TAKOMA JUNCTION REDEVELOPMENT

ARCHIVE FILES can be found here.



URGENT MESSAGE TO CO-OP CUSTOMERS
Please attend May 16 Takoma Park City Council Meeting

Tell the Council:
Take the Time to Do It Right

POSTPONE VOTE on
Junction Development


• Don’t vote until City takes concrete action to assure:
o Reasonable space for Co-op truck deliveries, waste storage and pick-up
o Reasonable parking for Co-op patrons
o Continuity of Co-op operation during construction

• Don’t vote until City provides important information including:
o Traffic analyses and data underlying proposed changes to roads affecting Co-op customers and deliveries
o The racial equity analysis the City relied on in reaching its conclusion the development would not disproportionately impact any particular group

PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY FOOD STORE –

• Attend the City Council meeting on May 16. Speak up for the Co-op during the public comment period at 7:30 p.m.

• Write or call the Mayor and your City Council representative. Ask them to postpone the May 23rd vote on the Junction development until these concerns are resolved - take the time to do it right.

• See letters to City Council summarizing Co-op concerns here



Takoma Park Letterhead

May 2, 2018

Dear Mayor Stewart and Council Members:

We are writing to follow up on our letter to you of April 25, 2018. We have not received responses from you to specific requests we made in our letter, and thus we raise them again here and ask for a written response. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss our concerns.

In our April 25 letter, we informed you of the results of our attempted negotiations with Neighborhood Development Co. (NDC) and described some of our most significant concerns with respect to the Junction development. We also asked you to take some important procedural steps to ensure that the process for reviewing the proposed development (a) is fair and even-handed; (b) adheres to the legally binding commitments the City made in the Development Agreement with NDC and the Council’s resolution of October 25, 2017; (c) allows for adequate public disclosure of relevant information before a decision is made by the Council and (d) follows a sequence, with respect to the Junction development and traffic changes to the Junction area, that avoids adversely affecting the Co-op, by first having in place the necessary and adequately funded roadway changes.

As you know, the Co-op’s principal goals throughout the Junction development process have been to ensure that our basic operational needs are met, to wit:

 
  1. the need for safe and efficient delivery of the Co-op’s merchandise;
  2. the need for replacement of the customer parking that will be lost when the site is redeveloped;
  3. the need for safe and efficient trash and recyclable materials storage and removal; and
  4. the need to ensure business continuity during construction.

In relation to these needs, we asked you to respond to the following specific requests:

First, we asked you to take a more active role to ensure that our concerns are resolved before making a decision on the proposed development. As we explained in detail, NDC remains unwilling to offer us reasonable accommodation of these four basic operational needs. For instance, NDC would exclude small trucks from the proposed lay-by, and makes no provision for trash storage or pick-up – all essential Co-op operations. Thus, intervention by the City is necessary to ensure that the proposed development allows the continued operation of the Co-op as a recognized, highly valuable public amenity.

Second, we requested the establishment of a schedule and procedures that will allow for meaningful review and comment on information that has yet to be provided to the Co-op and other members of the public. This information includes (a) the data and analyses underlying the two summary traffic studies that were presented at last Monday night’s Council meeting, and (b) the data and analysis underlying the City’s Racial Equity Impact statement that the proposed development will not “disproportionately impact any particular group.”

We hereby renew our request for the following procedural measures, and ask for a written commitment and schedule for their implementation:

