10 February 2014

WUDAC Position Letter to County Council On Historic Preservation of Wheaton Youth Center

                 February ___ , 2014  

County Council President Craig Rice

100 Maryland Avenue

Rockville, Maryland  20850


Dear Council President Rice:


As consistently stated in previous letters, WUDAC does not support historic preservation of the Wheaton Youth Center and respectfully urges this Council to reject the Planning Board’s recommendation to add the Youth Center to the Master Plan for Historic Preservation.


The members of WUDAC represent a cross section of the Wheaton community, including residents and homeowners, small and large businesses, and the Wheaton-Kensington Chamber of Commerce. We understand and respect the value in preserving structures that are truly historic. However, preservation in perpetuity must be counterbalanced with the effect on the surrounding community. The Wheaton community has been asking and waiting for a modern facility for years. It is ironic that the historic preservation effort of a center built to serve Wheaton’s youth in 1963 has already delayed and may further compromise the modern facilities that would best serve Wheaton’s youth of 2014 and beyond. Ultimately, WUDAC fears that the result of historic preservation would be retention of a structure for the benefit of those in other communities at the expense of those surrounding the Wheaton area. This is particularly telling when, as in this case, the nomination of the Wheaton Youth Center did not originate from within the local Wheaton community.  


WUDAC does not seek to question the historic significance generally of the Wheaton Youth Center, nor its technical fitness for inclusion in the Master Plan for Historic Preservation. However, we are very concerned that approval of this nomination will unacceptably delay construction of the new Wheaton Library/Recreation Center. In addition, we see no evidence that this Council is prepared to expend taxpayer dollars if historic preservation of the current structure and its incorporation into the new Wheaton facility would require additional financial resources.


Thank you again for allowing WUDAC to present its views to the Council.  And, we appreciate the efforts of the Planning Board and this Council to accommodate our request for an open, transparent, and convenient process, ensuring that the public was well informed on the historic preservation process. We look forward to working with the Council, the County Executive and others to expedite the construction of a new Wheaton Youth Center that truly fulfills the needs of the Wheaton community.





Henriot St. Gerard

cc: Executive Leggett, Montgomery County Council 

Meeting Agenda for Tuesday February 11th, 2014

Please silence cell phones


Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee

2424 Reedie Drive, Wheaton, MD 20902



February 11, 2013



       I.            Call to order                                                                                   

     II.            Approval or correction of minutes                                       6:00pm-6:05pm

  III.            Community Concerns                                                                 6:05pm-6:15pm

  IV.            Reports of Officers                                                                      6:15pm-6:45pm

a.     Chair

b.    RSC Director

c.     Design Subcommittee

d.     Economic Subcommittee

    V.            Council Staff Report                                                                    6:45pm-6:55pm

  VI.            Parks Department                                                                                   6:55pm-7:10pm

VII.            Old/Unfinished Business                                                             7:10pm-7:15pm

VIII.            New Business                                                                                7:15pm-7:25pm

  IX.            Announcements                                                                           7:25pm-7:30pm

    X.            Adjourn                                                                                            7:30pm



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

04 February 2014

Meeting Minutes, Thursday December 19th, 2013

Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee

Mid-County Services Center, 2424 Reedie Drive Wheaton MD 20902

Meeting Minutes, Thursday December 19th, 2013


Members Present:  Henriot St. Gerard(Chair), Devala Janardan(Vice-Chair), Dan Thompson, Mirza Donegan, Tom Stanton, William Moore, Rick Kessler, Jeannette Feldner

Members Absent:  Luis Bonilla, Nadia Sesay, Marian Fryer

Staff Present:  Ana Lopez van Balen, Director, Mid-County Services Center

Guests:  Harold Weinberg, Miles Realty Co. Inc

                  Adam Fogel, Staff to Councilmember Navarro

Call to Order:  6:10pm by Vice Chair Devala Janardan in the temporary absence of the Chair.  Introduction of members and guests followed.  Meeting minutes from November were reviewed and a motion was made and passed to accept the minutes without changes.  Devala then presented Harold Weinberg of Miles Realty to address WUDAC

Community Concerns:  Harold Weinberg distributed two letters to WUDAC, one from him and one from Sam Mushahwar of Quick Printing Inc., addressing their concerns about parking during the future development of a neighboring property known as the Avalon Bay project at 11501 Georgia Ave.  They are concerned about where construction equipment and workers would park.  They fear that construction-related vehicles would fill the existing spaces and eliminate parking for their customers and threaten the vitality of businesses that depend on those spaces.  They need WUDAC's support to have these issues addressed.

