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 MPDUs.

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:

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