Updated: July 14, 2009
In December 2008, in response to widespread community opposition, the Mayor and Council declined to provide a letter of support to developer Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) for the Beall's Grant II project. This letter is required for MHP to obtain millions of dollars in project funding through Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Since that time, a West End Citizen's Association (WECA) Committee has been negotiating with MHP to try and reach a compromise on the project that would be acceptable to both parties.
On June 17th, 2009, after more than seven months of negotiations with MHP, the WECA BGII Committee unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Click to view the WECA MOU and Plan Drawings in their entirety. At the last minute, MHP attempted to add an addendum to the MOU which would allow them to walk away from the agreement for any number of reasons, including any further legal appeals. This addition was soundly rejected by the Commitee as outside of WECA's purview and a veiled attempt to strong-arm citizens from exercising their legal rights. As if this was not enough, MHP then scanned WECA's signed document, cut and pasted their language into the MOU, and emailed individuals throughout the community representing that an agreement had been reached. Click to view MHP's last-minute addendum.
On June 30, the WECA General Membership resoundingly voted 62 to 1 to approve the MOU proposed by the WECA Committee, to reject any ammendments added by MHP, and to condemn MHP's "cut and paste" job on the MOU. Although MHP agreed to each of the conditions in the MOU, they have refused to sign it without providing a reasonable explanantion.
This reluctance to commit to an agreement in writing would seem to suggest that MHP has no intention of sticking to their promises once their support letter is safely in hand.
MHP has since tried to circumvent the community and wrote a letter to the City asking for a letter of support from the Mayor and Council without WECA's support.
On July 13, 2009, WECA President, Susan Prince, spoke before the Mayor and Council, explaining the WECA vote and clearly stating that WECA will not support any proposal until MHP signs the MOU.
To date, the Mayor and Council have not placed consideration of a support letter on their meeting agenda.
Other Interesting Links:
Click here for detailed size, scope, density and mass information on the original Beall's Grant II project (and YES, it REALLY IS slightly larger than a football field!) Click here to see the latest MCPS student enrollment projections for Beall Elementary School (You will be distraught at how overcrowed our schools have become while City officials continue to approve development...) Click here for the letter read to the Mayor & Council on October 20th (after the big WECA meeting) Click here for the letter read to the Mayor & Council on November 24th (as MHP requested that a letter of support be placed on the December 15th agenda) Click here to view the archived Mayor & Council Meeting video -- select the November 24th meeting, and item #5 (Response to Citizen's Forum) and item #14 (Future Agendas) are of particular interest. Click here for an elevation schematic comparing proposed building to Snowden's Funeral Home and N. Adams Street homes. Click here to view photos of mold infestation at Bealls's Grant Annex while the developer still had residents living in the building. Click here to read about the October 16th WECA meeting, where residents overwhelmingly voted to rescind an earlier letter of support the Executive Board had written for this project.
The original proposal for Beall's Grant II called for the construction of a four and a half story, 109-unit, affordable rental-housing building in a residential neighborhood at the corner of Beall Avenue and North Washington Street, just between North Adams Street and the Snowden Funeral Home. This building will replace an existing 14-unit building, a surface parking lot and Kinship Park. view location...
Neighborhood residents oppose this project for a variety of legitimate concerns including:
- Increased traffic on Beall Avenue and other streets
- Overcrowding of area schools
- Massive size and scope of the project
- Concentration of Affordable Housing in the area
To learn more about these issues and citizen opposition to this project, start here...