20 Aug 2014
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South Silver Spring Residents Split on Park Development

The petition has about 200 signatures.

South Silver Spring Residents Split on Park Development

 

The Extra Space Self Storage in downtown, which is being considered for redevelopment, has become the point of contention for some South Silver Spring residents.

The one-story self-storage facility located at 8001 Newell Street sits between two condominiums—8045 Newell Street and Eastern Village Co-Housing located at 7983 Eastern Ave.

Recently, Comstock Homes, a Virginia-based development company, has expressed interest to Montgomery County Park and Planning and to the community about developing a mixed-used community apartment building. It would potentially house about 190 residents.

The talk of new development on the 1.2 acre Newell Street lot is receiving mixed reactions from neighbors.

Renee Tatusko has been a part of the Silver Spring neighborhood since the early '90s. In 2006, she decided to purchase her condo located at 8045 Newell Street. She was one of the first three residents to move in.

Before Tatusko moved she saw great potential for moving into the area. She works just a few blocks from her home at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which was one of the major reasons she moved in.

“I’m a downtown girl. I like restaurants, I like shops, I like entertainment and I didn’t like the idea of being way out in West Virginia or some place else. So I liked the downtown aspect of it all,” she said.

When she moved into the condo, she knew that development on the storage facility’s lot would occur, but was unsure until recently of what some possible options were. Tatusko says she is still a downtown lover but there are limits.

“We were all pretty much stunned to hear that another high-rise seven-story apartment building was going to be developed on what we considered a very small foot print of a piece of property,” she said.

Tatusko is concerned about losing her sunlight, her view, a decrease in her property value, and added stress to the sewage facilities in the neighborhood.

This has lead her to team up with other Silver Spring residents who have started a petition to encourage the county to purchase the property and build a park.

The petition’s goal is 500 signatures and as of Thursday it has reached 197 signatures.

On the other hand, Patrick Thornton who lives on the same side of the storage facility at 8045 Newell St., supports the idea of the new apartment complex.

Thornton said when you are dealing with a developing area, it’s either vibrant with investors or stagnant. He added that he would prefer to have more residents instead of a park.

“It won’t make a good place for a park,” he said. “ It’s narrow and long and needs to be square and have more depth.”

He added that more residents would help boost the economy in the South Silver Spring area for businesses that are struggling.

The question of more green space has been brought up before. Former South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association President Evan Glass said the need was identified when a temporary green turf was installed before the Silver Spring Civic Center was being developed.

“Since then it has been in back of many people’s minds but there’s been no traction to do anything about it,” Glass said. “It’s just one of those concerns that people acknowledge. If anything, I hope this situation propels that conversation.”

Silver Spring residents will get a chance to formally address their concerns with the development Monday, Aug. 20, at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Officials from Comstock Homes are expected to present the community with their project plans for the site.

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