Montgomery County Planners Peeking Ahead Into Bethesda’s Future

BETHESDA, Md. — Montgomery County planners are considering what Bethesda will look like in the next 20 years — and what they’re anticipating includes nearly twice as many apartments and a lot more park land.

It was one of the first successful transit-oriented spots in the region. It includes even more people with even more office space, parks, and places to live, and not just in the areas right on top of the Metro station.

Experts like Leslie Howerton, a planner coordinator with the Montgomery County Planning Department, worry there won’t be enough housing to meet demand in the coming decades since the population is expected to surge another 20 to 25 percent.

“Knowing growth is coming we have to put it somewhere… and we feel its best to focus that in urban downtown areas where there’s transit,” Howardson says.

The areas they’re targeting for redevelopment include the offices around the downtown Metro station, including the ones part of the Metro plaza. Other priority areas include the blocks on the north and south ends of downtown along Wisconsin Avenue, and just east of there on East-West Highway.

The next wave of new apartment buildings in downtown Bethesda will have even more units.

Stewart Schwartz with the Coalition for Smarter Growth calls it “Bethesda 2.0.”

“This allows us to reduce the demand on our roadways, making them work better,” Howardson says. “Allowing additional development on top of the Metro station will generate the revenues as well as provide the timing and opportunity to redo the transit center.”

The next public meeting on the drafting of this plan will be held Sept. 17.

Read this on CBS DC >>