Wednesday, October 9, 2013

City of Takoma Park letter on proposed Takoma Metro development

The City of Takoma Park sent a letter to WMATA relaying comments regarding the proposed Takoma Metro development project, which comes before the WMATA board's Planning, Program Development and Real Estate (PPDRE) Committee tomorrow, October 10. The letter, under the signatures of City Manager Brian Kenner and Mayor Bruce Williams, is addressed to PPDRE Chair Muriel Bowser.

The PPDRE Committe is slated to vote, at its October 10 meeting, Approval of [the] Takoma Amended Joint Development Agreement (JDA). This vote would set the stage for an October 24 vote by the full WMATA board to revive WMATA's expired JDA with developer EYA. A Board Action/Information Summary document is online on the WMATA Web site.

A copy of the City of Takoma Park's letter is posted on the city's Web site. I will paste in the text below.

I'd be happy to field and forward on any comments to my city colleagues, or you can write directly to all Takoma Park City Council members and the city manager by sending your message to clerk@takomaparkmd.gov. In particular, the city council and staff are slated to discuss the WMATA-EYA Takoma Metro development plans at its Monday, October 14 meeting, and we expect to consider a city resolution at our October 21 meeting. Video of the city's October 7 public hearing on the development plans is available online.

Seth


http://dc-mdneighborsfortakomatransit.org/WMATALetter_10.8.2013.pdf

October 8, 2013

The Honorable Muriel Bowser,

Chair, Planning, Program Development and Real Estate Committee
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 5th St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Ms. Bowser,


The City of Takoma Park deeply values the access to transit provided by the Takoma Metro station on our border with Washington, D.C. As the proposal to develop the Takoma Metro station property moves through the review processes before the WMATA Board and the District of Columbia, the Takoma Park City Council will submit comments regarding design elements.


We understand that the WMATA Board will be considering amending the Joint Development Sales Agreement with EYA for development of the station property at the Planning, Program Development and Real Estate Committee meeting on October 10. Further, we understand depending on the results of this meeting, WMATA intends on holding a Compact Public Hearing sometime later in 2013 to hear further public comment on the project and provide results of a recently issued traffic study. The Takoma Park City Council is in the process of receiving public testimony on the proposed concept plans and will consider a resolution on the concept plans on October 21. Since the WMATA Board may be taking initial action before that date, we ask you to consider the following information.


First, the longstanding position of the Takoma Park City Council is that access to transit facilities and services, now and in the future, is the most important function of the Takoma Metro station. The access by pedestrians, bicyclists, handicapped patrons, and bus riders should be easy, safe, comfortable and attractive. Transit facilities must be of an adequate capacity to accommodate the community's transit needs for decades.


Second, any development of the property should complement the surrounding neighborhoods in Takoma Park and Washington, D.C. While we cannot provide definitive comments on the concept plan until the results of the traffic study are examined and residents have shared their opinions with the City Council, we have some preliminary comments that may be helpful for the Board's early actions related to the project.


The proposed multi-family structure is more appropriate than a townhome development for the site. How the structure is sited on the property is important so that direct, safe and comfortable paths are clear for those coming to and leaving the transit station. The massing and design of the building should be attractive and not have a negative impact on adjacent properties, including those in Takoma Park, Maryland.


Green space on the property is a valued amenity. In particular, it is important that it be attractive, usable, and function as a buffer where needed.


If parking and circulation patterns related to the development are not well planned, there could be serious traffic impacts to the community. When the results of the traffic study are released and the site plans refined, the City of Takoma Park may have recommendations regarding these elements.


Thank you for considering our comments. We look forward to working with you and the District of Columbia throughout the review process for this development proposal.


Sincerely,


Mayor Bruce Williams

City Manager Brian Kenner

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