August 24, 2016
Dear Chairman Anderson:
As you know, Friends of White Flint represents thousands of residents, businesses, and property owners in the White Flint/Pike District area. We have enjoyed being a part of the public discussion to create a new sector plan for the White Flint 2 area.
After soliciting input from our members, The Friends of White Flint Board of Directors met last month to discuss and review the White Flint 2 Preliminary Plan, and there is much that we like about the plan. We also have suggestions to improve the plan and to enable it to meet the diverse needs of our community and county.
The staging of the White Flint 2 sector may be the most important factor in the plan. How the redevelopment of properties in White Flint 2 is incorporated with and affect the staging and the special taxing district created in White Flint 1 is a significant issue that ought to be addressed in the White Flint 2 Sector Plan. If there are different metrics and policies for White Flint 1 and White Flint 2, there exists the potential for economic advantage or disadvantage for different property owners. We feel strongly that leapfrogging development could be damaging to the Pike District. We also believe if and how White Flint 2 property owners pay the White Flint special sector tax should be flushed out in the White Flint 2 plan so there is parity between the White Flint 1 and 2 sector plans.
We have listed below the portions of the plan we support, the portions we’d like to modify, and the items that believe are missing.
1) We very much like that plan suggests dedicated sites for the elementary school needed in the White Flint area to address school capacity. While we are not advocating for any site in particular, we agree that dedicating a site in the plan is essential to addressing current and future school overcrowding.
2) We strongly support the connectivity outlined in the plan, especially the bike paths along Randolph Road and Parklawn Drive. We believe that bicycle and pedestrian connectivity is crucial to the success of this area. That said, we are quite disappointed that there was no solution to creating a pedestrian-bike track over the railroad tracks to connect White Flint 2 and White Flint 1. We would very much like to see such a connection included in the plan. While we acknowledge there are engineering and other challenges creating a bicycle-pedestrian path over the railroad tracks, we believe that difficulty is not a reason to omit a needed connection from the plan. This pedestrian-bike path should be incorporated into the future MARC station.
3) We very much would like to see more innovative office and residential concepts included in the plan. These might include micro-units, shared housing, and condominiums/apartments that could be used for either residential or office purposes in the same building. These types of creative residential and office buildings are being constructed and leased in other areas in our region.
4) We support the plan’s re-configured intersection at Parklawn Drive and Randolph Road to ease traffic, increase walkability, and provide a better site for the redevelopment of Loehman’s Plaza.
5) We support the reconfiguration of the intersection of Boiling Brook Road and Rocking Horse Drive. The current intersection is confusing and dangerous for both cars and pedestrians.
6) We endorse keeping light industrial space in the White Flint 2 area but would support plans to change the light industrial space near Randolph Hills Shopping Center to a flexible, mixed-use, higher density, residential-commercial zoning.
7) To enhance connectivity and encourage walking between White Flint 1 and White Flint 2 area, we would like to see a sidewalk included on the east side of Route 355 along the bridge over Montrose Parkway to connect with the sidewalk that ends in front of Montrose Crossing.
8) We recommend a signalized intersection where the new Rose Avenue intersects at Hoya Street at the Willco property. Both Federal Realty and Willco want this intersection and are willing to fund it. An intersection here is critical to achieving the goal of extending the White Flint 1 street grid into White Flint 2 while providing a much needed mid-block crossing for pedestrians and vehicles.
9) We applaud the plan’s goal to create 12 acres of public space. However, we would like to see innovative public space that meets the needs of residents, not just the creation of athletic fields that people from other parts of the county would drive to White Flint to use or small contemplative plazas.
10) We would like to see the plan encourage traditional and innovative senior housing options.
11) We support a lighted pedestrian path behind Executive Boulevard behind Luxmanor Elementary.
12) We support the request for Oxford Square to have a density of 1.0 F.A.R to increase the stock of low and mid-rise residential units.
13) A MARC station should remain part of the plan.
14) While we appreciate the need to have some light industrial space in the down-county area, we would like the Planning Board to consider creating a flexible mixed use zone around the Nicholson Court area.
The Friends of White Flint is happy to meet with you or other Planning Department staff to further discuss our recommendations.
Thank you for your time and consideration.