THE BROOKDALE BUGLE
Web edition of the neighborhood newsletter
Scheduled for delivery January 25, 2004
ZONING AND DEVELOPMENT -- Ron Tripp, Chair, CCCFH
Friendship Heights Task Force
International Baccalaureate at Westland
Developers are active on both sides of Western Avenue in the
Friendship Heights area. As most of us already realize, work has
begun on the Chevy Chase Center site. Behind the construction
fences crews are excavating for the two retail buildings that
will face Wisconsin Ave.
Expect excavation to begin in early spring for the new Hecht's
store located at the corner of Western Ave. and Friendship Blvd.
Hecht's surface parking lot will close when work begins, limiting
parking to the existing two level parking deck. Construction
access will be from Friendship Blvd., and the developer, New
England Development (NED) is interested in working with the
communities on construction issues, such as truck access, staging
and pedestrian traffic. The Citizens Coordinating Committee on
Friendship Heights (CCCFH) hopes to work through the Friendship
Heights Task Force and meet collectively with NED on these
issues. Concerns about this construction site can be directed to
Mike Makuch, Brookdale's representative on the Task Force; Bob
Cope, the CCCFH representative; or myself. NED is willing to
address our concerns, and has promised to keep a contact person
available throughout the project.
These projects are in the works, having already gone through the
political process. In DC, the political process is just
beginning on new plans for the Upper Wisconsin Avenue Corridor.
As defined by the D.C. Office of Planning, this is an area from
below Tenleytown to the Montgomery County line. In mid-November,
the Office of Planning (OP) released a draft report titled,
"Upper Wisconsin Avenue Corridor Study - Strategic Framework
Plan." That release started a 90-day public review and comment
period, during which OP has been holding public meetings to
discuss and receive comments on the plan.
In early December Eric Sanne and I attended one of these sessions
and quickly discovered a hotbed of emotions over this plan.
Planners, eager to advance the plan, tried hard to control
questions and comments. Residents were angry and frustrated,
more from the process itself than the plan. But concerns about
the plan were numerous, and most of them were traffic-related,
both automotive and pedestrian.
OP's stated purpose of the plan is "to provide a strategy for
guiding redevelopment opportunities, encouraging a better mix of
retail uses, creating a sense of place, and preserving the
existing assets along Wisconsin Avenue." This may sound
agreeable enough, but the details may be less palatable.
Planners are identifying areas of the corridor for greater
densities of development than D.C.'s zoning presently allows.
They do not propose changing the existing zoning, but would
instead use an individual project review process to get around
it. The real purpose may be one of economics. It's not likely
that planners would work on a plan like this without the interest
or urging from developers and major property owners.
This draft plan calls for 8- to 10-story buildings at both ends
of the corridor. This includes both sides of Wisconsin Ave.
within the Friendship Heights area, as well as along Western
Ave., up to and including the Lord & Taylor site. As large as
The Lord & Taylor site is, with an 8- to 10-story project, there
could be a massive development on this parcel alone, and of
course, the additional traffic that goes with it.
Additional public meetings are expected before the 90-day comment
period expires. CCCFH will be following this issue closely.
Watch the Northwest Current for articles on the topic. Brookdale
residents are urged to review the OP's plan and study, available
on the web at the following address.
Ron Tripp serves as one of Brookdale's two official
representatives to CCCFH, the other being Eric Sanne. Ron has
been elected Chair for the past two years.
HURRICANE ISABEL -- Dave Montgomery
For years to
come, we will be talking about Isabel, how long the power was
off, the damage to trees and buildings, and how we cleaned up
afterward. After the winds and rain left, we walked the streets
of our neighborhood amazed at how many trees had fallen but also
gladly surprised at how often the trees missed our homes as they
fell. Not everyone was lucky in escaping building damage, but
for many the downed trees just changed the landscape and required
removal, raising the need for replacement. Property damage was
not limited to the effects of falling trees of course: many home
owners incurred water damage.
