Thursday, November 21, 2013

Council Approves Long Branch Sector Plan

On Tuesday we approved the Long Branch Sector Plan that will guide revitalization of that section of Silver Spring. With this plan, we hope we have created incentives for positive commercial redevelopment, while protecting the needs of existing community members. Using the Purple Line as a catalyst for redevelopment, the plan protects the area's character, its affordable housing and its small neighborhood-oriented businesses.
The plan recognizes that development of the Purple Line—the proposed east-west transit line that will connect the Bethesda and New Carrollton Metrorail stations—will have significant impact on Long Branch and its real estate values. To prevent a loss of market affordable units, and potential displacement of lower-income residents, we amended the plan to retain the zoning on most of the existing multi-family developments.
The approved plan continues implementation of programs to make Long Branch a more walkable community, with an emphasis on pedestrian safety.
Among the items addressed in the approved plan was designation of the Flower Theatre on the Master Plan for Historic Preservation. The plan is specific about retaining certain parts of the structure, including the theatre fa├žade, two adjoining shoulders and a second wall to a depth of 40 feet from the theatre building line. The plan also calls for implementation of design guidelines to encourage compatible and appropriate future development nearby. The plan states that new buildings along Flower Avenue should not rise above the theatre’s height.
In efforts to help preserve affordable housing in Long Branch, the plan recommends CRT Zone optional method density incentives for developers. It also recommends the targeted use of tax credits and other financing tools that support public/private partnerships. The plan encourages live/work units in appropriate locations and provides for a range of unit sizes, including those accommodating larger families.
The approved plan encourages the retention of small businesses and neighborhood-serving commercial uses.

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