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by BethesdaNow.com — February 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm 0

The Montgomery County Council today unanimously passed a bill that will make officials assess whether affordable housing can be added to new capital projects such as libraries or fire stations.

The bill, proposed last year by Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac), is meant to encourage one of the wealthiest counties in the country to provide more affordable housing on its own land.

Berliner, when asked about the lack of affordable housing for young people at a town hall meeting last week, said he envisions the assessment will lead to convenient pairings of new library facilities with three or four floors of affordable housing for seniors.

“We have wonderful libraries, tucked away in places far from residents,” Berliner said. “We need a lot of senior affordable housing, not just housing for young people. It’s a hard place to live when you’re on retirement. Seniors and libraries are such an obviously good fit.”

Berliner again referenced an affordable housing project on top of a new fire station in Alexandria at today’s Council session.

“The irony of course is our community is obviously well-to-d0. It makes it harder to do affordable housing,” Berliner said last week. “There is no silver bullett. That’s not going to dramatically change the equation.”

The measure was amended to allow routine maintenance projects of existing county buildings to go through without the affordable housing assessment. The Council will determine whether a county executive-proposed project is worthy of an exemption. The county executive will do the same of Council-proposed projects seeking exemptions.

Photo via Builder Blog

by BethesdaNow.com — February 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm 0

Montgomery Parks staff and consultants on Monday outlined plans for a Josiah Henson museum that will focus on the life of the famous escaped slave and examine the context of slavery in Montgomery County.

In the hour-long presentation at Tilden Middle School, Parks project managers, the project architect and the person hired to design the exhibits spoke about their plans to design a state-of-the-art museum on a relatively tiny 1.5-acre parcel of land on Old Georgetown Road.

They also discussed potential parking issues and the exhibit’s compatibility with MCPS lesson plans. They expect a large share of museum visitors will be students on field trips.

“We know we want to tie the storyline tightly to what these teachers are addressing,” said Larissa Hallgren, who is helping to design the exhibits out of the Boston-based Experience Design company. “We want a site that’s going to we hope be essential for our social studies teachers so it will fit neatly into their curriculum.”

(more…)

by BethesdaNow.com — February 5, 2013 at 11:53 am 0

MCFRS officials are responding to a call for a gas line break in the Glenbrook Road neighborhood that has caused the evacuation of some nearby homes.

The break was reported in the 7000 block of Glenbrook Road, in a neighborhood west of downtown Bethesda around 11:45 a.m. The gas line was reportedly broken by a construction crew and officials have called for assistance from Washington Gas.

In late January, a construction crew broke a gas line on nearby Arlington Road, causing the evacuation of some nearby shops and the temporary closure of the busy road.

by BethesdaNow.com — February 5, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

The DoubleTree Bethesda (8120 Wisconsin Ave.) is hosting the rare Valentine’s Day event that doesn’t require a significant other.

On Feb. 14 at 7 p.m., the hotel will have “mix,taste and mingle” Single Appreciation Night Events (S.A.N.E.) in its Share Wine Lounge & Small Plate Bistro.

For $25, restaurant staff will show participants how to mix drinks and filet a fresh salmon dish before offering tastings and time to socialize.

Call 301-664-7343 to place a reservation. For those already coupled up, DoubleTree is offering a menu of special $30 Valentine’s Day entrees.

by BethesdaNow.com — February 5, 2013 at 10:00 am 1 Comment

The developer of a proposed 17-story, 475-unit apartment at 7900 Wisconsin Ave. wil go before the Montgomery County Planning Board for approval on Feb. 14.

In the presentation from Chevy Chase-based developer JBG are renderings, shown but not released to the public during two public meetings in December, of what the potential high-rise could look like.

It will include a yet-to-be-named grocery chain and marketplace on the ground floor, accented by a walk-thru and gathering place under a “bridge” in the middle of the structure.

Planning Staff has recommended the Board approve JBG’s project plan and preliminary plan at next week’s hearing.

JBG was originally going to develop both the 7900 site and the properties just to the north into a project that included the new 2nd District Police Station. But that joint plan with Montgomery County fell through after JBG did not acquire all of the properties that run up against Cordell Avenue.

The building as proposed will include 22,000 square feet of ground floor retail. It would run about 275 feet along Wisconsin Avenue with the “bridge” or arch in the middle for pedestrian access similar to the Bethesda Lane pedestrian and retail area at Bethesda Row.

The average unit size would be somewhere around 785 square feet. Parking garage access for residents would be on the Woodmont Avenue side of the building.

A JBG official at the December presentations said he doesn’t think the apartment will allow for more than a 0.7 parking space per unit ratio because of the property’s proximity to Metro.

Images/renderings via Montgomery County Planning Department

by BethesdaNow.com — February 5, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

Duncan Confident He Will Win 2014 County Executive Race — Doug Duncan, the former three-term county executive who will run again in 2014, says there is “no doubt” in his mind he will win the already jam-packed race. Councilmembers Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg), Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) and George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park have all either said they will run or strongly indicated they will. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who followed Duncan, has yet to say whether he would run for a third term. [The Gazette]

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Promotes JV Football Coach — Former B-CC JV football coach Josh Singer will take over the varsity head coaching spot left by Rich Noland when Noland stepped down to spend more time with his family. Noland led the Barons to three straight winning seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in at least 40 years. Singer, 28, came to B-CC in 2006 and teaches social studies. [Washington Post]

Report Says Washington Drivers Have The Worst Commute In The Country — The report, from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, says Washington drivers needed three hours for a trip that should take 30 minutes without traffic. It rates Washington as worse than other notoriously bad traffic cities Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland and New York-Newark. [AP via WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Andrew-Benson

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