The Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday gave its first round of approval to a multifamily housing development on Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda.
Proposed by Edgemoor 48 LLC, the project proposes replacing a single-family house on the corner of Edgemoor Lane and Woodmont Avenue with a 12-story building with up to 77 condominiums and a penthouse. Units will be one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den space and two-bedroom units.
The project also includes a parking garage with elevators to transport cars from the ground level to underground levels.
The elevator system would have two cabs that could transport vehicles in either direction, according to the development application filed with the Montgomery County Planning Department.
During rush hours, both elevators will be used primarily “to service vehicles leaving from and returning to the building, respectively,” the application says. In total, the project on Edgemoor Lane includes approximately 77 parking spaces.
The Planning Board staff report for Thursday’s meeting says community members raised concerns about the building design’s compatibility with others in the neighborhood and the impacts of several ongoing projects in close proximity.
“[How] dare this county even consider a third high rise anywhere near edgemoor,” Tracie Zaepfel wrote in one message. “We are surrounded by portapotties (unsafe) and 6 foot construction equipment destroying what grass is left. I almost cannot get my dog out.”
Other people wrote in with concerns about pedestrian safety in the neighborhood and many residents at the adjacent Chase Condominiums said they are wary the new development will come too close to the Chase property line, pushing too close to their balconies and windows.
In other messages, neighbors said they feel the project is too large for the site on which it is proposed.
Steven Aurecchia, who lives at the Chase, wrote: “The site is too small to accommodate the proposed structure without negatively impacting the adjacent Chase property and exacerbating existing traffic problems at this busy intersection.”
In November, another Chase resident, Charles Mokotoff, wrote: “I just moved in a few months ago and did not know about this project. Had I known, I never would have purchased.”
The Planning Department staff determined, however, that the project is compatible with the neighborhood and that many concerns will be addressed at later stages of the development approval process.
Developers describe the site as “unique but challenging” because it is a triangular shape with a total area of 8,659 square feet.
The project includes no on-site public space, according to the application.
“This is an opportunity to bring a new environmentally sensitive condominium building with mid-size units and space saving automated parking within a half block of the Bethesda Metro Station,” the application says. “… The Project will transform the underutilized Property into a transit-oriented, pedestrian friendly, residential development.”