Montgomery County planning staff will present design guidelines for the Chevy Chase Lake Sector to the county planning board at the board's weekly meeting on Thursday.
Staff planners recommend that the board approve the guidelines and send the guidelines to the county council for approval, according to the meeting's agenda.
One of the key issues addressed by the guidelines is making buildings look smaller in the proposed new development (called Town Center East) on the east side of Connecticut Avenue between Chevy Chase Lake Drive and Manor Road, according to the background information for Thursday's work session.
To make buildings seem smaller, the guidelines advise:
- Using deeper colors, richer materials, higher contrast, raised and recessed patterns and forms and design details to draw attention to lower levels of the buildings.
- Using lighter colors at the tops of buildings, so that upper levels may appear to blend in with the sky.
- Using strong horizontal lines to make buildings look shorter.
- Creating a stepped-back profile/massing for the buildings.
- Making a building look like several smaller ones, or like a composition of smaller blocks.
- Using materials, colors, patterns and forms that are similar to existing ones.
In terms of building materials, the guidelines advise using local red brick, local stone, painted horizontal white wood siding and "metal similar to wrought iron."
Style-wise, the buildings in the sector should be designed with "traditional mid-Atlantic neocolonial architecture and its elements and composition." For details, "traditional design details, which were often originally of wood or carved stone," should be applied, the guidelines advise.
Once approved, the guidelines are intended to be used as a resource for stakeholders (developers, architects, etc.) in the Chevy Chase Lake Sector "to explore ways to enhance the quality of urban design in the community," according to the background information for Thursday's meeting.
The county planning board recently approved the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan draft, and sent it to the county council and county executive for analysis and approval, Patch reported.
The Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan draft is not without contention. Many locals say that the building heights and densities proposed by the plan are too high. One building—8401 Connecticut Ave., adjacent to the planned station for the proposed Purple Line—currently is slated to be allowed to be built up to 150 feet tall, while the Connecticut Avenue Corridor Committee has asked that the building's height be capped at 90 feet.
Other buildings in the sector would be shorter—only four or six stories tall, Patch reported.
Do you think that the design guidelines will help make these buildings appear shorter and smaller than they really are? Is this necessary for good development in this sector? Tell us in the comments or in a Patch blog.
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