Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday News 'N Notes

- Want to know what will ultimately become of the giant construction site in the center of Silver Spring? Greater Greater Washington has a wealth of information on our future transit center.

Someday.

- Evict the rudeness, serve the cannoli. Bethesda Magazine, which must include this sort of content for Bethesdans who like to go slumming, has an article on the Pacci’s Trattoria and Pasticceria that will open up in the former General Store.

- The Gazette has more details on the new residential building that will be replacing the downtown Silver Spring post office on 2nd Avenue.  If you're too lazy to click through, here are the highlights:
- It will have 300 rental units.

- Even the post office doesn't know where its new location will be.

- The Community can officially start complaining about the project next Wednesday at 7:30 at the Woodside United Methodist Church.

-  $500K/yr. in property taxes from the apartment building > $0/yr. from the post office.
- This weekend: Fenton Street Market (Sat.), Farmers Market (Sat.) and Taste the World in Fenton Village (Sun.).


- Despite efforts by The Community, The MoCo Planning department has recommended (PDF) that the request to re-zone the area currently occupied by the Chelsea School be approved. This would allow for the construction of townhouses on this property. Remember when the school was going to contruct a new, ultramodern building? That was realistic.

- Finally, Happy trails to Jennifer Nettles, who will be stepping down from her post as manager of DTSS after four years. Hopefully her successor will be as supportive of the Zombie Walk as Jennifer was. (Dear Peterson Companies: Hire me. I have some spectacular plans for DTSS...)



38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Also the Handmade Mart on Sunday and some Zumba Party on Saturday (i'm not a chick so i dont actually know what this one is).

Sligo said...

The Handmade Mart is next Sunday, I believe.

Anonymous said...

you're right. don't know why fenton street market is posting on their facebook wall today about it - confusing.

Liz Brent said...

Best wishes to Jennifer Nettles. I think she did a terrific job. She will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of things that won't die, the preservation peeps have the Silver Spring Baptist Church on the Planning Board agenda for the 26th.

Perry said...

I found this interesting. National Building Museum members can attend a special tour of the transit center highlighting special construction methods and technologies used to build the structure.

http://www.nbm.org/programs-lectures/programs/2011-programs/may-2011/paul-s-sarbanes-silver.html

Anonymous said...

You should see the EXPLOSION of chatter on the SOECA message board now that the planning board staff has recommended the Chelsea School site be rezoned for townhomes. Personally I'm in favor of the TH's but for those against who think 25 single family homes will be cute cottages and smaller colonials like the rest of the neighborhood, think again. You will end up with a wall of tightly packed 5,000 square foot, 3-garage McMansions lining Springvale. Now that's preserving the character of the neighborhood :) Ironcally, most of those opposing the THs probably consider themselves 'green' and want to protect the environment. Those McMansions you will get are the exact opposite of green. How do to like them organic apples? :)

10 Year SOECA resident said...

Re Chelsea: The county appears hell-bent on ignoring the wishes of SOECA residents, as well as our zoning laws (which were set years ago to protect SS as a community of single-family homes). We should remember all of them at election time. (And no, we don't have to have McMansion! Again, the county should engage developers willing to provide what the community feels is appropriate. We didn't move here to live in the shadow of mammoth high rises or to have every inch of green space paved over so that developers (mostly from Virginia and other points outside this area) can reap huge profits and then flee to enjoy them.

13 year SOECA resident said...

your argument against the EYA development at the Chelsea School might be taken more seriously if it was based in reality. First, not all SOECA residents oppose it, many support it, so the county is not hell-bent on ignoring the wishes of the residents. Second, the county has no business "engaging developers" - this is a private transaction between the Chelsea School and a buyer, the county's only role is to say nay or yea on the zoning change request. The EYA project has absolutely nothing to do with mammoth high rises or paving over green space - it sounds nice and scary to bring that up, but if you actually want to have a discussion about the issue why not stick with the truth.

Anonymous said...

Sligo, while the Planning Board staff recommended the zoning change, that is only one step in the process. There will be hearing this Thursday before the Board, and a hearing the Thursday after before a Hearing Examiner, and then, eventually, the County Council will decide the matter.

A majority of residents of SOECA are opposed to this townhouse project, and we will express that opposition at the various hearings, both on our own and through our attorney.

SOECA Fact Checker said...

"A majority of residents of SOECA are opposed to this townhouse project . . ."

I don't remember when that poll was taken - I have heard that a majority of the folks who showed up to vote at a SOECA meeting voted in some way that reflects opposition to the project as it was described to them - perhaps mammoth high rises and paved over green space - but, as you know, a majority of the folks voting at a SOECA meeting is not the same as a majority of the residents of SOECA. You might want to strive for more accuracy in your posts.

Anonymous said...

"I have heard that a majority of the folks who showed up to vote at a SOECA meeting voted in some way that reflects opposition to the project as it was described to them - perhaps mammoth high rises and paved over green space."

What you heard is rubbish.

