Picnic in Wall Park — Now With Booze as Well as Food

If you’ve found yourself enjoying parks across the county but suddenly feel the need to leave to find food, look no further! Parks has teamed up with Visit Montgomery and MoCo Eats to offer our new Picnic in the Park program. And now you can legally consume alcohol in designated areas within 9 parks selected for the pilot.  

Our local park – Wall Local Park — is part of the Picnic in the Park program.

Picnic in the Park brings your favorite foods and drinks to you – simply find the designated signs in the following parks and take a photo of the QR code to be shown all the available restaurants to deliver food right to you in the park! Each park comes with a designated delivery zone, along with multiple picnic circles that are physically distanced to make sure you can enjoy your meal safely.

Picnic in the Park locations are:

Willco Hires New CEO As It Plans New White Flint Development

Bisnow reported that Willco has hired longtime D.C.-area real estate, Tom Regnell as its new CEO. Tom Regnell spent the last six years as president and CEO of the Chevy Chase Land Co. executive,

Friends of White Flint was thrilled to read about Willco’s focus on the Pike District area:

Willco owns two sites near the White Flint Metro station in North Bethesda totaling 36 acres where it is planning over 4M SF of development. Montgomery County Planning Department

The first site, a 16-acre property planned for 1.8M SF of townhouses, low-rise and high-rise multifamily, received preliminary plan approval from Montgomery County in July. The project sits on the north side of Montrose Parkway at the intersection of Towne Road, catty-corner from the Pike & Rose development. 

The developer is preparing to submit plans for the 20-acre site on the south side of Montrose Parkway, directly to the west of Pike & Rose. That property features existing government-leased office buildings, but Regnell said it has future development potential for 2.5M SF of office, retail and multifamily.

An aerial sketch of Willco’s planned development at the intersection of Montrose Parkway and Towne Road in North Bethesda from the Planning Department.

Randolph Hills Shopping Center — the perfect place to order food for your Rosh Hashanah dinner

Discover the hidden gems within the Randolph Hills Shopping Center including a kosher market, bakery, deli and pizza restaurant for the upcoming High Holy Days, despite the COVID restrictions.

Goldberg’s NY Bagels
Goldberg’s, which earned Top Nosh award by the Washington Post and Best Bagel by Jewish Weekly, will be offering simcha bagel packages and customized platters. 301.816.9229.

Siena’s Vegetarian Pizzeria
Siena’s offers kosher vegetarian pizza with yashan flour crust, as well as gluten-free and vegan options for a vegetarian and Italian experience. 301.770.7474.

Moti’s Market
Moti’s Market is the premier supermarket and wine store for Kosher, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean needs. Perfect for grabbing you need for high holiday meals. 301.468.0400.

Al Ha’esh
Kosher Israeli grill that features grilled skewers, hummus, and other Mediterranean options. Features a lot of gluten-free options, as well as wine and beer. 301.231.0839.

Find Your Zen at a Socially Distanced Yoga Class at NoBe Market

Join NoBe Market this Saturday, September 19th to kick-off our Socially Distant Outdoor Yoga Series with ExtendYoga!

Focus on linking conscious breath while awakening your strength, energy, and flexibility in a free 40 minute “Rise and Shine” yoga flow.

Safety Measures:

  1. Each yogi will receive a hand sanitizer, reusable face mask, and sports towel.
  2. Social Distancing between mats will also be enforced and expected.
  3. Limited class size to safely fit yogis in the plaza.
    Only 25 Yogis in their expansive plaza.
  4. 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 25 people in the plaza. Ticket does not guarantee a spot. If spots are available at 8:30am, walk-ins will be granted access.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/socially-distant-outdoor-yoga-series-tickets-120234391301

Our County Council testimony on the SSP/New Growth Policy

As one or two of you may know, tonight the County Council is holding a worksession on the proposed new Subdivision Staging Policy/SSP (now to be called the Growth Policy.) While it’s on very few radars, the SSP/Growth Policy affects development, schools, and transportation, so it affects practically all aspects of life here in Montgomery County.

