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WALGREENS?!

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Dear Reader,
Yep, Walgreens, the nationwide drugstore chain. You DO know that Walgreens purchased a 10 acre quadrant of Takoma/Langley Crossroads three years ago, don’t you?
The subject came up in a discussion of new storm water management regulations, and how some people (like Walgreens) could get grandfathered in to the old standards, which are not as strict. The current standard requires 20% permeable surface, The new standards will require 50%.


This MAY explain why Walgreens applied now for the storm water permits. Since they purchased the entire southeast corner at University Blvd. and New Hampshire Ave. back in 2007, they have shown no other signs of doing anything with the property except holding it for future use. The property is in Takoma Park and encompasses the strip mall at that corner, extending south to the Aldi supermarket – more land than would normally be used for a Walgreens store.
Walgreens application for city storm water permits is for the University Blvd. side of the property, including the current location of the Udupi Palace, a popular Indian restaurant.
Amen!
To the relief of the entire Universee the 48 hour landlord notice issue was resolved. Hosts of angels appeared in the Azalea Room (the temporary council chambers) tooting long brass horns and chorusing “Hosanna!” as the council unanimously passed the ordinance.
This ordinance has been volleying like a tennis ball between the Housing and Community Development Office and the city council. The housing office, trying to protect both tenants and landlord’s rights, kept proposing ungainly systems that had the council screwing up their faces in puzzlement, imagining how the proposed regulations could be followed. The housing office wanted a written record, the council wanted loose rules that were easy to follow. The council bounced the ball back into the housing office’s court at least twice.
The final version of the regulation says landlords have to give 48 hour written notice (excepting emergencies), but can enter an apartment earlier than that with written permission. Tenants have the right to refuse entry within the first 48 hours. They also have the right to refuse entry after 48 hours – but “not unreasonably.” In other words, they can’t keep refusing.
Glad THAT’S over!
Go With The Force
The council heard from the “Fireplace Group,” citizens who have been discussing the development of Takoma Junction. The junction, where two heavily traveled but narrow state roads meet awkwardly, has long been a mix of marginal businesses, the popular food co-op, traffic jams, scarce parking, and pedestrian unease.
The city owns a patch of ground in the Junction, currently a parking lot and the temporary location of the fire department. The new fire station is due to open this summer, so the city is ready to consider what to do with its lots, and how the entire area should be developed and revitalized.
After weighing whether to form a citizen’s committee or a task force to consider these issues, the council voted to form a task force.
Cue the Violin!
Your Gilbert is going to buy the county a special effects generator. Then, when county councilmembers visit the Takoma Park city council chambers, they can make a dramatic entrance appropriate to their message. There will be the sound of a mighty storm outside, the door will burst open with a gust of freezing wind and blizzarding snow. The councilmember, clad in thin, tattered rags, will stumble in, push the door shut on the snouts of a pursuing wolf pack, limp to his or her seat, and begin a plaintive speech as the weepy violin music begins.
In other words, Dear Reader, the city council got the same old gloom-and-doom speech from a visiting county councilmember.
This time it was Marc Elrich hitting the same talking points as the last two visiting county councilmembers. As in his previous visits, Elrich touted the “ambulance fee” scheme to ease the county’s budget deficit. Without it, he said, all of us are headed to hell in pink, fuzzy bunny slippers, which is much worse than showing up there in a hand basket.
Ambulance fees supposedly would be paid by insurance companies, not individuals. Uninsured people, or people whose insurance wouldn’t cover such fees, would not have to pay it and nobody would be denied service. However, the proposal is opposed by emergency response groups such as the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. It was defeated the last time it was proposed.
When he finished, the city councilmembers put away their suduku puzzles and got to the point – belaboring the county representative with their issues and complaints. Elrich didn’t get the standard serving of beef – “when is the county gonna fork over the double-taxation money it owes us?” – because he’s a Takoma Park resident and served several terms on the city council before he got himself elected to higher office. He knows, and they know he knows.
He did get the beef-du-jour, the county proposed traffic restrictions on Ritchie Avenue and Sligo Park Hills streets. Elrich was well aware of the issue, he said. His neighbor constituents have been complaining about it to him. He agreed with councilmember Dan Robinson that there were “problems with the traffic study.” The report’s estimation of effects on traffic elsewhere were unrealistic, he said.

- Gilbert

About the author: Gilbert

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

8 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    impervious: [1] a : not allowing entrance or passage : impenetrable b : not capable of being damaged or harmed [2] : not capable of being affected or disturbed

  2. gilbert says:

    Yes, it was a typo. Corrected! Thank you, Dear Reader.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Hosts of angels appeared in the Lilac Room (the temporary council chambers)”
    I believe the temporary room actually the Azalea Room; the Lilac room being a smaller, narrower room off the side hallway nearby. Perhaps in the confusion of the sudden appearance of the angelic chorus, the fabric of space and time was momentarily distorted, combining the two spaces.
    Do I get a “no-prize”?

  4. gilbert says:

    Details, details! It’s like being nibbled to death by minnows!
    Is nobody interested in the Walgreen property? The possible extinction of Udupi Palace?
    - Gilbert

  5. Steve Davies says:

    How would Udupi Palace become extinct? Is Walgreen’s planning on tearing it down?

  6. Gilbert says:

    Steve, we don’t know what the exact plan is. Walgreens may just be getting a “placeholder” storm water plan in under the old, easier regulations. But that storm water plan submitted to the city housing office is for the area currently occupied by Udupi Palace, among other establishments.
    Whether this is a placeholder or not, we doubt Walgreens purchased 10 acres of strip mall just to let it sit. When they purchased it in 2007 they said (according to the Gazette) that they would be building a Walgreens there by 2010.
    - Gilbert

  7. Steve Davies says:

    I hope they see the wisdom of keeping Udupi operating, even as they build. Probably would be difficult.

  8. Chris Victoria says:

    The important issue here, really, is the potential to seriously damage the intent of the Takoma/Langley Crossroads Sector Plan (http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/takoma_langley_crossroads/index.shtm). A similar planning exercise took place simultaneously in Prince George’s (http://www.pgplanning.org/Projects/Ongoing_Plans_and_Projects/Community_Plans/Takoma_Langley.htm)
    Both Plans calls for higher density, mixed use development, not a typical suburban drug store development like the CVS on Eastern. I don’t know exactly where the PG/MoCo line is, but it runs through that general area. If it’s in MoCo, the City could have some sort of impact on the fate of that parcel.

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