Stage Set for Wheaton Redevelopment Negotiations

M-NCCPC wants to protect its autonomy as it prepares to move its headquarters to downtown Wheaton.

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.

TaL May 11, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Of course, so it can build a giant underground garage for all its take home cars.... http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/2012/05/10/gIQAFlqpGU_story.html I still claim BS on these employees using the community for dining or local entertainment, they are all going to take their government cars home to elsewhere at the end of the day. I call further BS on whats going to happen to the cost of the building given they have been given "independence" to design it as they like
Commentous May 13, 2012 at 11:54 PM
The Council appears to have used Wheaton to move the M-NCPPC HQ here, which will support little more than a few close-by businesses. The WRAC--the voice of Wheatons' residents--did not express a desire for this type of building and there is no evidence that it will help the area in any significant way. Compare the Council's private communication with the openness of BF Saul who involved many stakeholders in public meetings and displayed its understanding of stakeholders' interests openly: http://www.wheatonsnewdowntown.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/PastCommunityInput_110318.pdf. The HQ employees do not appear to use Metro a whole lot, yet they'll get the best space in Wheaton right at the Metro. From TaL's article: "The commission, which oversees parks and planning in Montgomery and parks, recreation and planning in Prince George’s, has 1,300 vehicles, a ratio that the audit said “is very high compared to other similar organizations,” for its 2,000 employees." What agency has 1,300 vehicles for only 2,000 employees? A government office building that may not be mixed use and doesn't support Metro use should not be Wheaton redevelopment's centerpiece.The Council's "feet on the ground" argument has little basis in a group that drives to/from Wheaton and parks underground, especially at night. These feet will be on their accelerators leaving Wheaton as soon as the work day is over, with a few scurrying to the Metro. Why weren't the WRAC's views important?


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