Monday, May 23, 2011

dear older generation: montgomery county does not have a time machine

Even More Like A Big City, 2007
People who like living in downtown Silver Spring should move out of the county, says former Councilmember Rose Crenca.

From the Examiner:

Montgomery County is speeding up approvals for new types of mixed-use zoning to allow for a smoother redevelopment process in areas like Kensington, Wheaton and White Flint. But some longtime citizens say the changes are making the county too urban . . .

Rose Crenca, a Silver Spring resident and a 1980s County Council member, said she feared the mixed-use zones would encroach upon single-family neighborhoods and conflict with the suburban nature of the county.

"This is the tip of the iceberg and there is a movement afoot to change what we have here," she said. "Stop messing around with Montgomery County -- if you don't like a suburban county, move to where it is very urban."

After reading this, I did what anyone would do: I looked up Councilmember Crenca's address. She lives in Long Branch, a neighborhood with houses on small lots, townhouses and apartments, all in a tight street grid. That sounds kind of urban to me.

Wait, there's more! The Long Branch area is home to not one, not two, but THREE of the densest Census tracts in Montgomery County. One of those, just a few blocks from the former Councilmember's house, has over 19,000 people per square mile. If that neighborhood were its own town or city, it would be one of the most densely populated cities in the nation.

Perhaps if Rose Crenca doesn't like an urban county, SHE should move. Or, better yet, she should accept that Montgomery County can have suburban parts, urban parts and even rural parts all at once, giving everyone the ability to live how they please. Older community leaders like her seem to be stuck in the thinking that Montgomery County looks like it did decades ago: white, suburban and homogeneous. Or, if they realize that it's not that way anymore, they want to fight it. Hopefully, the people running the show today know better.


jag2923 said...

She's 85 so I hope her delusions aren't caused by that. You'd think anyone that's been around that long would be aware that times change. America's population has grown by 200 million since she was born...she expects everywhere else in the world should change/increase density, but MoCo should stay stagnant? Yeah, right.

Robert said...

Wow. You seem to think that if
someone likes their neighborhood the way it is, they should move so you and others who know better what the neighborhood should be can change it! But you don't make a case for why you think that you and others who think neighborhoods should be changed are right and people who like them the way they are now are wrong.

But maybe we can agree after all:

You said "Or, better yet, she [Rose Crenca] should accept that Montgomery County can have suburban parts, urban parts and even rural parts all at once, giving everyone the ability to live how they please."

That is part of the greatness of Montgomery County. But isn't that also pretty much what Rose is saying? She obviously likes what she has. She says it is suburban. You think it is sort of urban given its density. So why not leave it alone? Leave our current urban areas urban and leave our suburban areas suburban, etc., and continue "giving everyone the ability to live as they please." We don't need to destroy our stable suburban areas to urbanize them. Doing so will reduce our choices, not improve them.

Dan Reed said...


Nobody's proposing to "urbanize" suburban neighborhoods. Putting development in existing activity centers like Long Branch or downtown Silver Spring, etc. means that we don't have to build up in existing, stable residential areas.

Nor am I saying I know better than anyone else as to how they should live. Councilmember Crenca, rather, IS saying that Montgomery County is only suburban and only meant for people who want that lifestyle, whether or not they want or can afford it.

Anonymous said...

Dan, How did u find her address.
I looked & I dont see anything.

I see both your side and Rose's side.

If one doesnt like the development in their area, they are free to protest. if the development wins, move. There are so many rural non developed parts of MoCo: Poolesville, Colesville, Cloverly,Brookville, Burtonsville, Ashton, North North Silver Spring(where Ednor Rd is) .

Rose is 85 and still living in Long Branch. If she really had a problem with the development of LB she woulda moved up to Colesville or Burtonsville where it is quiet.

Patrick said...

I'm certainly not going to beat up on somebody who is 85, but she may be lamenting her own lack of foresight in not setting herself up in a more compatible place 15 years ago.

Certainly, the handwriting was on the wall by then that her community was never again going to be a 1950s style suburb.

melathys said...

The changes being proposed for our (Long Branch) neighborhood seem to greatly extend the area zoned for higher density around the core Long Branch 'downtown'. That's what she was likely complaining about, not about urbanization in general. I say this as someone in the same neighborhood. We bought a home here because it was a charming and diverse close-in suburb. I'd like it a lot less if suddenly people could push up apartment buildings in the same block as our single-family homes.

sandfootprints said...

Too many people are feeling "stuck in place" for one reason or another due to the economy.