29 March 2013

Tuesday February 12th, 2013 Meeting Minutes

Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee
Mid-County Regional Center, 2424 Reedie Drive, Wheaton MD 20902
February 12th, 2013 Meeting Minutes
Members Present:  Henriot St. Gerard(Chair), Devala Janardan(Vice Chair), Jim Onder, Dan Thompson, Luis Bonilla, William Moore, Nadia Sesay, Marian Fryer, Jeannette Feldner, Tom Stanton
Members Absent:  none
Staff Present:  Ana Lopez van Balen, Director, Mid-County Regional Center
Guests:  Danila Sheveiko, from Stop Costco Gas Coalition, Kelly Blinn, from Coalition for Smarter Growth, Adam Fogel, staff of Councilmember Nancy Navarro.
Call to Order: 6:04pm by Chair Henriot St. Gerard
Motions:  After member introductions, a motion was made to approve the January meeting minutes.  Minutes were approved with minor changes.
Chair Report:  Henriot St. Gerard reported that the county Dept. of Economic Development would be reaching out to area businesses over the next couple of months.  He stated that a study of bus bay development had been cancelled and that there are not currently funds in this year’s budget for assistance to small business and that funds may be delayed.  He also mentioned that WRAC will be presenting a Revitalization Award at the Chamber Dinner scheduled for April 24th at Hollywood East. He congratulated WUDAC member Tom Stanton for his nomination.  He also spoke of a January redevelopment update to the County Council, the Costco Opening on April 12th and the good things happening in the WUDAC subcommittees. He hopes to update our blog on these activities soon.  There was then a discussion amongst members as to why WRAC rather than WUDAC is presenting the Revitalization award at the Chamber Dinner.
Directors Report:  Ana Lopez van Balen informed WUDAC of two new food businesses opening in the area in the next month or so.  She also highlighted the continuing efforts to rebrand Wheaton, with new Spring banners appearing soon.  She announced that the Taste of Wheaton was moving from May to June 9th this year.  She noted an upcoming hearing in late February on Lot 13 development and efforts to create an Enterprise zone in the Glenmont Sector Plan.
SubCommittee Reports:
Economic:  Nadia Sesay updated WUDAC on a letter of support for issues raised by the Coalition for Fair Redevelopment of Wheaton.  She stated that a draft had been prepared but that new developments will make them revisit this letter before any presentation to WUDAC. Nadia hoped to be able to invite DGS to an upcoming subcommittee or WUDAC meeting. She briefed WUDAC on a presentation made to her subcommittee by the group Stop Costco Gas and the group’s desire for WUDAC to take a formal position on the issues they raised.
The Chair, Henriot St. Gerard,  inquired about a letter to Holly Sears, and Devala Janardan replied that it was ready to go.  Dan Thompson expressed concerns on timing.
Design:  Dan Thompson briefed WUDAC on a meeting the subcommittee had.  He repeated the goal was a “Walkable Wheaton”. He again highlighted each member’s responsibilities in the subcommittee and reported on their progress.  He passed around a photo album from an assessment walkabout done by William Moore.  Additional areas touched on included the need for a letter of support for Gateway Sign funding, his wishes to bring Joe Callaway to a future meeting, and the need to meet with stakeholders and brainstorm with Sydney and Ana.
Council Report:  Adam Fogel, from the staff of Councilmember Nancy Navarro, briefed WUDAC on an upcoming Feb.26th update on Development to the County Council. They are waiting on DGS and Park and Planning to come to Council with a Memorandum of Understanding.  They hope it will be completed by that date. They are also awaiting the Dept. of Economic Development regulations and will review when presented.  He also reported that the Bus Bay Study is not scrapped but is not a top priority. Also noted was a Council review of a Jobs study and Parking Study. He also mentioned that it is the Council’s desire to move forward with the Small Business Impact fund when needed.
Community Concerns:  Kelly Blinn, from the Coalition for Smarter Growth, reviewed the history of the Coalition, accompanied by a visual presentation and stated their desire to collaborate with WUDAC on the sector plan.  Her presentation touched on growth, the need for improving the jobs-housing balance, housing choices and meeting transportation and recreation needs.
Adjourn:  7:27pm

20 March 2013

March Message from the Chair

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago I attended The State of the County Address and listened to County Executive Leggett discuss the great strides Montgomery County has made in the past year.  Leggett discussed the strength of our local economy, successes in education, and the growing diversity of the County. He also laid out a vision for the future and discussed the growth and redevelopment happening in areas such as White Flint, Bethesda, and Gaithersburg to name a few. Overall, the speech was well received and many in attendance felt good about the direction the County was heading on many economic fronts.

