The commercial area of Chevy Chase, DC was built for convenient shopping a short walk away from the neighborhood’s many single family homes, and the multi-family buildings down Connecticut Avenue. And this worked for many decades. Demographic and retail changes over the decades have chipped away at that customer base – and who could have foreseen the pandemic and its impact? Chevy Chase has an additional challenge, in that unlike Tenleytown, Van Ness and Cleveland Park, it does not have a Metro station to draw residents and visitors to and through a “town center” and encourage car-less travel.
Adding housing along the Connecticut Avenue commercial area, thereby allowing more people to live close to Chevy Chase businesses, could be an answer. But to make room for more residents, the existing land use policies need to change. So a small area plan, crafted with input from the community, is being developed by the DC Office of Planning. As Greater Greater Washington explains, small area plans, or SAPs, take a more granular approach than the Comprehensive Plan. SAPs are approved by the DC Council, then shape the budget and investments of the planning agency.
Eventually, this could bring changes including apartments on top of the community center and the Safeway, and taller buildings along the avenue. What might this look like? Ward 3 Vision in October presented some possible options in a 30-year concept plan. Those include multi-family housing at the current sites of the Chevy Chase Wells Fargo and Exxon station.
Thank you to everyone who joined the Chevy Chase Small Area Plan Community Walk on Saturday to discuss how urban design can support positive change on the corridor. Join us Dec 8 or 11 for additional walks: https://t.co/T2q2N4lkne pic.twitter.com/acJ2ZSfj7p
— DC Office of Planning (@OPinDC) November 24, 2021
The DC Office of Planning took community members out for a walk on November 20th to discuss the SAP process and to collect feedback, and it is hosting two more walks: at noon on Wednesday, December 8th (register here) and at 11 a.m. Saturday, December 11th (register here). The walks start in front of the Chevy Chase Library and Community Center at 5625 Connecticut Avenue.
And click here for more information about the Office of Planning’s public input process in Chevy Chase.