property owner the Jaffe Group.
Fainman wouldn’t say why the auction was called off, other than to say he will continue operating the store that has been at the corner of Old Georgetown and Greentree Roads for nearly 90 years.
A few local restaurateurs, including Bezu and Aroma owner Eddie Benaim, were on-site this morning before being told the auction was off.
For now, Fainman said the property still belongs to the Jaffe Group. The store is recognized as a historic place by Montgomery County.
Phil Alperson said residents, employees and visitors in the area can expect delays and intermittent road closures from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. today.
Across Rockville Pike, NIH has advised its employees to enter and exit on the Old Georgetown Road side of campus “to help alleviate traffic backups” on Rockville Pike.
Base spokesman Joe Macri declined to elaborate on the anticipated delays, saying, “In the interest of force protection, we are unable to discuss specific security measures taken.”
President Barack Obama visited wounded troops on the base on Dec. 20, a pre-holiday closed-to-the-media session that didn’t cause any significant added traffic.
Small Businesses Face High Price of Operating in Bethesda — With longtime Bethesda favorite Bruce Variety on its way out of Bradley Shopping Center, other small business owners spoke about the financial challenges they face. [The Gazette]
WSSC Begins Final Paving, Opens 1 Southbound Lane of Connecticut Avenue — After yesterday’s water main break left all three southbound lanes at Franklin Street closed and flooded, WSSC says one lane is getting by this morning, the break is fixed and final paving should start at 9 a.m. [WSSC via Twitter]
No Metro Fare Hikes Coming This Year — Metro’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget does not include a fare hike, consistent with the transit system’s policy to make fare change every two years. Metro raised fares last year. Significant track work and more maintenance work will continue. [Washington Post]
Flickr photo by eddie.welker