The power outage was the biggest headache for many, resulting in
the spoilage of unrefrigerated food and requiring bailing out
basements or sumps without the assistance of electricity-driven
pumps. Without functioning traffic lights, cars backed up at
intersections; a photo shows that the line of cars on River Road
trying to cross Western Avenue extended for blocks.
On the bright side, we've heard the power outage brought the
residents of Andover Road together for a large block
[Showing photos is limited to the paper edition.]
BACKGROUND ON POWER PROBLEMS -- Mike Becnel
Recent power outages have caused us to reflect on our dependance
on electricity. Without that valuable utility we suffer spoiled
food, no heat or air conditioning, no TV and no computer
capability. We know that high winds during storms blow trees or
branches into power lines and disrupt the flow of power.
Sometimes we see the damage in our neighborhood; on other
occasions, we see no damage but the power is still out! Then, we
may see that our neighbors in the next block have electricity,
but we do not. The power transformers hanging on poles feed
power to our homes, usually one transformer will serve four or
five homes. Those transformers must be supplied power from high
voltage feeder lines. These lines originate at substations that
are a considerable distance from us. Frequently feeder lines
from different substations supply transformers in one
neighborhood so one feeder line could be down while others are
still in service. When outages occur, power companies have a
list of priorities to restore power to vital public services and
then to feeder lines that have the potential of handling largest
number of customers.
Some of us have friends or relatives in new subdivisions that
have all utilities underground with cabinets on the curbs for
transformers and junction boxes for other services. While there
may be a need for older neighborhoods to have their utilities
placed underground, doing so would involve the costly process of
placing ducts under streets and pulling utility cables through
them. Since the cost would be high, property owners might have
to pay a large assessment.
Some day we may have individual power plants driven by fuel cells
so that distribution from centralized power stations will not be
necessary. Don't hold your breath! Meanwhile PEPCO has promised
to renew their efforts to make their system more reliable. Let's
As a retired electrical engineer, Mike Becnel was requested to
write about this issue for the Bugle.
FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS TASK FORCE -- Mike Makuch
On behalf of the Friendship Heights Task Force, all in our
community are wished a happy new year. For those of you who are
not familiar with the Task Force, it consists of business and
community groups on both sides of the Maryland and District of
Columbia border at Friendship Heights. Although created jointly
by the Montgomery County Council and the District of Columbia
City Council, it has no legislative authority. Rather, it serves
as a forum for residents, business owners and others. The Task
Force meets at least three times a year to discuss a wide range
of issues, with focus on partnership between residents and
business, between the businesses within Friendship Heights,
public safety, street conditions ("streetscape") and
transportation among other matters. Indeed, the Task Force has a
specific subcommittee for each of Partnership and Promotions,
Public Safety, Streetscape, and Transportation. Each
subcommittee is headed by a chairman, and includes as members,
individual members of the Task Force (residents and business) and
members of the general public. A common agenda item at each Task
Force meeting is the development plans of major businesses in the
area. It is typical at each meeting to hear reports by
representatives from the Hecht Company, from GEICO, and from the
Chevy Chase Land Company. Within the last few years, interim
reports also have been made concerning renovation and development
at the Metrobus garage near Jennifer Street on the DC side, and
development by Stonebridge, which has purchased and will
re-develop the Washington Clinic site. As of October 29, 2003,
the representative of the Hecht Co. reported that demolition,
excavation and early construction could be expected to begin
within the first quarter of this year. GEICO indicated that it
still has no plans for re-developing its present site. Chevy
Chase Land Co. indicated that construction activity would be in
progress by the first quarter of this year.
There is an on-going study of the upper Wisconsin corridor
extending from Friendship Heights to Tenleytown. This study
focuses on green space and parks, traffic and parking, and
historic landmarks along the corridor. Primary purposes of this
continuing study are to encourage the creation of an attractive
streetscape, standardize the placement of buildings, encourage
the creation of more open spaces, and better define and make
accessible those open spaces that already exist. The District
Department of Transportation also has indicated plans to
undertake a complementary transportation study of the corridor.
