Stop Work Order Issued for Townhouse Development in Bethesda

October 26, 2005

SILVER SPRING, MD — Officials at the Montgomery County Department of Park and Planning ordered Virginia-based Elm Street Development, Inc. to immediately stop construction work on Bethesda Crest – an upscale 28-unit townhouse community – for violating setback standards established in the site plan.

The project is located on Wisconsin Avenue, just south of the Capital Beltway. Sixteen of the 28 proposed structures have either been built or are under construction.

Bethesda Crest was one of the 116 projects approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board since 2003 recently audited by both Park and Planning and the Department of Permitting Services to ensure conformance to the site plans.

Rose Krasnow, chief of the agency’s development review division, acknowledged inconsistencies in the signature set and other legally-binding documents related to the project, but said she and her staff had enough evidence to stop work because some of the buildings clearly violate the setback standard approved by the Planning Board.

Under the order, the developer is prohibited from moving earth, removing trees, felling, clearing, paving and building. Only those activities required and authorized by permitting agencies are allowed.

Elm Street Development may either submit a plan of compliance or dispute the violation. Either way, the Montgomery County Planning Board is scheduled to hold a two-hour public hearing on the matter on Thursday, November 10. However, the schedule could be modified.

This is the fourth stop-work order the agency has issued in the last 60 days. Last month, inspectors stopped work within portions of the Clarksburg Town Center project and earlier this month, development was stopped at U.S. Pharmacopeia in Rockville and on an individual residence in Chevy Chase. The stop-work order on U.S. Pharmacopeia has since been lifted.