A resident describes the geographic absurdity of the proposed bow tie council district

From resident Dale Lawrence

The analogy of the “bowtie” shape for the proposed newly gerrymandered district to include North Bethesda is apt.

The proposed district with North Bethesda on one end and Takoma Park on the other is in no way a contiguous geographic entity.  I drive back and forth between N Bethesda and Takoma Park through Silver Spring many times a week.  I have family there, and I use resources of the Walter Reed Annex at Forest Glen which is accessed by that same road, Forsythe Ave in the Forest Glen Park area. I have traveled the route connecting our end of the new proposed district with the other end a thousand times over 30 years.  

Let me share my appreciation of the geographic absurdity of the proposed district to include us. First, review the map showing all districts as currently proposed and notice that in every other district, persons residing within the district are able to travel over dozens or hundreds of routes within and across their district. Their proposed districts display contiguity, enable sharing common and convenient resources, and promote a sense of a shared community.

In horrible contrast, the “bowtie” that links N. Bethesda to its proposed sister communities (Silver Spring and Takoma Park) has exactly 1800 feet of connection at the pinch point at the isthmus of the proposed district. 

But even worse, the I-495 route blocks any streets, save one, at the point of the pinched “knot” of the “bowtie.” ONE street, with one lane in each direction, is left to connect the two ends of the “bowtie.”  It leads to a steep hill with no sidewalk. The street is so narrow, it requires oncoming vehicles — including the No. 5 RideOn buses, school buses, trucks, private vehicles and bicyclists —  to pass at a speed under 10 mph.  Pedestrians, without a sidewalk, cannot walk on this short road.

The single, dangerously narrow street connecting the new district’s ends is emblematic, of course.  Other routes can get one to Silver Spring, etc.; however, if left unchanged, the current design makes a mockery of the contiguity principle. Indeed, by gerrymandering it makes a loud statement that the County Council is content to discourage the communities of N Bethesda and Silver Spring/Takoma Park from getting to know each other, develop shared purposes and or have any common resources.

Learn more on our blog: http://www.whiteflint.org/2021/11/05/your-community-needs-you-to-advocate-for-a-new-redistricting-map-that-does-not-mute-our-voice-or-harm-north-bethesda/

Construction Update from Pepco Project on Randolph Road and Nebel Street

Week of 11/08/2021

Nebel St.-Package C (CW & Sons)-Continue 4-way excavation around manholes

CSX/Randolph Rd.-Package A/B (SECA)-Pour concrete-Mount seal assembly

Nebel St. & Marinelli -Package-A (CW & Sons Crew #2)-Complete box tunnel-Continue excavation to stubs

Week of 11/15/2021

CSX/Randolph Rd.-Package A (SECA)-Begin first drive

Nebel St. & Marinelli Rd.-Package A (CW & Sons Crew #2)-Install conduits to tie onto stubs-Pour concrete-Backfill/temporary asphalt

Nebel St.-Package C (CW & Sons)-Continue getting trench to grade near sewer line-Begin excavation along substation wall

Your community needs you to advocate for a NEW redistricting map that does not mute our voice or harm North Bethesda

The redistricting commission has submitted to the council its recommended map for the seven new council districts, and it is not good for North Bethesda.

The proposed district is shaped like a bow tie and combines North Bethesda with Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Many individuals and organizations (including Friends of White Flint, Luxmanor Civic Association, the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, and the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee, among others) believe the proposed gerrymandered district minimizes our voice in local politics, pulls North Bethesda away from our neighbors and community, and prevents our needs from being met.

We urge you to ask the county council to create a new map. (Contact info is below.) Also, please post your thoughts on social media with the hashtag #aNewMap … and don’t forget to tag all the county council members.
Here are more detailed reasons why this proposed map disenfranchises North Bethesda residents and businesses and greatly increases the risk that our needs will be ignored. 

1) North Bethesda’s economic and political sensibilities lie with the Route 355 Corridor, so we should be in a district with others on the corridor. Whether that’s Rockville or Bethesda is for the Council to decide, but it certainly shouldn’t be Silver Spring and Takoma Park.

2) This is a gerrymandered district. The shape of our proposed new district is a bow tie that is neither compact nor composed of adjoining territory as required by law. It does not preserve communities of interest as required by the commission’s ground rules.

3) There are two sides to this bow tie district. The Silver Spring/Takoma Park side of the bow tie has 100,000 people. The other side of the bow tie which includes North Bethesda has 50,000 people. Our voice will be muted and our residents will be disenfranchised. In fact, the Redistricting Committee is on record calling it the Silver Spring District; already North Bethesda is being marginalized.

4) North Bethesda is one of major economic drivers for Montgomery County and its success is vital to the county’s future. It should be more than an afterthought or sacrificial lamb whose district placement is determined because it achieves some of the goals of the redistricting committee. Other people in the county have had more of a say in the redistricting, which we believe is wrong. Why were the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg allowed to insist they must be in the same district but we were not allowed to insist we are in the same district as other Route 355 communities? Some may argue North Bethesda is part of Rockville while others may argue North Bethesda is part of Bethesda. No one believes it is part of Silver Spring.

