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Chevy Chase Land Company Argues For 150-Foot Building

by Aaron Kraut — April 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm 288 0

Rendering of Chevy Chase Land Company's proposal for Chevy Chase Lake, via Chevy Chase Land Company

Residents are against the Chevy Chase Land Company’s proposal for a 150-foot building on Connecticut Avenue as part of the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan before the County Council.

The Connecticut Avenue Corridor Committee, a group of more than 20 Chevy Chase civic and neighborhood organizations, has suggested a 90- or 120-foot height limit for the building. It would be on the other side of the existing Capital Crescent Trail from the company’s 8401 Connecticut office building.

Last week, the developer again laid out the reasons it thinks the 150 feet number is appropriate.

As the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan has moved from the Planning Board to the Council, we’ve heard questions about the recommended 150 foot height limit for one of the buildings in the plan area. Some community members have expressed concern that this height limit is excessive, and that the building should be several stories shorter, even though it would be immediately adjacent to the future Purple Line station and to an existing 150 foot tall building. Neither building would abut a residential neighborhood.

We take community concerns very seriously and have made significant changes to our redevelopment plans in response to feedback. But we also believe that this building height is appropriate in the larger context of our design, for several reasons:

  • The additional height creates the opportunity for more open space in the project
  • The additional units available in a taller building are necessary to offset the high cost of underground parking, which is essential to creating a walkable, pedestrian friendly environment
  • As this article points out, a slightly taller building can be more elegantly designed, and ultimately more aesthetically pleasing, than a shorter, blockier building
  • The visual impact from the street of an additional 2-3 stories is minimal

The Council hasn’t yet made a final decision on the Sector Plan, so we don’t know what the height limits will be. But rather than focus primarily on the height of one building, we hope to have constructive conversations about the environmental and community benefits to be gained from the redevelopment of an old, asphalt-heavy strip center into a lively, beautiful and transit-oriented community.

The next Council Planning Committee worksession on Chevy Chase Lake is expected in June. Until then, the Chevy Chase Land Company will try to earn community support for their proposal to redevelop the strip shopping centers there into mixed-use buildings around a town green.

On May 15, the company is hosting a Summer Kickoff Happy Hour where it will present project renderings and its vision for a transit-oriented community.

Rendering via Chevy Chase Land Company

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