Following is information related to the redevelopment of 7100 Connecticut Avenue (Corso Chevy Chase).
On December 16, the Town submitted comments on the amended application to rezone the former 4-H property at 7100 Connecticut Avenue, to the Montgomery County Planning Department. The developer, Corso Chevy Chase, resubmitted its application to construct a retirement community to the Planning Department on December 5. The Town reviewed the amended application documents (see documents dated 12/7/2022), received advice from the Town's 4-H Committee and our legal counsel, and developed and prepared our comments. Planning staff forwarded our response to the developers today, along with their own comments on the resubmitted application.
In our response, we note that the developer continues to seek to construct five story buildings around the three sides of the property adjacent to Town residences and has not accommodated the Town's position that these buildings be reduced to four stories. The developer has only reduced the height of the proposed buildings along Connecticut Avenue. The Town’s response also includes comments related to the proposed public pathways, parking, traffic, tree preservation, project phasing, and storm water management. We conclude that the Town remains supportive of a retirement community on this site, but that the changes we are requesting are reasonable and necessary for the finding of compatibility to be made for such a large scale development within a single family residential community, and that the Town will oppose the rezoning application unless our concerns are addressed.
The developer will now have an opportunity to respond to the comments it receives today and submit a revised and final application on December 23. The Planning staff will then prepare its staff report in preparation for a public hearing by the Planning Board in early February. The Town will be able to testify at this public hearing.
We will continue to keep residents informed on the rezoning application as it proceeds through the County review process and will notify residents when there will be opportunities for public engagement.
On December 5, Corso Chevy Chase resubmitted its application to the County Planning Department to rezone the former 4-H property at 7100 Connecticut Avenue.
The Town is under a compressed timeline to provide feedback since the Planning Department intends to submit comments to the developers on December 16. Therefore, the Town will review the amended application documents, seek advice from the Town's 4-H Committee and our legal counsel, and develop a formal response by Thursday, December 15. We encourage residents to review the application materials and provide feedback to the Town Council at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, December 12.
We note that, while the developers have responded to a number of requests made by the Town, they continue to seek to construct five story buildings around the three sides of the property adjacent to Town residences and have not accommodated the Town's position that these buildings be reduced to four stories. The developers have only reduced the height of the proposed buildings along Connecticut Avenue.
Below is a list of several documents that we believe residents will want to focus on.
- Building Height Diagram -- This shows how height is defined and how the number of feet translates into the number of stories.
- Massing Imagery -- This provides comprehensive renderings of the proposed buildings from numerous angles.
- Site Sections -- These show the elevation of the buildings looking along an East-West axis and a North-South axis.
- Site Elevation Diagram -- This shows how the plan complies with the County's height compatibility standards.
- Corso's Response to Town Comments -- This is the written response to the Town's initial comments submitted on November 10, 2022.
All resubmitted application documents are available here (see documents dated 12/7/2022). We will continue to keep residents informed on how the rezoning application proceeds through the County review process and when there will be opportunities for public engagement.
On November 14, County Planning staff issued its first round of comments on Corso Chevy Chase’s rezoning application (“Local Map Amendment”) that was filed on November 3. These initial comments include the letter that was submitted by the Town outlining our concerns with the application.
Planning staff will meet with the developers on November 17 to review the comments before the developers resubmit their application in early December. This first resubmission will reflect the extent to which the developers have modified their plans to address concerns raised by Planning staff, the Town, and other parties.
On November 10, the Town submitted a letter with initial comments on Corso Chevy Chase’s rezoning application (“Local Map Amendment”) that was filed on November 3 and is available below. This was the first opportunity for the Town to comment on the application. The Town will have another opportunity to comment following the first resubmission of the application by the developers in early December, at which time the developers will reflect the extent to which they have modified their plans to address concerns raised by Planning staff, the Town, and other parties. The Town’s initial comments note that the developers have accepted many of the Town’s recommendations, either in whole or in part, but that the key concern that remains is the projected height of the buildings.
On November 3, the Montgomery County Planning Department certified as complete Corso Chevy Chase’s application to rezone the former 4-H property at 7100 Connecticut Avenue. The application documents are available for review on the department’s website.
The Town now will review these documents and develop a formal response. We encourage residents to review this information and provide feedback to the Town Council at email@example.com. The Council also will seek advice from the Town's 4-H Committee and our legal counsel.
Below is a list of several documents that we believe residents will want to focus on initially. We will send additional messages with updates on how the application will proceed through the County review process and when there will be opportunities for public engagement. We also will share with residents a draft of the Town's proposed response to the application.
