TAKOMA JUNCTION REDEVELOPMENT





Synopsis:
Thanks for coming out to Council meetings on April 4 and April 11 to show support for responsible development at the Junction.
Redevelopment at the Junction is a 99-year decision.
There are still issues (trash/recycling, deliveries, and others) to be addressed.
Working together, we can get it right for everyone: the Co-op, the Junction, the entire community.
Please come out to Council meetings and events (see below) to make your thoughts known.

Dear Members and Shoppers,
Thank you very much for your continued support. We appreciate the testimony offered by Co-op members and shoppers at the April 11 City Council meeting. As we testified to the Council (beginning at 48:30 minutes into the meeting), the Co-op has serious concerns about the adequacy of the lay-by for Co-op deliveries, the trash/garbage/recycling process, parking, traffic flow and safety, and other issues that may hinder our continued operation at the Junction. We are also concerned that the traffic safety studies – by the developer, the City, and the State Highway Administration – have not been released yet, even though the development’s impact on traffic congestion and safety is an all-important question.

The Council will be addressing these issues and others during weekly meetings through at least mid-May. Please continue to support us in these ways:
  • Discuss your concerns about this project with your friends and neighbors and elected representatives. (Scroll down for Council contact information).
  • Come to weekly Council meetings: every Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center (except for April 25 meeting that starts at 6:30). Voice your concerns during the public comment period at the start of each meeting. Listen to Council members discuss specific aspects of the development during the work-session part of the meeting. (Scroll down for more information about focus of each weekly work-session in April and May.)
  • Attend the “pop-up” demonstration of the proposed development from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday April 22 at the Junction. Ask questions and express your concerns.
  • Email the Mayor and your Council representative regarding your concerns and suggestions. (If you testify in person, follow up with an e-mail too.)
  • Come to the Co-op Membership Meeting April 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Historic Takoma for more discussion of our concerns and next steps.

Through the work of our committed members and community supporters, we can work together to make any development at the Junction function for the Co-op, the Junction, and our entire Takoma Park community.

Sincerely,
TPSS Co-op Board of Representatives

Current Takoma Junction events from the City of Takoma Park e-News: Week of April 12 - 19, 2018

Takoma Junction – Public Space and Sustainability, Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium: This Council Work Session discussion will focus on the exterior design of the building, its “massing” or shape and the space it occupies, and its placement on the property. Specific discussion points include architectural features such as the roofline, windows and entrances, decorative elements, and building materials. The set-back of the building from Carroll Avenue will also be considered.

Takoma Junction – “Pop-Up,” Sunday, April 22, at 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., between Healy Surgeons (7211 Carroll Avenue) and Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op (201 Ethan Allen Avenue): Walk the site and get a sense of where the building may be located; see where you might be able to sit outdoors and enjoy a cup of coffee or a conversation with your neighbor; check out the location of the proposed lay-by; and find out how you could get to the underground parking area.

Takoma Junction – Traffic & Circulation, Wednesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m., Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium: This Council Work Session discussion will focus on vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns and the potential impact of the project on existing traffic conditions. Specific discussion points include vehicular access to/from the site, pedestrian pathways, on-site parking facilities, and operational issues such as the delivery of goods and trash removal. Options for the mitigation of current traffic and pedestrian safety concerns identified during the City’s traffic study will be discussed.

Takoma Junction – Discussion of Draft Resolution, Wednesday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m., Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium: During this final Work Session discussion, the City Council will focus on the site plan in general and develop proposed language to be included in the resolution scheduled for the following week.

Takoma Junction – (Tentative) Adoption of Resolution, Wednesday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m., Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium: The Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on a resolution regarding the site plan.

