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Chevy Chase Lake Development Plan Coming Into Focus

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Developers want to remodel Chevy Chase Lake, but some Montgomery County officials worry that it would only make already bad traffic much worse.
Matt Bush
Developers want to remodel Chevy Chase Lake, but some Montgomery County officials worry that it would only make already bad traffic much worse.

Thousands of Maryland residents drive through the small community of Chevy Chase Lake everyday. The latest the plan to redevelop the area could have a huge impact on those commuters.

Chevy Chase Lake sits along Connecticut Avenue in Montgomery County just inside the Beltway. Developers want to remake the area that is currently a couple of small strip malls and gas stations. Residents fear any new development will only add to the nightmarish traffic they already see each morning and evening.

The Montgomery County council has been slowly finalizing the development plan for Chevy Chase Lake, and made some major decisions yesterday. One would delay the second and larger phase of development from starting until construction of the Purple Line, which will one day stop in Chevy Chase Lake, begins.

Councilman George Leventhal says that's a hollow promise to give residents worried about additional gridlock.

"The Purple Line won't be running until five years after the construction commences," Leventhal says.

The council also rejected a smaller cap on the height of new buildings in the area, something many in Chevy Chase Lake wanted. Councilman Marc Elrich fears residents in other parts of the county will have questions from the decision.

"Am I next?" Elrich says. "Are we going to be the next community where the county council says 'Traffic, we don't care. Move the goalposts on what's acceptable, just so I can get some additional riders on some transit line.'"

The council will take a final vote on the plan later this year.

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