You may have noticed that many a development projects in downtown Silver Spring take far longer to come to fruition than they have any right to - The Fillmore, transit center, library, and the Purple Line to name a few. In many cases, some or all of the delays associated with these projects are a result of the the unrelenting efforts of The Community to keep everything exactly the same, or in some cases, exactly as they supposedly were in some sort of idealized circa-1950's Silver Spring.
Last year we were introduced to "Leave the Zone Alone", a SOECA-based movement whose objective is preventing the construction of townhouses on the former site of the Chelsea School, located just a single block from the DTSS development. Back in January the group suffered a setback when the Planning Board approved a plan presented by the developer for the construction of 64 townhouses, despite LTZA's request that only single-family homes be permitted.
|A movement on its last legs?|
Now, after listening to arguments from both the developer and The Community, the Hearing Examiner (disclosure: I don't entirely know what their role is) has decided to make the recommendation to the County Council that the parcel be officially re-zoned from single-family to townhouse.
Masochists may enjoy reading the entirety of the 112-page findings from the hearing, particularly ones who find subjects such as comparative examples of Do Not Enter signs of particular interest. There's also quite a bit of space dedicated to things like the angle of sightlines around the Riggs-Thompson House, a 19th-century structure that probably only a few dozen people even know exists.
The Community did manage one tiny victory, as the recommended zoning is a slightly less dense version of the RT-15 townhouse zoning the developer originally wanted, though to me the difference seems immaterial:
The only level of bureaucracy now standing in the way of the this perfectly-reasonable townhouse development is final approval of the re-zoning by the County Council. Of course, that may ultimately end up being a significant hurdle, considering that some councilpersons' positions can frequently be swayed by the protestations of just a handful of voters...
- Not that you haven't probably heard quite enough about the transit center boondoggle by this point, but the Post ran yet another story on the subject this week. (This time with infographics!) Perhaps the only new information here is that although it was not made public until earlier this year, they were aware of the concrete issue way back in October of 2010.
- The National Museum of Health and Medicine re-opened on Monday after moving to Silver Spring from its old home at Walter Reed.