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Contested Residential Building Proposal Goes Before Planning Board

Neighbors say the traffic added by a seven-story building on West Lane would render Montgomery Lane unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists.

A plan for a residential building near Montgomery Lane that's been hotly contested by downtown Bethesda residents is set to go before the Montgomery County Planning Board Thursday afternoon.

Residents who live near the proposed building at 4831 West Ln. have filed more than 100 pages of correspondence with planning staff opposing the seven-story, 120-unit proposed apartment building, The Gazette reports.

The community supported a previous plan that would have brought 48 residential units to the site, said Jon Weintraub, chair of the Downtown Bethesda Condo Association. But with 117 underground parking spaces, the added traffic from the new proposed structure would gridlock Montgomery Lane and render it unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians, according to residents.

Neighbors have also raised concerns about the compatibility of the building with the surrounding community.

“The frontage of the previous project mirrored the townhouses across the street,” Weintraub wrote in a letter to planning staff. “This box-like building makes no attempt to integrate itself with its surroundings."

At Thursday's hearing, developers will ask the Planning Board to increase the number of approved units at the site from 48 to 120 and to re-zone the property.

The hearing is set for 2 p.m. To listen online, visit the Montgomery County Planning Board’s website.

To learn more about the proposal, view the planning staff's report [PDF].

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