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Posted on: June 13, 2023

Friendship Heights Urban Design Study

During the Village Board of Managers meeting on June 12, Mr. Elsa Hisel-McCoy, Downcounty Planning Chief for the Montgomery County Planning Department, presented the Scope of Work for the proposed Friendship Heights Urban Design Study.  A copy of the presentation can be viewed on the Village website by clicking this link (opens in new window). 

Mr. Hisel-McCoy explained that the study is intended to analyze how people experience the existing open spaces and pedestrian and transit networks, activity centers and public life in Friendship Heights today.  The study will include the entire Friendship Heights Sector Plan area as established in 1998, which includes the Saks Fifth Avenue property, which is located within Chevy Chase Village.  

Mr. Hisel-McCoy clarified that this plan will not recommend any zoning changes, and the study is not intended to circumvent the normal Sector Plan rewrite process, which is a multi-year engagement process that can dictate areas for rezoning.   This study will, however, inform a future rewrite of the Friendship Heights Sector Plan area and will highlight the urban design strengths and needs of the cross-jurisdictional transit-oriented community.  

The Planning Staff will present the proposed design study’s scope of work to the county’s Planning Board in July 2023.  Public engagement will begin in fall 2023 and will be facilitated by a professional engagement consultant that was also used by the District of Columbia for its study of the portion of Friendship Heights located south of Western Avenue.  

Between fall and winter 2023, the Planning Department will conduct an urban design analysis, followed by a presentation of the study’s findings first to the Planning Board, followed by the Montgomery County Council in winter 2023/early 2024.   Subject to further modification by the Planning Board and County Council, the final report should be available in late winter/spring of 2024.

To receive updates on the study, including opportunities to be involved and provide feedback, residents are highly encouraged to sign-up for the Planning Department’s Friendship Heights e-newsletter by clicking here.

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