5) North Bethesda’s ties are to the Bethesda area. We are part of the BCC Regional Services Center, the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, and the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board. Our children attend schools in Bethesda and North Bethesda. We have few natural ties to the Silver Spring/Takoma Park area.

6) This process is being rushed without sufficient public input, and we will have to live with this redistricting map for the next ten years. Redistricting is too important not to do it right.

What you can do to advocate for our community

We need you to urge the council to create a new map that keeps North Bethesda with its Route 355 neighbors, We also need you to help ensure this becomes a very visible public issue.

1) Write and call ALL the councilmembers before November 18. Just calling our District One Councilmember Andrew Friedson will not have a sufficient impact. It is critical that you reach out to all nine councilmembers. Use the talking points listed above or use your own words. Feel free to copy us at info@whiteflint.org.

Gabe Albornoz  240-777-7959  councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov
Andrew Friedson  240-777-7828   Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov           
Evan Glass  240-777-7966 Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov 
Tom Hucker  240-777-7960 Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov
Will Jawando  240-777-7811 Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov
Sidney Katz  240-777-7906 Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov
Nancy Navarro  240-777-7968 Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
Craig Rice  240-777-7955 Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov
Hans Riemer  240-777-7964 Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov

2) Post on social media your reasons why North Bethesda should not be in the same district as Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Use the hash tag #aNewMap and tag all the councilmembers. Utilize the talking points listed above. 

Facebook Tagging
Twitter Tagging
Instagram Tagging
Thank you so much for your help making sure our voice is heard.
For more information, please contact Amy Ginsburg, Executive Director of Friends of White Flint, amy.ginsburg@whiteflint.org or visit www.whiteflint.org

November Programs at Josiah Henson Museum

The Josiah Henson Museum continues to see good attendance and we are proud that we have had the opportunity to host over 2000 guests since we opened on April 23. 

In celebration of MD Emancipation Day, Josiah Henson Museum and Park will be hosting the following programs.

Josiah Henson Museum Open House
November 6 | Josiah Henson Museum & Park | 10 am – 4 pm | Free, Self-guided Tours

“African American Religious Thought and the Movement for Liberation” Panel Discussion
November 18 | Josiah Henson Museum & Park | 7 – 8 pm | Free, Registration Link  – https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/136943

North Bethesda saw a 26% increase in the share of renters between 2010 and 2019

According to an article in DCist, North Bethesda, Maryland saw a 26% increase in the share of renters between 2010 and 2019, and it could go renter-majority in the next five years, the analysis says. Gaithersburg, Maryland is heading in the same direction.

“The very definition of suburban living has been rewritten throughout the last decade as suburbs in the nation’s 50 largest metros gained 4.7 million people since 2010 — a whopping 79% of whom were renters,” writes Adrian Popa, a writer for RENTCafé. “What’s more, between 2010 and 2019, the number of suburban renters grew by 22% — a number that dwarfs the 3% increase in suburban homeowners during the same period.”

The study attributes the change to a growing number of residents — especially younger people — priced out of the housing market. Nationally, more than half of suburban renters are younger than 45 with median household earnings around $50,000, according to RENTCafé. Other factors not addressed in the analysis could also be at play, including an increased supply of rental stock in newly developing neighborhoods, changing lifestyle preferences, and rising urban rents that send tenants to the suburbs.

Dozens of other suburban areas could flip to renter-majority in the coming years, encouraged in part by the pandemic, which prompted some cooped-up city dwellers to seek out more square footage.

At the same time, the national homeownership rate is growing, albeit slightly, and particularly among younger adults, other data show. Homeownership grew by slightly less than 1 percentage point among households under age 35 over the past year, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, with households ages 35 to 44 seeing a half percentage point increase. But sharp increases in housing prices have shut lower-income homebuyers out of the market. In D.C., for example, renters had to earn 120% of the area median income — nearly $150,000 — to afford the median-priced home in 2019.

Amendment to Pike & Rose Approved by the Planning Board

Last week the Planning Board approved a new amendment to Pike & Rose, Phase II, which will permit modifications to the previously approved office building on Meeting Street (Building/Block 9). This mixed-use building will include the new headquarters for Choice Hotels International. Choice will occur approximately 40% of the new building. 

The staff memo is available here https://montgomeryplanningboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Pike-and-Rose-Amendment-G-Staff-Report-FINAL.pdf

A redistricting map you can actually read

Please click an interactive, high-res map at https://gismontgomery.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=e74800c960094a05a4f88a45586fc634 to review the proposed redistricting of Montgomery County. As you can see, they’ve carved North Bethesda from its neighbors and put it with the Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Long Branch district.

We’re meeting with other organizations, HOAs, and civic associations so that we can launch a united campaign against this redistricting plan. We believe the needs of North Bethesda will be ignored in favor of the needs of Silver Spring and that this gerrymandered district simply doesn’t make sense. Are we going to be part of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center now instead of the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, too? Should our businesses now belong to the Silver Spring Chamber instead of the Greater Bethesda Chamber? Of course not.

Stay tuned for ways you can fight this.

