Council enacts the More Housing at Metrorail Stations Act (including White Flint and Grosvenor)

This week the Council, by a vote of 7-2, enacted Bill 29-20, called the “More Housing at Metrorail Stations Act,” a major new housing initiative for which Friends of White Flint advocated.

Councilmember Hans Riemer, chair of the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee, and Councilmember Andrew Friedson, member of the PHED Committee, were the lead sponsors of Bill 29-20. Councilmembers Evan Glass, Nancy Navarro, Council President Sidney Katz, Councilmember Gabe Albornoz, Council Vice President Tom Hucker and Councilmember Craig Rice were cosponsors .Councilmember Will Jawando and Council Vice President Tom Hucker voted against the bill. 

Presently, there are no high-rise developments underway on any Metro station property in Montgomery County, nor have there been for many years. The legislation will respond to this problem by providing a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for a period of 15 years for new high-rise development that includes at least 50 percent rental housing. The PILOT would exempt 100 percent of the property tax that would otherwise be due for a project constructed on property leased from WMATA at a Metro Station in the County. WMATA does not pay property taxes to Montgomery County. The legislation allows a new development on a Metro station property to retain that property tax exemption for 15 years. The developers would continue to pay impact taxes and to pay into the special White Flint Taxing District.

According to Metro, station properties in the County have the capacity to deliver at least 8,600 units of housing, which would provide a significant contribution to the County’s long-term housing shortage. The high-rise buildings also would include between 1,200 to 1,300 Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU). 

“This effort is about turning housing targets into actual housing units, making ridership goals actual transit riders, and transforming outdated parking lots into vibrant communities for actual people,” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson. “It’s about building modern, sustainable, inclusive communities in true smart growth fashion. Few things would be more impactful to meeting our affordable housing, environmental and economic development goals than maximizing transit-oriented development at Metro stations.”

Montgomery County is not producing nearly enough housing to keep up with demand. Since 2010, the County’s population has grown by approximately 8,000 people per year, but the County has only added about 2,700 new housing units per year. 

Drive-in movies and trick-or-treat fun in the Pike District

Drive-in Movies

There are two series of drive-in movies in the Pike District — but sadly, if you haven’t already signed up they are pretty much sold out. This does show the eagerness of folks to do something socially-distanced and fun, and it’s great to see the Pike District community try to meet this need.

Willco is hosting movies at 6110 Executive Blvd. You can see the schedule of movies here, and while they literally sold out in one day, there might be plans to extend it through November.

The Pike District is sponsoring drive-in movies at White Flint Plaza this weekend. They just added Thursday and Sunday nights to the sold-out Friday and Saturday nights. Learn more at https://pikedistrict.org/events/calendar/.

Trick-or-Treating

This Halloween join Willco for the first ever drive through Trick or Treat Spooktober. This safe and socially distanced extravaganza is sure to save Halloween for ghosts of all ages.

Take a drive through their spooktacular village with plenty of stops for treats (and tricks) along the way. We’re bringing the thrill to the whole family, with excitement and scares to delight all spook levels. Their 4-step “Public Safety” plan ensures the safest possible distribution of treats while guests remain in their cars.

Purchase a “treat” ticket for all individuals in the car that would like candy, and/or purchase a “trick” ticket for all individuals who are just along for the spook of it. EVERYONE in the car must have a ticket. Tickets purchased for either date will be honored both days

​Gates are open from 5pm-10pm on Friday, October 30th and 4pm-11pm on Saturday, October 31st. Please join them at any time during those hours for your Trick or Treat adventure.

County Council Continues to Consider the new updates to the County Growth Policy

The Montgomery County Council is continuing their review of the update to the County Growth Policy. Major changes include policy name change (from the Subdivision Staging Policy to the County Growth Policy), creation of school impact areas, limitations on the use of moratoria, requirements for premium payments in area with overcrowded schools, and incorporation of Vision Zero concepts in transportation adequacy review. Please review the Recommendations At-A-Glance for a brief overview of the schools recommendations.

Montgomery County Council Schedule

Monday, October 5  PHED Committee: County Growth Policy Schools Element | 9:30 AM
Friday, October 9  PHED Committee: County Growth Policy Transportation Element | 10:30 AMGO Committee: Impact Tax Bill | 1:30 PM
Monday, October 12  GO Committee: School Impact Taxes and Recordation Tax Bill | 9:30 AM
Tuesday, October 13  PHED Committee: County Growth Policy) | 3:00 PM
Tuesday, October 20  Full Council: County Growth Policy | TBD
Tuesday, October 27  Full Council: County Growth Policy | TBD
Tuesday, November 10  Full Council action

You can watch the Council work sessions live (or watch recordings of past work sessions) from the Council website.

