Adventists Begin Project
Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which has had its world headquarters in Takoma Park for more than 80 years, held a ground-breaking ceremony this week for a $30 million complex off Rte. 29 in eastern Montgomery County.
Earlier this year, officials of the 5-million-member church announced that they were considering a move to Howard County. They said they were frustrated with Montgomery County planners, who blocked the complex on grounds that it would generate too much traffic for the already-choked Rte. 29 corridor.
County officials estimated that the project would add an estimated 443 cars to Rte. 29 during rush hours.
In April, however, church leaders announced that they had reached an agreement with county officials detailing steps the church must take to minimize traffic problems caused by the project. Attached to Planning Board approval of the development were more than a dozen conditions aimed at getting cars off the road and rewarding those who use mass transit.
For example, the church agreed to pay an estimated $1.5 million for parking lots and road improvements, organize a ride-sharing program and provide reserved parking spaces for employes who use car pools and van pools.
Montgomery County Executive Sidney Kramer and other county officials attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week opening a 1.6-mile section of the Great Seneca Highway between Middlebrook and Clopper roads in Germantown.
The four-lane road, which has a price tag of $2.4 million, provides an alternate route to the heavily congested Rte. 118.
Plans call for the stretch to be expanded to six lanes.
Scheduled to be completed in 1990, the Great Seneca Highway will cover 7.7 miles between Middlebrook Road and Rte. 28.
The highway is intended to provide relief to the midcounty area. County officials estimate the cost of the project at $43 million.
Appeals Chief Leaving
Thomas S. Israel, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Appeals, has announced that he will not seek reappointment when his term expires in November.
Israel, 59, said he is planning to move to Hilton Head, S.C.
The five-member board rules on requests for variances and special exceptions to zoning laws in addition to hearing requests for appeals to decisions by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Israel, who is in his first term on the board, served on the county Board of Education from 1968 to 1976, including two years as its president.
In a bitter 1982 primary, Israel unsuccessfully challenged Rose Crenca for a seat on the County Council.