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Council's Redevelopment Plan Includes Coalition's Revisions

The revised language adds small business and job creation opportunities.

What did the Coalition for the Fair Redevelopment of Wheaton get out of ?

Compare the language originally included in the council staff proposal and the revisions proposed by the Coalition and adopted by the council. Changes are in bold.


PROPOSED LANGUAGE: "The Executive will brief the Council regarding the outcome of these studies before the Executive resumes negotiating the terms of any General Development Agreement." 

PROPOSED REVISION: "The Executive will brief the Council regarding the outcome of these studies and any planning or negotiations regarding job opportunities and training as well as small business protections before the Executive resumes negotiating the terms of any General Development Agreement."  

PROPOSED LANGUAGE: "The project  also provides up to $650,000 in FY13 for consulting services, including an evaluation of the financial feasibility of redeveloping the WMATA bus bay site and a comprehensive parking study to identify potential disruptions to parking supply and changes in parking demand that result from redevelopment and how those changes in supply and demand might affect existing businesses in Wheaton, and to identify potential solutions (including, but not limited to signage, parking management, and temporary/interim parking)." 

PROPOSED REVISION: "The project also provides up to $650,000 in FY13 for consulting services, including an evaluation of the financial feasibility of redeveloping the WMATA bus bay site; a comprehensive parking study to identify potential  disruptions to parking supply and changes in parking demand that result from redevelopment  and how those changes in supply and demand might  affect  existing businesses in Wheaton, and to identify potential solutions (including, but not limited to signage, parking management, and temporary/interim parking); and planning studies that review potential  models and approaches to creating additional local jobs and job training opportunities in advance of /during redevelopment, including relevant case examples in Montgomery County as well as innovative models from other jurisdictions in the DC region as well as nationally."

Ash Kosiewicz, the lead organizer, said that the Coalition was excited that the council adopted its recommended language. However, because Wheaton redevelopment will now begin with the M-NCPPC headquarters instead of the platform, construction on Lot 13 will move up three years, which leaves businesses less time to prepare for the disturbance, he said.

"We're really happy that there's some language there, but there still needs to be dedicated work to make sure that the funding is there to support small businesses and that there are those protections in place," he said. 

Kosiewicz called the inclusion of parking studies a "huge step forward" because it was a major concern for small business owners in the Wheaton downtown area.

"We had been told for a long time that there was parking nearby and that there were enough spaces, but there was nothing in writing saying how they were going to get people from where they parked to the downtown," he said. 

TaL April 15, 2012 at 12:11 AM
You should add a disclaimer that Ash Kosiewicz is the Communications Director at the LEDC and is not a homeowner in Wheaton, or even in Montgomery County. You should also add a disclaimer that the so called "Fair Redevelopment of Wheaton" is a coalition that is primarily made up of 2 groups---CASA and LEDC that are highly dependent on the county for grant money and major donors to Navarro amongst others In fact the entire hot mess is an astro-turfed fake grass roots political movement to ensure that LEDC and CASA receive a larger share of the pork pie and can continue to contribute to the re-election of the candidates who keep the gravy train rolling. If there are more than 10 real residents of Wheaton who are actual members I will buy them all a beer.
Commentous April 15, 2012 at 11:26 PM
I agree with some of the "Fair Redevelopment" group's goals, but their interests simply aren't aligned with mine to a great extent. As the group stated in their testimony about the budget, "We made a commitment in November 2010 to explore the opportunities and challenges of redevelopment with small businesses, renters, workers, and Mid-County patients." Wheaton residential property owners and owner-residents were not part of that group. At least they're open about it. One concern I DO have is the group's goal of increased affordable housing in Wheaton beyond that required in the rest of the County. If the Council in its infinte wisdom requires every new residential construction site to have 30% or 50% affordable housing County-wide, I'm OK with that. I'm not OK with Wheaton having a higher percentage than the rest of the County until someone openly states that Wheaton has been designated a County Affordability District (or that, conversely, wealthy areas are designated "Wealth Districts"). Neither of these terms exist. Yet.
AntonFisher April 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM
LEDC, CASA de Maryland, and the Coalition for the Fair Redevelopment of Wheaton will be the reason for the demise for any ambitious redevelopment plan for Wheaton.These are three self-serving organizations and are like a cancer in Wheaton. I wish they do not conduct any of their activities in our community.
Ash Kosiewicz April 16, 2012 at 04:35 PM
TaL, I took a quick look at our membership list to provide you with more accurate information regarding our Coalition membership. I counted at least 217 members - residents and small business owners - who listed "20902" or "Wheaton" in the address area. At best, you underestimated our Wheaton membership by 2,070%. This figure of course does not include portions of our membership who live in nearby areas like Kensington or are Montgomery County taxpayers who spend money in Wheaton but do not live in Wheaton. Commentous, thanks for recognizing that this Coalition and its members have provided testimony in support of redevelopment and shared prosperity in Wheaton, most notably on February 7th and February 28th. Our February 7th testimony can be found on our website. We want to make sure that these projects, especially when publicly subsidized, position the existing Wheaton community to benefit. One piece is the challenge of understanding the impact on housing costs of transit-oriented development projects. We're committed to supporting a balanced housing policy so that homeowners and renters can benefit from the fruits of redevelopment.
Commentous April 17, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Redevelopment has happened throughout this County using County funds. I do not see a need for Wheaton to have higher rates than those already required by the County. I do not see as the goals of redevelopment capped property values or the assurance of small businesses. I agree with helping small businesses during construction but this is a far cry from keeping middling businesses around simply because they were here already. Regarding TaL's comment, I don't see how your figures can prove much about the residents' views. If you take out the small-business owners--that term is a far cry from "resident"--you have actual residents, but it still may be unclear how many are really in downtown Wheaton because 20902 is a big zip code. Dennis and Georgia are still 20902 but they're not near downtown. In the end, I think TaL's point is simple: People who own property are concerned that rent caps and higher-than-mandated amounts of affordable housing may be a recipe for keeping housing prices down in a specific section of one of the wealthiest counties. This outcome may be a goal of certain groups, including the Coalition, but it isn't generally a goal of property owners. I'm also not sure why small business owners would support it but their general aim was probably to avoid too much construction and the Coalition made headway for them on that front. Property owners were never part of the discussion.
AntonFisher April 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Ash, What are you doing for developments that are taking place around White Flint? As we speak, mega developments have been completed, under construction, and are proposed? Has the Council or your organization interfered with the development or requested things similar to what you are lobbying for in Wheaten?
Sean April 17, 2012 at 01:07 AM
It would certainly level the playing field if White Flint were to operate under the same constraints (sorry, I don't want to make it seem negative) as Wheaton. What's LEDC's take on this?

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