Residents Comment on Viva White Oak Plans (VIDEO)

We’re ready.

That’s the message from some residents in the White Oak community who are anticipating a redevelopment plan aimed to stimulate economic growth and a thriving community.

Dozens of residents gathered at the White Oak Community Recreation Center Tuesday evening to get a first look at the preliminary sketch plan for the Viva White Oak Project with developers from the Global LifeSci Development Corporation.

The Viva White Oak Project is a plan that aims to make the community an active place to live, work and play. The plan involves building new homes, adding amenities such as restaurants and stores while taking advantage of the Food and Drug Administration’s proximity and the relocation of Washington Adventist Hospital, to make White Oak a global innovation hub.

“I’m very excited about the project,” said Fatmata Barrie, a long time resident. “I hope and pray that it benefits all of us who already live here and hopefully it brings more economic benefit to the community.”

Barrie, however, expressed her concerns.

Plans for the project includes seven-million-square-feet of commercial development on 300-acres of land and 5,000 residential units.  Barrie wants to make sure there will be opportunities available for people who currently live in the community so they can benefit from the plan’s expected economic growth.

According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in the White Oak area is a little over $63,000 compared to the County’s overall median income of $99,435.

“My concern has always been the people within the community and the benefits we will be getting here,” she said.

Other concerns residents voiced at the meeting included traffic flow and highway accessibility, parking, education and sustainability issues.

“I want to see a real commitment to specific environmental goals that goes beyond the requirements,” Carole Ann Barth, Four Corners resident, said. “In this area we have some real water quality issues […] and with all the work that is going on here, White Oak, the BRT proposal, all of that is having a serious impact on these streams.”

Despite some opposition, other residents said they are excited that redevelopment is happening in the Eastern part of Montgomery County.

“I’m a cheerleader for it,” said Hillandale resident Marc Bloom. “Other parts of the County have completely transformed. Look at downtown Silver Spring and look at Rockville.”

“I think overall, this went well,” Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker said. “I think we could be more effective at receiving the feedback […] but overall, I think it went over well and people are pretty excited about it.”

Next, developers are planning to send a preliminary sketch plan to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission around Aug. 1 for approval.

For more information about this project, click here. 

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Mitti Hicks

About Mitti Hicks

Mitti Hicks is a multimedia journalist and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She is passionate about telling stories that impact our community and may be reached at MHicks@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter @mittimegan.

Comments

4 Responses to “Residents Comment on Viva White Oak Plans (VIDEO)”

  1. On July 19, 2017 at 8:21 am responded with... #

    Thank you for being the only media outlet to cover this important story. Appreciate you describing some of the concerns in addition to the cheerleading mentioned. 12 million square feet is way too much for the area that doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle that amount of development and is too far from metro. That’s more sf than Silver Spring and they have a metro station and other transportation facilities, not to mention many ways to navigate around the area. This is a closed in area, blocked by the fortress of FDA so only 2 ways to exit. The 2 roads that will be provided won’t do anything to help. If you end up living there, you will need to work somewhere there like FDA because you will not be able to get out in rush hour. You already can’t get out in evening rush hour.
    Your article should note that Mr. Bloom is the Executive Director for the hospital project there. So they have an interest in the project.

  2. On July 19, 2017 at 3:54 pm responded with... #

    We were out of town and therefore unable to attend this meeting. We’ve been in touch with Mr Hucker’s office regarding the use of our residential street as a thoroughfare to reach the FDA illegally. Unfortunately his office has yet to provide any real response. The traffic. The congestion. The speeding. The fumes. I sincerely hope residents were able to express their concerns.

    • On July 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm responded with... #

      Well the presenter made a special point of saying that no one complains about congestion from the FDA and Mr. Hucker was there and didn’t say anything. You might want to follow up with him again.

      • On July 20, 2017 at 8:10 pm responded with... #

        Thank you. A neighbor who previously complained to Mr Hucker in person said that he said the exact same thing to her. She reached out to the rest of us and our neighbors are sick of this. Apparently that’s there standard, and false, response.




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