Discussion followed and in light of Mr. Weinberg's presentation WUDAC will talk of amending an existing draft letter in support of the Avalon Bay project.

Chair Report:  Henriot St. Gerard reported on a recent Wheaton Redevolpment public hearing attended by three WUDAC members.  Some Highlights included:

1. Town square will not be continuous.  Reedie Drive will be open to traffic

2. More greenery was added

3.Retail will occupy the bottom floor of the Park and Planning building

4. Entrance to parking garage will be moved from Triangle Lane to Grandview Avenue

Discussion followed on the need for Reedie to remain open and related safety issues

The Design Committee will draft a letter to the County Council outlining our concerns and suggestions

Henriot then went on to speak of a reply of support from Councilmember Navarro to WUDAC's letter to the Council concerning the development of the Rec Center.

Henriot also noted that the Night Time Economy Task Force recommendations have come out and urged everyone to take a look.

He sent an email to Sidney Cooper, Urban District Marketing Manager, about WUDAC's retreat and other topics to include in the Urban District's newsletter.

Henriot concluded by announcing that Craig Rice was the new President of the Montgomery County Council and wants WUDAC to draft a congratulatory letter and introduce WUDAC to the new President.

Directors Report:  Ana Lopez van Balen handed out a newsletter on redevelopment and discussed its progress.  She is currently in discussion with the tenants in this building on relocating.

She talked about the work of a graduate group at the University of Maryland and their ideas for facade improvements and other issues for small business.

She reported on a recent meeting of MCCAB which was attended by Councilmember Elrich which focused on the zoning rewrite.  Elrich spoke on the Bus Rapid Transit and minimum wage issues.

The Night Time Economy Task Force will meet with the County Executive in January on its recommendations.

Ana touched on a mixer held by the Chamber of Commerce where the topic was permits and signage.  The Urban District will be working with area businesses to make sure signage is compliant.

She has been working with the Arts Council to get an Arts and Humanities Council "Our Town" grant and needs letters of support from interested parties.  Rick Kessler will try to initiate contact with Senator Mikulski and Rep. Van Hollen.

Council Report:  Adam Fogel, staff to Councilmember Navarro, shared that she sent a letter to the County Executive concerning a Facility Planning Project Form to include an Arts and Cultural Center in the capital budget.

Adam urged WUDAC to send a letter to the Council and County Executive to include a Health and Human Services facility in Wheaton as part of the facilities planning in the budget.

He reminded WUDAC that the time to market Wheaton is now and that we need money in the operating budget for that purpose and there also needs to be a public-private sector collaboration to market Wheaton

Sub-committee Reports:

Design: Dan Thompson reported the committee's recommendations for money for Holiday lighting, Improved lighting for Veteran's Park and the block of Veirs Mill Rd. between Ennalls Ave. and University Blvd., way finding signs, and outreach materials to business on county codes and storefront improvements

Motion was made and passed to include the Design Committees proposals in the budget letter to the County Council

Economic:  Devala passed out budget proposals for review.  He talked of need for a business/WUDAC partnership to spur events and the need to move events to other areas besides Grandview Ave.  He suggested the possibility of asking Safeway and other businesses to sponsor events in places like Veteran's Park.

Devala presented and discussed the Ava Project draft letter.  In light of earlier presentation by Harold Weinberg, the letter was sent back to the economic committee for further review.

