UPDATE 4:55 p.m. Police and MCFRS have reopened all lanes of the Beltway inner loop at Old Georgetown Road. Delays extend 10.5 miles from the scene.
ORIGINAL Police have closed the Beltway inner loop at Old Georgetown Road after a truck-involved wreck that requires a Hazmat team to assist with an apparent fuel spill.
The wreck occurred around 2 p.m. on Tuesday when a truck jackknifed into a jersey barrier just west of Rockville Pike.
MCFRS reported the driver side fuel tank was completely ruptured and about 75 gallons of diesel fuel was leaking toward a nearby creek. That section of the inner loop is expected to be shut down for some time.
The Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday approved the site plan for Bethesda Mews, a development of 29 single-family detached dwellings, three townhomes and two duplexes at the former site of the American College of Cardiology.
The Board quickly approved the plan, which would put a new neighborhood on the 10-acre site at the intersection of Old Georgetown and Alta Vista Roads. The development will include an extension of Camberley Avenue to Alta Vista, two recreation areas and a stormwater system improvement into the existing neighborhood.
The project, from D.C.-based real estate investment firm Streetscape Partners, will include moderately priced units for the townhomes and duplexes. One 9,000-square-foot area at the “grand entrance” to the community will include stone garden walls, benches, pathways, sitting areas and an archway. Streetscape was a partner in the Symphony Woods luxury townhome development near the Strathmore.
One change is the probable severe impact on a group of three more trees than originally planned. Streetscape will plant 55 trees, up from 52, as part of its forest mitigation plan. The development requires a school facility payment at both the middle school and high school level. It will be in the Walter Johnson High School cluster.
Allen Myers, president of the nearby Maple Leaf Citizens Association, said his group met a few times with the developer and had no issues.
“I think it’s going to be an enhancement to the neighborhood and I think the residents are, by and large, very happy,” Myers said.
Image via Montgomery County Planning Department
Expansion plans for Suburban Hospital will go in front of the Montgomery County Planning Board on April 18, almost two years after a Circuit Court judge denied a request from nearby residents to block the project.
The Site Plan application for Suburban Hospital’s proposed 235,000-square-foot addition to its facility at 8600 Old Georgetown Rd. say the hospital is in need of its first major clinical expansion since 1979.
In 2011, residents of the Huntington Terrace Citizens Association unsuccessfully tried to block the project, which has meant the closure of Lincoln Street between Grant Street and Old Georgetown Road and will mean the demolition of 10 hospital-owned houses. In July 2011, the Montgomery County Council approved a special exception request to close that section of Lincoln Street, which residents opposed because of anticipated disruptions.
The Planning Staff report on the hospital’s Preliminary and Site Plan materials was not available today, but the application filed last year explains how the project would work. Staff is recommending approval of the Plans, with conditions.
The existing 323,100-square-foot building would be combined with the new addition by removing the houses, two-story administrative building and garage and replacing those with a four-story building and new 1,125-space garage.
Suburban’s application says the project would separate pedestrian and regular vehicle traffic from ambulance traffic, as well as significantly reduce the amount of surface parking.
Suburban argues for the expansion because of a large increase in patient volume, improvements in healthcare delivery methods, additional regulatory demands and its status as Montgomery County’s only designated trauma center. The new building would include new surgical facilities, private patient rooms, doctors’ offices and the garage.
Photo via Suburban Hospital
The Grand Reopening ribbon cutting (the store never actually closed during the renovation) is set for the morning of Friday, April 12. Throughout that weekend, Giant will provide a “tasting passport” to all customers from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 12 and from noon to 5 p.m. on April 13 and April 14 for a chance to win free groceries for a month.
Other improvements include six new self-checkout lanes and nine additional regular checkout lanes, expanded frozen food, international food and natural food sections and a redesigned produce department with 20 percent more produce.
The deli has also been redesigned with a new gourmet cheese case and olive bar.
Giant will make a donation to KEEN Greater DC, a nonprofit that organizes recreational activities for kids with developmental and physical disabilities, at the ceremony. County Executive Isiah Leggett and Councilmember Roger Berliner are scheduled to attend.
