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Planners ID neighborhoods for targeted development

Thursday - 1/10/2013, 5:56am  ET

regional_activity_map.jpg
The communities are all across the metro area. (Courtesy of COG)

Dick Uliano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Where will people live, shop and dine in the D.C. area 10 to 30 years from now?

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments iden tified 139 communities and neighborhoods as spots for potential major growth and mixed-use development in the years ahead.

"You get the capacity to come home, park your car, walk to the grocery store, go to see a movie," says Mary Hynes, a member of the Arlington County Board, describing the communities pegged for future mixed-use development by regional planners.

Hynes says 63 percent of the places named are near public transit.

"I think people want to be where the action is," says Albert Dobbins, deputy director of planning for Prince George's County, who along with Hynes helped lead the effort to compile the regional list of places with development potential.

Some places on the list are predictable, like downtown D.C., Pentagon City in Arlington County and White Flint in Montgomery County.

But other likely hot spots for growth where planners see future, vibrant neighborhoods with housing, work and play options include Olney, Landover Mall, North Woodbridge and Manassas Park.

The neighborhoods expected to undergo major mixed-use development in the decades ahead extend south from Charles County north to Frederick County.

All of the places rising to the regional list bubbled up from local efforts in which planners assessed growth in their own communities.

"These centers were not created haphazardly. These centers were identified in collaboration with all the jurisdictions so there are no surprises," Dobbins says.

Regional planners say identifying the communities and neighborhoods is a tool to target investment and reduce environmental impact while promoting development near public transit.

The neighborhoods and communities are forecast to be places that will offer closer connections between home and work.

"It's going to be helpful to be able to identify where growth needs to occur and where we need to accommodate the new population," Dobbins says.

COG predicts an additional 1.3 million people will join the region's population by 2040.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)