What’s really important?

What’s really important?

Live blogging from the June 4, 2009 worksession of the Montgomery County Planning Board. Topics remaining include implementation and staging.

Dan Hardy, chief transportation planner, and Piera Weiss, Master Planner for White Flint, joined by Jacob Sesker, financing wizard. Staging proposals from handouts. Board is concerned that some of the items on the list are “must haves” and some are “should haves.”

Chairman Hanson: Further development is triggered by completion and don’t want important things to be held up because something that is just “nice” isn’t done. Go back and figure out what we want out of Stage One. We want land for library and Civic Green, and street improvements as development occurs. The others are just CIP items, not triggers for Stage Two because they don’t really change capacity. Phasing is connected to infrastructure, and mainly to transportation. If we don’t have the additional roadways we can’t get to the other things that need to be done. We’ve got to build these roadways before we can rebuild Rockville Pike in Phase Two. Not the same for the library or the Civic Green. Presley: but let’s not strip the Plan of the things that will make this all work, so keeping these in so the people who want these will have something to measure against and complain to Council if it isn’t done. Robinson: I would limit Phase One to the absolutely vital projects. Presley: those which must be built.  Robinson: essential elements in Phase One, public facilities.

Bottom of P. 28, and P. 29 of the Handout have the phasing milestones for Phases One and Two. Board went through these and edited. Motion by Robinson: take out as milestones which have to be completed to trigger Phase Two, but which must be in the CIP budget by the end of Phase One and completed half-way through Phase Two: Civic Green, Wall Park parking, library, streetscape within 1/4 mile of Metro, and circulator study.

Don Briggs, Federal Realty, crucial issue is if you expect private community to tax ourselves, we need to know with relative certainty that we’ll be able to capitalize on our investments. Each of these items is a different agency and different approvals, beyond the purview of this Board, and you broaden the process. Stage Two is far enough along that the Board may have the time to lobby to get the other things done.

Robinson: I thought we needed transportation capacity to be built, not just funded. If it’s in the CIP, implication is that it will be completed within six years. My problem is that the transportation absolutely has to be done. I feel differently about transportation capacity than the other things. Phase Two could be 10-15 years. Hanson: I agree. Phase One is not a year. Timelags between planning and actual construction, we’re already out a minimum of six years from now. Amount of development we’re talking about here, will take a while. Briggs: 4-5 year gap between approval and beginning of construction. Hanson: so talking about ten years out. In that 10 year period, assuming we put this in the CIP, we have an opportunity to build anything in here.

Cryor: Phase Two, new school site point. Unanimous.

Phase Three. Robinson: need to add that reconstruction of Rockville Pike should be moved up as soon as possible.

Barnaby Zall


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