I love this new color of fire hydrants in the Woodley Gardens area.
>Monday morning, I got an email from a friend asking about whether the City was planning to rezone the Woodley Gardens shopping center — the one on Nelson Street with local landmarks Carmen’s and the Hard Times Cafe, among other neighborhood businesses. They’d heard that this would be discussed at Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting. I checked the agenda and found nothing on that subject.
But plans were in the offing. If you read the Gazette, you know that a number of residents came to Citizens Forum that night and spoke up about the idea of rezoning that shopping center from its current “C-1″ zone (which means it is commercial) to a possible mixed-use zone that will be called “MXNC”:
Residents of Woodley Gardens attended Monday night’s council meeting in droves to oppose what they thought was a decision to rezone their neighborhood shopping center on Nelson Street. . . . However, council members responded that while they had not yet voted on the issue, they support designating the shopping center as mixed-use commercial (MXC), which would allow for the same height and density that now exists, but with differing setbacks. . . .”That to me is a dead issue,” Councilman John B. Britton said Monday. “MXNC was already decided among my colleagues that that was not going to work.”
This gathering was evidently driven by an item that had appeared in the draft new zoning ordinance that the RORZOR committee developed.
Watching the video of the proceedings, the pleas from local residents as well as business owners were heartfelt, well-reasoned, and persuasive. The only problem is that the Mayor and Council had already heard about the issue and were definitely inclined to go along with the residents on this one. Their Civic Association president, Jim Reschovksy, had already testified to the Mayor and Council on the subject and won their hearts (and minds).
The Mayor and Council are charged with reviewing, amending, and finally adopting the new zoning ordinance. It is their responsibility, as the ones who are politically accountable, and they are going through the massive document line by line. This is taking time. In the meantime, they have made no decisions. (They are meeting in a worksession tonight to discuss the draft, and will devote the September 22 meeting to further discussion. They hope to adopt the ordinance on October 6. Furthermore, they may choose to reopen the public record on the ordinance — stay tuned.)
The group who testified appeared to have been organized and requested to attend — a flyer had been circulated and many speakers said they had just heard about the issue a couple of weeks earlier. Their talking points were all very similar. The whole thing appeared designed to convey a groundswell of support — which there was. But, sadly, the energy of this group appeared to have been activated without reason.
Says the Gazette: “‘Mr. Reschovsky represented your view well,’ [Mayor Susan] Hoffmann told the audience. ‘When [he] did, it certainly sealed the deal for me and I’m not surprised that the community prefers to keep the character of the shopping center.’”
My fear is that the citizens who took the time to come to City Hall and testify may now feel as if they were brought under false pretenses. The organizers, presumably, could have checked on the status of Woodley Gardens Shopping Center with a quick phone call and would have found that perhaps other important issues were more worthy of their time. This one already had been handled.
I hope that, next time there is an issue that demands community input and about which residents’ good energies are needed, that they are still willing to step forward as they did Monday night.
What do you think?
Still at Woodley Gardens Park, perched high up atop this nifty little stone column, someone has set a few puffy little puff balls. They seem so perky.
I had to climb up to get this one! The things I do.
Having found myself at Woodley Gardens Park the other day, I thought it only fitting to test out my new camera.
>Helen Triolo, who maintains the very excellent blog Rockville Living, passed the following along to a Woodley Gardens email list recently, and I wanted to share it more broadly in case anyone is interested:
Mike Critzer, Rockville’s Parks Services Manager, is beginning the design process for new playground equipment at Woodley Gardens Park (the City received a state grant to do this). He’s looking for input from anyone who uses the park and has an opinion about what kind of equipment they’d like to see there. If you’re interested in discussing this with him and/or looking at the catalog of different options, contact him at email@example.com or by phone at 240-
314-8703. He’ll be holding a meeting at the park in the near future, so let him know what times would work for you if you’re interested in attending.
I saw my friend Chad on the way to the annual Woodley Gardens plant sale and I asked if he wouldn’t mind taking along my camera and snapping a few photos. He came back with this doozy. I love it!