New Metro development proposal – 255 units

Takoma Metro parking lot and bus lane.

A 255-unit, five story residential building may be built on what is now the Takoma Metro station parking lot.

That is what Metro executives told three local Takoma Park and Takoma DC representatives Friday, May 31, according to a June 7 joint letter to constituents.

The letter says WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) is working with developer EYA (Eakin/Youngentob), again. Over a decade ago EYA proposed a row-house development that would have covered most of what is now green-space on the grounds east of the Metro station entrance.

Takoma Metro parking lot.

Takoma Metro parking lot.

Local residents, especially those across the street in Takoma Park, strongly objected to the plan on many grounds, including the inclusion of 2-car garages in the plan, the potential impact on local traffic, and the loss of green space. The objections, presented by various ad hoc committees and local politicians, stalled progress, but in the end were largely unheeded. However the project lost momentum and stalled in the bad economy of the last 5 years.

The proposed five-story building plan includes ground-level parking for transit users and a level of parking for residents with three stories of one- and two-bedroom
apartments above the parking, says the letter. There would be a step-back of the upper levels on the Eastern Avenue side to three stories.

Partial victory

The building would replace the current paved parking lot. This, says the letter, “preserves for the immediate future much of the existing park.”

The present set of bus bays would remain, also. A bus bay would be added along with three bus layover spaces. These would be built on what is now green space.

WMATA  would also construct a bicycle-parking structure on the station grounds and add connections to the Metropolitan Branch Trail,

“The revised design is at least a partial victory for community members,” say letter co-signersTakoma Park councilmember Seth Grimes and Washington, DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Sara Green and Faith Wheeler.

Takoma Metro green space.

Takoma Metro green space.

But , they say, 255 residences are more than twice the 80 townhouses previously proposed. Only 65-95 units are called for in the District of Columbia’s Small Area Plan for the site, they say.

This would be the largest project by far in the area around the station. The planned 255 units with nearly 200 residential parking spaces “would have a significant Takoma-area impact that must be thoroughly analyzed,” the letter says.

Votes, hearings, comments

The first WMATA board vote on the project is in late July. If passed, a public hearing would be scheduled for September. The project needs approval from DC’s Zoning Commission as a Planned Unit Development. Public comment is taken throughout the process.

The letter notes that plans include a station-planning study, and make future transit services possible at the site. However, it calls for “a comprehensive traffic study which would thoroughly analyze this project’s likely impacts on vehicular traffic and pedestrian safety” to be completed prior to the WMATA public hearing.

“We think that the community needs more time to analyze the proposal and will ask to modify the timetable,” the letter says.

The representatives told their constituents they are working to gather more information, which they will share via email and website. They have formed a TakomaMetro email list, which can be joined at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TakomaMetro/ or by sending a message to TakomaMetrosubscribe@yahoogroups.com