Sunday, October 26, 2014

Summary via release of Ward 4 mayoral candidate forum

From an email:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Green ( or 202-829-8802 or 202-997-0617)
Faith Wheeler ( or 202-882-7565 or 202-904-4988)

Takoma Metro Development First Question at Ward 4 Mayoral Forum

Community concerns about a large development proposed for the Takoma Metro Station were the subject of the first question on economic development from a panel of journalists at last night's DC mayoral forum in Ward 4.

NBC Channel 4 Reporter Mark Segraves said he has received many emails about the project and wanted the candidates, Carol Schwartz and David Catania, to state their views.

Carol Schwartz responded that while she was unfamiliar with the project, she would not allow developers to skirt their affordable housing obligations when they request zoning increases. In a later question she talked about preserving DC's character and diversity. "If I wanted to live in Bethesda, I would have moved there," she said.

Councilmember David Catania did not address the Takoma proposal but said that he is concerned about the overconcentration of development in areas where roads cannot sustain it.

The other candidate, Councilmember Muriel Bowser, did not attend the forum. However, she has rejected the community opposition that prompted the Segraves question. As chair of the Metro Board's Committee on Planning, Program Development and Real Estate, she voted for the development earlier this year.

"What Metro is considering is too big and too tall," said Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Sara Green, whose 4B01 district includes the Takoma Metro Station.

"We're asking the Mayor and the City Council to make Metro design a building that looks like the rest of our Takoma Park DC and Maryland Historic Districts, not someplace else," said Commissioner Faith Wheeler, who represents the 4B02 district adjacent to the station.

The proposal before the Metro Board would put a 212-unit apartment building on the station's surface parking lot and buffer park. At about 75 feet tall, the project would be approximately 40 percent taller than the current zoning and master plan allow and would dwarf the surrounding single-family homes and three-story apartment buildings on Eastern Avenue, NW.

The proposal is facing strong opposition from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B and the City of Takoma Park, Maryland. Additional concerns include choking traffic on the area's narrow and already-congested streets, poor transit design and pedestrian access, the loss of public parking, and the destruction of existing park space.

The forum was sponsored by nine Ward 4 groups, including Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 4B, 4C, 4D and 3G/4G. It was held at Plymouth Congregational Church, 5301 North Capitol St., NE.

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