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
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.