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4831 West Lane

Testimony to Hearing Examiner, submitted by Dan Reed, Land Use Chair, February 24, 2013

We'd like to express our support for the 4831 West Lane project in downtown Bethesda and urge you to approve the rezoning of 4901 Montgomery Lane from R-60 to the TS-R zone.

There’s an increased demand to live in urban areas, and SJG Properties’ proposal provides housing exactly where people want to be: two blocks from a Metro station in downtown Bethesda, Montgomery County's largest job center and a major destination for shopping and entertainment.

Considering that 60% of downtown Bethesda residents already walk, bike or take transit to work, it's likely that this building's future tenants will follow suit. In addition, SJG’s proposal will provide more customers for local businesses and increase the diversity of housing options in downtown Bethesda. The building will put more "eyes on the street," making the neighborhood safer, while the public use space will improve the pedestrian realm.

Not only is SJG’s design below the density and height allowed by the TS-R zone, it’s comparable in height to the already approved building at 4825 Montgomery Lane and shorter than the Edgemoor two doors down. SJG has made several changes to appease neighbors' concerns. They’ve set back the building's top two floors to make it feel shorter and provided a loading dock to keep delivery and moving trucks off the street.

4831 West Lane has been designed to be compatible with its surroundings while adding new residents and economic activity in area where it’s most valuable. If there’s a better location in Montgomery County for 120 new apartments than in the middle of downtown Bethesda, surrounded by even taller residential buildings, I don’t know where it would be.

Thank you for your time and consideration.