One of the most contentious relationships in the White Flint Sector Plan process has been between White Flint Mall and the neighborhood to its south, Garrett Park Estates – White Flint Park. There is a long history of strife, dating from before the Mall’s construction in the early 1970’s. Accusations of broken promises, indifference and more have flown. In January, at the first public hearings on the White Flint Sector Plan Public Hearing Draft, a community resident showed devastating pictures of flooding caused by blocked storm drains on the mall and those pictures still resonate with the Board, despite Mall representatives’ cries that the problem was fixed two years ago.
So it was a big surprise to see a GPE-WFP letter to Montgomery Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson at yesterday’s worksession which included the phrase: “We agree with the Mall owners and differ with the [Planning] Staff recommendations.” The agreement was limited, with only two points listed: “That the special exception parking lot at the northern end of the [White Flint Local] Park should not be selected as the site for an elementary school.” and “That the so-called ‘Nebel Street Extended’ be designed as a local road with two travel lanes.”
Still, any sign of progress in that long-festering relationship is better than none. The Planning Board did reject the White Flint Mall site as a school last night, on a 3-2 vote, deferred a vote on any other use of the site, and chose the former school at Rocking Horse Center in nearby Randolph Hills as a more appropriate school site. The Board did not consider the road changes discussed in the letter.
The GPE-WFP web site still appears to be down, so here is a copy of the letter: Garrett Park Estates 5-4-09 Letter