Wednesday, November 12, 2014
WESTBARD-AREA DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL COULD MEAN END OF ICONIC BETHESDA STORE
The owner of the Roof Center property feels that the zoning now in effect is too restrictive for height and density, and expressed doubt that River Road would be transformed into a pedestrian boulevard anytime soon, due to tight space. Parking remains a concern for a future redevelopment, as well, and the owner would like State Highway Administration planners to retain the median turning lane for businesses along the strip. The Roof Center plan references the existing high-rises, and a future senior housing tower, as the new norm for heights in the Westbard Sector. Such a change was strongly opposed by residents of Kenwood in a meeting with planners later in the day, as Kenwood Civic Association officers implored them to set firm, low height restrictions on River Road properties in the plan.
This concept plan does give a sense of what may happen along River Road in a few years from now, as multiple property owners may partner to create larger lots that will facilitate denser redevelopment. How tall and dense those projects will be is one of the major issues landowners, residents and planners are grappling with this week in the Westbard Sector Plan charette process.