by Mike Meno | Staff Writer | Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a zoning text amendment on Tuesday that will allow buildings in the Fenton Village Overlay Zone in Silver Spring between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street to be built taller than recommended limits.
The amendment, which passed 9-0, will allow a maximum height of 90 feet for buildings along Georgia Avenue, a 110-foot building height near Georgia Avenue to accommodate workforce housing and require building heights to taper down at the Planning Board’s discretion, from the highest buildings near Georgia Avenue to the maximum 60-foot heights allowed on Fenton Street.
Mixed-use projects east of Fenton, including hotels and retail spaces, will also be allowed to build as high as 60 feet. The current maximum is 45 feet for developments that do not provide housing.
Members of the County Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee said in work sessions Friday and Monday that these amendments will give some flexibility to accommodate workforce housing, according to a council memorandum. Supporters hope the new changes will help achieve the objectives of developers and the growing Silver Spring community.
The agreement combined elements of separate proposals previously put forward from County Executive Isiah Leggett’s (D) office and County Council members Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring and Marc Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park.
The Montgomery County Planning Board had recommended against one earlier form of the amendment, saying it would have made more sense to change the area’s sector plan rather than amend a zoning ordinance. Some Silver Spring residents were also opposed because they did not want to see larger buildings in the Fenton Overlay Zone.