Bethesda Master Plan Revision & Metro Entrance
We are pleased to see that the Planning Board is developing a master plan revision that will enable downtown Bethesda to continue to flourish and will contribute to the new housing supply that the Washington region so desperately needs.
Crucial to the success of the new master plan is the building of the Purple Line and the new south entrance to the Red Line that will connect the two train lines. The county agreed to build the south entrance ten years ago, but construction has been repeatedly postponed when funding was allocated to other priorities. If the south entrance were already open, most of the grief associated with the current escalator reconstruction would have been avoided.
We understand that the Planning Board is considering a development fee to pay for needed infrastructure, collected at the time new capacity is allocated. A fee of $10 per square foot to the county for each square foot in excess of what was authorized in the old master plan would yield $60,000,000 in revenue over the life of the new master plan. This would provide the funding needed to pay for the Red Line south entrance.
This approach would yield several benefits:
- Assured funding for an essential transportation project
- Faster implementation of the master plan, because property owners willing to build would have a clear roadmap for moving ahead
- A simpler review process
- More flexibility in design, because architects would be under less pressure to use every square foot of allocated Floor Area Ratio
The Metro Red Line, the Purple Line and the resulting growth of Bethesda are creating an unusual amount of value. We believe it is appropriate to capture some of that value to pay for capital improvements that are needed to take full advantage of these transportation facilities. We hope the Planning Board will consider this approach as it finalizes the Bethesda plan.
Vice President, Land Use and Housing Shortage