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Some Residents Gather to Show Support of Cafritz, Whole Foods Development

With growing anticipation surrounding a possible zoning change, one group of residents from Riverdale Park, University Park and Calvert Hills is gathering to show their support of the proposed Whole Foods and a multi-use development.

A group of residents from Calvert Hills, University Park and Riverdale Park are gathering to show their support of a

Cynthia Finley, of Calvert Hills in College Park, has drafted a letter in support of the project that would bring retail and at least 900 housing units to a 38-acre property off Baltimore Avenue in Riverdale Park.

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"I went to the presentation in University Park and saw the people there seemed against the project," she said. "They were organized, had passed out fliers and came early and took all the numbers to speak."

After monitoring the discussions on her listserv, Finley decided there were others in support of the as well, so she decided to draft a letter of support.

Now she is looking for residents to sign the letter, although she has about 75 supporters already.

Finley said although they are in support of the project, they'd like the developers to cooperate with residents to build something that residents will use.

"I think everyone in support would like to see a Whole Foods there," she said, but she wants the developers to consider infrastructure changes like the traffic lane designations and traffic lights for Route 1.

"There's a lot of concern about stormwater runoff, too," Finley said, adding that to a list of items developers should address.

As for the residential part of the development, or phase 2 of the project that has currently been left undefined, she said the area is in need of a variety of living options.

"It's hard to know what will be there," Finley said, "but single-family homes are not the most sustainable way to live, especially near this highly transportation-oriented area."

Personally, Finley doesn't currently shop at Whole Foods, but said she would if it were walkable from her home, but she said as a group many of the letter's supporter have said they drive to Silver Spring to shop at the store.

To learn more about the letter or to sign the letter in support, please send your name and street address to Finley at cynthia.a.finley@gmail.com.

A copy of the letter is attached to this post.

Joe Kelly August 11, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Let me start by saying that I completely support Ms. Finley's right to produce this letter and make it available to others who feel the same. I think it is wonderful that this particular project has spurred such interest in the community. It is a great thing for citizens to educate themselves, form opinions and take a public stance for what they believe. Without being overly dramatic, this is the bedrock upon which our democracy rests. I encourage you all to not let your involvement end with this issue. However (and, yes, I know you knew that was coming), my concern with granting the rezoning request is that the project has not been fully thought out, at least what has been made public. Once granted, the rezoning cannot be overturned if things do not proceed to everyone's satisfaction. We would then be in the position of making the best of a bad situation. At present, we do not have a bad situation, merely an unfortunate one for some of the parties involved. It is worth the community's effort to explore other uses for the land or demand a much more comprehensive publicly presented design before supporting the requested rezoning. Merely requesting good faith efforts by other parties with widely divergent interests is ineffective at best, and possibly, naive at worst. Remember-- "We the people" may not own that land, but we DO own these towns.
Kirk Marchand August 13, 2011 at 03:09 PM
I am in total support of having a Whole Foods in our area. I really don't care what else has to be done to make it accessible and traffic friendly, I would just like it there and open as soon as possible. The fact that its so close to the Metro immediately alleviates the traffic concerns, maybe a direct road access to Kenilworth should be considered. With all the research development east of route 1, it wouild make sense for a traffic option that would let those people access Whole Foods on their way home without getting on Route 1. Whatever, just get started on it! Kirk
Michael Bagley August 13, 2011 at 06:15 PM
I'm for the whole foods and shopping options but I agree that phase 2 needs more fleshing out. Another 900 units seems excessive with all of the housing going in north and south on RT1. Find a better way to maximize profits without overcrowding

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