10,000 Year SOECA Resident said...

Ok, so I've only been here 10 years, but when it comes to the Chelsea site, gross exaggeration seems to be the norm. Anyway, about that neighborhood survey--a few months ago at the SOECA meeting at the library, someone asked directly something like "hey, you guys are basing all your opposition on this neighborhood survey and the results of voting at a meeting...were all 700 something households surveyed?". Turns out the answer was no, in fact the only households surveyed were in the immediate area surrounding the site (because, according to the SOECA board, their opinion has greater weight than those neighbors a few blocks away). Of that very limited percentage of the households surveyed, the opposition was about 4:1 as I recall them saying. There was also a separate SOECA meeting, we were told, in which the room
was packed and the overwhelming majority voted against the rezoning. All of this is anecdotal because a true survey of the neighborhood was never done by independent surveyors...it was conducted in a very limited area, mostly by those who oppose the rezoning, I can only imagine the way the EYA project was presented....oh wait, I don't have to...I read the SOECA newsletter and so the gross exaggerations, fear and hyperbole as if this development was freaking King Farm or The Kentlands. My money is on the county to look beyond the fear-mongering, do the right thing, rezone the property, and lets get on with building a low density, smaller townhouse community that will be filled with quality neighbors who walk instead of drive.

Anonymous said...

My money is on the county

You're obviously not from EYA, because they're not as amateurish as you. Therefore, I doubt your money is involved in any way, unlike your neighbors who are doing their best to oppose this misguided development by giving of both their time AND their money.

9999 Year SOECA Resident said...

Well anonymous at 4:06 you sure knocked me down a notch so I changed my name :). Of course I'm not from EYA and just because you or other neighbors have put forth their personal money makes your opinion no more valid than those who support the project. There are many, many of us In the neighborhood who do not agree with SOECA and we have the same rights as you to make our opinions known to the county. In the unlikely event that you succeed in stopping the rezoning, you will one day look out on that lovely collection of twenty-five 5,000 sq.ft. houses that will tower over the little cottages and colonials that currently make the neighborhood so charming. Momma used to tell me 'be careful what you wish for'.

Anonymous said...

Single family detached homes would be just fine, pal. That's what the property is zoned for.

Better listen to your momma's advice: if they rezone once in our neighborhood, they might do it again, and again, and maybe in a way and a place you won't like at all.

SOECA Fact Checker said...

"Better listen to your momma's advice: if they rezone once in our neighborhood, they might do it again, and again, and maybe in a way and a place you won't like at all."

Ah yes, spread that fear.

So your position then is that there should never be rezoning. That sounds reasonable, pal.

Mike said...

I follow listservs for SOECA and the Woodsides, and I'm constantly going back and forth on which bunch is nuttier. Always entertaining, though, if you can get past the fact that damn few of any of them can engage in serious issues in a reasonable, informed manner. Which is why they have a hard time convincing officials of anything.

EYA has done great, high-quality projects in Silver Spring, Alexandria and elsewhere. End of story.

Anonymous said...

I follow the SOECA list serve too, Mike, and I think that the back and forth between both sides has been overwhelmingly cordial and substantive. You sound like somebody who is more interested in being snarky than anything else.

Anonymous said...

"Ah yes, spread that fear."

It is a perfectly legitimate issue. Springvale Terrace is a prime example of a business that could relocate, leaving yet another large piece of property onto which a townhouse developer or other high density developer would seek to develop.

The current zoning in SOECA is the only thing that protects us from that scenario.

"So your position then is that there should never be rezoning. That sounds reasonable, pal."

Don't put words in other people's mouths. Rezoning should occur when it is appropriate for the area. 76 townhouses in SOECA is not appropriate.

Sligo said...

For what it's worth, I live within the boundaries of SOECA and I could care less if they build townhouses as long as they are to a reasonable scale and aren't ugly.

I'm just getting around to reading the discussion on our Yahoo group and wow, this may take awhile to go through.

Anonymous said...

LOL if they allowed town homes on the Springvale Terrace site it would be considerably lower density than what is there now! Do you really think a highrise would go there??

Patrick Thornton said...

60 years ago was a lifetime ago, especially when it comes to zoning. Today's Silver Spring is a much different place, and 60 years from now, it will be a much different place again. Townhouses are an excellent way to bridge between the downtown core and SFHs. I work by this developer's Clarendon townhouses, and they are beautiful. They would be a major assest to Silver Spring.

Just because something was once zoned one way, doesn't make it the best idea, nor does it mean that was once a good idea is now a good idea. These townhouses would bring in more tax revenue to the county, while also requiring less city services per acre than SFHs. The kinds of people who live in townhouses, as opposed to detached homes, are more likely to walk and support restaurants and businesses in Downtown Silver Spring. These people will also require less parking downtown, as they will be in walking distance.