- H-148 02_ Statement of Case_Land Use Report.pdf -- This is a thorough description of the project and how the applicant believes the requirements and burdens for receiving County Council approval of the rezoning application are satisfied.
- H-148 07_ Traffic Statement.pdf -- This statement concludes that a full traffic impact study will not be required pursuant to County regulations since former traffic associated with 4-H operations exceeds projected traffic for Corso.
- H-148 08A_ LMA_Floating Zone Plan.pdf -- This is the detailed sketch plan that shows the entirety of the proposed redevelopment. This also contains a list of “binding elements” setting forth which parts of the plan the developers have proposed as absolute requirements with the other required development entitlements. You will note that many, but not all, of the recommendations made by the Town have been accepted in whole or in part.
- H-148 09C_ Submitted Plan PFCP.pdf with H-148 09B_ Tree Variance Request Letter.pdf -- The Preliminary Forest Conservation Plan (PFCP) shows the forest and trees that will be protected and preserved through the redevelopment of the site (that ultimately leads to protective covenants/easements making preservation mandatory and binding). The Tree Variance letter is essentially an application to remove “specimen trees” as defined by State regulations, and these trees can only be removed by approval of this variance request (and the trees referenced in the letter correspond to the trees numbered on the PFCP).
- H-148 10G_ Phasing Plan.pdf -- This shows how the Applicant intends to redevelop the property in two phases.
On October 12, the Council discussed the redevelopment of 7100 Connecticut Avenue (Corso Chevy Chase). Mayor Rush reported that the Town has not received a response from the developers or the Planning Department regarding the “binding elements” that the Town has proposed as conditions for County approval of the developer’s rezoning application. Mayor Rush reported that the developers have applied to the County for a Local Map Amendment, and the Town will receive a copy of the application once it has been accepted as complete by the Planning Department. The Council approved Jason Azar as the Town’s consulting engineer to engage in stormwater management review related to the development.
At its September 19 meeting, the Town Council finalized a list of “Binding Elements” that have been submitted to the Planning Department and the developer as proposed conditions for County approval of the developer’s rezoning application. These conditions include limitations on the scale of the development, restrictions on use (such as preserving the woods and limiting the amount of commercial space), and other requirements. In addition to the binding elements, the Town will negotiate a Declaration of Covenants with the developer to address items specific to the two parties, including a construction management agreement and potential public use of the Corso facilities. The existing Declaration of Covenants establishing the 81-foot setback along Thornapple Street remains in effect.
At its September meeting, the Council also discussed and agreed to a send a letter to the developers with some additional points that we do not believe need to be covered in proposed binding elements or in a separate list of items for a declaration of covenants, but that we would like them to consider as they continue design of the project.
Draft “Binding Elements” and Images
The Town Council, with assistance from the Town's 4-H Committee and legal counsel, has developed a proposed list of “Binding Elements” that the Town will propose as conditions for County approval of the developer’s rezoning application. These conditions include limitations on the scale of the development, restrictions on use (such as preserving the woods and limiting the amount of commercial space), and other requirements. Please review these, and we invite your comments. We also will be discussing this draft with the County Planning Department.
In early August, the Town received and publicized numerous three-dimensional images that show the height and massing of the proposed buildings from all adjacent streets, with and without vegetative cover.
September 10 “Walkinar”
The Town will host a “Walkinar” of the Corso property on September 10 at 10 a.m. (with a rain date of September 11 at 1 p.m.) to allow residents to understand the development plans and pose questions to the developers. Particular focus will be on the plans for forest conservation easements and the proposed storm water management system. Representatives from the County Planning Department also will attend. The event will start at the north side of the Corso property along Thornapple Street and proceed through the west and south sides of the property.
September 12 Town Forum
On September 12 at 7 p.m., the Town Council will host a Town Forum to receive resident feedback on the proposed redevelopment. The forum will be held in the Town Hall and by Zoom video conference.
We encourage residents to review the proposed binding elements and images and provide feedback to the Town Council at the Town Forum or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Following the receipt of resident feedback, the Council will finalize our proposed set of conditions to submit to the developer and the County Planning Department.
On August 3, the developers of 7100 Connecticut Avenue (the former 4-H property) provided the Town with additional three-dimensional images that show the height and massing of the proposed buildings from all adjacent streets, with and without vegetative cover. We encourage residents to review these images and provide feedback to the Town Council at email@example.com.