If you would like to express your views to the Mayor and Council members, their emails are below.
Cindy Dyballa Councilmember, Ward 2 CindyD@takomaparkmd.gov 240-320-6494
Kacy Kostiuk Councilmember, Ward 3 KacyK@takomaparkmd.gov 240-204-4912
Peter Kovar Councilmember, Ward 1 PeterK@takomaparkmd.gov 240-319-6281
Terry J. Seamens Councilmember, Ward 4 TerryS@takomaparkmd.gov 301-565-0190
Talisha Searcy Councilmember, Ward 6 TalishaS@takomaparkmd.gov 202-339-7914
Jarrett Smith Councilmember, Ward 5 JarrettS@takomaparkmd.gov 301-960-7462
Kate Stewart Mayor KateS@takomaparkmd.gov 240-338-9333

Click here to view the Co-op Final Testimony letter given to the Council on 2018-04-11




NEW JUNCTION DEVELOPMENT PLAN
RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT CO-OP SURVIVAL


You can see the slide presentation for the Site Plan for development of Takoma Junction here on the Takoma Park website. The video of the presentation to the City Council is posted here. The Mayor’s comments on the plan start at 1:37:30 into the meeting, and the developer’s presentation begins at about 1:46.

This new plan continues to raise concerns about these key issues:

  • Accommodation of delivery trucks
  • Traffic congestion and safety
  • Access to parking
  • Trash storage and pickup
  • Business continuity during construction

WE NEED YOUR HELP!
PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT BY ATTENDING:

  • Open House at City Hall Saturday, April 7, 2 to 5 p.m.
    Azalea Room, Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave
    Ask questions about NDC’s development proposal
  • Site Plan Demonstration “Pop-up” at the Junction April 22,
    11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    See the proposed development layout.
  • City Council meetings on the development proposal –
    • April 11 – Building design and placement on property
    • April 18 – Public space and sustainability features
    • April 25 – Traffic and circulation (start time 6:30 p.m.)
    • May 2 – Discussion of draft resolution
    • May 9 – TENTATIVE FINAL VOTE
  • Co-op membership meeting April 29, 2 to 4 p.m.
    at Historic Takoma, 7328 Carroll Avenue

WATCH YOUR E-MAIL AND CO-OP WEBSITE FOR UPDATES.
TO SIGN UP FOR CO-OP ACTION ALERTS, VISIT OUR CONTACT PAGE.





In 2016, the City of Takoma Park contracted with a private developer, Neighborhood Development Co. (NDC), to plan a new commercial development on the City-owned lot next to the Co-op. The proposed development could have a significant effect on the Co-op, because we now rent a portion of the lot from the City for several key parts of our operation: trash and recycling storage and pick-up, deliveries of Co-op merchandise, and overflow customer parking. NDC’s “Concept Plan,” presented to the City Council in September 2017, shows that NDC intends to build structures on almost the entire commercially usable area of the City lot, thereby substantially reducing and changing the Co-op’s use of the lot.

On April 4, NDC is scheduled to present to the City Council a revised and more detailed plan for the City-owned lot. The City Council plans to take several weeks to review the plan, culminating in a vote -- now scheduled for May 9 -- on whether the proposed development should go forward. This will be a key decision – after the May vote, the City Council is not scheduled to take any additional action to modify the proposal, and it will go into a final review process by county and state agencies.

The Co-op Board and staff will be reviewing NDC’s revised plan and sharing our evaluation and concerns with our members and the Mayor and Council. We urge our members and customers to monitor this site, as well as the City Takoma Junction site, and stay informed about the plan and the Co-op’s evaluation. We appreciate the support we have received from our members during the development process so far, and look forward to your continued support as we take these next steps.

More information about the history of the Takoma Junction redevelopment process, our concerns, and the review process, is below.

The Proposed Takoma Junction Development. In 2016, the City contracted with NDC to have NDC plan a new commercial development on the City-owned lot next to the Co-op. The proposed development poses a major concern to the Co-op because we now rent the paved, flat portion of the lot from the City for several key parts of our operation: trash and recycling storage and pick-up, deliveries of Co-op merchandise, and overflow customer parking.