Image via Wikimedia
The Planning Board next week will review a rare proposal for a new development of single family homes planned for the existing site of the American College of Cardiology on Old Georgetown Road.
The nearly 10-acre site at Old Georgetown Road and Alta Vista Road would be developed into 29 single-family detached dwellings, three townhomes and two duplexes. The townhomes and duplexes would serve as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units, and have the blessing of the county’s Housing Department after developers made sure to provide two assigned parking spaces for each.
The project, called Bethesda Mews, comes from D.C. based real estate investment firm Streetscape Partners, which also has a hand in Symphony Woods in North Bethesda.
It is a partner in what already appears to be a controversial proposal for a townhome development at the Grosvenor Mansion property, where five years ago surrounding residents opposed development of an international boarding school.
Camberley Avenue, which now stops at the southeast corner of the property, will be extended through the development to Alta Vista Road. The site as proposed will include 81 parking spaces with two per unit and 13 on-street along Camberley Avenue.
The development will mean the loss of trees on the site, but builders have approval from the county arborist on a conservation plan that includes maintaining the forested part of the eastern side of the property and adding new trees throughout the development.
The Planning Board will review the site plan and forest conservation plan on Thursday, April 11.
Images via Montgomery County Planning Board
UPDATED at 12:35 p.m. A 59-year-old man was hit by a car near the intersection of southbound Old Georgetown Road and Alta Vista Road around 9:37 a.m. and is now in serious condition, according to Montgomery County Police.
A witness to the incident said the man, who police have identified as William George Cole of an unconfirmed address, appeared to be holding a book while stepping into southbound traffic from the curb near the Wyngate Medical facility.
“I just looked in my rearview mirror and I saw a man take a step off the curb and he appeared to be holding a book. And the car hit him very hard and he was just airborne and very, very badly injured,” said Elizabeth Riel. “All I saw was him holding a book in his hand, he took a step off the curb and the car immediately hit him. It was just very quick. It happened very quickly.
“[The driver] was very concerned and tried to help,” she said. “Labored breathing, face down, barely moved.”
The driver, 52-year-old Remy Jean Pascal Bosselut of the 6000 block of Chatsworth Lane in Bethesda, stayed on the scene and is cooperating with police, Police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said. Starks said it appears the pedestrian was crossing not at a crosswalk but mid-block through six lanes of traffic. The investigation is ongoing.
Cole remains in serious condition and is undergoing treatment, police said in a press release this afternoon.
Southbound Old Georgetown Road was closed between Alta Vista Road and Beech Avenue and has since been reopened.
It is the second pedestrian collision in Bethesda in two days and the fourth in Montgomery County in two days.
The spill occurred on a ramp onto the inner loop from northbound Old Georgetown Road.
It does not appear to have caused much of a delay on Old Georgetown Road.
Photo via TrafficLand.com
Police arrested two suspects who they say burglarized a local elementary school on a recent Friday night:
A burglary occurred at Wyngate Elementary School, 9300 Wadsworth Drive, Bethesda on Friday, 1/25 between 9:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. No forced entry; nothing taken.
Arrested: Male, 18, from Bethesda; Male, 19, from Bethesda.
They are also looking for two suspects who they say assaulted and robbed multiple victims on a Tuesday afternoon in the Georgetown Square shopping center:
A robbery/assault occurred in the 10400 block of Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda on Tuesday, 1/22 at 3:00 p.m. The suspects assaulted the victims and obtained property.
Suspect: B/M, 15, 5’1”; B/M, 5’10”-5’11”
The rest of the most recent Bethesda District crime summary after the jump.
Chevy Chase-based Starr Capital and partners will present plans for the building at 4990 Fairmont Ave. at the monthly meeting of the Woodmont Triangle Action Group on Friday morning, about a month after news of the project first broke.
The property must still be rezoned, a process officials with the development team said could take two years.
A BP gas station and small office building currently sit on the site, which near the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue is in a prime location for infill development.
