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MCCAB Sticks with Leggett's Wheaton Redevelopment Plans

The Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board discussed the two proposals on the table for Wheaton Redevelopment at its monthly meeting on March 20.


The Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee and the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board sent letters today opposing a and supported by the council’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee.

The Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board that “MCCAB and the rest of the Wheaton community have not been provided an opportunity to consider the new PHED proposal and review its merits within a reasonable period of time.”

MCCAB also reiterated its support for County Executive Isiah Leggett’s $41 million Wheaton Redevelopment proposal in the county’s CIP budget.

Greg Ossont of the Department of General Services and Adam Fogel, Council Vice President Nancy Navarro’s chief of staff, explained at MCCAB’s monthly meeting how, rather than pitting the two proposals against each other, the executive branch and the council are working on a “collaborative effort.”

Ossont said that they are headed in the “same direction” for Wheaton redevelopment; what differs is the “sequencing of the events.” Whereas Leggett’s proposal focuses on building the busbay platform on WMATA property in partnership with private developer B.F. Saul, the council staff’s proposal would first develop the parking lot in the Wheaton Triangle known as Lot 13.

Fogel told the board that Navarro subscribes to an “all of the above strategy”--that she does not see a need to choose between either the busbay or Lot 13.

Ossont said that the Department of General Services had determined that there was no other feasible location to relocate the buses during the platform construction besides Lot 13. “But we’ve agreed to go back and take a look at that again,” he said.

If they can find an alternative to Lot 13, then one option going forward would be to conduct simultaneous construction of Lot 13 and the WMATA platform, which could shorten the construction disturbance period in downtown Wheaton from 6 years to possibly less than 4 years, he said.

The full council will tentatively discuss Wheaton Redevelopment on April 10. This date was postponed from the originally scheduled March 20. Fogel said that Navarro made this extension request, with the agreement of PHED Chair Nancy Floreen and Council President Roger Berliner, who sets the agenda.

Do you agree with what MCCAB says in its letter? Tell us in the comments.

Mr CDT2 April 04, 2012 at 04:31 AM
The last minute alternative is a “process foul.” It disregards a decade’s planning and has not been fully analyzed and weighed against the original proposal. On the merits, the proposal to build a county office building does not move Wheaton one step closer to having a Central Business District. The alternative loses the multiplier effect from private versus public investment. I am not endorsing BF Saul, but the principal that a private investor has greater incentive to continue to invest in Wheaton development. The private developer will have a vested interest in continuing to make improvements to the Wheaton town center. The county as a landlord, will be limited by tax revenue from further investments. Don’t tie Wheaton development to the survival of CURRENT small businesses. Businesses, small and large, come and go. Where is Blockbuster? It is important to have a national names to anchor the commercial center. They have the deep pockets needed to survive until development has momentum. The most distinguishable physical feature of Wheaton is the triangle formed by the intersection of Viers Mill, Georgia, and University. A triangle must be preserved as the public space. The parking lot, the triangle, should not be the first thing the Committee and Council dispose of. Look at options that preserve it. Let the heart of Wheaton keep beatin'. Dan Thompson Wheaton


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