A Very Happy Hour!

Nearly one-hundred people came out to talk about the future of White Flint at a happy hour Tuesday evening co-hosted by the Friends of White Flint and the Coalition for Smarter Growth at Seasons 52 on Rockville Pike.

Lindsay Hoffman, from Friends of White Flint, and Kelly Blynn, from Coalition for Smarter Growth, greet the crowd.

Lindsay Hoffman, from Friends of White Flint, and Kelly Blynn, from Coalition for Smarter Growth, greet the crowd.

The turnout exceeded our expectations.

The turnout exceeded our expectations!

County Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Roger Berliner offered a few words about the potential of White Flint as envisioned in the White Flint Sector Plan, which the council passed in 2010. “We are on the verge of a golden age in Montgomery County and it’s projects like this that are bringing that life,” Riemer was quoted as saying by Bethesda Now.

Councilmember Roger Berliner (D - District 1)

Councilmember Roger Berliner (D – District 1)

Councilmember Hans Riemer (D - At Large)

Councilmember Hans Riemer (D – At Large)

Studies show that changing demographics combined with a renewed interest in urban living have resulted in a greater demand for compact, walkable neighborhoods like what’s envisioned in the sector plan. North Bethesda Market, where Seasons 52 is located, shows where White Flint will go in the future, with high-rise apartments set over shops and restaurants around a central plaza.

Councilmember Berliner said that projects like it are integral to attracting young, educated residents to the county. “Montgomery County’s future in my judgement does in large part depend on being able to attract this kind of crowd, a young, energetic crowd,” he said.

White Flint Implementation Coordinator Dee Metz answers questions

White Flint Implementation Coordinator Dee Metz answers questions

The Friends of White Flint and the Coalition for Smarter Growth both plan to hold more happy hours and other events in the area. Stay tuned for announcements of future events!

White Flint’s future is more than “hip”

White Flint today. Photo by the author.

Next week, the Coalition for Smarter Growth and the Friends of White Flint are hosting a happy hour on how to “make the suburbs hip.” While that might conjure images of trying to jury-rig H Street on Rockville Pike, the transformation of White Flint goes much further than that. The redevelopment of strip malls and parking lots into real urban places has real social, economic and environmental benefits.

In a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine, Patrick Doherty argues that the United States must reorient itself and its built environment to meet the challenges of the 21st century and remain prosperous. This starts in places like White Flint.

Today’s White Flint was built around the social, economic and environmental conditions of the 20th century, among them a homogeneous society, cheap land and cheap energy. Tomorrow’s White Flint will need to accommodate very different circumstances: an increasingly diverse population, land constraints, climate change, and an eventual shift away from fossil fuels.

If done well, the future White Flint will encourage a greater sense of community through a strong public realm where people can gather, hang out and even protest. It will help meet the demand for housing, particularly the desire for smaller living spaces and urban amenities, while providing a base of customers and employees for local businesses. And it will allow us to accommodate a growing population while using less energy, fewer materials, and conserving precious agricultural and undisturbed land.

The challenges are great, but the potential is enormous. I look forward to seeing White Flint become not only a “hip” place to live, but an example for how the rest of the nation can improve their communities and prepare for the future.

I hope you’ll come out to our happy hour next Tuesday, January 29 at 5:30pm at Seasons 52, located at 11414 Rockville Pike, a short walk from the White Flint Metro station. Montgomery County Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Roger Berliner will be on hand to talk about the transformation of White Flint and it means for our community. You can click here to RSVP.

Join FoWF at Happy Hour on January 29th!

White Flint HH logo

 What comes to mind when you think about making the suburbs “hip?”   Whether it’s shifting land use patterns, investing in transit or other ideas you’ve conjured yourself for a reimagined Montgomery County in the 21st Century – we want to hear them!  Over a drink!

 Here are the details:

Tuesday, January 29th at 5:30pm

Seasons 52 in White Flint, 11414 Rockville Pike.  Cash Bar.

Featuring Special Guests:  Montgomery County Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Roger Berliner.

RSVPs are not required, but are welcome, at info@whiteflint.org.

 

We are co-organizing this event with our allies at the Coalition for Smarter Growth.  Learn more about them at www.smartergrowth.net!

