Thanks for the article outlining some of the issues in Chevy Chase ["Chevy Chase's Conflict of Size and Sensibilities; 'Mansionization' Pits Old vs. New," front page, Oct. 2], but I found the picture of the house on East Avenue [Page A12] misleading. Although the house did look larger than its neighbor, the photo showed only the front half of the house. A picture of the whole house might have conveyed the point better.

That said, I appreciated that the story described the square footage (2,000 feet or more) of many of the houses being replaced; they are not always bungalows, as has been typically reported in various publications, but include larger homes.

At one point, my house sheltered a family with six children, but it could be a candidate for a tear-down if I move simply because it doesn't fit the current stereotype.

Such changes in stable neighborhoods are indeed unsettling.


Chevy Chase


Most of us Chevy Chase denizens who live in the old, dirty, 2,000-square-foot $800,000 houses with unfashionable hallways don't care what kind of houses our neighbors live in. Castles with moats would be fine.

We selfishly care about our own lives. In my neighborhood, tear-downs and new house constructions in the past two years have meant dirt, trucks with piercing back-up beepers, dumpsters, power saws, bulldozers and huge trees crashing to the ground.

Forget sitting in the garden and smelling the flowers. That strange earthquake sensation is masticating cement mixers lined up on the street awaiting their turn to double an architectural footprint.


Chevy Chase


The Oct. 2 article on Chevy Chase described the debate about new housing construction. As a result of the enactment of a moratorium in August, a broad-based discussion has begun in Chevy Chase about the town's character, its trees, its built environment, its enforcement of regulations and its storm water management capacity.

This discussion, which often concerns the classic American struggle between individual property rights and community values, is not unique to our town; it is taking place all over the country.

The motivations that prompted our decision to put a hold on tear-downs and rebuilds for six months are shared by a consensus of our residents, more than 500 of whom signed a petition asking that the Montgomery County Council focus on this issue.

Our efforts to effect changes in the development process have not been prompted by issues of architectural taste. The purpose of the moratorium is to halt the frenetic pace of building long enough to study whether we can gain a firmer handle on construction procedures, tree removals, environmental regulations, etc. The moratorium does not change any development standards.

Our residents have expressed a desire to keep the height and bulk of new housing more in scale with existing houses. Down the road, if we are granted authority to regulate height and bulk, we will consider whether to move in that direction.

As a community, we are working to develop clear and uniform ordinances and regulations that protect all that we collectively cherish.



Chevy Chase