What struck me most about the speech was that there was no mention of Wheaton, especially during the discussion of areas in the County going through redevelopment. I took this omission as a challenge for WUDAC to work harder in ensuring that Wheaton is not ignored when it comes to communities working towards developing into their own unique and individual locales for families, small businesses, and visitors.
As Chair, it is important that WUDAC strive to promote and highlight the great things happening in and around the Wheaton Urban District. WUDAC is working hard to address issues such as lighting, greening, walkability, economic development, and arts and entertainment.  Our Economic and Design subcommittees are staying on top of current issues affecting the area, as well as taking the lead on other matters before they arise. All these steps are done by design, and I am happy to report that they are yielding positive results.

The Wheaton website and WUDAC blog sites receive steady traffic and are updated regularly with community news, events, and other pertinent information. WUDAC has also invited County officials and community groups to speak at our monthly meetings and provide input and guidance on ways to improve the Urban District. Finally, WUDAC sent a letter to the County Executive seeking transparency on the progress of Wheaton Redevelopment and full funding in the FY14 budget for Bill 6-12. It is imperative that there are no delays in redevelopment as WUDAC works on other issues of the Urban District.

Looking forward, WUDAC looks to seek continued support for priorities of the Urban District and Wheaton Redevelopment. Some of our priorities in the next few months include:
  • Recommending that the County Executive and County Council endorse the Urban District’s FY14 budget requests for gateway signs and seasonal banners, greening projects, and promotional materials to boost advertising for current and new events around Wheaton.
  • Continued outreach to the community seeking their input on matters important to them. WUDAC members will continue to attend community events and report on any relevant issues that come from these gatherings.
  • Continuing to stay on top of redevelopment and collaborating with our colleagues at the Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee (WRAC) to ensure that there is no delay in funding for any aspect of redevelopment.

Great things are happening in and around Wheaton and the Urban District. WUDAC’s aim is to highlight these accomplishments and champion issues and causes important to the community. We are working diligently to achieve this goal and are making sure County officials are aware of this progress and that Wheaton Redevelopment is an open and transparent process. In the next few months, WUDAC will work towards seeking our FY14 budget priorities and ensuring that Wheaton Redevelopment moves forward with no delay. The input and support of the community is vital towards this goal and we hope you can lend your voice to the cause.

Henriot St. Gerard
Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee

15 March 2013

Wheaton Restaurant Featured in Washington Post

Kantutas, a Bolivian restaurant located in the Wheaton Urban District, was featured in a Washington Post article on March 14. Take a look at the article here.

13 March 2013

WUDAC sends letter to County Executive Re: Wheaton Redevelopment and Support for Wheaton Businesses

At our monthly meeting yesterday, WUDAC voted to send a letter to the County Executive regarding Wheaton redevelopment and support for businesses. We urge the Wheaton community to read this letter, available here.

12 March 2013

WUDAC March Agenda

Please silence cell phones

Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee
2424 Reedie Drive, Wheaton, MD 20902

March 12, 2013

1.   Call to Order, Introductions,
  Approval of Minutes,
  Report of Chair                   St. Gerard         6:00 – 6:20 pm
2.  RSC Director Report          Van Balen          6:20 – 6:35 pm
3.  Sub Committee Report                                 6:35 – 6:45 pm
      a. Economic                     Sesay
      b. Design                         Thompson

4.   Report from Council Staff                          6:45 – 6:55 pm

5.  Redevelopment Update     McGinnity            6:55 – 7:15pm

7.   Community Concerns                                  7:15 – 7:25 pm
9.   Adjourn                                                       7:30 pm

This information is available in an alternative format by calling 240-777-8103. Sign Language interpreter services will be provided only upon request with notice as far in advance as possible but no less than 72 hours prior to the event. If you need other services or aids to participate in this activity, please call 240-777-8101.