Wheaton Redevelopment passed another round of negotiations at Tuesday’s Montgomery County Council session, on its way to final budget approval on May 24.
Now that the council has decided that construction will begin with an office building in Lot 13, it must sort out how county government agencies and the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commision will share the space.
Senior Legislative Analyst Jacob Sesker explained to councilmembers that, upon request from the Department of General Services and after discussions with Parks and Planning, he had added language to the budget proposal before the council that would set a framework for interagency cooperation.
The county’s Department of General Services and M-NCPPC would first create a separate list of requirements, describing what they needed from the space, and then negotiate a memorandum of understanding for the building design. At that point, they would return to the county council to present a clearer idea of the project scope, before the council appropriates FY14 funds, Sesker said.
In response to M-NCPPC's concerns about protecting its autonomy, Sesker inserted this sentence into the project description: “It is the expectation that the MOU will reflect Parks and Planning’s status as an independent agency.”
“I think that having that language would make the planning board feel more comfortable heading into the negotiations,” Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier said at the council session.
Greg Ossont from the Department of General Services told the council that they could expect the two parties to return in the fall to give an update on progress, even if an MOU is not yet agreed upon.