Minutes of the FoWF Board of Directors’ Meeting, November 8, 2012

*** These minutes were approved by unanimous vote at the Board of Directors meeting on February 21, 2013 ***

MINUTES

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

November 8, 2012

Federal Realty, 1626 E. Jefferson,Rockville,MD

 

The Friends of White Flint (FoWF) meeting was called to order at 7:11pm at the offices of Federal Realty Investment Trust, pursuant to notice and a proposed agenda.  Present were Directors David Freishtat , Evan Goldman, and Barnaby Zall.  There was no quorum established.  Also present were Paul Meyer, Dee Metz, Peggy Schwartz, Francine Waters, Dan Hoffman, Lindsay Hoffman, Dan Reed and Corey Flynn.   Directors not present were Mike Springer, Greg Trimmer, Todd Lewers, Mike Smith, Ken Hurdle and Suzanne Hudson.

 

Announcement of Resource Changes and New Team Members:  Dan Hoffman announced that, due to his new position as Chief Innovation Officer for Montgomery County, he can no longer act as a paid resource for FoWF, and therefore is resigning as Project Manager.  The following new team members were introduced and proposed to assume Dan’s responsibilities:

¬ Dan Reed whose duties will include providing articles of relevant subject matter to the FoWF website.

¬ Lindsay Hoffman who will be taking over the position of Project Manager for FoWF.  Duties will include, but are not limited to, making sure membership invoices are going out, handling current event posts, making sure content of website is spread out and that finances are in order.

¬ Corey Flynn who will be handling the administrative duties for FoWF.  Duties will include checking the P.O. Box, hotline outreach activities, taking meeting minutes (as needed), and other various administrative tasks.

Dave Freishtat moved to approve the modification to the contract with Forward Progress; Evan Goldman seconded.  Because no quorum was present, it was agreed by consensus that a vote would be conducted via email regarding this matter. Barnaby Zall moved to table the motion pending an email vote.

 

Overview of New Website and Outreach Tools: 

¬ In the last couple months, work moved forward in setting up the new website which is cleaner, simpler, and more user friendly than the old website.  The test server (flog.browsermedia.org) was shown at the meeting.  Once the website is launched, the new domain will be www.whiteflint.org.

¬ FoWF blog will no longer be called FLOG, however historical content will be migrated onto the new site.  Specifically, Barnaby Zall inquired about older posts regarding new urbanization and traffic calming. Dan Hoffman suggested the important articles and post from the old FLOG be sorted through and the content tagged.  Not everything will transfer to the new website as the goal of the new website is look to the future and start fresh.

¬  Advantages and upgrades of new website were discussed. New posts will be tagged to make it easier for users to find content and the Archive page will link to the White Flint 1 & 2 Plan.  Membership renewal will be available online and we will have PayPal availability.  We will also be able to invoice organizations that require particular records.  The website will work on most new phones and will be integrated with our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

¬  Evan Goldman inquired about links to developers’ and other websites.  Dan Hoffman replied that there will be no direct links to other websites because of the level of effort required to maintain accurate links.  The developers can provide information and Dan Reed will simplify and post it. Blog posts referring to particular developers and their projects will also be tagged accordingly.

¬  MailChimp will be used for member management and email.  It has the functionality to track membership status and will also include non-members who are just interested in information regarding the redevelopment.

¬  There was a question about who currently maintains the FoWF Facebook page. A new Facebook page may need to be created because no one presently actively involved in the organization has access to the existing one.

 

White Flint (WF) Updates:

¬  Urban Services Group:  Ken Hurdle will provide an update at the next meeting.

¬  Branding Consultant Update: Francine Waters reported that there was no update at this time.

¬  White Flint Mall Sketch Plan Update:  Francine Waters reported that the sketch plan for the White Flint Mall property was approved and the community reaction to the plan was supportive.  This led to a longer discussion on the types of restaurants expected to open in White Flint.   Evan Goldman reported that Federal Realty expects a mix of different restaurants. The bigger spaces will tend to be occupied by local flavor while the smaller spaces will tend to be more chain restaurants.

¬  Community Events: Evan Goldman recommended an annual/biannual event to engage the community.  Also discussed was a potential event to recognize officials who have supported White Flint.

 

Organization Discussion:

¬  Dan Hoffman recommended a move toward quarterly board meetings with the hopes that this might increase the board’s engagement with the organization.

¬  Next meeting will be held in the first quarter of 2013.

 

CR Zones:                             

¬  Discussion regarding how the Planning Board is interpreting CR Zones and how they are being implemented.  Specifically, the discussion focused on the recent Planning Board hearing on the Lerner site and the disagreements that ensued during that encounter. A follow-up meeting regarding CR Zones was recommended.

 

Barnaby Zall moved to adjourn at 8:37 PM.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Corey Flynn

Administrative Assistant

Secretary pro tem

Friends of White Flint

 

November 8, 2012

 

Welcome to the New Friends of White Flint!