At the request of the Town Council, the Town’s 4-H Committee, with advice from legal counsel, is currently developing a list of “Binding Elements” that the Town will propose as conditions for County approval of the developer’s rezoning application. These conditions could include limitations on the scale of the development, restrictions on use (such as preserving the woods and limiting the amount of commercial space), and other requirements. Following review by the Council, the Town will share this draft list with residents and solicit comments. We also expect to hold a Town Forum on this matter in early September and will provide the developers our final set of proposed "Binding Elements" following that event.
On July 21, the Council discussed the redevelopment of 7100 Connecticut Avenue and the Town’s request for additional information from the developers, including three-dimensional images of the height and massing of the proposed buildings, without vegetative cover. Mayor Rush noted that the 4-H Special Committee is drafting binding elements for the Council’s review. The Town will propose binding elements as conditions for County approval of the rezoning application, and the binding elements may include restrictions on use and building type and specific development requirements. The Council also discussed Town resident engagement to be undertaken in September.
On June 23, the developers of 7100 Connecticut Avenue responded to the Town's letter requesting additional information regarding the redevelopment of the former 4-H property, including information about the height and massing of the proposed buildings. Links to this information are below.
The Town Council is reviewing the submitted materials to determine if they address our questions, and the Council will solicit resident input. The Town's 4-H Special Committee has reviewed these materials and provided feedback to the Town Council.
On June 2, the developers of 7100 Connecticut Avenue presented an updated concept plan for redevelopment of the former 4-H property (see video and slideshow). The developers considered the Town’s April 15 response to the initial redevelopment plan and revised the plan to incorporate this feedback. Residents are encouraged to review the updated plan and provide feedback to the Town Council by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the February 17 presentation of the concept plan (see video and slideshow), the Town Council collected feedback from residents and from the 4-H Special Committee and discussed the proposed plan at a Town Council work session on March 9. On March 16, the Town submitted a set of questions to the owners of 7100 Connecticut Avenue regarding the concept plan. And on March 25, the owners provided responses to these questions, which address matters such as building height, density, number of units, and shared amenities.
The Town Council also developed a draft response to the concept plan, which followed the outline of issues that we set out in our letter of September 30, 2021. We encouraged residents to review and provide feedback on this draft response by emailing the Town Council, completing a Town survey (the survey closed on March 28, and the results are available here), and speaking during a Town forum on March 30. On April 6, the Town's 4-H Special Committee submitted comments to the Town Council on the draft response. And on April 7, the Council held a work session to finalize the Town's response to the initial concept plan.
Thank you for your comments and participation as we respond to the redevelopment plans for 7100 Connecticut Avenue.
4-H Center Sale Information & Documents
The 4-H Center property, located at 7100 Connecticut Avenue, is a unique 12.28-acre parcel within the Town of Chevy Chase. The Town has had a long standing and cordial relationship with the 4-H Center, as evidenced by the following documents: (i) a Memorandum of Understanding that governs various matters regarding the use of the site; and (ii) a Ground Lease and Development Agreement that gives the Town the right to maintain a garage on the site until 2028. In addition, a Declaration of Covenants from 1968 establishes an 81-foot setback along Thornapple Street (the location of Thornapple Street and the 81-foot setback in relation to the 4-H Center property is depicted on this subdivision plan). The Town has certain regulatory authorities over all development within the municipal Town limits, including a building ordinance, an urban forest ordinance, and a water drainage ordinance.
In April 2021, the Town Council approved a policy statement that established opportunities to be sought and issues to be addressed to guide the Town’s engagement with prospective bidders and the seller. And, in September 2021, the Town sent the new owners a letter that outlines the Town’s key interests in the redevelopment.
4-H Center Development -- Survey Results & Resident Feedback Report
Friends and neighbors came together both informally and formally to share their concerns, solutions, and general ideas about the 4-H Conference Center property that was listed for sale on March 18, 2021. This report is a summary of approximately three months of communication among the residents of the Town of Chevy Chase.
To encourage dialogue, the Town of Chevy Chase reached out to the community in a variety of ways. First, there were, and continue to be, touch points such as 4-H committee meetings, listening sessions, a town forum, a walkthrough of adjacent backyards, and meetings with neighboring residents.
Second, the Town Council and the 4-H Committee have endeavored to track preferences through an online survey (raw data in Excel file), which was launched on May 17, 2021 and completed by 464 residents. Residents have also come together to express their ideas through four letters and twenty-seven emails. There was no consensus; however, there were many preferences and recommendations articulated.
Many residents joined listening sessions, participated in the town forum, opened their backyards, met with the Town Council, signed on to letters, sent emails, and completed the survey. Any form of communication is welcome, and we hope it will continue!