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April 22, 2008 Meeting

White Flint Advisory Group Summary

Status Report Presentation

April 22 Advisory Group White Flint Status Update presentation

Advisory Group Questions and Comments

  • Feeling impressed, optimistic and more than hopeful that process is moving forward.   It is good to see that more time is being given to the Plan.
    Answer:   From vision to the financing this is a model for the future.  The White Flint Planning team is the biggest team working on a master plan.
  • The Plan is now looking more like the Urban Village originally envisioned. More coordinated than in the past.  It is good to see staff is back to thinking of White Flint as a whole and not block by block anymore. 
  • Impressive that everyone is very positive and good to see more practical green space.  Seems like the plan will actually be done
  • This is great.   Starting to see what Royce Hanson said would happen in White Flint.
  • Good job, great to see how well staff listens to us.
  • Impressed with the thinking outside the box.  Happy to see more focus on design. 
  • Fiscal analysis is important; it is good to see the focus on funding. 
  • The presentation was very strong.  It is obvious that there is a holistic approach going on now.
  • The Planning process seems more coordinated now. 
  • Happy to see the improvement in presentation.
  • How much of January recommendations still stand?
  • The recommendations today seem very general is the more specifics when presenting to PB?
    Answer:   This is the same presentation that will be given to the Planning Board: a status report with general recommendations .
  • Hope to hear more about more details.  If we are really trying to make White Flint a destination need to think more about specific issues to be able to implement
  • It looks great but the challenge seems to be the nuts and bolts that need to be put in place when more is done to get the plan to be implementable.
  • DPS and DPWT are important agencies when doing implementation.  They need to support this plan as well.  Need to coordinate with them to implement well. 
  • Reserving judgment because implementation could be a challenge.
  • Happy with the vision but the devil is in the details.
  • Impressed.  But the economy isn’t doing well now. Is this the best time to think about redevelopment?
    Answer:   Yes, because the economy will inevitably go up.  Also some properties are up for land lease renewal so this is a good time
  • Presentation was overwhelming.  It would have been more helpful if more time were spent to explain the concepts or if the information were available before the meeting.  Also it seems that this presentation should have come before the January presentation.
  • It would be helpful to have access transportation data that staff is using.
    Answer:   Data will become more available on the website.
  • Hopefully development will be even more vertical than Silver Spring. It is good to think more vertically than horizontally.
  • Agrees that the 20% Open Space request does not work.  Excited to see staff considering permeable streetscape and narrower streets.  How far along?
  • It is good to see that both public and private open spaces are being considered.
  • Very excited to see open space thinking and to see focus on public facilities aspect (library, like in Rockville Town Center).
  • Open space as a destination is great with parking below. 
  • Supports exploring new ideas like permeable streetscapes and bike parking flex cars. 
  • Concerned about reducing parking. 
    Answer:   Parking reduction would be in residential areas
    Answer:  The parking reduction will be a multi prong approach.  (bike, flex cars, etc)
  • Most developers will tell you the restaurant parking is ridiculous.  It’s too high. So, larger restaurants aren’t built because developers can’t make the parking requirement.    Mixed use is easier for large property owners but harder for smaller ones.  
  • Will there be sufficient parking spaces planned for White Flint as a destination?
    Answer:   It’s a balance.  We want to encourage walking and biking but since it’ll be a retail destination we will still provide adequate parking
  • How much parking reduction?
    Answer:  Residential parking reductions.  Business may provide incentives or shuttle buses, etc.  Try new things- pattern
  • It is good to see that you are studying traffic impacts outward.
  • Is there more information about the MARC station available? 
    Answer:   MARC- MTA will soon be looking at what type of characteristics will be needed for the MARC station and how a MARC station functions.  Right now we just have a dot on a map but MTA will be helping us plan more for it.
  • The MARC station is of major interest to Garrett Park.  So, it would be good to hear more about MARC service in the area.
    Answer:  MTA is considering the operational issues over the course of time.  But yes we need to think about that as we are considering more about the MARC site.  And need to consider Garrett Park more in this thinking
    Answer:   They have an “investment” plan for 2020, 2025, etc.  The idea is to provide better service but keep the stations open.  White Flint will create demand.
  • No one is going to walk along Nebel if one side of it remains industrial.  
  • Make sure your zoning is flexible enough to allow for redevelopment and redesign for the uses.
  • It is not clear if the Plan is including family, fun, and fitness.  Planning efforts should be organized around these three “F’s”. 
  • What about small property owners?
    Answer:   Staff is listening to and supportive of small business owners
  • Good job.  Glad to see you’re considering architecture.
    Answer:   We want to encourage new exciting architecture
  • How is great architecture encouraged?
    Answer:   Give tight parameters and architects get creative.  This will ensure public space is great space and achieve the base conditions you need
  • Glad to see urban design emphasis.   Will Park and Planning regulate architecture?
    Answer:  We want to encourage quality. 
  • Focus on schools, surrounding commercial connectivity across outside boundaries
    Answer:  Budget restrictions mean is very unlikely that the areas outside of WF will be addressed in 2009.  White Flint II will likely be cut.
  • Interested in the impact this development will have on the schools.
    nswer:   Most of the development in White Flint is in Walter Johnson school cluster.   There will need to be a new elementary school.  One idea being considered is a more urbanized elementary school.  
  • Answer:   Schools have the state requirements that can make it difficult to reduce land allotment for school.  Also the County’s laws are a bit outdated and the plan could convince the County to allow schools to be built in smaller spaces.  Currently, the County requires that elementary schools have 10 acres, middle schools have 15-20 acres, and high schools have 30 acres of land.
  • If those boundaries are going to be added the land use in the area above White Flint, the shopping center, should also be considered.  It’s between Twinbrook and White Flint.
  • Asks that staff consider broadening the boundaries pass the CSX rail tracks to Parklawn.
  • Will there be land use planning in the proposed new extended boundaries?
    Answer:  We’re considering it but we may only look at them for road network expansion and leave land use for a future planning effort. 
  • Seriously concerned about expanding the boundary for just transportation.  Staff will eventually have to look at the land use which may mean that staff will have bitten off more than they can chew.

Audience Questions and Comments

  • County government needs to have a chief officer who has overarching responsibility at the Executive level who can support and promote the plan.
  • Where are you with the economic analysis?
  • Still concerned about traffic.  With the increase in commercial and the big box stores people are going to drive more.  And, what about weekend traffic.
    Answer:   Rethinking big box, the plan want to make big box work better in urban areas
  •  Haven’t seen the bike community represented.  Bike groups in the area have bikeway plan proposals that they want to see include
    Answer:   Chuck Kines, our bicycle expert, attends meetings and we have pedestrian priority streets
  • Garrett Park considers itself a railroad town.  Why not have busing from the Garrett Park station to White Flint? 
  • How will the plan improve the streams for the water quality of the area?
    Answer:   We are looking at filtration of treated and untreated water in respect to massing.

Date of last update: May 9, 2008