Planning Board Expected To Approve Redevelopment of Lutheran Church in Bethesda

Planning Board Expected To Approve Redevelopment of Lutheran Church in Bethesda

Project includes 310-unit apartment building

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A rendering of the proposed development at 8015 Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda.

Photo via Montgomery County Planning Board

The Montgomery County Planning Board is expected to preliminarily approve this week a plan to raze a Lutheran church in Bethesda and replace it with a four-story apartment building.

Developer JLB Partners has proposed a 310-unit multi-family housing project at 8015 Old Georgetown Road, according to Planning Board documents.

The church intends to sell the property to JLB, according to the development application.

Plans include a 274-space parking garage, courtyards and an outdoor pool adjacent to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad station house. Also included in development proposals is a connection linking Glenbrook Road to Rugby Avenue.

Fifteen percent of residences would be designated “moderately priced,” in accordance with county law.

Christ Lutheran Church began pursuing plans to redevelop the 2.5-acre property in 2006 but was delayed when rezoning was denied. It is seeking alternate locations for a new sanctuary and related buildings, according to the development application.

Developers previously proposed a plan to build 107 condos on the property, but filed updated plans earlier this year.

The Planning Department staff voiced some concern about the building’s design in a report to Planning Board members.

Primarily, staff members say some portions of the building have “blank walls” at street levels that do not provide “appropriate visual interest.”

The planning staff recommended granting preliminary approval for the project, which will be considered at the Planning Board’s meeting on Thursday in Silver Spring.

If the project gets preliminary approval, it will have to come back for final approval.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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