In the Takoma Junction Development Agreement, the City and NDC made a commitment that NDC’s proposed development will reasonably accommodate the Co-op’s need for deliveries, parking, and continued operation during construction. But NDC’s “Concept Plan shows that NDC intends to build structures on almost the entire flat area of the City lot, thereby substantially reducing and changing the Co-op’s use of the lot. (NDC has said that they were not going to develop the rest of the lot, a steep wooded hillside.)

Our Concerns. We are not opposed to appropriately scaled development of Takoma Junction. However, as we testified to the City Council on December 13, 2017 (minute 23:05), NDC’s most recent proposal raises serious questions about whether the proposed development adequately accommodates our deliveries and trash pick-up, protects public safety, and allows access to the Co-op during construction.


  • We are concerned that the proposed development will impede the regular deliveries and trash and recycling pick-up that are essential to our operation. As a substitute for the current loading area, NDC proposes a “lay-by” (a shallow cut-out driveway along State Route 410 in front of the new building) for all truck deliveries and pick-ups -- including large 18-wheeler semi tractor-trailers, smaller box trucks, and trash and recycling trucks. The proposed lay-by, which would serve not only the Co-op but all businesses in the development, can accommodate only one large truck at a time; this is not sufficient to accommodate even the Co-op’s multiple deliveries and trash pick-ups that occur each day between 5:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and that may take as much as an hour per truck.

  • We are also concerned about the development’s impact on public safety for our shoppers and neighbors. Semi drivers have told us that if the lay-by is occupied, they would be forced to park on State Route 410 if they have the time to wait for the first truck to leave. Takoma Park Fire Chief Tom Musgrove said at a July 2016 City Council meeting (minute 55:25) that “he is concerned with pedestrian safety at the sidewalk if the trucks load and unload from a pull-in at the front of the building. The firehouse is constantly blocked while trying to exit. With tractor trailers, the fire trucks will not be able to exit.”

    Some have suggested that we relocate deliveries onto our parking lot along Sycamore Avenue. However, the early delivery hours, diesel fumes and noise make this suggestion a poor choice for the quality of life of the people who live in those homes.

  • The Co-op needs parking spaces to supplement its relatively small Sycamore Avenue parking lot. But we are concerned that the large underground parking garage proposed by NDC will be expensive for our employees and members. And a large volume of traffic in and out of the garage will add to the traffic congestion that already is a problem at the Junction.

  • Finally, we are concerned that construction on the City-owned lot – which is scheduled to take over a year -- will severely impact our operations. During that period, it is unclear where trucks can make deliveries or pick up trash and recycling. Additionally, with construction on the city lot, shoppers will have limited street options for parking when the Sycamore Avenue lot is full. The Co-op risks losing a significant number of customers during that period.


Concerns Raised by Co-op Members and City Council. In the fall of 2017, many Co-op members testified before the City Council about the proposed development’s potential adverse impacts on the Co-op. City Council members also raised concerns about the “workability” of the proposal for Co-op deliveries and trash pick-up. The Council adopted a resolution instructing NDC to address those and other issues in their more detailed Site Plan.

Next Steps by NDC and the City. NDC plans to submit a Draft Site Plan/Preliminary Site Plan to the City Council in April. Beginning April 4, the City Council is scheduled to discuss the Site Plans at its meetings, and will take public comments. (The City’s schedule for reviewing the NDC development is posted on its rolling agenda. Note that City residents can subscribe and be notified of any changes to the City Council’s review schedule.) The City also maintains a Takoma Junction Redevelopment webpage.

The City Council currently plans to vote on whether to accept the Site Plan and approve the proposed development on May 9, 2018. This will be a key decision – after the May vote, the City Council will not take any additional action to modify the proposal, and it will go into a final review process by county and state agencies.

Next Steps by the Co-op. The Co-op will carefully review the Site Plan and share our evaluation and concerns through this website and messages to our members. We appreciate the support we have received from our members and the community for our concerns about the proposed development, and we hope we can count on you for further support if and when it is needed.

Resources.

In 2013, TPSS Co-op proposed to expand its operation on the City-owned lot. That proposal, and subsequent correspondence with the City, can be found here.