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Meeting Notes: Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee

The committee received updates on redevelopment in downtown Wheaton and the selection of an architect for the Wheaton Library and recreation center project.

The Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee discussed the Wheaton Library project, redevelopment on Parking Lot 13, and Wheaton’s small businesses at its Nov. 28 meeting at the Mid-County Regional Services Center.

Wheaton Library

Greg Ossont, deputy director of the Department of General Services for Montgomery County, presented an update on the progress of the Wheaton Library and Recreation Center project, which would combine the two facilities on Georgia Avenue into new building.

Ossont told the advisory committee that the county has decided to use Grimm + Parker, an architecture firm with offices in Calverton, MD, and McClean, VA. Grimm + Parker is already under contract with the county.

Redevelopment advisory committee members expressed displeasure that the county did not seek more community input when selecting the firm and voted to send a letter of concern to the county executive.

No specific project contract has yet been signed with Grimm + Parker.

Small Business Survey and Redevelopment in Lot 13

Peter McGinnity of the county's Wheaton Redevelopment Program presented results from a survey of small businesses in Wheaton. He told WRAC that after a similar survey in 2005, the county offered programs and resources to support the small businesses, but there was low participation.

The 2012 survey shows that overall attitudes toward redevelopment have not changed that much. What has changed, McGinnity said, is a sense of urgency, now that the county council has approved construction of an office building on top of a central parking lot used by customers of many of the small businesses in the heart of Wheaton.

Ash Kosiewicz, lead organizer for the Coalition for the Fair Redevelopment of Wheaton, asked the advisory committee to write a letter of support for Wheaton’s small businesses. The Coalition wants the county to pledge to protect small businesses through the redevelopment process, in part by funding the Small Business Assistance Program established in April by Bill 6-12

The office building will be shared by the Department of General Services and the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission. Both agencies must negotiate a memorandum of understanding for the county council before plans can proceed. The DGS and M-NCCPC must also determine how much square footage they need in the building. Oudens Knoop Knoop + Sachs Architects is advising them during this first phase of developing programs of requirement.

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WRAC, an advisory committee to the county executive, meets the third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m in the Mid-County Regional Services Center at 2424 Reedie Drive in Wheaton. (Note: The committee would have met on Nov. 21, according to its regular schedule, but the meeting was rescheduled to Nov. 28 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.)

[Editor's Note: Grimm + Parker Architects was misspelled in an earlier version of this article. We regret the error.]

TaL December 06, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Oh my GOD! A gas station near a Metro station! Like the 2 gas stations next to Glenmont Metro, or the three within a block of the Silver Spring metro or the one around the corner from the Takoma metro or the lovely air next to the NY Ave metro and the gas station around the corner from Union Station? What ever will we do now.... Never mind that the Metro platform is *underground* and the air intakes are on the East side off Reedie, so Im not sure at all what your point is
AntonFisher December 06, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Two of the three gas stations near Glenmont Metro closed; the Free State at Georgia and Layhill and the other one at Georgia and Randolph. Now, there is only one gas station in Glenmont and that is more than enough.
Interrobang December 06, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Why is one gas station more than enough? Competition is good!
ED December 06, 2012 at 02:15 PM
According to the State, Smartgrowth is supposed to reduce “automobile dependency” and increase “access to transit, walking, and bicycling“. Montgomery County has greatly increased density and reduced parking in Metro areas with the explanation that this is the policy of Smartgrowth. To me, it makes no sense and counteracts the policy to allow a car magnet in the form of a mega-gas station in a Smartgrowth area. It is one thing to have a couple of small, pre-existing gas stations in a Smartgrowth area, it is another to allow more - especially mega-gas stations.
AntonFisher December 06, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Chester C. - Competetion is good, but to have gas stations on top of a metro station is an oxymoron, let alone more than one.

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