Monday, September 14, 2015

Montgomery College Facilities Master Plan update

I attended the Montgomery College meeting last week, on the planned Facilities Master Plan update, as did Jason Damweber and Roz Grigsby for the city. Residents attending included Lorraine Pearsall, Paul Chrostowski, Peter Kovar, and Richard Weil.

I'll give a few highlights from the meeting, and I ask residents to please contact the council (clerk@takomaparkmd.gov or direct councilmember contact or public comment at a meeting) to ask the council to enact a resolution commenting on the plan.

- The Facilities Master Plan covers all three campuses: TP/SS, Gaithersburg, and Rockville.

- The schedule is compressed. MC plans to come up with a plan, covering the 3 campuses, and present it at public meetings December 8, 9, 10 (one at each campus), then present it to the MC board on December 14 and seek board approval January 25. The plan is due to the state February 1.

- MC hadn't planned a public comment period and said the facilities master plan is not subject to Montgomery County Planning Board Review. A Planning Board rep who was there, Marc DeOcampo, disputed that and said he believes there's a mandatory 60 referral period.

- In any case, MC says there won't be much new in the plan, that it will include building reconstruction that was in the 2006-16 plan that never happened. I believe that includes the science center buildings. MC foresees reconstruction in place rather than on the Burlington Ave parcel that's owned by the MC Foundation or onto the self-store parcels, which they'd have to acquire.

- The City Council passed a 2008 resolution commenting on a Facilities Master Plan Update. It's at http://cityclerk-takomapark.s3.amazonaws.com/resolutions/2008/r200862.pdf.

Dewey Yeates, MC's facilities and security vice president, said MC would be willing to meet with the city/neighbors during the course of creation of the Facilities Master Plan update, but of course there's nothing to react to right now.

I am asking my council colleagues to consider a resolution stating a city position on MC TP/SS facilities. It would reiterate points from the city's 2008 resolution, updated for current conditions of course, and perhaps include something about the compressed schedule and lack of a meaningful public comment period.

Based on conversations with the neighbors who attended, we should continue council advocacy of neighborhood-scale facilities in the Takoma Park portion of the campus.

Seth, 301-873-8225

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