What is the Subdivision Staging Policy?
The Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP) — one of the many ways that Montgomery Planning helps to preserve the excellent quality of life in Montgomery County — is based on having sufficient infrastructure to support growth. It includes criteria and guidance for the administration of Montgomery County’s Adequate Public Facility Ordinance (APFO), which matches the timing of private development with the availability of public infrastructure. Every four years, an effort to update the Subdivision Staging Policy originates with Montgomery Planning staff before working its way through the Planning Board and the County Council. The purpose is to ensure that the best available tools are used to test whether infrastructure like schools, transportation, water and sewer services can support future growth.

Subdivision Staging Policy and the Community
Montgomery Planning prepares updates to the SSP every four years and this year’s update takes a special focus on schools in relation to growth and development in the county. Census information, demographic shifts, student generation rates, housing stock and projections, equity, along with master plans and development projects are some of the components that must be considered when looking at the policy. The transportation side of the SSP includes looking at transportation policy areas in the county, modes of travel, areawide development impacts and modeling data with a new focus on Vision Zero safety standards.
Since the update to the SSP started in summer 2019, two citizen advisory groups have assisted with this work: the Schools Technical Advisory Team and Transportation Impact Study Technical Working Group. Community members have also been engaged through local presentations, a community workshop in October 2019 and a series of roundtable discussions throughout the county.

View the Planning Board Draft and Appendices:
County Growth Policy – Planning Board Draft County Growth Policy – Planning Board Draft Appendices

The update to the schools element of the SSP included a review by an Urban Land Institute Virtual Advisory Services Panel (vASP) in April.

Read the ULI Final Report and presentation. Learn more about the vASP’s review of the SSP.

Additional resources, including links to Planning Board work sessions on the policy, can be found on Montgomery Planning’s website.

 

Moratorium Damages County’s Competitiveness and Affordability, Fails to Fix School Capacity Shortfalls.

Below you’ll find some highlights from a blogpost from Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson. I encourage you to read the entire post, which includes lots of informative charts and tables.

1. New development is not driving school overcrowding.

With the possible exception of Clarksburg, the surge in school enrollment faced by MCPS in recent years is attributable to turnover in housing built decades ago.

2. Moratoria have failed to solve the overcrowding problem and cut off a source of funds to build schools.

Some argue that even though turnover is largely responsible for overcrowded schools, the moratorium serves a useful purpose in generating political pressure to solve school capacity shortfalls, and that the threat of a moratorium will force elected officials to focus on the issue.

The short answer is we tried it and it didn’t work. The Walter Johnson, Blair, Northwood, and Einstein clusters all went into moratorium in July 2019 despite real estate developers warning that housing development projects in these areas would be delayed or killed. The deadline came and went, the projects were put on ice, and no funding for capacity expansions was accelerated from any source.

A moratorium also makes it more difficult for MCPS to deal with their capacity issues because impact taxes help fund the cost of capacity projects. The Planning Board has proposed adding additional payments in overutilized clusters that would require higher payments (utilization premium payments) in more crowded school clusters, but the idea is the same: new development pays more than its “share” and stopping development cuts off a needed supply of funds for the school system’s other needs.

The fact that moratoria are allowed to take effect despite their impact on development reveals the flaw in an implicit premise of the moratorium policy — namely that real estate developers will find a way to get schools built rather than see their business grind to a halt. The truth is that developers often operate in multiple jurisdictions, and they raise money to finance their projects from investors who are choosing among opportunities in every part of the country and even the world. Developers don’t like seeing their projects held up after they have spent time trying to get them lined up, but ultimately most of them don’t need to be here because they can acquire land to develop somewhere else. Montgomery County taxpayers have more to lose by stopping new housing construction than real estate developers, school board members, or any other group.

3. We are not producing enough housing – and moratoria make the housing supply problem worse.

Our school impact fees, and moratorium policy are damaging our ability to provide the housing our residents and economy need.

The reasons for our lagging housing production are many — including high costs of materials, shortages of skilled labor, and constraints on the availability of land suitable for development — but impact fees for schools are certainly a contributor.

A comparison of Montgomery County’s rules to the approach taken by our peers and competitors in the region is telling. We have the highest school impact payments in the greater Washington region except for Loudoun County, which is in a stage of its evolution where greenfield development is the norm.

Now there are Two Free Yoga Classes at NoBe Market on Saturday

Join NoBe Market this Saturday, October 3rd for week three of our Socially Distant Outdoor Yoga Series with ExtendYoga!