The next Task Force meeting is scheduled for January 14, 2004,
from 5-6:30 pm, at the Friendship Heights Village Center. All
are invited to attend. Periodic reports on these meetings will
appear in subsequent editions of The Bugle.
Mike Makuch serves as Brookdale's representative to the
Friendship Heights Task Force.
INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAMME AT WESTLAND MIDDLE SCHOOL --
Bethesda Chevy Chase (BCC) High School, the high school that
Westland feeds into, has offered the International Baccalaureate
Diploma Programme for a couple of years. Westland Middle School
is now working towards becoming a certified International
Baccalaureate school, too. The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is
prepared by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).
The MYP is a 5-year program for students in grades 6-10.
As the Westland web page
explains, "The goal of MYP is to develop
life-long learners, critical thinkers, and responsible global
citizens." The core principle of MYP is making connections
between the various subjects at school. The MYP also tries to
bridge what's learned at school with the world at large,
encouraging students to develop an appreciation for their own
culture and that of others. It also fosters effective
communication skills, including learning a foreign language.
Some students at Westland are already familiar with these
interdisciplinary concepts because at Westbrook Elementary School
(at least), the teachers often relate subjects to one another.
Nevertheless, in Westland, the teachers are constantly making
efforts to connect the school work to the MYP core principle of
connecting subjects to each other and events outside of school.
The IBO provides teachers with the tools that they need to meet
the IBO standards.
For example, every two weeks in science seventh grade students
must find an article and answer questions concerning the article
and how it relates to the world at large. One of the questions
asks to what subject the article relates best out of the five
themes of the IBO: Health and Social Education, Environment,
Homo Faber, Community Service, and Approaches to Learning.
Another instance was in English, when students read the diary of
Anne Frank, on the heels of studying the Holocaust in World
Westland has applied for being an IB school and had its
application accepted recently. In February or March 2004, IB
evaluators will be coming to review Westland to decide whether to
approve its IB Programme.
Sarah Sanne is a 7th grader at Westland Middle School.
|BROOKDALE HALLOWEEN EXTRAVAGANZA |
-- John C. Kiyonaga
The children of Brookdale had a banner Halloween in Brookdale
Park under a provident sun that illumined cowboys, clowns,
vampires and Dumbo as well as brilliant Fall foliage.
Abner Oakes flipped the burgers and hot dogs on the grill.
Maureen McRaith tended the salads. Bill and Ann Geary prepared
an incredible jambalaya. Kiyoshi Nakasaka, John Pirri and Pat
Kitchen held the Donut Line and dangled the pinata. Eric
Itsweire shot it all on his Leica. The clean-up, recycling, and
garbage crew included Kathy Pirri, Margaret King, Tamar
Nicholson, and Mikel Moore.
Behind all these tireless providers was the quiet leadership of
the CICV (Commander in Chief-Volunteers), Ellie Shorb.
BROOKDALE HOME SALES -- Kathleen McElroy
We had a strong market after Labor Day with further price
appreciation due to the low interest rates and continued strong
demand for our area. Economists had predicted at the end of 2002
that mortgage rates at the end of 2003 could be as high as
7%. Rates are still hovering around 6% for a 30-year fixed-rate
loan, and it is believed they will remain low for several more
months, possibly until the end of 2004. If so, that will be very
good news for real estate sales.
I just completed a tax valuation of a house bought in this area
in 1986 and thought analyzing previous sale prices (where
available) on sales this quarter would be interesting. My
conclusion: today's sales prices range from 2.5 to 3.5 times
higher than in 1986 and this is not due solely to improvements.
There is substantial evidence that prices have doubled since
1995/96 which were, I think, the low point in the 30 years I have
been selling houses in the Washington Metro area. With
demographic changes, some properties have become more desirable.
There is, of course, the effect of proper pricing, presentation
and marketing, improvements made, and a degree of luck and
timing. There have been some very low sales which can only be
explained because little care was taken to market the house
properly and/or improper pricing of the house.
