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North Bethesda Or Rockville?

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 1/21/2014, 11:15am  ET

The Monterrey building on Montrose Road markets itself as North Bethesda

We get the complaint often and it usually goes like this: “How could you refer to a place as North Bethesda when it’s really just Rockville?”

The debate has been going on for much longer than BethesdaNow.com has been around.

County planners used North Bethesda in their 1970 master plan for the area. It’s been a census designated place since at least as far back as 1980. But the U.S. Postal Service still labeled most of it as Rockville until recently, even if the actual border of the City of Rockville is north of Montrose Parkway.

North Bethesda, like much of Montgomery County, is an unincorporated place, adding to the confusion.

Many perceive “North Bethesda,” as a relatively new term created by the developers building new apartments and condominiums in the area. Another commonly held perception is that realtors prefer the label and its connection to Bethesda’s ritzy real estate reputation over more plain-sounding Rockville.

Turns out, not even those selling the properties completely agree on where North Bethesda ends and Rockville starts.

We asked a group of local realtors for their take on where North Bethesda is and where Rockville starts.

We got a variety of responses.

Realtor Anh Boesch said she generally considers North Bethesda as the 20852 zip code. That zip code extends north and west past the official City of Rockville border. It also somewhat confusingly doesn’t include White Flint Mall, but does extend east to Parklawn Cemetery and Veirs Mill Road.

Long & Foster realtor Yvette Chisholm takes the opposite approach by considering the 20852 zip code as Rockville, which means Rockville extends south all the way to Tuckerman Lane and the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro area.

“North Bethesda is a great marketing name, with the exception that people and agents don’t always search for North Bethesda and the property can get missed entirely,” Chisholm said. “There is an upward trend toward going that way, but I always caution clients that their properties may get missed. It is best to use tax records for accuracy.”

Chisholm said that in 2013, there were 126 properties marketed as in North Bethesda, compared with 93 in 2012.

“Also, I will mention that there is some potential liability to marketing your property as North Bethesda when the legal address is in Rockville,” Chisholm said.

Prudential PenFed realtor Amy Musher said she generally considers the 20852 zip code as North Bethesda, though she admitted the choice between labeling a place as North Bethesda or Rockville can be random.

“North Bethesda overlaps parts of Bethesda and Rockville. For example, the Grosvenor condos are Rockville, but many of the townhouse developments along nearby Tuckerman Lane are North Bethesda, such as Bentley Place,” Musher said. “Then like my mom, who lives in Georgetown Village on Strand Drive, her address is Rockville but her neighbor on the same floor can be North Bethesda.

“It is more of a marketing, status thing,” Musher said. “I don’t know of any rules exactly.”

Flickr photo via CondoAuthority.com