Focus on linking conscious breath while awakening your strength, energy, and flexibility with FREE*  yoga classes!

8:30am Rise & Shine Yoga (45 min)

Get moving and wake up your body and mind for the day ahead. Flow from one pose to the next using the breath. We’ll gently stretch out the body and focus the mind, finishing with some energising poses to lift energy levels.

Reserve 8:30 Class

9:30am Flow Yoga (60 min)

Get in the flow of your body and day! Focus on linking conscious breath with somewhat vigorous and mindful movement. Students will awaken their strength, energy, and flexibility in a fun and safe atmosphere.

Reserve 9:30 Class

Safety Measures:

Each yogi will receive a hand sanitizer, reusable face mask, and sports towel.

Social Distancing between mats will also be enforced and expected.

Limited class size to safely fit yogis in the plaza.

Only 20 Yogis in our expansive plaza.

Tickets do not guarantee a spot, but only ticketed participants will be given a spot on the day of the class. First come, first served.

Yoga flow is open to all levels and ages with a valid Eventbrite ticket. Check-in begins at 8:15am sharp.

*Eventbrite ticket required to attend. Spots will be given on a first come first serve basis once check-in opens at 8:15am. Capacity is set to 20 people in the plaza. Ticket does not guarantee a spot. If spots are available at 8:30am, walk-ins will be granted access.

Montgomery County Recreation Launches New Pool Reservation System

Interested in swimming at our neighborhood pool at the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center? Montgomery County Recreation is launching a new pool reservation system designed to create an easier and better user experience. The new system will go live on Monday, Sept. 28 for pool reservations on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020 or later.

Montgomery County Recreation pools are currently open to Montgomery County residents and to valid pool pass holders. While reservations are not required, they are highly encouraged as pool capacity is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We heard from many customers, listened to their feedback and found a system that we believe will creates a better user experience,” said Montgomery County Recreation Director Robin Riley. “We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we navigate these new waters.”

The new system will be used to make reservations at the County’s four indoor aquatic centers. Reservations will be available beginning exactly seven days in advance of the activity’s scheduled start time. For example, reservations for Monday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. will be available beginning on Monday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. Users can select from a variety of activity types including:

  • Lap Swimming: Current health guidelines allow for one person per lane. This activity requires continuous swimming.
  • Deep Water Running: Open space for exercise in deep water. Swimmer’s body must remain vertical in the water. Lap swimming is not permitted.
  • Open Rec Area: Shallow water available for general use. Lap swimming is not permitted.    
  • Rec Swim: Available for general use. Diving boards, slides and leisure pool open. Lap lanes available as first come, first serve for lap swimming only.

Reservations for indoor and outdoor swim sessions through Oct. 4 will continue to use the current reservation system.

For more information including pool hours of operations and schedules and a link to the new reservation system, visit www.mocorec.com/aquatics. Customers may also call 240-777-6840 or email rec.customerservice@montgomerycountymd.gov for additional assistance.

Pike & Rose Showcases Federal Realty’s Sustainability Credentials

Here are some highlights from yesterday’s long article full of accolades and insights on Pike & Rose in Reit Magazine:

The completion this summer of 909 Rose, Federal Realty Investment Trust’(NYSE: FRT) latest addition to its transit-oriented Pike & Rose mixed-use development, highlights the REIT’s long-term sustainability track record and its commitment to creating communities that are aligned with the evolving needs of tenants and residents.

Situated in North Bethesda, Maryland, six miles north of Washington, D.C. and two blocks from a Red Line metro station, Pike & Rose achieved LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) v2009 Stage 3 Gold certification in late 2018—the first REIT-owned and developed project to receive the designation. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED ND was created to inspire and help create better, more sustainable, well-connected neighborhoods.

Federal Realty, which has long called Montgomery County, Maryland home, became the class-A office building’s first occupants, as it sought to unite its corporate teams under one roof. The move to 909 Rose places Federal Realty at the center of Pike & Rose’s thriving sustainability-focused community, a decade in the making.

Jay Brinson, vice president of development at Federal Realty, says 909 Rose is well suited to meet the new demands for offices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, “with progressive healthy building systems and a convenient location for firms looking to exit more dense urban environments or open satellite office locations to capitalize on the expected shift occurring in millennial housing trends.”