Privai Spa + Salon is Taking Over Mynd Spa Locations in Pike & Rose and Kentlands

From The MoCo Show

Privai, the luxury skin and body care line, announced the expansion of its brand earlier this week with the debut of Privai | Spa + Salon.

Per the press release, they will open a Pike & Rose location followed by a Gaithersburg location here in MoCo.

Per the Pike & Rose Instagram account, Privai is expected to open by the end of the year. The Gaithersburg location (Kentlands) is expected to open early next year. Both will move into the previous locations of Mynd Spa, per the Privai website. Mynd Spa closed all locations permanently in March of 2020.

Full press release below:

Focused on personalized wellness for the whole being, each destination will deliver signature experiences, unsurpassed services, rejuvenating treatments, and results-driven products.

Located throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan region, the first two locations to open this year will be Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) and North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose followed by Fairfax Corner, Reston, Gaithersburg and Tyson’s Corner early next year.

Founded upon the belief that everyone deserves “spa in a bottle” skincare products that provide accessible luxury and rejuvenation, Christina Stratton and Ilana Alberico developed the Privai line following the success of their spa and wellness management company, Innovative Spa Management (ISM SPA).

This next evolution of the Privai brand brings their passion about self-care and personalized wellness to life in order to better serve individuals’ body, mind, and sense of self.“We are thrilled to evolve Privai into a personalized lifestyle brand because we are committed to delivering a world-class experience,” said Ms. Stratton, co-founder and CEO of Privai. “We want to offer a place that truly realizes individual needs: from spa and body treatments to salon and beauty services. We understand that no two guests are alike, and it is this belief that inspires us to curate unique experiences, one’s antidote for respite and recharging.”The new Privai | Spa + Salon locations will be managed by ISM SPA and include a partnership with the co-founders’ newest technology innovation, Spa Space, an app which pairs expert licensed providers and stylists to meet customer’s needs. In addition, Privai | Spa + Salon locations will open under the guidance of Anne Melby, who has joined ISM SPA as Senior Vice President and will be responsible for overseeing operations for ISM SPA and all Privai | Spa + Salon locations. A highly respected and accomplished industry veteran with over 20 years within the hospitality and wellness sectors, Ms. Melby has held multiple positions with Red Door Spa Holdings, in addition to managing her entrepreneurial venture, Fractional COO Hospitality Spa & Wellness.For more information, please visit www.privai.com.

Choice Hotels Chooses Pike & Rose

 Federal Realty Investment Trust today announced that Choice Hotels International, Inc. has signed a long-term lease to occupy 105,000 square feet in 915 Meeting Street, a new 276,000-square-foot trophy office building to be constructed at the award-winning mixed-use development of Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, Maryland.

Rendering: A proposed rendering of 915 Meeting Street, which will serve as Choice Hotels’ headquarters at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, MD. The company will relocate there beginning in December 2023.
Rendering: Block 9 at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, MD.
Rendering: A proposed rendering of 915 Meeting Street, which will serve as Choice Hotels’ headquarters at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, MD. The company will relocate there beginning in December 2023.
Rendering: Block 9 at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, MD.

“Pike & Rose has everything employers and employees are looking for in office space today – convenient location with excellent regional access and world-class amenities both inside and outside of the building,” said Wendy Seher, the company’s president of the east coast region. “We are excited to add a company of the caliber of Choice Hotels to the growing list of leading firms that have chosen a Federal Realty office environment to help them attract quality talent and enhance their brands.”

915 Meeting Street will be a 16-story, state-of-the-art, LEED Gold-targeted building featuring 9,600 square feet of ground floor retail, approximately 25,000-square-foot flexible floor plates and 700 dedicated parking spaces. The building, designed by Gensler, will incorporate a vibrant architectural design that includes numerous amenities, such as a rooftop conference center with collaborative common areas, WiredScore-targeted connectivity, a fitness center, and resource-efficient sustainable and wellness features.

Located in the rapidly emerging submarket of North Bethesda, 915 Meeting Street will sit within the transit-oriented, LEED Gold-certified neighborhood of Pike & Rose and its more than 400,000 square feet of thoughtfully curated retail, services, dining, and entertainment offerings. The new construction comes following the success of Pike & Rose’s 300,000 square feet of existing office product, which includes tenants such as Bank of AmericaJLLIndustriousOneDigital and Federal Realty’s corporate headquarters.

915 Meeting Street is expected to break ground later this year. The building is 40% pre-leased to Choice Hotels, who plans to relocate approximately 400 corporate employees from its current headquarters beginning in December of 2023. Bernie McCarthy, executive managing director, and Danny Sheridan, managing director at JLL represented Federal Realty, and Steve London, vice chairman at Savills represented Choice Hotels.

“It’s been gratifying to see Pike & Rose become an established neighborhood and the real estate of choice for multiple uses,” said Don Wood, chief executive officer for Federal Realty. “The continued demand for office at our mixed-use developments, coming from world-class companies like Splunk and NetApp at Santana, Partners Healthcare and PUMA at Assembly, and now Choice at Pike & Rose, validates our track record of delivering a high-quality product that capitalizes on the highly amenitized environments we have created.”