Greetings and Welcome to the reimagined Friends of White Flint Website and Blog!

Change is happening fast in White Flint and we are here to guide you every step of the way.  Stay tuned to these blog posts for information on current events throughout the White Flint area, as well as news on development plans as they are released.  We will also remain your go-to resource for information on New Urbanism and how these concepts will contribute to the sustainable, walkable and engaged community envisioned for White Flint.

We are also excited to welcome Dan Reed to our team.  Dan is an urban planner and blogger who you might recognize from other publications like Just Up The Pike and Greater Greater Washington.  Dan will lend his expertise as we navigate the development, infrastructure debates and other changes in White Flint.  Keep an eye out for his substantive and enlightening posts.

And, finally, become engaged in the process!  If you see something worth sharing in White Flint, send it along to us at info@whiteflint.org.  We look forward to getting to know you better!

FoWF Board Meeting Monday May 21 at 7PM

The Friends of White Flint Board of Directors will hold a meeting on Monday, May 21, at 7PM at Federal Realty, 1626 E. Jefferson.

The meeting will feature a presentation on funding future FoWF activities through an increase in membership contributions, and a proposal from a vendor to provide services to manage and operate FoWF for the next year. Absent these plans for funding and operations or some reasonable alternative, FoWF will likely go dormant or cease to operate.

The meeting is open to the public, and you are encouraged to participate in the discussions.

As always, thanks for your support.

Barnaby Zall

We Like Meetings So Much We’re Having Another

The Board of Directors of Friends of White Flint met last night to discuss the future of the organization; several other members of the community also attended the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss proposals that FoWF join with or evolve into some other organization or entity; some of the proposed organizations included Business Improvement Districts, Urban Districts, the B-CC Chamber of Commerce, or one of the various County advisory groups. The group also discussed proposals to revise and improve FoWF’s web portals, including the FLOG.
 
The consensus of the group (indeed, unanimity) was that FoWF should not join with a County or other entity. The group wants FoWF to stay an independent voice joining the three major segments of the White Flint community: residents, businesses and property owners.
 
At the same time, the group recognized that FoWF cannot continue the level of activity it had during the development and enactment of the White Flint Sector Plan without adding staff, which, of course, requires adding more funds. The same is true of the web portals, which require more attention than our volunteer staff can give.
 
It was a very active discussion, lasting two hours. This discussion was, however, too significant and large to be completed last night.
 
The Board decided to hold another meeting to continue these discussions. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 16, 2011, beginning at 6PM, at the offices of Federal Realty, 1626 E. Jefferson St., Rockville.
 
The meeting, like all FoWF meetings, will be open to the public. You do not need to be on the Board to actively participate in the meeting. I encourage everyone to attend and participate.
 
Barnaby Zall

What Would YOU Do?

With the approval of the White Flint Sector Plan and the first, tentative steps on the long path to a walkable, sustainable, transit-oriented community, the Friends of White Flint Board of Directors has decided to revamp its on-line offerings.

Friends of White Flint’s main goal is to provide information to the White Flint community. FoWF offers several web-sites, including the FLOG (what you’re reading now), a main site, and special sites for White Flint Town Hall meetings. Hundreds of people visit these sites every day, with just about 50,000 “page views” each month on average. FoWF policy presentations are generally offered for public comment on one or more of these sites, and usually attract hundreds of readers and dozens of (mostly helpful) comments.

Live-blogging

Some of these changes are driven by unfortunate security concerns, but the Board wants to provide more information to the community about the ongoing revitalization of White Flint.  We will likely reduce the amount of information about the White Flint Sector Plan development and approval process (which provides interesting historical background, but we have limited space on-line).

Some of our design concepts include a gallery of proposed projects, including those in the “sketch plan” process of public outreach and comment, a listing of meetings and events, and a description of the existing and planned White Flint.

What would YOU like to see on the FoWF site?

  • Community bulletin boards/discussion groups?
  • More pictures and photo essays?
  • Business directories?
  • Ads for local businesses and organizations?
  • Maps?
  • Videos?
  • “Tags” or more structure on the FLOG?
  • Anything else?

Please let us know, by sending an e-mail to BZall@friendsofwhiteflint.org, or by commenting here. If you are registered to comment on the FLOG already, you may click “comment” below and enter your comment. If you are NOT already registered, new security rules require you to request registration by sending an e-mail to BZall@friendsofwhiteflint.org; please include in your e-mail your full name, e-mail address, any appropriate organizational affiliation, and a “user name” to appear with your comment.

We will likely begin making changes early next year.

Thanks to all our loyal readers, and we’d love to hear from you.

Barnaby Zall