Friday, June 20, 2014

Old Takoma commercial district zoning

This is a belated report on the zoning discussion at last Monday evening's city-council meeting (June 16), regarding treatment of the Old Takoma commercial district in Montgomery County's proposed new zoning map.

The outcome is that the city is fine with NR (neighborhood retail) zoning, with modifications to an existing overlay zone. The city council will vote on a resolution regarding the new zoning map, this coming Monday evening. The agenda material and draft resolution are online.

Montgomery County Planning Director Gwen Wright and Deputy Director Rose Krasnow attended last Monday evening's meeting. Staffers Pam Dunn and Matt Johnson also participated.

The county planning staff clarified that Old Takoma zoning is governed not only by the area's base zone -- currently C-1 (convenience commercial), proposed for conversion to NR -- but also by the Takoma Park/East Silver Spring Commercial Revitalization (TPESS) Overlay Zone. The overlay zone will survive implementation of the county's new zoning code and zoning map.

The earlier plan had been to convert the Old Takoma base zone to CRT (commercial residential town) rather than NR. Gwen emphasized that the Historic Preservation ordinance would provide us very significant, additional protections. She reminded us that she was part of the creation of the Takoma Park Historic District a couple of decades ago. Given the historic district and overlay zone, NR is the right choice for the Old Takoma commercial district.

So the city is now comfortable with remapping of Old Takoma base zoning to NR, with certain modifications to the overlay zone, for instance, to require that any new building come up to the sidewalk rather than have parking on the parcel along the sidewalk. The Carroll Avenue CVS is an example of what WON'T happen elsewhere in Old Takoma.

The backgrounder from the June 16 council meeting is online. The meeting video is as well.

As always, please let me know if you have concerns.

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