Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thought you might want to hear an update on the efforts thus far to get Montgomery County to designate 8001 Newell Street as a park.
On Friday, August 31, Marc Elrich, Council member-at-large on the Montgomery County Council, visited with a small group of residents from both 8045 Newell Street and the Eastern Village Cohousing (EVC), and we provided him with a tour of the 8001 Newell Street property. Marc currently serves on the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee (PHED), where he focuses on ensuring that development occurs at a pace that fits the County’s infrastructure. It was a very positive meeting, and Marc provided some good suggestions for reaching out more broadly with County officials and offering recommendations on how we can better plug into some of the discussions being held by various Silver Spring political groups.
On Friday, September 7, we also submitted the request to the County that the property at 8001 Newell Street be designated as a park. As part of that submission, we informed County officials that over 340 signatures have been collected, thus far, on our petition. Signatures have come from not only 8045 Newell Street and EVC but also the Silverton, the MICA, the Aurora, the Blairs, Veridian, Rock Creek Spring, Spring Garden, 1200 East-West Highway, the Galaxy, the Bennington, Falkland Chase, and even D.C.! If you have not yet had the opportunity to sign the petition, please do so now and JOIN OUR CAUSE – and share the link with others that you think might also wish to see a park developed at 8001 Newell Street instead of a seven-story apartment building. Go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/silverspringpark.
Sometime in the next 60-90 days, the Montgomery County Planning Department will be reviewing both our request AND the Comstock apartment project plan. We anticipate that there will be a public hearing where the County will solicit community feedback on the Comstock proposal. This hearing will likely occur in December. At the same time, there may be a public hearing on our request for a park sometime in the fall. We will provide an update to this blog as soon as we know the date(s) for either of these hearings.
In the meantime, although your petition signature is an important part of the community input that the County receives, you are urged to attend any of the open political meetings that serve the Silver Spring area. For instance, the Silver Spring Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) meets the second Monday of every month in the downtown Civic Building on Ellsworth Drive at 7:00 PM. (http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgtmpl.asp?url=/Content/RSC/SilSprng/BoardsCommittees/citizenadvisoryboard.asp). The next meeting of the CAB is Monday, October 8.
There is also a Neighborhood’s Committee under the CAB, and it meets the fourth Monday of every month at 7:30 PM – also at the Civic Building. The Neighborhood Committee handles matters pertaining to the quality of life in neighborhoods, including, but not limited to public health planning, community redevelopment, school-community relations, housing, education, the Arts, and the natural environment in the region. We encourage you to attend the next meeting of this Committee!
We are also looking into having a table at the upcoming 6th Annual South Silver Spring Street Fest, Saturday, September 29, from 12 – 6 PM, on Kennett Street. If you have not been able to sign the petition, we will have some available during the festival. We can even give you a “behind the scenes” tour looking out over the storage facility, which provides another vantage to assess the impact of a proposed apartment building in our community.
So there is a lot of good progress, and we look forward to your continued engagement and support in the efforts to convince the County that 8001 Newell Street should be a park – and not another monolithic building.
We have developed a great PowerPoint slide deck, which has information on the storage facility site in question, some historical background, existing open space in the South Silver Spring area, and other interesting data. If you are interested in obtaining this information and you would like to be involved in our continued efforts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.