Report for 4th quarter of 2003
There are no houses for sale in our area as of 1/1/04. There is
one house under contract:
5303 Baltimore was listed for $650,000, reduced to $639,000 and
sold in 25 days on 11/25. It was previously sold for $275,000 in
The houses under contract in the first quarter are settled
--4855 Park Av. LP $525,000, sold in 5 days for $547,500 (minus
$5000 in credits to Purchasers). It sold 6/79 for $91,500.
Owners added a master suite with bath on 2d floor and sold it
10/96 for $244,000.
--4722 Merivale sold 8/12 in 7 days for $645,000 (no previous
The active listings in the 2d and 3rd quarters sold and
settled as follows:
--4802 River Rd. LP $550,000, reduced to $529,000 and again to
$499,000 and sold in July for $478,000. It sold previously in
May 2000 for $312,000.
--5006 Dalton Rd., LP $598,000 sold on 6/18 in 16 days, the
contract fell through and it re-sold 7 days later for $590,000.
It sold 7/94 for $293,000 and 1/2000 for $335,000.
Listings under contract in last report settled as
--4855 Park Ave., LP $525,000, sold on 7/2/03 in 5 days for
$547,500 with a seller credit to purchasers of $5,000.
--4600 Dalton Rd., LP $829,000 sold on 5/29 in 14 days for
$810,000. It had sold 6/90 (prior to the side addition) for
--4722 Merivale Rd. LP $649,500 sold 8/12 in 7 days for $645,000.
New listings sold and settled in this period and not settled
at the end of the previous report:
--4603 Cooper La., LP $629,000 sold on 6/24 in 15 days for
$615,000. Sold in late summer 98 for $265,000.
--5331 Willard Av. LP $629,000 sold on 10/21 in 4 days for
$605,000 with a $15,000 credit from seller to purchaser. Sold in
spring 99 for $284,000.
--5301 Saratoga LP $649,500 sold in 18 days on 9/24 for
--5215 Andover LP $739,500 sold on 9/30 for $806,000 in 8 days.
It had six offers. Sold in early 98 for $300,000.
There was 1 private sale:
--4604 Merivale was settled 6/03 for $775,000. It sold 5/94 for
Kathleen McElroy is a resident of Brookdale and a real estate
agent who provides this information as a service.
|Won't You Be My Neighbor? |
A Column in the Interest of Being Good Neighbors
-- Sissy Rothwell and Elsa Skaggs
Dogs barking. Cars parking. Leaves falling. Moms calling. These--and many more--are daily occurrences around our neighborhood. For those of us who have lived here well over 20 years, most of the myriad elements that result in "being a good neighbor" have crossed our purview. Either through direct experience or through indirectly hearing other neighbors comment on their neighbor's behavior, ways that neighbors meet each other's needs sometimes resemble the proverbial extended family.
There's the neighbor who comes while you're raking leaves to catch you up on the latest 'news' from up the street. There are those with opinions about trees and cars and pets and trash and construction. The list is long. In fact, scratch any household in our wonderfully eclectic neighborhood, and you're sure to find an opinion. Most walkers wish drivers would slow down since sidewalks are not available and parking on both sides of the street reduces visibility. Some wish the next-door neighbor hadn't planted that tree quite so close to the line. Others are glad when the lawns are mowed other than early Saturday or Sunday mornings.
The Mr. Rogers Approach
Because we all have preferences for the way our surroundings work and because we don't wish anyone treading on our rights any more than we'd want to tread on others', we've started this column as a clearinghouse. Believe it or not, a few neighborhood issues have gotten so sticky from time to time that our Brookdale president has been asked to intervene--not an item in that job description.
Over the years, the stories have shown what a community of 260+ homes can do to keep the character and dignity it has had the good fortune to enjoy since 1938.
Do you have a story with a happy solution? Or an unexpressed wish that another neighbor had your same preference on, say, really picking up the dog's droppings or keeping the curbside swept? (Yes, we are the committed ladies you see clearing accumulated leaves, dirt, and trash from Saratoga and Westport because we think it looks more inviting to our homes and, hopefully, to the major entrance to the neighborhood.) And we can't help hoping that construction debris and leaves from up the street will get cleared before they come our way during a big rain. Remember, too: clear curbsides assure that emergency vehicles can get through and that house numbers are easily identified. We really are all here to help each other.
