Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday News 'N Notes

- Fenton Street Market, which had announced it would be closing permanently come November, may return next year after all, despite the county having added a number of (costly) new rules to the lease requirement. If the market does return, one thing they will be required to do is rent a portable toilet, because I'm sure anyone in DTSS needing to use the bathroom would elect to use a port-a-john in the middle of Veteran's Plaza. Isn't the main purpose of the Civic Building to house public bathrooms? That's about all I've used it for so far.

- It wouldn't be a Silver Spring development project if it weren't held up endlessly by "The Community" and/or the County Government, would it? The Leave the Zone Alone folks have scored a comeback victory against EYA's townhouse project slated for the Chelsea School site, getting the county council to "recommend" that the developer scale back its plans for 76 townhomes on the property .

The Proposed Chelsea Court Townhouses

Would these townhomes really change the composition of the neighborhood that much? The plans seem fairly innocuous to me. It's not like there aren't already highrise apartments ACROSS THE STREET from the property. At this point, I wonder why any developer would bother to do business in this county. Out of spite, they should just let the property become overgrown and turn into a hobo encampment.

Also, to call that neighborhood "historic", as this article does, is a bit of a stretch. (Disclosure: this is my neighborhood.)

- Silver Spring's first bikeshare station will be located outside the new apartments being constructed at the former post office location on 2nd Avenue. I would think that this type of thing would make a lot more sense by the Metro, but perhaps there are plans to ultimately locate one at the new transit center as well.

- The Haunted Garden, an elaborate Halloween setup free to the public, opens tonight. The Garden is located at 9215 Worth Ave and will be open the next two weekends and on Halloween night.

- Discovery Headquarters was recently host to a small but sweet car show. I've actually driven the first car before, or at least I have in LA Noire...


Kraln said...

I'm actually interested in buying one of those EYA Townhomes. I wish people would stop NIMBYing things that have no real impact on their lives. Same with the 'no purple line' nutjobs.

Clancy said...

Does anyone notice anything interesting about one of the tenants listed on the webpage for DTSS?

Looks like the City Sports rumors were true.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the City Sports thing was ever a rumor. DTSS made the announcement at the same time it announced they were kicking Pier 1 out to make room.

I want one of those EYA townhomes too. I say bulldoze the NIMBY homes so there's even more room for high-quality townhomes! Joking...I guess.

Anonymous said...

The "historic" aspect of the property, referred to in the Gazette article, is the Riggs-Thompson house, which is one of the very few pre-Civil War buildings still standing in Montgomery County.

Sligo said...

Except the article in question referred to the entire neighborhood as historic.

Anonymous said...

And that entire neighborhood is not historic. Please. "The community" is so aptly described as "the community:" it elicits such a pain-in-the-rear feeling when its said/written.

ian.swank said...

Did anyone get a survey in the mail from USPS to study the feasibility of closing the "Finance Center" on Colesville? So Silver Spring is going from 2 Post Offices to none? I don't even know where the third closest post office is. Occupy USPS!

Anonymous said...

I also got the survey. It doesn't make sense that there will be nothing in DTSS, although it indicates Woodmoor 2 miles away will still be open.

Anonymous said...

Why does it matter if the USPS closes? Fedex and UPS are still here....?

RoseAG said...

What are the plans for the site of the current, soon-to-be old library?

Mr Wang said...

EYA can build 500 town homes there for all I care. The main problem I do have against the town homes are the 100+ cars that are going to be suddenly zipping through the now quiet streets. Which HELLO MORONS IS AN IMPACT ON MY LIFE when I want a quiet walk to DTSS.

Anonymous said...

If you think an 80-unit townhouse development is going to create tons of new traffic, I would encourage you to drop by the entrances to any of the numerous similarly-sized townhouse communities in Silver Spring. In the course of a busy daytime hour, you'll probably count at most 15cars.

Rebecca said...

As a resident of one of the neighborhing high-rise apartment buildings who's hoping to someday purchase a home in the immediate area, I fully support this townhome development. It's the perfect site for a higher-density development. I'm just glad I don't own one of those houses on Cedar St. between Pershing and wonder like 3 of them are for sale!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the townhomes, remember that the council vote was very close: 4 out of the 9 council members voted to allow the development as proposed. This near-even split represents the bifurcation of thought on Montgomery County in general, between those who want to preserve their slice of the suburban dream and those who say we must allow for natural (and well-planned) urbanization. Those in SOECA who opposed the townhome development testified before the hearing examiner that they didn't want anything except single-family homes for the site. Only single family homes were appropriate and only single family homes were allowed under the master plan. They explicitly and repeatedly said that the only acceptable solution was to "leave the zone alone" by not rezoning the property to allow townhomes. How ironic that now they have changed their tune and are claiming "victory" since the council voted to remand the application back to the hearing examiner. The hearing examiner clearly said that townhomes ARE compatible with the site, but perhaps there should be fewer of them than 72. As the expression goes, it ain't over until the fat lady sings...or in this case, the property is built out.

Robert said...

You asked: "Would these townhomes really change the composition of the neighborhood that much?"

Just look at the picture directly above the question -- it is obvious that super densely packed townhouses as pictured would change the character of the neighborhood. A less dense townhouse development, like the one on the northeast corner of Georgia Avenue and Spring Street, for example, would be a lot more in keeping with the existing neighborhood. And apparently the hearing examiner and the County Council majority agreed.

Anonymous said...

"super densely packed townhouses"

You have got to be freaking kidding me. They could fit a whole lot more than 72 townhomes on that parcel and if there weren't all those mature trees I'd say go for it.

"would change the character of the neighborhood"

Right. For the better. That's the point. Replace a rundown school with $50+ million added to the property tax pool (not including the increased value of surrounding homes).

Clancy said...

How was the "character" of this neighborhood (as consisting of solely single-family units) not already compromised by the existence of Springvale Terrace . . . or the Chelsea School for that matter? Just as arguments go, this is a weak one. I don't have a problem with arguing that single-family units would be preferable (or better) than town homes, but it's disingenuous to argue that this development is somehow a radical departure from what exists now or on nearby lots. Sure, there are single family homes adjacent to this parcel, but there are also Ellsworth Park and the library, the Springvale Terrace retirement center, and a high-rise apartment building (8811 Colesville). If anything, from a planning perspective, placing town homes on this parcel would constitute a better transition from the urbanized DTSS to the neighborhoods to the north.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. And it was just as disingenous as SOECA (the organization)claiming that the overwhelming majority of SOECA residents opposed the rezoning, when in fact only a tiny fraction of those w/in SOECA's boundaries were initially surveyed and only a tiny fraction of the residents voted at the community meeting.

The planning board, hearing examiner and county council all agreed that townhomes are not incompatible. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel (SOECA) got some of the grease because the council remanded the application back to the hearing examiner who sided with the opposition who said 76 units will OVERWHELM the neighborhood.

While I don't think 76 units is too much, I do agree that the setback from the backyards along Cedar was too small and the original plan would have required cutting down a lot of the screening trees. I hope that EYA can come up with a workable plan that addresses this issue and others at a slightly lower density.

Anonymous said...

On an unrelated note, I read somewhere that Marrakesh (next to Langano) is moving to Bethesda.

Anonymous said...

That'd be real weird if Marrakesh moved this early on, unless it was to a much, much cheaper space. They spent quite a bit of time and money setting up in their current space.

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