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SilverPlace Project

Message from Chairman Hanson

August 31, 2007

Dear Neighbor:

I am writing to explain the current status of the Silver Place project, about which a number of residents have expressed interest or concern.  The project is at a very preliminary stage.  Several months ago the Planning Board selected a potential private design-build team through a competitive process, but we have not yet reached agreement with the team on next steps due to the need to resolve a number of issues. 

On September 6, the Board will hold an executive session to consider draft language for a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the team, SilverPlace LLC.  Because it involves contract negotiations, this review must be conducted in executive session.  The draft MOU does not involve building location, mass, or other design decisions.  Rather, it concerns the respective roles and responsibilities of the public and private partners.  If and when these negotiations have been completed, we will schedule meetings with neighboring communities to engage them and other stakeholders in the process of producing a first rate design project that can meet the headquarters needs of the Commission and achieve important housing goals in a way that adds amenity to the site and is compatible with the neighboring communities. 

I want to make it very clear that the Board has not approved any specific design concept for the project, and it will not do so until there has been an opportunity for full and meaningful public participation.  Design concepts presented as part of the competition were offered to illustrate the creative capacities of the teams to address the site and the needs of the Commission.  Selection of a team with which to negotiate a design-build contract did not include approval of a specific design.  That will depend on a complete analysis of the space requirements of the Commission, the availability of Parking District land for use in the project, and other considerations, especially including the role of the project at the edge of and as the northern entrance to the Silver Spring business district. 

We are committed to including our neighbors in the development process in a meaningful way.  We are also aware of the concern that as both regulator and owner we have a heightened obligation to provide both an exemplary process and an outstanding project.  Some anxiety about what is about to happen is understandable, but we are still a few steps away from starting the design process, which cannot begin until we have agreed on roles of the respective team members and have secured an appropriation of funds to support the process, including public participation. 

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome and I hope that you will also join in the formal process that will be established to assist us in making this project the finest in Montgomery County.  You may be sure that we will insist that SilverPlace will be something of which we can all be proud.   


Royce Hanson, Chairman

Date of last update: May 27, 2008