Discussion moved back to the committee's budget proposals. A motion was made and passed to include these in our budget letter to the county.

Adjourn:  7:50pm

Meeting Minutes, Tuesday November 12th, 2013

Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee

Mid-County Services Center 2424 Reedie Drive Wheaton MD 20902

Meeting Minutes Tuesday November 12, 2013


Members Present:  Henriot St. Gerard(Chair), Devala Janardan(Vice Chair),Tom Stanton, Nadia Sesay, William Moore, Mirza Donegan, Marian Fryer, Jeannette Feldner, Dan Thompson, Luis Bonilla

Members Absent:  Rick Kessler

Staff Present:  Ana Lopez van Balen, Director, Mid-County Services Center

Guests:  Clare Lise Kelly, Research and Designation Coordinator, Historic Preservation Office of the  Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission accompanied by a staff architect.  Laura Leigh Palmer from the W/K Chamber of Commerce. Tanya Sayyed, student UMD, accompanied by an unidentified UMD student. Ed Latner, County Attorney

Call to Order: 6:03pm by Chair Henriot St. Gerard followed by introductions of members and guests. The minutes from the October meeting were reviewed and approved without changes.  Henriot then turned the floor over to Clare Lise Kelly from M-NCPPC

Park and Planning Presentation: Clare Lise Kelly gave a background on historic preservation efforts in the county, accompanied by a slide presentation.  She presented a detailed history of the youth center and why it qualifies for historic designation.  She also noted how redevelopment can still be achieved in spite of this designation. Questions from WUDAC members followed, including:

1. At what point is it too expensive to preserve

2. Have you taken into consideration the needs of the community

3. What is the cost of redevelopment with and without historic preservation

A hearing will be held at 6:00pm at the Park & Planning Commission 8787 Ga. Ave Silver Spring MD

Chair Report:  Henriot St. Gerard remarked on the new meeting agenda format and hoped it moves meetings along faster.  He again noted the Youth Center hearing set for Nov. 14.  There is a County Executive briefing on the Night Time Economy Task Force Recommendations set for 10:30am on Nov. 14.  He said he would email budget to WUDAC members for review by next meeting.

Ethics Presentation:  Ana Lopez van Balen introduced Ed Latner, a County Attorney to speak to WUDAC about the county’s ethics law.  His presentation included a handout and he took questions from members.

Directors Report: Ana touched on Redevelopment and would get info to WUDAC on a meeting on the subject to occur in December.

Other Business: Henriot introduced a draft of a letter on Veterans Park and the connectivity of the Urban District to Brookside Gardens.  Dan Thompson explained the formulation of the letter.  Henriot commented that he felt the letter needed more detail on Veterans Park and how it fits into Urban Park guidelines. A motion to approve the letter with a paragraph to mention including Veterans Park in County Urban Guidelines passed.

The Economic subcommittee submitted a draft of a letter to the Planning Board on The Rec Center redevelopment.  Nadia Sesay gave a background on the letter formation.  A discussion followed in light of Park & Planning’s earlier presentation to our group.  It was noted that the letter must be addressed to the County Council instead of the Planning Board.  The letter was approved with amendments that the Council make our views known to Park&Planning and that the designation not delay the building of the Rec Center

Adjourn:  7:39pm

Meeting Minutes, Tuesday October 8th, 2013

Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee

2424 Reedie Drive Wheaton MD 20902

Meeting Minutes, Tuesday October 08, 2013


Members Present:  Henriot St. Gerard(Chair), Devala Janardan(Vice Chair), Rick Kessler, Jeannette Feldner, Nadia Sesay, Tom Stanton, William Moore, Dan Thompson

Members Absent:  Luis Bonilla

Staff Present:  Ana Lopez van Balen, Director, Mid-County Services Center

Guests:  Chris Gillis, staff to Councilmember Leventhal.  Sgt. Russo, Montgomery County Police. Chris Helsabeck, representative of AvalonBay. Bob Harris, attorney for Lerch, Early and Brewer. Randall Spedoni, resident.

