Montgomery County's plan for Bethesda calls for height bonuses in return for affordable housing. Residents neighboring the proposed incentive zones have successfully resisted that idea.
"Montgomery County wants to encourage developers to build more affordable housing in downtown Bethesda. But due to pressure from neighbors, the County Council voted to allow less affordable housing and shorter buildings instead," reports Peter Tomao.
The vote is the latest twist in the county's ongoing housing policy process, following the approval of a new plan for Downtown Bethesda earlier this year, as reported by Michael Neibauer at the time.
Now, however, the rubber is hitting the road, and the County Council spent the last week debating which areas in the master plan would be allowed new affordable housing incentives—namely, additional height in return for affordable housing allotments.
The proposed height bonuses inspired resistance from local residents. "Groups like the Coalition of Bethesda Area Residents (CBAR) wanted firm height caps on properties at the edge of downtown," according to Tomao. "After a lengthy discussion, the Montgomery County Council voted on a compromise plan that would add a handful of properties at the edge of downtown Bethesda, while reducing heights and affordable housing allotments elsewhere."
Tomao concludes the article by arguing that the decision will exacerbate an existing rental housing affordability problem in Bethesda and the region.
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’
A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
Understanding Accessibility in the Public Right-of-Way
A ‘best practices’ manual guides accessibility on streets and sidewalks, but remains legally unenforceable.
Newark Kicks Off $1 Home Sale Program
The city sold seven properties as part of an effort to revive blighted sites and encourage housing production.
Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit
For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.