Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fiends of Chevy Chase Lake I

The Chevy Chase Land Company appears to be attempting to revive its failed attempt (see tomorrow's post) to create a community group in an effort to attack the Planning Staff's proposal for transit-oriented development at Chevy Chase Lake. The group is to be called "Fiends of Chevy Chase Lake" as explained in the letter from Land Company President David Smith reproduced after the jump.

The Land Company's proposal for a series of five community meetings to produce a "consensus plan that seeks a middle ground between the current Chevy Chase Land Company plan and the MNCPPC staff plan" strikes me as odd for several reasons:

(1) Meetings are open only to select parties

The Chevy Chase Land Company made no effort to contact the Connecticut Avenue Corridor Committee, an existing organization with over twenty participating communities. They appear to have reached out only to select people and communities.

(2) Community consultation has already occurred

The Planning Board Staff held several meetings open to all to seek input before crafting the Staff Plan for Chevy Chase Lake. A wide range of people participated, including representatives from the Chevy Chase Land Company.

(3) Contrasting missions of CCLC and MNCPPC

While the Planning Staff at MNCPPC is charged with coming up with the best possible way to fulfill the vision embodied in the Master Plan, the Land Company's main responsibility is fiduciary--to seek the highest and best use of its land. The Planning Board Staff is presenting a vision for the future and has worked hard to figure out the tricky job how to integrate the Purple Line and substantial new development into an already well-established community.

At a public meeting to unveil the Staff's plan, several residents expressed the view that substantially less should be allowed than proposed by the Planning Board Staff, so the meeting in the middle may well have already occurred. Smart growth proponent and Montgomery Planning Director Rollin Stanley presented and defended the outlines of the Staff's basic plan to the community.

(4) High summer meetings

Late July and August are a heck of a time to organize community meetings if one desires community input.