Developers ask for more time to tweak Battery Lane project

Developers ask for more time to tweak Battery Lane project

Project leaders finalizing plans for bikeway

| Published:
Untitled design (38)

A rendering of the proposed Battery Lane redevelopment.

Rendering via Montgomery County Planning Department

A developer spearheading a major overhaul of six apartment buildings on Battery Lane in Bethesda is asking county planners for an additional three months to tweak the project.

The Montgomery County Planning Board in December approved the project’s sketch plan — the first step of the county’s development review process. As part of the approval, planners deferred finalizing where a bikeway should be on the property.

Since December, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation has requested that the cycle track be on the south side of the project. Initial plans showed the bike lanes on the north side of the property.

“Applicant is moving forward with all due haste to comply … but respectfully requests an extension … to accommodate any unforeseen delays in County technical review,” the extension application says.

The Planning Board is expected to approve the extension request next week, then will review the updated plans in April.

Developers often ask for extensions to review and modify projects before Planning Board consideration. This is the Battery Lane project’s second extension request.

Plans call for razing six aging apartment buildings on Battery Lane and replacing them with new complexes, capped at 160 feet tall.

In total, 477 apartments will be replaced with 1,530 new units, a net increase of 1,053 units.

New apartments will range in size from “co-living units” and studios to two-bedroom units, according to Planning Board documents.

About 300 apartments will be affordable housing units, in accordance with state law.

A two-story townhouse-like apartment corridor facing Battery Lane Park is also being considered, according to Planning Board documents.

Plans also include 12,000 square feet of commercial space, several through-block connections to join the neighborhood with Woodmont Avenue and significant landscaping, according to the development application.

Some walkways would be widened, more public open spaces would be added and a new parking garage would be built.

Also included in the project proposal is improvements to The Bethesda Trolley Trail, which provides a pathway around the National Institutes of Health connecting Rugby Avenue to Old Georgetown Road.

Development is expected to happen in phases and each current apartment building will remain in use until its turn for redevelopment. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 or 2022.

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