  1. Post the data, methodology and analysis for the Racial Equity Impact analysis for the Junction on the City’s website. Only a single conclusory sentence has been provided so far. This issue concerns the Co-op, in part because a significant percentage of our workforce includes people of color.
  2. Post the complete data and analyses for both traffic studies on the City’s website.
  3. Once the racial and traffic data and analyses are posted, set a schedule that postpones any vote on the proposed development until the following steps have been taken:
    1. A three-week period for review by the public and City staff (three weeks is the minimum amount of time, in our experience, that is needed for professional review of these documents and is what the SHA expects).
    2. Following the three-week period for review, the Council should hold at least two more work sessions and an open house on the traffic issue. Topics of discussion should include the effects of the proposed modifications on the Co-op and other businesses and residences in the Junction.
  4. The City should also make its own analysis of the traffic issues available for public review and comment (in addition to the consultants’ analyses).
  5. If the City decides to make any changes to local roads/seek State approval for changes to State highways, the City should make approval of the development contingent upon those road and/or highway approvals.
  6. The City should postpone commencement of construction on any new development until any needed changes to local roads or State highways have been completed.

Finally, before voting on the proposed development, the City should provide the public with a written assessment comparing the proposed development against the series of pre-conditions in the Development Agreement and its October 2017 resolution.

We are extremely concerned that the City has now scheduled a tentative vote on the proposed development for May 23, before publishing – or itself considering -- the significant amount of relevant information described above. Nor has the City conducted a systematic assessment of the proposed development against the set of sensible pre-conditions in the Development Agreement and the October 2017 resolution, which have not been met by NDC. Under the circumstances, it would be unwise and unfair to all parties for the City to proceed with approval of the development as currently proposed.

Kindly respond to us by May 9, 2018. The Co-op and its thousands of members await your response with great interest and concern.

Sincerely,

Rachel Hardwick
President, Board of Representatives

cc: S. Ludlow



Takoma Park Letterhead

April 25, 2018

Mayor Kate Stewart
Takoma Park City Council Members
7500 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912


RE: Takoma Junction Redevelopment Proposal


Dear Mayor Stewart and Council Members:

Thank you for this opportunity to submit testimony on behalf of the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op, a grocery store with nearly 10,000 household member-owners, regarding redevelopment of the City’s parking lot in the Takoma Junction proposed by the Neighborhood Development Company (“NDC”). As you know, we have testified before the Council on many occasions over the past several years regarding our concerns about the proposed development. Throughout this process, the Co-op has consistently raised the following issues in connection with the proposed NDC development at Takoma Junction:

(1) the need for safe and efficient delivery of the Co-op’s products;
(2) the need for replacement of the customer parking that will be lost when this site is redeveloped;
(3) the need for safe and efficient trash and recyclable materials storage and removal; and
(4) the need to ensure business continuity during construction.


The Board has been clear that “reasonable accommodation” of the Co-op, as set forth in the City’s Development Agreement with NDC, must address these needs.

This particular testimony has three purposes...


Read the full letter here: 2018-04-25coopLetterToCity.pdf



Takoma Park Letterhead

April 11, 2018

Mayor Kate Stewart
Takoma Park City Council Members
7500 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912


RE: Takoma Junction Redevelopment
Takoma Park Silver Spring Food Co-op Testimony
Responding To NDC Presentation On April 11, 2018


Dear Mayor Stewart and Council Members:

On behalf of the TP-SS Food Co-op, I want to thank you for the opportunity to present the Coop’s comments in response to the site plan (“Plan”) presented to the Mayor and Council on April 4, 2018.

The Co-op has consistently raised the following issues in connection with this project:


(1) the need for safe and efficient delivery of its products;
(2) the need for replacement of the customer parking that will be lost when this site is redeveloped;
(3) as the project has evolved without it, the need for safe and efficient trash and recyclable materials removal; and
(4) the need to ensure business continuity during construction.


The plan that was presented on April 4 does not solve any of these issues, and in fact exacerbates some of them in ways not reflected in prior concepts...


Read the full letter here: 2018-04-11coopLetterToCity.pdf




Synopsis:
Thanks for coming out to Council meetings on April 4 and April 11 to show support for responsible development at the Junction.
Redevelopment at the Junction is a 99-year decision.
There are still issues (trash/recycling, deliveries, and others) to be addressed.
Working together, we can get it right for everyone: the Co-op, the Junction, the entire community.
Please come out to Council meetings and events (see below) to make your thoughts known.

