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by BethesdaNow.com — January 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm 2 Comments

Another day, another condo building for Bethesda.

Today the announcement came from Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers, the company known for single family home neighborhoods that’s making its first move in the D.C. condo market with a seven-story, 60-unit plan for 4915 Hampden Lane, across from the Shoppes of Bethesda.

In a press release, the company announced it bought the property and construction is slated to begin this fall with sales starting in spring of 2014.

“We are extremely excited to be expanding the Toll Brothers City Living brand into the strong and highly-desirable Greater Washington, D.C. market. D.C is a natural expansion of our City Living brand from our great success in New York City, and we are excited to grow the group around Greater D.C,” Toll Brothers CEO Douglasy Yearley Jr., said in the release.

His company is also opening an office in Bethesda to tap the D.C. market.

Yesterday, the property owner of the shuttered BP gas station at 4990 Fairmont Ave. confirmed plans by Chevy Chase-based Starr Capital to build a 17-story, 70-unit condo on the site.

by BethesdaNow.com — January 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm 0

Officials from Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) said interim medical buildings may be built on a base parking lot during the replacement of older buildings in the Walter Reed campus’ core.

It was unclear what affect that might have outside the base walls, where parking capacity issues have sometimes meant base employees parking on the streets of surrounding neighborhoods.

Jeff Miller, transportation program manager for NSAB, said designs for the interim buildings (known as medical swing space) were not finalized. But he told people at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee that it appears the Navy will put a one-story, 10,000-square-foot building and two-story, 90,000-square-foot building on what is now the G Parking Lot on the north end of campus bordering the Stone Ridge School.

Miller said that would leave parking “constrained,” but that the buildings would be ready for teardown in 2018.

“There’s significant motivation to reclaim that parking lot,” said Bill Sadlon, a project manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

The expansion of the campus to include the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is expected to increase the number of annual visitors to the base to 1 million, up from 500,000. NSAB plans a new 500-space underground garage to compliment the new medical facilities as part of its master plan.

On the other side of Rockville Pike, budget constraints may force NIH to shut down its entrance near Greentree Road in the morning, according to an NIH official at the meeting.

Until Congress takes action on the budget, the gate will remain open.

Flickr photo by AmyMarieMoore

by BethesdaNow.com — January 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm 0

The Montgomery County Council yesterday passed a resolution urging the Maryland General Assembly and Congress to enact a package of gun control laws.

The resolution supports background checks that would prevent those with mental illness from purchasing guns, a ban on armor-piercing bullets and all forms of assault weapons, a ban on magazines with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds, the removal of restrictions Congress has placed on the ATF that prevents it from sharing gun databases with local police stations, the closing of the “gun show” loophole and an increase in mandatory penalties for for criminals convicted of carrying guns during a violent crime.

There  are  many  legitimate,  law-abiding  reasons  to  own  a  firearm.  However,  assault  weapons, armor piercing bullets, and large capacity magazines have the ability to kill and maim large numbers of human beings,  but have  limited usefulness for hunters and other law-abiding citizens.

The proposals, introduced by Council President Nancy Navarro (D-East County), mirror many of the laws that Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and others in the state legislature will attempt to pass during the General Assembly.

Today, President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders that go toward strengthening background checks for those who wish to purchase guns.

The county lacks the authority to regulate the sale or possession of firearms under state law.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) released a statement supporting Obama’s proposals on Wednesday afternoon:

Today, President Obama presented a clear vision of how we can improve gun safety in our nation.  I applaud the President for taking executive action where appropriate, such as increasing research on gun violence and improving our federal database that tracks guns.  Congress must immediately consider the White House’s recommendations for legislative action, including closing loopholes in criminal and mental health background checks for people purchasing guns, banning military-style assault weapons, and limiting the size of high-capacity magazines.

Our nation has buried too many innocent victims of gun violence because we have been unwilling to take action on sensible gun safety measures.  Despite the distortions and scare tactics used by the Washington-based gun lobby, a majority of Americans support these common sense measures.  Limiting the number of bullets that can be fired at once does not mean we are trying to take guns away from responsible gun owners.   If you’re on a terrorist watch list, you should not be permitted to buy a gun.  We can keep our children safe without infringing on the Second Amendment.

Flickr photo by mdfriendofhillary

by BethesdaNow.com — January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm 0

The National Weather Services says the D.C. area could be hit with five inches of snow tomorrow, though others are already disputing that forecast.

Still, the NWS has issued a Winter Storm Watch from Thursday morning through Thursday night for Montgomery County that calls for heavy snow with accumulations in excess of five inches possible. Whatever the case, rain or snow is expected to continue causing problems during tomorrow’s p.m. rush hour:

WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW…POSSIBLY HEAVY AT TIMES.

