A plan from the County Executive that would help pay for major infrastructure improvements required by the White Flint Sector Plan has been approved by the County Council. This action will spur a revitalization effort transforming the North Bethesda area around Rockville Pike into a more urban and denser community strongly supported by public transit and designed to make residents and workers less dependent on automobiles.
The bill establishes a White Flint Special Taxing District and authorizes the levy of an added property tax on commercial properties that would go toward specific transportation infrastructure improvements in the area. The improvements would include creating street grids, streetscaping and bike lanes. Existing residential properties would be excluded from the tax district.
As the plan unfolds over the next couple decades, it is expected that an estimated 9,800 new residences will be added to thee approximately 2,300 residences currently in the plan area. Approximately 2,600 affordable housing units will be included. . A key element of the plan will be the way it incorporates the Bethesda North Conference Center and Hotel into the transformed neighborhood. The plan provides for public gathering space and local parks. The long-term vision suggests civic or entertainment uses, such as a community playhouse or theater.
Under the financing plan formulated by the County Executive, the County would provide advance funding to ensure that the improvements are made early in the project rather than relying on piecemeal development to drive the delivery of the needed improvements. The County’s investment would be repaid through funds collected from the taxing district. According to the plan, the tax district will expire when sufficient revenues have been raised to pay for all of the infrastructure items on the list.
POSTED AT: Monday, December 06, 2010 | 7:00:00 AM