Dear Members and Shoppers,
Thank you very much for your continued support. We appreciate the testimony offered by Co-op members and shoppers at the April 11 City Council meeting. As we testified to the Council (beginning at 48:30 minutes into the meeting), the Co-op has serious concerns about the adequacy of the lay-by for Co-op deliveries, the trash/garbage/recycling process, parking, traffic flow and safety, and other issues that may hinder our continued operation at the Junction. We are also concerned that the traffic safety studies – by the developer, the City, and the State Highway Administration – have not been released yet, even though the development’s impact on traffic congestion and safety is an all-important question.

The Council will be addressing these issues and others during weekly meetings through at least mid-May. Please continue to support us in these ways:
  • Discuss your concerns about this project with your friends and neighbors and elected representatives. (Scroll down for Council contact information).
  • Come to weekly Council meetings: every Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center (except for April 25 meeting that starts at 6:30). Voice your concerns during the public comment period at the start of each meeting. Listen to Council members discuss specific aspects of the development during the work-session part of the meeting. (Scroll down for more information about focus of each weekly work-session in April and May.)
  • Attend the “pop-up” demonstration of the proposed development from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday April 22 at the Junction. Ask questions and express your concerns.
  • Email the Mayor and your Council representative regarding your concerns and suggestions. (If you testify in person, follow up with an e-mail too.)
  • Come to the Co-op Membership Meeting April 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Historic Takoma for more discussion of our concerns and next steps.

Through the work of our committed members and community supporters, we can work together to make any development at the Junction function for the Co-op, the Junction, and our entire Takoma Park community.

Sincerely,
TPSS Co-op Board of Representatives

Current Takoma Junction events from the City of Takoma Park e-News: Week of April 12 - 19, 2018

Takoma Junction – Public Space and Sustainability, Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium: This Council Work Session discussion will focus on the exterior design of the building, its “massing” or shape and the space it occupies, and its placement on the property. Specific discussion points include architectural features such as the roofline, windows and entrances, decorative elements, and building materials. The set-back of the building from Carroll Avenue will also be considered.

Takoma Junction – “Pop-Up,” Sunday, April 22, at 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., between Healy Surgeons (7211 Carroll Avenue) and Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op (201 Ethan Allen Avenue): Walk the site and get a sense of where the building may be located; see where you might be able to sit outdoors and enjoy a cup of coffee or a conversation with your neighbor; check out the location of the proposed lay-by; and find out how you could get to the underground parking area.

Takoma Junction – Traffic & Circulation, Wednesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m., Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium: This Council Work Session discussion will focus on vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns and the potential impact of the project on existing traffic conditions. Specific discussion points include vehicular access to/from the site, pedestrian pathways, on-site parking facilities, and operational issues such as the delivery of goods and trash removal. Options for the mitigation of current traffic and pedestrian safety concerns identified during the City’s traffic study will be discussed.

Takoma Junction – Discussion of Draft Resolution, Wednesday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m., Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium: During this final Work Session discussion, the City Council will focus on the site plan in general and develop proposed language to be included in the resolution scheduled for the following week.

Takoma Junction – (Tentative) Adoption of Resolution, Wednesday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m., Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium: The Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on a resolution regarding the site plan.

