Takoma Park and developers deadlocked

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As the extension for the letter of intent between the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op and developer NDC wind downs once again, progress seems to be halted.

On Dec. 7, the Takoma Park City Council granted a 30-day extension for the Co-op and NDC to come up with a letter of intent for the next steps in the process but not without strain on many involved.

“I have to say, as council member [Rizzy] Qureshi said, there were moments in the last three days where I said, ‘No, we’re not going to do the 30-day extension,’” said Mayor Kate Stewart at the Dec. 7 council meeting.

Should the 30-day deadline pass with no letter of intent presented, the city could tell the developer to look for a new tenant or pull out and pay the developer, according to Expansion Project Manager for the Co-op Marilyn Berger.

“The same issues that have kept us from signing the LOI have not been resolved yet,” said Berger last week.

Communication between the Co-op and NDC has been ongoing, with a specialized committee that helps with community outreach for the Takoma Junction Redevelopment project, the Takoma Junction Community Consultation Process Advisory Committee, according to the city’s website.

At the Dec. 7 City Council meeting, residents expressed a range of emotion, from anger to confusion, about what may happen to the co-op; however, the City Council reassured residents that they want to keep the Co-op in Takoma Park and have no intention of moving it elsewhere in their Dec. 7 meeting.

In the committee’s last meeting on Dec. 14, with both committee members and NDC staff present, the conversation was mainly centered on how to get more input from the residents on the upcoming plans, according to the committee’s meeting minutes.

Proposed plans to increase community input on the project include future meetings in February and March, as well as a different location in addition to the Takoma Park Community Center.

The City Council will convene for a meeting after the winter recess on Jan. 11, where the result of the 30-day extension could be reviewed.

“It has been frustrating; it’s been a lot of work. Sometimes when people don’t see eye-to-eye, it’s frustrating, and I do share that,” said Adrian Washington, the CEO of NDC, to members of the Co-Op at the Dec. 7 meeting as he was presenting a rough plan of possible development.



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