LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Junction development without the Co-op?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR • SUSAN SCHREIBER

Is the city council laying the groundwork for the possibility of excluding the Coop from the proposed development at Takoma Junction? From the looks of things, yes.

During the comment period at the Council meeting Wednesday night, the Coop’s spokesperson Marilyn Berger reported that the reason the Coop and the Neighborhood Development Corporation have not reached an agreement is that NDC has not provided assurance that the Coop’s two basic requirements will be met, i.e., a loading dock for deliveries and the ability to stay open during the construction phase of the project. Apparently, NDC’s current recommendation is that delivery trucks park along Rte. 410!

At the meeting, Councilmembers then discussed how offering mediation services might advance an agreement between the Coop and NDC – is a grocery store’s need for a loading dock something that can be mediated?

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The TPSS Co-op in 2011.

It was also announced that a development agreement between the City and NDC was about to be posted on the City website. You can find it on the Takoma Junction Redevelopment page.

The agreement letter stipulates that if an agreement is not reached between the developer and the Coop, “The City can authorize … NDC to look for another primary tenant.” They are talking about our community-based grocery store, which brings large numbers of people to the Junction every week.

Imaginatively conceived, and with the expanded Coop at the heart of the project, the development of the city –owned parking lot can enliven the Junction area and contribute to the vitality of the community.

Timing is critical, with the development agreement on the agenda at next Wednesday’s council meeting (the 13th). People need to call and email their councilmembers to tell them no agreement between the City and NDC should be finalized unless the Coop’s basic requirements for a loading dock and the ability to continue operations during the construction phase are met! And if you’re not off on vacation, show up at the council meeting!

Susan Schreiber
Willow Ave.

5 Comments on "LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Junction development without the Co-op?"

  1. Why are the co-op supporters such alarmists? Everyone knows that city council will bend over backwards to accommodate the co-op.

  2. Randall Marks | July 12, 2016 at 12:22 am |

    Heresy alert: Not everyone in Takoma Park is a Co-op supporter. I have no problem with the Co-op being there. But I don’t shop there. And, even if I did, I would not want the Co-op or any other single interest to make City development (or any other) policy. I voted for a Mayor and a Ward 3 Council member and I want them, not the Co-op Board, to make the decisions. Would the Co-op Board want decisions over its operations made by some non-City entity?

  3. David Paris | July 12, 2016 at 7:37 am |

    Rather than bending over backwards, the council turned up its nose at an offer from the Coop that valued the Takoma Junction lot five times higher than the NDC valuation. Moreover, the city council is irresponsibly putting the coop in an unfair and vulnerable bargaining position that invites the developer to try to force the coop into shouldering an inappropriate portion of the cost of a needlessly expensive and complicated design needed to accommodate underground parking and other costly amenities piled on by the council. The coop is over a barrel, since it needs to expand onto the adjacent lot, while NDC can just walk away if it is unable to break the coop’s will. Additionally, NDC has always made it clear that they are quite capable of finding other tenants. The council must be aware of the asymmetrical bargaining position that they have created and, rhetoric notwithstanding, appears to be seeking to destabilize the coop.

  4. “break the coop’s will” – geez, and I thought that I employed hyperbolic rhetoric!

  5. Wm. Coulter | July 14, 2016 at 5:00 pm |

    I like the Co-op as much as the next TP resident, but didn’t they have the same opportunity to submit their own bid for development? And didn’t they present their proposal after the RFP deadline? Why should the Co-op get special treatment from the city government? It is, after all, a business entity (even though it has community “members”).

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