You can learn more about the proposed policy and watch the County Council hearing live on CCM Channels Comcast HD 996 and SD 6, RCN HD 1056 and SD 6, and Verizon 30. It will be repeated on 9/18/20 at 9:00 pm. This meeting will also be live streamed on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyMDCouncil and YouTube @MoCoCouncilMD

Below is the testimony Friends of White Flint will be giving tonight.

Good evening. I’m Amy Ginsburg, Executive Director of Friends of White Flint.

Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit organization composed of residents, property owners, and businesses, works to transform the White Flint/Pike District area into a vibrant, walkable, transit-oriented community and fulfill the vision of the White Flint Sector Plans.

The new proposed growth policy will have a large impact on the development of the Pike District, and Friends of White Flint offers the following comments on the proposed policy.

Moratoria

As you know, stopping development with a moratorium does not actually solve school overcrowding as the vast majority of new students come from neighborhood turnover of single-family homes. Moratoria also prevent the county from increasing the housing supply and stifles the MPDU program.

Therefore, we wholeheartedly support the Planning Boards recommendation that eliminates automatic moratoria except for Clarksburg. We also support the designation of the White Flint area as an Infill Impact Area.

Impact Taxes

Friends of White Flint supports the recommendation lowering the impact tax from 120% of the cost of a classroom seat to 100% and lowering it to 60% in Activity Centers which includes the Pike District. We support this targeting of impact taxes to encourage transit-oriented development in urban centers such as White Flint and the lowering of the impact tax to 60%.

The Planning Board also recommends that developers would have to pay Utilization Premium Payments in areas with overcrowded schools as an alternative to an automatic housing moratorium. The White Flint/Pike District is considered an Activity Center so the highest possible impact tax/utilization premium payment would be 120%. Because this is revenue neutral, Friends of White Flint supports these new impact taxes and utilization premium payment.

Recordation Tax

The proposed increase in the recordation tax is progressive and would go to school construction and rental assistance for low-and moderate-income households. A million-dollar house would see a $1,400 increase in the recordation tax.

We like that the tax increase is progressive, and we agree that because school capacity issues largely stem from neighborhood turnover, it makes sense that this turnover funds school construction and rental assistance.  That said, we are wary of new taxes in the current economic and pandemic crisis.

Vision Zero

Friends of White Flint supports the recommendation to better incorporate the county’s Vision Zero goal, including increasing intersection delay standards along future Bus Rapid Transit corridors such as Route 355. Friends of White Flint fully supports requiring a Vision Zero Impact Statement that prioritizes travel safety considerations as a mitigation strategy.

Metro Station Traffic Tests

Finally, Friends of White Flint supports the proposal to remove traffic congestion adequacy standards around Metro stations, like the White Flint station, to promote transit-oriented development and recognize the unique requirements of development that lies within the walkshed of a Metro stop.

Thank you for considering our comments as you refine Montgomery County’s new growth policy.

Hank Dietle’s owners hope to complete bar’s resurrection by year’s end

From Bethesda Beat

The owners of the Hank Dietle’s Tavern in North Bethesda say the once-popular bar could reopen by the end of the year — but they worry that followers might not come back quickly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dietle’s was destroyed by a fire in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day 2018. Montgomery County Fire & Rescue officials said at the time that the fire was caused by a discarded cigarette that hadn’t been extinguished.

PHOTO BY DAN SCHERE of BETHESDA BEAT

At the time of the fire, the bar was 102 years old and held the distinction of being the first establishment in the county to hold a beer and wine license.

In the years since the fire, there has been a movement to rebuild the bar. Thomas Bowes, a former band booker for the bar, along with his wife, Sarah Bonner, and photographer Alan Kresse, signed a 10-year-lease for the property at 11010 Rockville Pike in September 2019.