Property owner Jay Hellman has long envisioned a more urban, transit-oriented land use for the site and surrounding sites in Woodmont Triangle. After the BP gas station closed last year, he toyed with the idea of creating a space for food trucks to gather.
The Woodmont Triangle Acting Group meeting starts at 8 a.m. in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).
Neighbors of the property at 10401 Old Georgetown Rd. argued against the plan because of school overcrowding, traffic and environmental concerns.
But after the County Planning Board imposed setback requirements and made the planned apartment part of the county’s Productivity Housing program, the Wildwood Manor Citizens Association did not oppose it at a special exception hearing.
Six individual residents opposed the project at a Board of Appeals hearing. The Hearing Examiner filed his report and recommendation in favor of the project in December.
The property, which has a three-story, 36,000-square foot medical office building, bank and 206 parking spaces, was supposed to add a general office building. But property owners came back to the county with a new plan for apartments after finding little interest in a struggling office market.
The county’s Productivity Housing program requires 35 percent of the units (21 units) will be below the area-wide median income. The program is meant to provide for affordable housing in new projects in commercial or office zones.
With nearby Walter Johnson High School already overcrowded and with no expansions planned, Hearing Examiner Martin Grossman found that overcrowding was a “legitimate community concern.” But he said the overcrowding issue would be addressed by the Planning Board when evaluating the project’s site plan.
Photo via Google Maps
Montgomery County Police officers have a burglary suspect in custody after receiving a call that the man was casing homes on Friday in the Ashburton neighborhood off Old Georgetown Road.
MCPD spokeswoman Angela Cruz said police received a call at noon for a suspicious situation in the 10000 block of Clue Drive, where someone reported a suspect walking up and down the street looking at houses.
Police arrived at the scene and spent time looking for the suspect before locating him and taking him into custody.
A large group of MCPD patrol and detective cars were on the scene early Friday afternoon. Police reported a spike in neighborhood burglaries late last year.
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.
There are plenty of frozen yogurt shops to go around, but a pair of local businessmen opening one in Bethesda say they have the perfect location in which to thrive.
Ash Rahimi and his business partner will open their second location of FYI (Frozen Yogurt Indulgence) in the Georgetown Square shopping center in the next week or two.
What sets this shop apart? Rahimi says it’s the location and the options other than yogurt. The shop will offer smoothies, juices, milkshakes and locally-sourced wheatgrass shots to go along with six flavors of self-serve yogurt.
The shop, next to Georgetown Square Wine and Beer just steps from a busy Giant grocery store and Walter Johnson High School, is in a prime spot.
“It’s about finding good locations,” Rahimi said. “For us, being right next to the high school in a great community is perfect. I say the things I need in an area are a gym, a school, a church and a synagogue. That shows you a community and we have that here.”
Rahimi’s first FYI location was in L’Enfant Plaza in D.C.
The Bethesda Community Store will be on the auction block on Tuesday, nearly 90 years since it opened at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Greentree Road.
The property has been foreclosed upon and will be up for sale on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. The small cabin-like store, recognized as historic by the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, has been selling goods since 1924 and is one of the few remaining commercial structures from the early 20th century in Bethesda.
It also includes a barbecue stand and patio. Store owner Arnie Fainman encountered resistance from the county and neighbors in 2001, when he tried to sell seafood at the store through a vendor who was forced to leave the NIH campus across the street because of Sept. 11 security restrictions.
Fainman won a court battle to to double the store’s space. The barbecue is a lunchtime favorite of workers at NIH and nearby Suburban Hospital.
Fainman said he couldn’t comment on the property’s sale because he is a tenant. The property is owned by Chevy Chase-based property management company the Jaffe Group. A representative did not respond to a request for comment.
“It’s out of my hands,” Fainman said.
Flickr photo by voteprime
A driver crashed their white BMW into a pillar in front of the CVS Pharmacy this afternoon.
The incident happened just before 3:15 p.m. at the CVS in the Wildwood Shopping Center at 10233 Old Georgetown Rd. The accident appeared to involve just one vehicle and an ambulance remained on the scene.
A pillar near the front doors of the CVS sustained significant damage.