Members Present: Anderson, Morrison, Abrams, Ceasar, Fryer, Gabaree, Hall, Kramer, Lynne, Mara, Moy, Murphy, Pelz, Sheard, Statland, Tretter. Members Absent: Bushwick-Malloy, Charles, D'Arruda, Dreyfuss, Dwyer, Eisenstadt, Glynn, Greenberg, Grossman, Guinan, Hokanson, Horowitz, Levin, Petersen, Rubin, Scaggs, Wilson. Also Present: Steven Silverman, Montgomery County Council Member.
Co-Chairman Morrison chaired the meeting.
Major Items Discussed:
Transportation and Public Safety -- Gabaree reported on Al Genetti's response to the issues raised in the walking tour of the Wheaton Urban District on December 18, 2000 and passed out the memorandum prepared by Mr. Genetti identifying the issues and recommending actions to be taken including delegation to County staff and recommendations to the State Highway Administration. He reported that the subcommittee is exploring the issue of shuttle bus service in Wheaton. The subcommittee is studying other shuttle bus systems in the area. The subcommittee will prepare a draft letter notifying the State of the County's intent to apply for funds for the shuttle bus system so they can begin working with the subcommittee on the process. The filing date for applying for the funds is some time during the summer.
Marketing and Business Development and Executive Committee -- Statland presented the sample web page that was developed based on the subcommittee's discussion at its last meeting. Committee members discussed suggested modifications on links and additional items which could be included on the home page. Steering Committee members were invited to submit any ideas or suggestions in writing.
Outreach and Community Development -- Fryer reported that the "Adopt-a-Stop" program that the Steering Committee previously approved was no longer offered by WMATA. The subcommittee has invited a representative of WMATA to attend their meeting to discuss the program as it now exists and will draft a letter requesting approval to proceed under the program now in effect. Hall reported that he is compiling a list of all publications in the Wheaton area. He invited Committee members to submit to him the names and telephone numbers of anyone involved in publishing community newsletters, church bulletins, etc. Fryer reported that the article written by Beth Hedgepeth would appear in the Montgomery Extra section of the Washington Post on Thursday, January 22, 2001.
Urban Design and Image -- Tretter reported that the subcommittee is exploring methods of evaluating the information presented in the charrette materials. The subcommittee has invited M-NCPPC to join them and work on a CAD design for a working model and to make a matrix of the charrette which will facilitate the subcommittee's ability to compare, eliminate, add and change elements of the scenarios contained in the charrette materials.
Housing and Education -- Wrenn reported that the subcommittee had two guest speakers at its last meeting. Sally Roman, a housing expert from Park and Planning, presented an overview of existing conditions and a "snapshot" comparing the housing situation throughout the County. Stephanie Killian from DHCA presented an overview on the County's housing policy and code enforcement. Pelz reported that the Newport School was relocating and that the County would be taking that property back for use as a middle school. Wheaton has been without a middle school for some time and the project should be completed in 2002. Councilmember Silverman reported that the
| County also plans to retrieve Belt Junior High to relieve overcrowding at Parkland Middle School. He also reported that the County Executive has released its first housing policy for Montgomery County since 1981. In addition to renovation and rehabilitation of existing units, the policy contains an express intent to create 1,000 new units per year including senior housing, handicapped accessible housing, affordable housing, and MPDUs. The location of new housing in the County will be market driven but the Council will explore regulatory incentives for residential revitalization and development. Wrenn reported that the subcommittee discussed extension of the enterprise zone benefit for property tax abatement offered to commercial developers to residential developers.
The Steering Committee approved the drafting of the letter to the State Highway Administration informing them of the intent to apply for funds for developing shuttle bus service in Wheaton.
Fryer invited members of the Housing and Education Subcommittee to the Allied Civic meeting scheduled for January 22, 2001 the Margaret Schweihaut Community Center in Silver Spring at 7:00. The focus of the meeting is "Education and the Montgomery County Public School System -- Looming Trends and How the Proposed School Budget Proposes to Address the Challenges."
The Wheaton Citizens Coalition Steering Committee will meet on January 24, 2001 at 7:30 at the Mid-County Services Center, 2424 Reedie Drive. The meeting will be the first of the year. There will be some discussion of the grant for community outreach activities such as setting up a web page, etc.
The Police have initiated a monthly meeting to be held at varying locations in Wheaton which would afford Wheaton residents and business operators an opportunity to discuss problems in the area. The first meeting was held at El Boqueron. Kramer will inform the committee of the next scheduled meeting.
Statland reported that the result of the massage parlor sting were $500 fines for the defendants. He reported that a lawsuit has been filed which hopefully will result in forcing the owners of those businesses to keep names and addresses of clients and the licensing of employees subject to police inquiry at any time. He also reported that Kristen Bender is leaving the Public Defender's Office to take a consulting position in Russia.
Abrams suggested that the Steering Committee invite Sara Taylor of the Montgomery County Gazette to attend WRSC meetings. Fryer mentioned that she has, in fact, invited her to attend. Metz reported that Taylor participated in the bus tour of Downtown Wheaton to get a better idea of what is going on. It was suggested that someone be assigned to be the spokesperson to the media and that talking points be drawn up for consistency. Hall will make a presentation on how to deal with the media and keep them on target at the next regularly scheduled WRSC meeting.
Morrison mentioned that the Steering Committee has been in existence for six months and that while there have been no major changes in Wheaton, a lot of groundwork has been done. He expressed the need to urge some of the members that do not attend Steering Committee meetings regularly to become more active and stressed the need for more active participation on subcommittees. It was suggested that the Executive Committee write the inactive members to urge their participation and request their input.
The public presentation of the Main Street Charette report is scheduled for February 22, 2001 at 6:30 in the Equitable Bank Boardroom on the 7th Floor, 11501 Georgia Avenue, Wheaton, Maryland.