Monday, December 10, 2018

Matchbox posts "coming soon" signage in Silver Spring

Matchbox, a local chain known primarily for its pizzas and sliders, is coming to downtown Silver Spring. After trying a couple of new concepts - AG Kitchen and Hen Quarter, the landlord is bringing in a reliable and popular local brand at 919 Ellsworth Drive. Matchbox will open here in early 2019.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Pedestrian struck by police cruiser in Wheaton

A Montgomery County police cruiser struck a pedestrian in Wheaton last night around 9:27 PM, on Georgia Avenue near Blueridge Avenue. The pedestrian was transported to an unidentified local hospital with life-threatening injuries; the officer was not injured in the collision.

The marked 2016 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor was traveling southbound on Georgia when it collided with a male pedestrian in the roadway. Police say the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk when he was struck. The officer was not responding to an emergency call at the time of the collision, police reported, and its light bar and siren were not activated.

Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has further information, is asked to call the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ambassador Apartments closed down in Wheaton (Photos)

Ability to lose 162
units, low demand at
Halpine View raise new 
questions about MoCo's 
supposed affordable 
housing "crisis"

We've been hearing off-and-on about the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission's development plans for the Ambassador Apartments in Wheaton since 2012. At one point, it was said that a new building would be constructed on another part of the property, allowing current residents of the Ambassador to remain in their homes. But now, the building - a former Best Western hotel at the corner of Veirs Mill Road and University Boulevard - has been shut down and fenced off. Businesses in the ground floor have also been vacated.

Residents have supposedly been relocated by the HOC to other properties around the county. However, the HOC declined to respond to media inquiries made earlier this week by press time. From what I can find in County documents, it appears the building will be demolished at a cost of up to $1.5 million, a cost that will be picked up by County taxpayers. HOC has previously requested the funds from the County Council for that purpose.

Demolition was to have begun this year, and construction of the new development was to break ground in 2019. It appears that would still be possible if demolition occurs soon.

The loss of 162 low-income housing units near Metro - and the apparent ability of the HOC to find that many vacant units for the departing tenants - raises questions about just how serious the affordable housing "crisis" is in Montgomery County. Last year, the owners of Halpine View in Rockville off Veirs Mill Road stated that demand for their affordable apartments was declining, and that they had a substantial number of vacancies.

Beggars cannot be choosers, as they say. A modest, older apartment at Halpine View or the Ambassador would beat being homeless any day of the week. There should not be vacancies at Halpine View, and it should not have been possible to find vacant homes for 162 families before closing the Ambassador. Dogged apartment hunters would surely have found these affordable gems in their desperate housing searches. What is going on here?

County residents are being told we must now throw traditional, common-sense zoning rules out the window to address a housing "crisis," a move that will destroy existing single-family home neighborhoods. It appears further study of just what is going on here is clearly needed before making such irresponsible planning and fiscal decisions, especially with the County facing a structural budget deficit every year as far out at the forecasts go. More transparency is also needed. How many vacant affordable apartments are there countywide as of today? Taxpayers and homeowners deserve to know before accepting the new onerous costs, and reduced quality of life, that would come with adding multifamily urban housing within residential SFH neighborhoods.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Springbrook HS student brings unloaded gun to school

A Springbrook High School student is in police custody this morning after bringing an unloaded pistol to school in a gym bag yesterday. The School Resource Officer assigned to Springbrook was tipped off to the concealed weapon, and located a .40 caliber handgun in the bag, unloaded. Solomon Henderson, 17, of Silver Spring was charged as an adult with offenses related to the possession of an unloaded handgun on school property.

Police said there was no indication so far that Henderson intended to use the gun at school, or of any threats being made in connection with the firearm. Detectives have determined that the handgun belongs to Henderson's father, and was legally purchased.

Anyone who has information about this incident is asked to call the Firearms Investigations Unit at 240-773-6400.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Christmas events at Wheaton Plaza

Westfield has planned several special Christmas-themed events at Wheaton Plaza, starting this Saturday, December 8. From 11:00 AM-1:00 PM this Saturday, join Santa Claus himself for Brunch with Santa in the lower-level Macy's court. There you will enjoy complimentary treats, family-friendly activities, music, autographs, and selfies with Santa.

Stick around at 1:00 Saturday for the Urban Artistry Holiday Dance Party, featuring students from the Urban Artistry Dance Academy right here in Wheaton. Attend, and you could win free classes or a $25 Westfield gift card.

On December 13 from 1:00-2:00 PM, it will be time for Candy Cane with a Cop. Head to the food court to get holiday tips - and ostensibly, a candy cane? - from the Montgomery County police.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Water main break in Aspen Hill affects traffic, school schedule

The traffic mess earlier this morning
in Aspen Hill after water main break
A water main break at Connecticut and Georgia Avenues Sunday continues to affect traffic and school schedules this morning in Aspen Hill. Two southbound lanes of Georgia at Connecticut remained closed for this morning's rush hour, as WSSC crews attempted to repair the break. The WSSC says that the amount of other utilities buried close to their own water pipers has slowed down the repair effort.
The break in a 10" water main
Harmony Hills Elementary School, which served as an emergency water station last night, will open two hours late this morning due to the water main break.

Photos courtesy WSSC

Friday, November 30, 2018

Silver Spring construction update: Thayer & Spring apartments (Photos)

Here's the latest progress at the Thayer & Spring development by Fairfield Residential, located at 915 Silver Spring Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. The lights are on in the lower floors, which likely means they are being completed on the inside first, before the upper floors. Once completed, they will feature Whirlpool appliances, polished quartz countertops, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Amenities in the 11-story hulk will include a yoga studio, a gym, the Hideout social lounge, a bike repair facility, and the Barker Lounge pet spa.