Friday, September 30, 2016
Maryland's inventory of historic properties, but that didn't afford it any special protection against demolition.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Stratton Park is located just behind the firehouse on Democracy Blvd between Fernwood Rd and the I-270 Spur. It has a soccer field, a baseball field, tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground and a picnic shelter, water fountain and grill.
The upgrades are to make the park comply with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. In 2008 the federal government evaluated Montgomery County and Montgomery County parks and found that they were not up to the ADA standards. In August of 2011 the county reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that identified 19 parks that needed barriers to access removed. Stratton Park was one of the parks identified and is the last park in that group to be brought into compliance.
The old grill will be removed and two new grills (one of them ADA compliant) will be installed on the opposite side of the pavilion.
The parking lot will be kept the same size but re-configured to increase the parking spaces from 26 to 30. Two of them will be handicapped spots.
There will also be several underground stormwater management areas to contain runnoff from the area and allow it to recharge the aquifer. The speed bump will also be rebuilt to better divert water from the parking lot into a stormwater management area.
The port-a-potties will remain, but will get there own enclosure that is not part of the parking lot but near it.
Happening around the same time, but technically unrelated, the basketball courts and tennis courts will get revitalized. This process usually takes a couple of weeks, then, if they paint the courts they have to wait for the asphalt to cure first so that adds another couple of weeks.
The residents who came to the meeting did have some suggestions:
- Extend the sidewalk to the Surrywood Rd access path behind the baseball diamond.
- Look at ways to increase safety at the entrance to the parking area (by installing sidewalks, speed bumps, or narrowing the entrance so people can't park in it).
- Include an unpaved trail around the perimeter of the park's open area.
- Situate the sidewalk connection to Democracy Blvd in a way that prevents children on bikes from riding straight onto Democracy, and see if there is a way to discourage people from jaywalking at that connection.
The parks department plans on starting this renovation later this year. They may do the renovation in phases or may temporarily shut down the park. This is a four month project, but due to winter weather constraints it is likely to impact the spring sports season.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
The SSP provides the framework for development throughout the county. The intent of the Subdivision Staging Policy is to ensure adequate public facilities infrastructure, particularly schools and roads, associated with new development and growth. It sets impact taxes and fees related to infrastructure required to support new development. Every four years the SSP is reviewed and updated.
Public comments centred around a few areas of the SSP, primarily schools, transportation, metro station areas, and the Silver Spring former enterprise zone.
The largest number of people testifying were commenting on the schools. These were primarily representatives of the various high school clusters and the PTA. They liked the changes in the SSP but didn't think it went far enough and think it should capture more of the cost of new school capacity for new development.
The next were developers and representatives concerned about the treatment of former enterprise zones. Current treatment of enterprise zones and former enterprise zones is the same, they are excluded from impact taxes. The Planning Board is recommending that impact taxes be phased back in within former enterprise zones over four years (currently downtown Silver Spring is the only former enterprise zone in the county). Developers would prefer that the exemption of impact taxes remain, but, as a second choice would prefer that they are phased in over 4 years (the original recommendation was to phase them in over 2 years).
There were also a number of people interested in the transportation aspects of the plan. Many were in favor of the changes which reduces the amount of parking at new development in high density areas, and eliminates the traffic tests in metro station areas. Some people however, thought the new focus on transit ignored the plight of the tens of thousands of road users and the impact of new development on them.
The final group were from the areas surrounding downtown Bethesda. They want the traffic tests and impact taxes to remain in metro station areas (such as the Bethesda central business district) and point out that many of the new occupants will drive, emergency services will still be needed, and trucks will need to make deliveries to the new buildings. They also note that impact fees collected because of road congestion can be used to improve transit, walkability, and bicycle access.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Staff will host a community meeting to review the scheduled access improvement plans for Stratton Local Park. Meeting will be at the Cabin John Ice Rink on Wednesday, September 14, 7pm. The work planned will include better parking, access to park amenities, including the tennis court, basketball court, picnic shelter and playground. Staff will review access from Democracy Boulevard to park as well. The public is invited to hear the presentation and offer thoughts on the access improvement plan.