Council Hears Mostly From Supporters of Ourisman Bethesda Trail Deal

County executive, internal business leaders and route organisation support improvements offering by automobile dealership in sequence to keep garage expansion

John Ourisman testifies during a County Council open hearing

John Ourisman testifies during a County Council open hearing

via Montgomery County Cable video

Montgomery County’s brawl with Ourisman Honda in downtown Bethesda over a enlargement of a dealership’s garage into a common Capital Crescent Trail easement is headed to a fortitude after this month.

During a open conference Tuesday afternoon, a legislature listened from 9 people, 8 of whom authorized of a understanding struck between a county and Ourisman in that a dealership would yield route improvements including a new open piazza and landscaping in sell for being means to keep a mostly built garage expansion.

Part of a garage enlargement was built into an easement that a Bethesda Avenue business shares with a county. The association has confirmed that it believed it had a right to build on a property.

Citing a emanate with a easement, a county systematic Ourisman to stop construction on a building in Nov 2016.

Since afterwards a dual sides have negotiated a understanding in that Ourisman would yield about $1.4 million in improvements around a structure.. Those improvements embody a new 1,300-square-foot open piazza to be assembled subsequent to where a route meets Bethesda Avenue, new shoulders along a route subsequent to a Ourisman property, additional landscaping and a shade on a garage to make it some-more visually appealing.

A digest display how a garage could demeanour like when finished with a improvements. Via Council staff documents

The dealership also concluded to pierce a drive over divided from where a route meets Bethesda Avenue to revoke intensity conflicts between route users and cars entering and exiting a business. The business is subsequent to a bustling Bethesda Row sell area.

The legislature is scheduled to opinion Feb. 27 on either to approve a deal.

Diane Schwartz-Jones, a executive of a county’s Department of Permitting Services who has been doing a brawl for a county, told a legislature that a understanding enables a county to get route improvements while avoiding a presumably long authorised dispute. She pronounced it’s not transparent either a county would win if it asked a justice to confirm on a brawl over a easement.

Chris Conklin, a county’s Department of Transportation emissary director, told a legislature that County Executive Ike Leggett supports a deal.

The due pattern of a open plaza, that would be built where a route meets Bethesda Avenue nearby Bethesda Row.

Dealership owners John Ourisman pronounced a garage enlargement was designed to pierce vehicles some-more well into and out of a business. As a proprietor of downtown Bethesda and visit user of a route himself, he pronounced a dealership is “excited to be partial of a subsequent proviso of a trail’s beautification.”

Others, including Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce President Ginanne Italiano, Bethesda businessman Jack Alexander and Jane Mahaffie, a principal during a developer StonebridgeCarras, testified in preference of a deal.

“It’s a resolution that in a opinion enhances a sourroundings of a area,” pronounced Mahaffie of StonebridgeCarras, that grown a Flats during Bethesda Avenue apartments opposite a route from Ourisman.

Ron Tripp, authority of a route advocacy Coalition for a Capital Crescent Trail, pronounced Tuesday a organisation also supports a deal.

Citing National Park Service statistics, he remarkable about 82,000 people used a partial of a route that runs by a dealership in May, and pronounced a improvements would boost reserve and a coming of a route during a location.

Amy Patton, a proprietor of Bethesda’s Sacks Neighborhood, was a usually chairman to attest who didn’t specifically support a deal. She remarkable that she lives subsequent to a Ourisman Honda skill and would like Ourisman to determine to revoke sound and lighting emanating from a dealership.

Tuesday’s ubiquitous support for a understanding was in pointy contrariety to a antithesis voiced during evening village meetings final year, when many residents spoke out opposite a dealership for encroaching on a easement and called on county leaders to pull for some-more improvements.

The garage as it looked in Nov 2016 when a county systematic a business to stop work on a construction. Since afterwards a petrify walls nearby a route have been removed, nonetheless a steel-framed structure remains. Credit: Andrew Metcalf

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