This article contains my personal opinion . . . so be warned!>
A friend has asked me to pass on the word that tomorrow night, the Planning Commission is set to consider (and likely grant the application for) a new affordable housing development that has been in the works for at least two years: Beall’s Grant II, which would be across Washington Street from the “pink bank,” at the beginning of Beall Ave’s residential stretch.
Montgomery Housing Partnership is behind the application.
Fellow Rockville Blogger Helen Triolo described the project back in April this way:
Rockville leads the way with affordable workforce housing once more with a new project in the works: Beall’s Grant II (PDF link). Undertaken by Montgomery Housing Partnership, this project will provide 109 units of mixed income rental housing in downtown Rockville, from studios to three-bedroom apartments, with a parking garage, on the site where the current Beall’s Grant apartments are, and extending out to Beall Avenue. It appears to be an ideal location: within walking distance of the metro, Giant, SuperFresh (when it opens), the post office, and all the other stores and businesses in downtown Rockville. Involving the renovation of an existing building and incorporating a wealth of green features, I imagine this is just the sort of affordable housing project Ike Leggett wants to promote throughout the county.
I agree and think it is a super addition to the neighborhood I call home. I am told the West End Civic Association and the Town Center Action Team support the enterprise.
Here’s what the West End Civic Association says about the proposal:
Beall’s Grant was bought and renovated by the Montgomery Housing Partnership over ten years ago. In that time, they have been good neighbors who create no problems or disruptions from our special part of the city we love. Montgomery Housing Partnership has been a responsible partner, whose staff is commited to being responsive to any concerns we have ever raised. Questions regarding school numbers, parking spaces, and environmental impact have all been answered in a timely and thorough manner.
There is a flier circulating, attempting to galvanize opposition to the project and urging people to show up at tomorrow night’s Planning Commission meeting. The flier strikes an alarming tone: “Do you know? . . . This high density, low income rental property will be placed at West End’s gateway to our new Town Center, in a residential area already saturated with subsidized housing?” [UPDATE: Here is the flyer.]
I honestly don’t know where to start with a remark like that. I love my neighborhood because it is not a bunch of similar high-end dwelling pods but instead a mixed-income neighborhood that grew up over time. There is a woefully inadequate amount of affordable housing in Rockville. We should welcome a development that has bent over backwards to “fit in” and to take the lead on being “green” — not shut the door and tell the poor folks to go live elsewhere.
You can see I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet over this. I understand others disagree. That’s OK, feel free to let folks know how you feel in the comments section.
So . . . what do you think?