Saturday, October 3, 2015

Boston Ave traffic calming, Montgomery College facilities master plan

The city council will consider two items of special interests to North Takoma neighbors, at Monday evening's council meeting.

At 7 pm, the council will hold a public hearing on requested Boston Avenue traffic calming measures. You're invited!

The council will then discuss the request, at 8 pm, following general public comment and other meeting preliminaries. The backgrounder for the hearing and council discussion is online.

The council is slated to discuss, at 9:50 pm, a resolution regarding the 2016-26 update of Montgomery College Facilities Master Plan (FMP). Maryland state regulations require periodic plan updates.

The college first informed the city of the pending update only a little more than a month ago and briefed the community in a September 10 public meeting. As I observe in my September 14 meeting report, the college proposes a highly compressed schedule, in order to meet a February 1, 2016 Maryland Higher Education Commission deadline.

The October 5 city council discussion will surround a draft proposed council resolution commenting on the FMP process. The resolution comments on the process, because we don't yet have a draft 2016-26 FMP to comment on, and according to the college's timeline, we will have only a few days between draft availability and Montgomery College Board of Trustees consideration to comment.

Whether the FMP is subject to Montgomery Planning "mandatory referral," with a 60-day review period, is a matter that is being debated (still, so far as I know) by the Montgomery College and Montgomery Planning lawyers. Note that "Mandatory Referral review and comments by the Planning Board are advisory in that the statute allows the applicant to overrule the Planning Board's disapproval, or any conditions attached to approval, and proceed," according to Montgomery Planning's Mandatory Referral Submission Requirements.

Please review the draft city council resolution. Relay your comments to me at sethg@takomaparkmd.gov or 301-873-8225 or send them to councilmembers via clerk@takomaparkmd.gov.

One remedy we could seek -- not (yet) reflected in the resolution -- is for Montgomery College to expedite facilities master plan development. The college would work to complete a draft by the end of October. The college would release that draft for public comment and for Planning Board review and comment. Allowing 60 days for review, Montgomery College could make any FMP revisions indicated and proceed with planned community meetings the first week of January. Board of Trustees presentation would take place the second week of January and the board approval vote, as already scheduled, on January 25, 2016, in time for February 1, 2016 submission to the state.

The council will discuss the resolution on Monday and vote on it, possibly with revisions, a week later, on October 12.

Finally: A reminder that there will be a meeting on traffic & parking around MC, Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm in Room CM211 in the Catherine F. Scott Commons Building on the MC Takoma Park campus.

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