Call to Order:  6:02pm by Vice Chair Devala Janardan in the temporary absence of the Chair.  Introductions followed. A motion was made and passed to approve the September Meeting Minutes without changes.

Directors Report:   Ana Lopez van Balen noted that the comment period on the Redevelopment Project has been extended to October 18th.  Comments received by October 2nd are online.  The developer has been forwarded the comments and the County is in discussion with the developer on aspects of the project.

The County is recommending Historic Preservation on the Wheaton Library/Rec Center project and the Historic Preservation Commission is presenting to the Planning Board on October 17th.

Ana reported that they are about ready to advertise the Wheaton Fa├žade Improvement Program to businesses.  She also informed WUDAC that the Curb Side Cookoff event attracted around 4000 people and that the Urban District is pleased with the attendance. She finished by reminding the Committee that there is one more presentation of the NightTime Economy Task Force scheduled for October 14th at 7:00pm.  This brought a few comments from members as to the lack of specificity to the recommendations and the hope that mention of Wheaton as an A&E District could be included.

Chair Report:  Henriot St. Gerard reported that the retreat went well and thanked everyone for their input on the Redevelopment Comment Letter and thanked Devala for his work in writing it.

He mentioned that he had received a response from County Executive Ike Leggett to a letter from WUDAC with regards to the Walking Tour.  The County Executive is embracing what we wrote. Henriot stated that our hard work is paying off and he will forward the response to WUDAC members.

Council Report:  Chris Gillis, staff to Councilmember Leventhal, updated WUDAC on the progress of the Redevelopment proposal.  They had a meeting two weeks ago and some of the concerns expressed by the Council included how small businesses would interact with the large buildings and the lack of green space.

He reported on the introduction of Bill 27-13, the Minimum Wage Bill. The bill would raise the minimum wage over three years to $11.50 and then index for inflation.  He noted that they were partnering with other jurisdictions to present an area wide approach to the effort to raise the wage.  There will be a public hearing before the Health and Human Services committee on October 24th at 7:00pm.  He stated that if we had a strong position on the matter we could coordinate our effort with the Gaithersburg and Germantown Chamber of Commerce.

Police Report:  Sgt. Russo responded to a question about reports of prostitution in the Urban District.  He noted that it appeared to be Bar generated and not Street generated and that they were closely monitoring it.  He also reported that they have had a lot of thefts from autos and thefts from lockers at LA Fitness.  He also reported an assault at the McDonalds on University Blvd.  He closed with statistics on other crimes and noted a couple of commercial burglaries.

AvalonBay Presentation:  Chris Helsabeck, Vice President of development for AvalonBay, presented a visual rendering of the project.  He gave some background on the company and a history of their involvement in the community and in this particular development.  They have the 3.7 acre “BBT’ site at Blueridge and Georgia.  It was purchased in 2004 as a potential multi-use community but the zoning did not work out.  It is now 75% vacant and will be 100%vacant in January.  The plan now calls for apartments geared towards Millenials.  They envision approximately 300 units with garage parking and plan to call the building AVA.  Chris stated that they are just starting the public presentation phase. They are looking for feedback and a possible letter of support from WUDAC and also advice on other groups they might meet with.

Other Business:  Devala Janardan explained the formation of our Comment Letter on the Redevelopment proposal.  He emphasized our commitment to a continuous Town Square on Lot 13.  A motion to approve the letter passed.

Devala also brought up the issue of the Historic Preservation of the Rec Center.  He discussed an email that he received from DGS.  WUDAC members felt we needed more info before we could act.  A motion was made and passed to ask the Planning Board for a 30 day extension of the comment period.

Community Concerns:  A resident, Randall Spedoni, asked WUDAC to expand ways we are communicating with the public.  He stated that the Newsletter is good but that they need more.  He pointed out a blog called “Friends of White Flint” as good at keeping the public informed.