If you would like to express your views to the Mayor and Council members, their emails are below.
Cindy Dyballa Councilmember, Ward 2 CindyD@takomaparkmd.gov 240-320-6494
Kacy Kostiuk Councilmember, Ward 3 KacyK@takomaparkmd.gov 240-204-4912
Peter Kovar Councilmember, Ward 1 PeterK@takomaparkmd.gov 240-319-6281
Terry J. Seamens Councilmember, Ward 4 TerryS@takomaparkmd.gov 301-565-0190
Talisha Searcy Councilmember, Ward 6 TalishaS@takomaparkmd.gov 202-339-7914
Jarrett Smith Councilmember, Ward 5 JarrettS@takomaparkmd.gov 301-960-7462
Kate Stewart Mayor KateS@takomaparkmd.gov 240-338-9333

Click here to view the Co-op Final Testimony letter given to the Council on 2018-04-11




NEW JUNCTION DEVELOPMENT PLAN
RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT CO-OP SURVIVAL


You can see the slide presentation for the Site Plan for development of Takoma Junction here on the Takoma Park website. The video of the presentation to the City Council is posted here. The Mayor’s comments on the plan start at 1:37:30 into the meeting, and the developer’s presentation begins at about 1:46.

This new plan continues to raise concerns about these key issues:

  • Accommodation of delivery trucks
  • Traffic congestion and safety
  • Access to parking
  • Trash storage and pickup
  • Business continuity during construction

WE NEED YOUR HELP!
PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT BY ATTENDING:

  • Open House at City Hall Saturday, April 7, 2 to 5 p.m.
    Azalea Room, Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave
    Ask questions about NDC’s development proposal
  • Site Plan Demonstration “Pop-up” at the Junction April 22,
    11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    See the proposed development layout.
  • City Council meetings on the development proposal –
    • April 11 – Building design and placement on property
    • April 18 – Public space and sustainability features
    • April 25 – Traffic and circulation (start time 6:30 p.m.)
    • May 2 – Discussion of draft resolution
    • May 9 – TENTATIVE FINAL VOTE
  • Co-op membership meeting April 29, 2 to 4 p.m.
    at Historic Takoma, 7328 Carroll Avenue

WATCH YOUR E-MAIL AND CO-OP WEBSITE FOR UPDATES.
TO SIGN UP FOR CO-OP ACTION ALERTS, VISIT OUR CONTACT PAGE.





In 2016, the City of Takoma Park contracted with a private developer, Neighborhood Development Co. (NDC), to plan a new commercial development on the City-owned lot next to the Co-op. The proposed development could have a significant effect on the Co-op, because we now rent a portion of the lot from the City for several key parts of our operation: trash and recycling storage and pick-up, deliveries of Co-op merchandise, and overflow customer parking. NDC’s “Concept Plan,” presented to the City Council in September 2017, shows that NDC intends to build structures on almost the entire commercially usable area of the City lot, thereby substantially reducing and changing the Co-op’s use of the lot.

On April 4, NDC is scheduled to present to the City Council a revised and more detailed plan for the City-owned lot. The City Council plans to take several weeks to review the plan, culminating in a vote -- now scheduled for May 9 -- on whether the proposed development should go forward. This will be a key decision – after the May vote, the City Council is not scheduled to take any additional action to modify the proposal, and it will go into a final review process by county and state agencies.

The Co-op Board and staff will be reviewing NDC’s revised plan and sharing our evaluation and concerns with our members and the Mayor and Council. We urge our members and customers to monitor this site, as well as the City Takoma Junction site, and stay informed about the plan and the Co-op’s evaluation. We appreciate the support we have received from our members during the development process so far, and look forward to your continued support as we take these next steps.

More information about the history of the Takoma Junction redevelopment process, our concerns, and the review process, is below.

The Proposed Takoma Junction Development. In 2016, the City contracted with NDC to have NDC plan a new commercial development on the City-owned lot next to the Co-op. The proposed development poses a major concern to the Co-op because we now rent the paved, flat portion of the lot from the City for several key parts of our operation: trash and recycling storage and pick-up, deliveries of Co-op merchandise, and overflow customer parking.

In the Takoma Junction Development Agreement, the City and NDC made a commitment that NDC’s proposed development will reasonably accommodate the Co-op’s need for deliveries, parking, and continued operation during construction. But NDC’s “Concept Plan shows that NDC intends to build structures on almost the entire flat area of the City lot, thereby substantially reducing and changing the Co-op’s use of the lot. (NDC has said that they were not going to develop the rest of the lot, a steep wooded hillside.)