If any of the recent SFHs homes in the area are an indication, we would get huge, oversized, poorly built monstrosities. These townhouses would be a welcome addition to Silver Spring, and the county should take the entire Silver Spring community's opinion on this, not just a few contrarian residents who want to keep Silver Spring stuck in the 1960s.

Silver Spring is growing. It is becoming more urban and urbane. It would be a huge mistake and black eye to let a few vocal residents in the minority block something that could add value to our community.

Anonymous said...

AMEN TO THAT, brother Patrick!

Anonymous said...

Patrick, it is you and yours who are in the distinct minority on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Double-amen. It's time for the elders to move aside and let GenY try and fix the suburban sprawl mess of a country they've handed us.

Patrick Thornton said...

Perhaps within the vocal NIMBY contingent in SOECA, I would be in the minority. Ask people around the 20910 zip code and there is strong support. People are excited about the prospect of this project and hope that 20910 gets more of this.

This issues is much bigger than a few angry people in SOECA with only their own narrow interests in mind. This is about the future of Silver Spring. And Silver Spring's future is bright as, if we actually consider the future.

It is time we end this 1960s sprawl zoning.

Rezone and embrace the present and the future.

Anonymous said...

I think the vast majority of Silver Spring don't know about it and don't care. I can understand how people who live within a couple of blocks of the project might have strong opinions one way or the other about it. Other than that I don't see it having much affect on the rest of us.

Vagrarian said...

The Chelsea Development ran over my dog and slept with my wife...

Anonymous said...

I would love to see townhouses. Then when I finally get money together for a downpayment, there might be property in SS I could actually afford to live in. Single family homes and a diminishing number of crappy condos are the reason I'm considering moving when my lease expires (and my landlord is a jerk). Townhouses would be a good way to encourage a middle ground of permanent residents, which I think SS needs. Not everyone needs, or can afford, single family homes with big lawns etc, like what is back there. My childless self would love a place I could buy and maybe even afford without bankrupting myself. I'm all for it.
-Elysian

Anonymous said...

Patrick, I'm sure that back in the 1980's there were people in the District and elsewhere who would have loved to see the American Dream mall get built in Silver Spring. Sure, it would have ruined the surrounding neighborhood, but what did they care? They didn't live there.

Anonymous said...

Elysian -- I'm all for thr townhomes, but you are kidding yourself if you think they'll be cheaper than an older single-family home in the area. My guess is that pricing would be in the upper $500K+ range. Just look at Courts of Woodside on Georgia Ave.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:38--

You cannot compare what would have been the impact of the failed "American Dream" project with the potential impact of the Chelsea EYA townhome project. One was a massive mall and indoor theme park that would have attracted hundreds of thousands of people and cars. The other is 76 townhomes that will likely be purchased by people because they can walk to transit, shopping & entertainment and leave their car(s) in the garage. You are comparing a whale to a minnow.

The townhome development will not cause the character of the neighborhood to be destroyed. Our pleasant suburban lifestyle will persist, the flowers will bloom and the children will still play. The EYA development will will enhanced this part of the neighborhood--certainly moreso than the other "options"--a larger school or 25 giant single family homes. Ironically, the SOECA opposition seems to forget that the other "options" really aren't...only a rezoning for a townhome community is before the planning board.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 11:32,

I was not comparing impacts. I was comparing the mindset of people who live outside of a neighborhood where a development is being proposed, specifically, being for it without having to worry about living 24-7-365 with the consequences.

Anonymous said...

Ok...I hear you. Either way, the "impact" (short term or potential long term) of the EYA project has been grossly exaggerated by some of those who oppose it. There will be no traffic issues, no school overcrowding, no precedent set for large scale high density projecs in other areas in SOECA (can anyone name a site other than Springvale Manor which is already multi-family?). The planning board staff has already refuted the arguments that the master plan specifically precluded this site for townhomes. This will all be over shortly after the final hearing on the 26th. I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:17 - I don't know why those are so pricey, but I was using the townhouses right behind McDonalds to fuel my optimism. I think those are in a much more attractive location, and are selling in the mid-high 500K range. That much further from the metro they should be less expensive, even if new, right? Besides, single family homes out there are in the 5-600k range, why would I buy a townhouse when I can have the SFH for the same price without HOA fees? It just made sense for them to be lower, to me.

Townhouses could be done so they are lower priced but still nice, etc. I hope that would be what they're planning.
-Elysian

Anonymous said...

Elysian -- I hope so too. I guess in the end the pricing will depend a lot on the condition of the housing market when they're finally built. But I do think a lot of people are willing to pay more for new construction, which is why they might be priced higher than a single-family home.

-- 11:17

Anonymous said...

My guess is the townhouses will be between 600-800k, only because they'll be pipmed out. The neighborhood houses look to be around 2200sqft, while these townhouses with four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms will be near 3200sqft. I would just be sure to get a street section and views to ensure you won't get four stories from the sidewalk, distorting and possiby ruining the streetscape. As for density, love it, just make sure you neighbors get as much as possible if EYA is going to make there millions.