Residents fear construction, parking impact from Avondale development proposal

Residents fear construction, parking impact from Avondale development proposal

60 studio, one-bedroom apartments proposed in Bethesda

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4526 and 4530 Avondale St.

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A proposed seven-story apartment building on Avondale Street in Bethesda would contain 60 studio and one-bedroom units, developers said in a sometimes tense meeting on Monday night.

A project proposed by SJ Investment Corp. would entail demolishing two existing two-story homes at 4526 and 4530 Avondale St. and replacing them with one residential building. The building would have ground-floor amenities and underground parking.

All 60 units, including the nine designated as affordable housing as mandated by county law, would be either studio or one-bedroom apartments, according to SJ Investment Corp. President Kevin Park. As a result, developers do not anticipate the project will have a significant impact on nearby schools’ enrollment.

In the early moments of a roughly hour-long meeting, required by the county Planning Department before developers submit their official plans, some residents interrupted the presentation with questions about the timeline and opportunities to provide feedback to county planners.

Soo Lee-Cho, a land use attorney with Miller, Miller & Canby representing the project, said construction is not expected to start until 2022 or later, and residents can submit comments to developers or the county Planning Department.

Residents peppered developers with questions, largely about how the project will accommodate parking and how project leaders plan to navigate construction equipment down the narrow street without disturbing normal neighborhood operations.

Lee-Cho said “it will be complicated and costly” to accommodate construction and all trucks and equipment will stage off-site.

The project calls for approximately 20 parking spaces in an underground garage.

Attendees said they fear that there are not enough spaces, which will force the new residents to park along the already crowded street.

“Frankly, this project will be viable because of its proximity to Metro and transit,” Lee-Cho said. “We’re targeting that demographic that doesn’t necessarily rely on a car for transportation.”

Developers said they hope to file official plans with the county Planning Department this month.

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

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