Our Concerns. We are not opposed to appropriately scaled development of Takoma Junction. However, as we testified to the City Council on December 13, 2017 (minute 23:05), NDC’s most recent proposal raises serious questions about whether the proposed development adequately accommodates our deliveries and trash pick-up, protects public safety, and allows access to the Co-op during construction.


  • We are concerned that the proposed development will impede the regular deliveries and trash and recycling pick-up that are essential to our operation. As a substitute for the current loading area, NDC proposes a “lay-by” (a shallow cut-out driveway along State Route 410 in front of the new building) for all truck deliveries and pick-ups -- including large 18-wheeler semi tractor-trailers, smaller box trucks, and trash and recycling trucks. The proposed lay-by, which would serve not only the Co-op but all businesses in the development, can accommodate only one large truck at a time; this is not sufficient to accommodate even the Co-op’s multiple deliveries and trash pick-ups that occur each day between 5:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and that may take as much as an hour per truck.

  • We are also concerned about the development’s impact on public safety for our shoppers and neighbors. Semi drivers have told us that if the lay-by is occupied, they would be forced to park on State Route 410 if they have the time to wait for the first truck to leave. Takoma Park Fire Chief Tom Musgrove said at a July 2016 City Council meeting (minute 55:25) that “he is concerned with pedestrian safety at the sidewalk if the trucks load and unload from a pull-in at the front of the building. The firehouse is constantly blocked while trying to exit. With tractor trailers, the fire trucks will not be able to exit.”

    Some have suggested that we relocate deliveries onto our parking lot along Sycamore Avenue. However, the early delivery hours, diesel fumes and noise make this suggestion a poor choice for the quality of life of the people who live in those homes.

  • The Co-op needs parking spaces to supplement its relatively small Sycamore Avenue parking lot. But we are concerned that the large underground parking garage proposed by NDC will be expensive for our employees and members. And a large volume of traffic in and out of the garage will add to the traffic congestion that already is a problem at the Junction.

  • Finally, we are concerned that construction on the City-owned lot – which is scheduled to take over a year -- will severely impact our operations. During that period, it is unclear where trucks can make deliveries or pick up trash and recycling. Additionally, with construction on the city lot, shoppers will have limited street options for parking when the Sycamore Avenue lot is full. The Co-op risks losing a significant number of customers during that period.


Concerns Raised by Co-op Members and City Council. In the fall of 2017, many Co-op members testified before the City Council about the proposed development’s potential adverse impacts on the Co-op. City Council members also raised concerns about the “workability” of the proposal for Co-op deliveries and trash pick-up. The Council adopted a resolution instructing NDC to address those and other issues in their more detailed Site Plan.

Next Steps by NDC and the City. NDC plans to submit a Draft Site Plan/Preliminary Site Plan to the City Council in April. Beginning April 4, the City Council is scheduled to discuss the Site Plans at its meetings, and will take public comments. (The City’s schedule for reviewing the NDC development is posted on its rolling agenda. Note that City residents can subscribe and be notified of any changes to the City Council’s review schedule.) The City also maintains a Takoma Junction Redevelopment webpage.

The City Council currently plans to vote on whether to accept the Site Plan and approve the proposed development on May 9, 2018. This will be a key decision – after the May vote, the City Council will not take any additional action to modify the proposal, and it will go into a final review process by county and state agencies.

Next Steps by the Co-op. The Co-op will carefully review the Site Plan and share our evaluation and concerns through this website and messages to our members. We appreciate the support we have received from our members and the community for our concerns about the proposed development, and we hope we can count on you for further support if and when it is needed.

Resources.

In 2013, TPSS Co-op proposed to expand its operation on the City-owned lot. That proposal, and subsequent correspondence with the City, can be found here.