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How New Design Guidelines Could Give Chevy Chase DC a Facelift

  • Mar 17th

by Nena Perry-Brown

Proposed sketch of streetscape, looking south down Connecticut Avenue. Click to enlarge.

A year ago, DC's Office of Planning launched a process to create a new Small Area Plan (SAP) for Chevy Chase. Now, the draft SAP has been released, and with it, some specific concepts and guidelines for the design and streetscape experience along a five-block stretch of upper Connecticut Avenue NW.

A quick primer on small area plans. These plans are neighborhood-specific companions to the city's Comprehensive Plan. The goal of an SAP is to supplement plan guidance with additional details, recommendations, and strategies for particular corridors and sites in DC. 

The design guidelines in the Chevy Chase SAP call for the streetscape along the Civic Core area of the corridor (between Northampton and McKinley Streets NW) to include widened sidewalks on the east side of the block to incorporate tenant spillover areas/outdoor seating. There is also a recommendation for an amenity area for public benches and bicycle racks in addition to widened pedestrian right-of-ways. 

Looking north up Connecticut Avenue from McKinley Street NW.
Proposed sketch of streetscape, looking north up Connecticut Avenue between McKinley and Oliver Streets. Click to enlarge.

Throughout the Gateway area of the corridor between Chevy Chase Circle and Northampton Street NW (map), design guidelines prescribe architectural or ornamental flourishes at prominent corners, such as projections or unique lighting. The guidelines also call for murals and other art installations to mark or commemorate the neighborhood, particularly on mid-block walls without windows.

Other design recommendations harken back to those employed in new construction in other neighborhoods, like building step-downs, bays, and balconies. At the pedestrian level, the street wall should be no higher than 25 feet and commercial space should have large windows and 15-18-foot ceilings.

A design survey released back in January gave the public an idea of a number of sites along this stretch of Connecticut Avenue could be redeveloped.

The draft Chevy Chase SAP is available for review and public input through April 13th; a final version will be submitted to DC Council for approval.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how-new-design-guidelines-could-give-chevy-chase-dc-a-facelift/19399.

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