Your Story or Suggestion?
We invite you to use this column as a sounding board or suggestion box. Let Sissy (gfrothwell4 -@- webtv.com) or Elsa (eskaggs -@- comcast.net) hear from you about neighborliness. What has or hasn't worked for you? And why? By sharing our concerns and wishes, we can raise consciousness and also help make our neighborhood more secure. The idea is not to try to be our brothers' keepers, but to continue to enhance the best secret just across the District line in Maryland--our delightful, convenient, cooperative, lovely Brookdale neighborhood.
TRASH IN PARKS
You may have noticed there are no longer trash cans in "our"
parks. Last Fall the County decided to remove trash cans from
all County parks and to institute a policy requiring users to
carry out their own trash. Some of us may choose to challenge
this policy through contacting our County Councilmember Howard
Denis. Meanwhile it is important that each of us take
responsibility to pick up any trash we see when we are visiting
either Brookdale or Boundary Park.
NEIGHBORHOOD NEW MOMS' GROUP
Join an ongoing, daytime group of new (and experienced) mothers
to bounce ideas off new friends. Meets every other Wednesday
11-1 at participants' homes. Lunch is included. Contact Karen
Lambert for details (kclambert -@- att.net).
The Brookdale Gardening Group will meet February 18th at 10 am at
Nancy McCloskey's home at 4709 Overbrook Rd. All are welcome.
An evening meeting will be considered for the future. Anyone
interested in attending an evening meeting should contact Maryn
Goodson at mpgwlg -@- erols.com.
TREES -- Gwen Lewis
As a result of Hurricane Isabel, the need for street trees and
other replacement trees increased this fall. The Street Tree
Committee has requested the County Highways Department to plant 8
trees at the curbside of 7 Brookdale residences during their
Spring planting season. Such trees are free to residents. Want
to enhance your yard and the neighborhood through this program?
Look on the Brookdale website for information (check the links to
"local resources"), and contact one of the committee members:
Fiona Carson (301-986-0574), Pearl Becnel (301-654-1991), or me.
Cindy Pena, Harry Shoffner, their twin daughters, Sofia and
Cristina (9) & son Harrison (10), 4717 Merivale
Laura & David Geyer & sons Benjamin (9) & Jonathan (3), 5213
Sonia Baldia & Kelly Kiser, 5215 Andover
Mike Adlin & Helene Krasnoff, 4600 Dalton
Jason Wiles, Matt McWilliams, Mike Roe, & Brennan Barnes, 4635
Angela & Ricardo Silva-Santisteban and their children Alvaro (11), Santiago (8), & Mariana (6), 5305 Sherrill
Michele McNally, Russell Sturm & their children Justin (9), Tevah
(7), & Eli (4), 5005 Brookdale
Rachel & Joey Potts & their daughter Kaitlyn (9 mos.), 4501
Eric Frank Moore was born to Mikel and Brad Moore, 5304 Westport,
on Aug. 5, 2003.
Henry Stephen Baratz was born to David and Karen Baratz, 5325
Baltimore Ave., on Aug. 7, 2003.
You are invited to "Time Passes: Detail in Form and
Photographs by Gwen Lewis
February 8-29, 2004
Opening Reception Sunday, February 8, 3-5 pm
River Road Unitarian Church
6301 River Rd,
Hours: M-F 9-4
For information 301-215-9224
TWO NEW BLOCK CAPTAINS ANNOUNCED
Two block captains have taken up duties since the last Bugle was
issued. Peg Cothern (301-652-2863) is block captain for
Baltimore. Michael Adlin (301-656-2552) is block captain for
4600 to 5017 Dalton. Thanks Peg and Michael!
The Brookdale Bugle is a publication of the Brookdale
Editor Gwen Lewis (301)215-9224
[Paper] Layout Steve Langer
[Paper] Distribution Britta Glennon
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