Completing Pike & Rose with commercial office buildings solidifies its place as a 24/7 community, adds Mickey Papillon, vice president and regional general manager at Federal Realty. He expects 909 Rose to catalyze construction of hundreds of thousands of additional square footage of office space at Pike & Rose during the next decade, as demand increases. “From first thing in the morning when people grab coffee to their last drink of the night, our customers are using the neighborhood as their campus with an amenity base never before seen in the community,” Papillon says. “There is an incredible amount of pride and ownership for our team to move to a 24-acre project that their company created, designed, and developed over the past decade,” says Papillon.


Federal Realty aimed for a smooth transition between the popular Mid-Pike Plaza and the new Pike & Rose, without cutting off the local income stream before a full-fledged replacement was ready.

“Federal implemented a detailed process by first closing half the center, walling it off and building the first phase of Pike & Rose, and once complete, closing, demolishing, and rebuilding the other half,” explains James Milam, Federal Realty’s senior vice president of regional finance & portfolio manager.

The REIT completed its master plan in 2012 and opened its first phase in 2014. Pike & Rose now comprises 379,000 square feet of retail, 864 apartments and condominium units, a 177-key hotel, and nearly 300,000 square feet of class-A office buildings.

“Federal Realty is an incredibly important private partner in the county’s effort at building mixed-use, transit-oriented communities in order to meet our economic development, climate, and quality of life goals,” Friedson says. “The reality is that the public sector alone cannot create a Pike & Rose,” he adds.


The Pike & Rose neighborhood features advanced stormwater management that starts at the top, with green roofs on the majority of its buildings, complemented with silva cells underneath the sidewalks to handle runoff. The solar panels on top of the garage generate most of the power for the structure, and there is a massive electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“The LEED Neighborhood Development certification is rarely seen at other REIT investment projects, and there are only a few dozen in the world,” Papillon says, in reference to garnering the sustainable design distinction.

Specific to Pike & Rose are solar installations, native and sustainable landscaping, bike sharing, electric vehicle stations, and access to multi-modal transportation. Another unique feature—one of the largest rooftop farms in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Farm at Pike & Rose premiered in 2018 and provides 17,000 square-feet of green space and garden area adjacent to one of Pike & Rose’s residential buildings. The Farm cultivates a variety of crops to sell to residents and the community.

“All of these elements reflect what our community and our customers are looking for and help not only from an environmental standpoint but demonstrate that we care about the community where we live and work every day,” Papillon says.

Pike & Rose’s focus on sustainability has also inspired additional efforts in the surrounding community. “There’s no question it has helped our ambitious sustainability goals by allowing more people to live and work near major transit,” Friedson observes. “It’s also led us to invest in ‘complete streets’ —bicycle lanes and sidewalks that are wide, safe and attractive, and roads where the priority is safety over vehicle throughput,” he adds.


The Pike & Rose neighborhood features advanced stormwater management that starts at the top, with green roofs on the majority of its buildings, complemented with silva cells underneath the sidewalks to handle runoff. The solar panels on top of the garage generate most of the power for the structure, and there is a massive electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“The LEED Neighborhood Development certification is rarely seen at other REIT investment projects, and there are only a few dozen in the world,” Papillon says, in reference to garnering the sustainable design distinction.

Specific to Pike & Rose are solar installations, native and sustainable landscaping, bike sharing, electric vehicle stations, and access to multi-modal transportation. Another unique feature—one of the largest rooftop farms in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Farm at Pike & Rose premiered in 2018 and provides 17,000 square-feet of green space and garden area adjacent to one of Pike & Rose’s residential buildings. The Farm cultivates a variety of crops to sell to residents and the community.

“All of these elements reflect what our community and our customers are looking for and help not only from an environmental standpoint but demonstrate that we care about the community where we live and work every day,” Papillon says.

Pike & Rose’s focus on sustainability has also inspired additional efforts in the surrounding community. “There’s no question it has helped our ambitious sustainability goals by allowing more people to live and work near major transit,” Friedson observes. “It’s also led us to invest in ‘complete streets’ —bicycle lanes and sidewalks that are wide, safe and attractive, and roads where the priority is safety over vehicle throughput,” he adds.

Read the rest of the wonderful article here.

Hope to see you online at our upcoming Community Meeting

On Thursday, October 8 at 7 pm, please join Friends of White Flint at our virtual community meeting.

Councilmember Andrew Friedson and Robin Ficker will discuss and take questions on their property tax ballot amendments, Question A and Question B.

Montgomery County Department of Transportation will give a quick update on the Western Workaround construction.

To register for what promises to be an interesting and education online meeting, please visit https://cutt.ly/FOWF-Meeting.

A special thank you to Federal Realty for being the tech power behind this meeting.