Adjourn:  7:36pm

Meeting Minutes Tuesday September 10th, 2013

Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee

Mid-County Regional Center, 2424 Reedie Drive Wheaton MD 20902

Meeting Minutes, Tuesday September 10th, 2013


Members Present:  Henriot St. Gerard(chair),  Devala Janardan(vice chair), Tom Stanton, Marian Fryer, William Moore, Nadia Sesay, Luis Bonilla, Jeannette Feldner

Members Absent:  Jim Onder, Dan Thompson, Rick Kessler

Staff Present:  Ana Lopez van Balen, Director, Mid-County Regional Center

                          Sidney Cooper, Marketing Manager, Wheaton Urban District

                           Joe Callaway, Operations Manager, Wheaton Urban District

Guests:  Rick Siebert, Chief, Division of Parking Management, Montgomery County Department of Transportation

Call to Order: 6:01pm by Chair Henriot St. Gerard followed by introductions of members, staff and guests.

Motion: To approve July Meeting Minutes.  Motion passed with one minor change to member name(Rick)Kessler

Chair Report:

Henriot noted a flyer on Wheaton redevelopment distributed during the meeting announcing StonebridgeCarras/Bozzuto as the selected developer. He urged WUDAC members to attend the Sept. 18th meeting

He noted that WUDAC has a small business vacancy and a challenge filling it. He asked for WUDAC to help find a nominee

Henriot turned to discussing the upcoming WUDAC retreat and asked about whether it should be moved to a weekday evening instead of Saturday. Two members can’t attend on Oct. 05.  He asked for recommendations for topics to be discussed.

Safeway opens Oct. 24th and the apartments will be ready for leasing in October. WUDAC would like to do a tour, welcome event.

DOT Presentation:  

Ana Lopez van Balen introduced Rick Siebert, Chief of the Parking Management Division of MCDOT.  He outlined the process by which the developer was chosen to present plans for the Urban District Redevelopment. He stated that the company was chosen through a procurement process by a Quality Selection Committee. He reported that the highest rated developer proposal was selected to be presented to the public for comment and if no significant issues are raised they will be invited to enter into negotiations for a contract to proceed. Mr. Siebert stressed that the developer has not entered into contract yet and proposal could be resolicited if necessary. Some WUDAC members expressed that they were misled by the process. Mr. Siebert assured members that everyone wants this to be successful.  There is a need to move forward but not rush and mess it up.  Ana noted that we will have future meetings on small business and other issues involved and took responsibility with the language in the flyer

Directors Report:

Ana reported on a RFP for small business assessments.  She talked about topics in the the Mid-County newsletter. There will be hearings on a county proposal for historic preservation for the Rec center on September 11th. 

They will advertise the Wheaton Facade Improvement Program by the end of the month.

Ana is working with the Kensington Heights community on the water main replacement program and attended a meeting

The NightTime Economy Task Force is finalizing recommendations.  Henriot or Holly Sullivan will present to the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board on October 1st in the Mid-County Center at 7:00pm

Washington Properties will bring in residents in March 2014.

Avalon Bay wont go forward with their original proposal for multi family use.  They would like to meet with WUDAC

A developer, Penn Rose,  has been selected to renovate the Ambassador Apartments.

Sub-Committee Reports:

Design: No report

Economic: Will outreach to businesses about food truck festival

Marketing:  Sidney Cooper stated that the food truck festival will only take half of Parking Lot 13 due to feedback from  businesses.  She discussed a Wheaton Business Promotional Flyer that will be designed by Jeannette Feldner and asked for comments by the following Wednesday.


Joe Callaway, operations Manager for the Wheaton Urban District, outlined the process involved in creating the FY2015 budget. He explained to WUDAC about “above the mark” requests and asked that members discuss in our October retreat and then give feedback

Other Business:

Ana Lopez van Balen shared information from a press conference on Panhandling  held the day before in Wheaton by County Executive Leggett and Council member Leventhal and attended by community organizations. People concerned with the plight of the homeless are being encouraged to text a donation to 80077 rather than giving directly to those on the street.  The money will go to services to support the homeless.

Adjourn: 7:31pm