The owners hoped to have the bar open earlier this year, but the pandemic delayed the process, Bowes told Bethesda Beat on Wednesday.

Bowes said the owners had to reformat their plans for the bar and resubmit them to the county’s Department of Permitting Services since the staff is working from home during the pandemic, which contributed to the delays over the summer.

Bowes said that in the next couple of weeks, he expects new glass panels to be installed in the windows and the bathrooms to be finished. Then, the bar and kitchen areas will be built, he said.

“Then, we’ll go ahead and finish insulating the ceiling and drywall. And then, once we get done with that, we’ll start paneling the room,” he said.

Bowes said if all goes according to plan, Dietle’s will be open by December. But the timeline for how quickly the bar’s faithful return is uncertain as long as there are capacity limits during the pandemic, he said.

Read the rest of the story at https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/business/hank-dietles-owners-hope-to-complete-bars-resurrection-by-years-end/

Home Depot Design Center now open in Montrose Crossing

From Bethesda Beat

The second Home Depot Design Center in the country opened in Rockville’s Montrose Crossing shopping center on Monday, a store employee confirmed to Bethesda Beat Wednesday.

The design center is an offshoot of the hardware store chain and features a showroom with kitchen and bath displays. Customers can choose from a variety of cabinets, countertops, appliances and other home fixtures.

Home Depot’s website states that the design center includes a team of employees who help people customize their kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. The store also offers installation services for home projects.

Home Depot announced in December that it would bring the design center to Rockville. The only other location is in San Diego, Calif.

Store Director Damian Taylor wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat that the Rockville store had a soft opening on Monday. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

County to remain in Phase 2; eases restrictions on live performances

          Montgomery County will remain in Phase 2 as the State moves to its Phase 3 reopening, which went into effect Friday at 5 p.m. Montgomery County’s current case count is higher than it was when the County entered Phase 2 several months ago. Daily case counts in late June when the County entered Phase 2 averaged 67 cases per day. The current seven-day average of new confirmed cases is 85.

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/

            Venues such as indoor and outdoor restaurants may now include live performances as part of their dining experience. However, establishments are prohibited from allowing dancing or congregating in front of the performers. Individuals present must still wear masks unless they are eating or drinking (and they must be seated while eating and drinking). The new live-music guidelines go into effect immediately. On Wednesday evening, the Governor announced that more activities would be allowed under Phase 3; they are being reviewed to determine if the County could also allow some version of those activities.

            “Although we will not be moving into Phase 3, we will continue to evaluate areas where restrictions might be modified,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Allowing live music with restrictions at restaurants is an example of the cautious steps that we are taking toward reopening; and we will work on appropriate guidance for other live venues beyond what we’re doing for restaurants. Our careful, measured approach using data and science to make our decisions is likely part of the reasons that transmission of the virus in Montgomery County has remained relatively stable over the last few months.”

            Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties have also decided to remain in Phase 2. Health officials are concerned that moving to Phase 3 will cause case counts to go up across Maryland, including in Montgomery County.

            “We have made progress in addressing the pandemic, but the crisis is not over,” said County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles. “As we entire the holiday weekend, we must continue to be vigilant about wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and limiting the size of social gatherings. We will continue to look at the science to determine additional adjustments and slowly open things safely.”

            For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website as well as the County’s data dashboard or follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCountyMD

Bark Social dog park and lounge expected to open in October

From Bethesda Beat

Bark Social, a coffee bar and beer garden that welcomes humans and dogs, plans to open in Pike & Rose in late October.

The membership-based dog park and lounge will offer food and drinks for customers and their canines. In the morning, it will serve coffee and encourage patrons to work on their laptops.

The evening “Yappy Hour” will offer beer and stream sports games.

Co-founders Luke Silverman and Jeff Kurtzman secured a liquor license last week. On Monday, the business received its final building permits.

Read the rest of the article at Bethesda Beat.