Submitted to the Montgomery County Council September 23, 2004
Statement concerning ZTAs 04-11, -12, -13, and -14.
I am David C. Montgomery, 4512 Cortland Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. As president of the
Brookdale Citizens' Association, I represent approximately a thousand residents of Montgomery
County. Brookdale is the single-family neighborhood adjoining the GEICO site, which has received
approval of a preliminary plan for development.
I want to be clear that we are not opposing MPDUs. We are opposing the Zoning Text Amendments
in their present form on two grounds: First, they would, in effect, allow nullification of an approved
sector plan, and, second, the amendments would use improper means to encourage the addition of
In the first regard, we spent many hours debating the Friendship Heights Sector Plan. We worked
hard to retain green space and other amenities for the good of County residents. Two major sites
have begun construction under the provisions of that plan. GEICO obtained approval of its
preliminary plan under the Sector Plan but has delayed obtaining additional approvals for its
development. It would be a violation of the process and, frankly, an insult to those of us who
struggled through preparation of that existing Sector Plan to change the rules at this point in order to
add density and reduce public-use space on the GEICO site.
Second, if you think for a minute about the message in these proposals, you will see that there is a
fundamental problem. The Council has set limits on density based on what it considered to be in the
best interests of the County. It now proposes to encourage developers to take particular actions by
increasing density beyond that point which it once considered reasonable. In other legislation we see
a similar, unfortunate pattern: you encourage actions by offering increases in density as a reward.
You must be aware that the Washington area has the third worst traffic congestion in the country. We
live in a setting in which densities have been pushed too high, and -- according to these proposals --
you want to institute a reward that defies logic: more dwelling units in areas already over crowded.
But the basic point is this, Even if you do not consider current congestion excessive, think of the
message you are sending: The Council rewards developers by increasing congestion.
Please heed the papers written by the Planning Board staff, which seem to be in the right direction.
Our request in short:
- Devise ways to accomplish your objectives without using higher density as a reward.
- At a minimum, do not allow the revisiting of sector plans that have already been approved.
- Maintain the requirements for amenities that exist in the Friendship Heights Sector Plan.
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