This story was updated on Oct. 9, 2012.
New development in the Pooks Hill area will have to take a back seat at least for a little while to the development plans in Clarksburg.
The Montgomery County Planning Department deferred action on the Pooks Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment Tuesday to study a limited master plan amendment in Clarksburg, said Valerie Berton, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Planning Department.
The planning department on Tuesday presented its semiannual report to the County Council. As part of the semiannual report, planners presented projects they want to prioritize, but those priorities can be reset by the County Council, said Neil Greenberger, a spokesman for the County Council. Berton said County Council prioritized Clarksburg, which will delay work on the Pooks Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment. That delay could be more than a year long.
The owners of the Pooks Hill Marriott are asking for a rezoning of their property so they can build three high-rise apartment buildings up to 20 stories tall on underused parking lots on their site.
The request is part of a minor master plan amendment for nearly 100 acres in that region. Current zoning of the Pooks Hill Marriott at 1551 Pooks Hill Road does not allow residential development on the property.
The property owner is CMG Bethesda Owner LLC, according to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Approval would amend the 1990 Bethesda-Chevy Chase Master Plan, but the project would require additional approvals. The project would require at least 12.5 percent moderately priced dwelling units.
In April, the Montgomery County Council approved a process that allows the public to submit applications to amend a master plan or sector plan without waiting years for major updates of those plans, which guide development in the county. Minor master plan amendments undergo the same approval process as master plans, including multiple public hearings and approval by the Montgomery County Planning Board and County Council.
The scope of the project was approved Thursday by the Montgomery County Planning Board, said Parag Agrawal, area 1 senior planner for the Montgomery County Planning Department.
The proposed boundary of the Pooks Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment includes nearly 100 acres bounded by the Beltway to the north, Rockville Pike to the east and single family homes to the south and west. The area includes the Marriott Hotel property, the campus headquarters of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and multiple apartment buildings.
Planners will study the feasibility of creating new bike and pedestrian connections between existing residential neighborhoods and employment areas along Rockville Pike and to the Metro stations, consider ways to expand housing opportunities, including moderately priced dwelling units, improve pedestrian safety and consider opportunities for improved and expanded public spaces, according to planning documents.
Planners will meet with individual property owners, business owners and community residents throughout the process. A revised schedule has not yet been worked out, but Berton said a meeting previously scheduled for Nov. 13 is not likely to take place.
Traffic is one of the major issues that will be considered as part of the Pooks Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment.
“The main concern which we have heard is the traffic and connectivity, how do you connect this community with the nearby metro station,” Agrawal said.
For more information, visit www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/pookshill/index.shtm.