SILVER SPRING, MD – On Thursday, Dec. 6 at approximately 3 p.m., the Montgomery County Planning Board will consider whether a Silver Spring complex of garden apartments, a portion of which is proposed to be demolished to make way for new high-rise apartment buildings and stores, should be considered eligible for historic designation.
Called the Falkland Apartments, the complex at East-West Highway and 16th Street was built between 1936 and 1938 in the wake of federal New Deal programs that brought an influx of new residents to the Washington, D.C., region. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt cut the ribbon at the Falklands dedication in 1937.
The owner of the Falklands property has submitted an application to the Planning Department to build a mix of apartments and stores on about a third of the complex on the north part of the site. That parcel, part of Silver Spring’s Central Business District, allows mixed residential and retail. The project plan proposes 1,059 residential units, a 50,000-square-foot grocery store and a 15,000-square-foot retail area that might include a restaurant.
The Falklands, already listed on a county inventory of potential historic sites, is currently protected from demolition. Under the county’s Preservation Ordinance, the historic inventory identifies properties that might merit historic designation. Historic preservation staff researches and makes recommendations on the historic and architectural importance of those properties. The Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Board and the County Council then consider whether to actually designate the properties as historic landmarks.
On Thursday, the board will evaluate whether the entire Falklands complex is eligible to be considered for historic status. The board may find the whole site is significant, only a portion is significant, or none of it merits designation.
If the board finds all or some of the site eligible, the Falklands would go through the full historic designation process and, if deemed worthy by the County Council, would gain historic designation. Properties on the list are fully protected from significant alterations.
The Historic Preservation Commission, as well as historic preservation planners, have recommended that the board find the entire Falklands eligible for historic designation.
Some 25 individuals have signed up to testify before the board. Chairman Royce Hanson plans to limit testimony to two hours, but will try to hear from all interested parties in that timeframe.
Montgomery County Planning Department
Public hearing on Falklands historic designation
Thursday, December 6, 2007 – approximately 3 p.m.
Park and Planning Headquarters
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, Md.