Ward 5 – Jarrett Smith

1) Do you agree with us that more housing, both market and subsidized, should be created in Takoma Park? If so, what steps will you take to facilitate creation of new housing.

Yes, I agree. One of the top three issues for our region is affordable housing. The largest expense that most people is rent and a mortgages. The greatest opportunities for affordable housing in Takoma Park on along the New Hampshire Avenue corridor.   There is enough land in that corridor to develop a very large number of multifamily residences.  

2) Takoma Park has several potential development and revitalization opportunities. Please describe your vision for the following sites. In your opinion, how should they be further developed?

  1. Takoma-Langley Crossroads (Purple Line station)
    1. Takoma Park Recreation Center (New Hampshire Avenue)
    1. Washington Adventist Hospital campus

All the 3 of the proposed development sites have similar opportunities.  There is economic opportunity for Takoma Park and the projects above offer tremendous opportunities in the economic growth for our city.  These new developments should be a mixed use and highdensity incorporating housing, retail, restaurants, and community space.  

3) On the long-debated Takoma Junction development process, do you support continuing the existing County and City review process or do you propose restarting the development process, including a new Request for Proposals? If so, how would the City fund this work?

No, I do not support this process or continuing as we have.  The process so far has divided the community, and this is unacceptable.  The city needs to scrap everything with the plans, proposals, etc. and start COMPLETELY over with a new Request for Proposal, etc. 

4) Would you promote multifamily construction by offering additional relief from rent stabilization for new buildings, as the District and many other jurisdictions do?

I believe that any developer should be given an opportunity to make the proposal to allow mixed income housing projects in the city. Takoma Park’s goal is to ensure affordable housing is available to residents today and in the future.  The city has a very good example of this being successfully executed by MHP and Victory Housing, therefore, I believe this example can be scaled throughout the city where development opportunities exist.  Regulations should be double downed to codify tenant’s rights, especially, if they are not part of Takoma Park’s rent stabilization. There needs to be a hybrid approach. The 3 new development projects on the horizon (Takoma-Langley Crossroads, Takoma Park Recreation Center, and the Washington Adventist Hospital Campus) offer tremendous opportunity and I believe another location that offers a land use and economic opportunity for housing is the New Hampshire Avenue corridor.  

Takoma Park does not provide social services, and the county’s support is somewhat uneven and is some ways leaves many without full breadth and depth of what is needed to have a balanced life with access to educational resources, internet, transportation, etc.  The opportunities for sustainable and affordable housing exist, the city simply needs to be very strategic and develop a long-range plan by which to execute.

5) City public engagement currently over-represents the views of older, white and homeowning residents. How would you change the process to better engage renters, minorities, immigrants and young families?

Efforts to mobilize the people of color in this city have been successful in some ways however, the communities of black and brown people need to feel like they are part of the community.  City administration needs to be inclusive of black and brown people, given the fact that the city is majority ethnic.   Civic participation has always been a “care about” for me and what I would encourage city administration to do is to continue to use city council meetings to educate voters on the civic process.  Invite renters in the community to bring their ideas, concerns, and issues forward.  I continue to encourage residents of Ward 5 to engage with city administration, their city council representative, and even county administration if necessary.  I encourage this practice for any black or brown person as this is part of what governing is.  No door should be closed, and no concern should continue without being addressed.  

6) Takoma Park, Piney Branch, Rolling Terrace ES, and Montgomery Blair HS are at or over capacity. Do you support advocating the Montgomery County Public Schools system for a new school? How else would you work with MCPS to provide sufficient capacity and quality for our growing community?

I support a new school because as our community continues to grow, the youth in our community must be educated.  As our community and the country continues to become more ethnic, education is a very basic necessity to thrive in our society.  Schooling for youth ages K12 are essential therefore, I believe if we were to reimagine required amenities on a school campus such as shared use facilities for computing, sporting, arts and crafts, etc.  Given the latter, financing a new school is possible.   Overcrowded classrooms and under resourced schools are no way to prepare a child for his/her future or even the future of our country.

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