Community Vision for Takoma asks, “would you advocate for creating more truly affordable housing at the Washington Adventist Hospital site, and the Washington-McLaughlin School site? Why or why not?”

The Washington-McLaughlin school property.
The Washington-McLaughlin school property.

So far as I know, I am the ONLY public figure who has pressed for housing creation at the Washington-McLaughlin school site and tried to figure out how to make it happen. From a 2017 article I wrote on the topic, Affordable Housing Opportunity: Takoma Park’s Washington McLaughlin Property:

Our shared goal of maintaining diverse, prosperous, inclusive Montgomery County communities hinges on creation of new affordable housing, with reliable transit, neighborhood amenities, and good schools. We seek to welcome new neighbors without forcing anyone out, to allow seniors to age in community, and to foster economic opportunity and job growth. How can we make this happen? The challenge is complex… Apartment conversion of the existing buildings – or replacement with new, site-sensitive construction – is a perfect opportunity to remake a problem property as new affordable housing while preserving current beneficial uses.

I similarly urged housing creation in Takoma Junction. From another 2007 article, NDC to Acquire Takoma Auto. Should Takoma Junction Plans Now Include Housing?:

Why housing in Takoma Junction? The area is highly walkable and bikeable and is served by Metrobus and RideOn. Apartments could be built without residential parking, boosting affordability and negating the traffic impact that would stem from current plans for second-floor offices.

Takoma Junction housing is in line with Age-Friendly Montgomery goals and with Montgomery County’s Senior Agenda‘s housing vision: “Montgomery County will promote choices of dwelling types so that as the needs and preferences of older adults change, they can age in place, downsize, choose rental or ownership, or find housing with the appropriate level of supportive services without having to leave the community.”

And so far as I know, I am the only public figure to press hard for a New Hampshire Avenue Rec Center zoning change to allow for larger-scale housing creation as part of a project that would replace this vital but outdated community amenity. In this case, there is tension between the idea of getting a developer to both pay for a new Rec facility and provide a large amount of affordable housing. How do you get a developer to pay for both of those options? Partnership with a subsidized-housing developer (that uses HUD and other financing mechanisms) would be attractive, or the city could seek supplemental county or state investment.