* ACCUMULATIONS…IN EXCESS OF 5 INCHES POSSIBLE.

* TIMING…SNOW MAY MIX WITH RAIN AT THE ONSET…ESPECIALLY SOUTH OF WASHINGTON DC THURSDAY MORNING…BEFORE CHANGING TO ALL SNOW LATE THURSDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON. SNOW WILL END THURSDAY NIGHT. SNOW MAY BE HEAVY AT TIMES DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

* TEMPERATURES…IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S.

* WINDS…NORTHWEST 5 TO 10 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH.

* IMPACTS…ROADS MAY BECOME SNOW COVERED…ESPECIALLY DURING THE EVENING RUSH HOUR.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

by BethesdaNow.com — January 16, 2013 at 11:35 am 4 Comments

 

The developer behind a 17-story apartment building in the middle of Woodmont Triangle may soon have demolition permits, which will cause a few construction pains in one of Bethesda’s most popular commercial areas.

Chevy Chase-based JBG Cos. is finalizing its permits with Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services and demolition on the green awning-adorned building at 4900 Fairmont Ave. could start this quarter, according to Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Director Ken Hartman.

Preparation for the demolition has already caused some construction traffic on Fairmont Avenue, where crews have been building the 17-story Bainbridge Bethesda apartment across the street. Expect that traffic to increase and some temporary closures of Fairmont Avenue when construction begins.

Hartman also said work on an apartment complex slated for the old Bethesda Post Office at 7001 Arlington Rd. could start this quarter.

by BethesdaNow.com — January 16, 2013 at 10:30 am 0

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad will hold a blood drive on Jan. 25 to honor two New York firefighters killed while responding to a fire on Christmas Eve.

Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were killed when gunman William Spengler set his Webster, N.Y., house on fire and shot at the responding crew of firefighters. Spengler then killed himself in the ambush.

The blood drive will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad (5020 Battery Lane) in the Anastasi Room.

Those who wish to give blood are asked to register at online at redcrossblood.org and search by sponsor code #05314957.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

by BethesdaNow.com — January 16, 2013 at 9:30 am 2 Comments

An exclusive right turn lane on southbound Connecticut Avenue from the Beltway to Jones Bridge Road should be done later this year and an extra right lane on northbound Rockville Pike from Cedar Lane to the Beltway is the last BRAC-related road project awaiting federal funding.

State Highway Administration officials updated a meeting of the Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee on Tuesday night at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center with status updates on federally funded projects at the four major intersections around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Institues of Health.

The area has become a traffic chokehold as workers file in and out of both secure facilities. SHA has received millions in grant funding from the Defense Department to widen intersections, add lanes and make sidewalk improvements.

Barb Solberg gave updates on each intersection. Construction timelines in SHA terms indicate actual roadway construction, Solberg said. In many cases, disruptions occur earlier because of work on underground utilities:

Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road — Phase 1, the new southbound lane on Connecticut Avenue from the Beltway to Jones Bridge Road, is under construction now and should be complete this summer or fall. Phase 2, the addition of a northbound Connecticut Avenue lane in the existing median to the Beltway, is under construction and should also be complete this summer or fall.

SHA has a separate contract out for the widening of Jones Bridge Road to the south, which would allow for another left turn lane to northbound Connecticut Avenue for the evening rush. Construction on that is expected to begin in fall of 2014.

Rockville Pike and Cedar Lane — Phases 1 and 2 include adding a lane on West Cedar Lane and increasing the length of the left turn lane just south of the intersection that allows access to the Military Medical Center’s North Gate. Phase 3 is the widening of Cedar Lane on both sides of Rockville Pike and should start in fall 2013 and finish in fall of 2015. It will include periodic closures of Cedar Lane.

Phase 4, the last project awaiting federal funding, will extend the lane SHA is adding to northbound Rockville Pike all the way to the Beltway. Solberg said the funding application should go out in the next couple months and construction should start in summer 2014 and finish in winter of 2015 or 2016.

Old Georgetown Road and West Cedar Lane — The first project to receive federal funding will add a right turn lane for drivers turning north onto Old Georgetown Road. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2014 and finish a year later.

Rockville Pike and Jones Bridge Road — SHA is going to convert one of the thru lanes on southbound Rockville Pike to a left turn lane onto Jones Bridge Road. Solberg said construction started in January 2012 and should be complete by this summer. The rest of that intersection’s improvements involve sidewalk work that will be a part of the upcoming Rockville Pike pedestrian tunnel project.

Montgomery County BRAC coordinator Phil Alperson noted none of the federal funding for these projects is threatened by sequestration fears or budget talks on Capitol Hill.

Photo via TrafficLand.com.

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