County Board Gives Initial Nod to Multifamily Housing Project in Downtown Bethesda

County Board Gives Initial Nod to Multifamily Housing Project in Downtown Bethesda

New complex would go next to existing Edgemont at Bethesda apartments

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Image of proposed multifamily complex on Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda

Via Montgomery County Planning Department

A proposal to build more multifamily housing next to Edgemont at Bethesda received preliminary approval from Montgomery County planners on Thursday.

Developer Equity Residential is planning to construct a roughly 150-foot-tall residential complex called Edgemont at Bethesda II at 4885 Edgemoor Lane, in place of the single-family home that currently occupies the downtown Bethesda property. The proposal calls for building a high-rise with up to 186,000 square feet and 160 units. The existing multifamily building at 4903 Edgemoor Lane has 122 units and is about 155,190 square feet, according to a staff report submitted to the county Planning Board.

A county planner reported received one email from a community member with concerns about how the new residential building might impact residents in nearby housing complexes. However, the Bethesda Downtown Design Advisory Panel found that the architectural plans were sensitive to mitigating shadowing and recognized the building’s relationship with surrounding properties.

Rendering of proposal for residential housing next to Edgemont at Bethesda, left, and the single-family home currently located at the site. Via Montgomery County Planning Department and Bethany Rodgers.

Planning Board member Norman Dreyfuss said it’s not possible to prevent shadows entirely when developing in a downtown area.

“We’re not in the suburbs,” he said. “I read the letter and understand the concerns, but it’s kind of a New York City versus Westchester kind of thing.”

A county planner noted the proposal called for about 40 feet of clearance between Edgemont at Bethesda II and the Christopher Condominium on Moorland Lane.

An attorney for the developer said the plans will help bring activity to a sleepy section of Woodmont Avenue.

“We’re excited about starting to revamp that area of Woodmont,” attorney Pat Harris said.

Board members unanimously approved the sketch plan and preliminary plan amendment for project. Board member Gerald Cichy was absent for the vote.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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