Sunday, October 13, 2013

Update: Environmental Sustainability + Takoma Metro

Two points for today, on Takoma Park environmental sustainability and on proposed Takoma Metro site development.

Sustainable Energy Action Plan

The City of Takoma Park engaged consultant the Brendle Group to create a Sustainable Energy Action Plan, now available on the city's Web site. Brendle Group staff presented the plan, with recommendations, at the September 23, 2013 city-council meeting. Comment from the city's Committee on the Environment is posted as well.

The council is slated to discuss the draft plan and comments at our October 14 meeting (http://citycouncil-takomapark.s3.amazonaws.com/agenda/items/2013/101413-2.pdf), in order to provide guidance to staff on a preferred strategy. If you have thoughts to share, please let me know or send your comment, for distribution to all council members and the city manager, to clerk@takomaparkmd.gov.

Takoma Metro Development

Next, news regarding proposed Takoma Metro site development: I'll remind you that, given a) WMATA's public status, b) developer EYA would seek exceptions to zoning restrictions that apply at the site, and c) the site is in a Washington DC historic district, the proposal faces several rounds of public process and official approval. There are three bits of news:

1) The WMATA (Metro) board's Planning, Program Development & Real Estate (PPDRE) Committee postponed its vote on an Amended Joint Development Agreement, which had been scheduled for its October 10 meeting. PPDRE Chair Muriel Bowser deferred the vote because the Takoma traffic-impact study, while underway, has not yet been completed.

2) Given the delay, Mayor Bruce Williams has cancelled the city council's October 14 worksession discussion and October 21 vote on a resolution offering city comment. However, I see reasons to move forward with council discussion and a resolution and plan to take the question up with the mayor and my council colleagues.

3) The Eastern Avenue NW building set-back (closeness to the street) and massing (height) have been significant community concerns. Fortunately, EYA is in the process of modifying the design to address these points. Other elements, such as positioning of the loading dock entry directly on Eastern Avenue, which would have garbage trucks backing in across the pedestrian sidewalk, pose a clear safety threat and must be addressed. Some community members are concerned about overall building height, over 80 feet at its highest point: All matters for further discussion with EYA, which I expect undertake in cooperation with Washington DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Sara Green and Faith Wheeler. If there are particular points you'd like us to raise, please let me know.

You may also wish to add your voice to community organizing efforts by signing on at http://dc-mdneighborsfortakomatransit.org, where you can also find links to a variety of EYA, WMATA, and other documents.

Thanks,

Seth, 301-873-8225

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