The Gazette editorial staff in welcoming the new District 5 Council Member, Cherri Branson, [“Welcome to the council,” Feb. 5] appears unaware she is taking Valerie Ervin’s seat for the most groundbreaking council agenda item in decades impacting her own District 5 — namely, the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan for which Ms. Ervin was a principal proponent.
The WOSGMP, under development by the council and Planning Board for nearly four years and now supported by a County Executive Office public-private partnership, seeks to capture and fast track the previously unimaginable east county economic development potential presented by the consolidation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration headquarters and laboratory campus at White Oak.
Testimony at the Feb. 4 council hearing emphasized the magnitude of east county revitalization to be leveraged from within the worldwide biomedical industry by one of the largest construction projects in Montgomery Country history (the $1.3 billion Food and Drug Administration campus at White Oak), and the regulatory gateway for one of every four consumer dollars spent in the United States.
Ms. Branson and the council must weigh opponents’ concerns over the negative and positive impacts on U.S. 29 commuter traffic against the unprecedented opportunity to elevate nearly one-third of the Montgomery County non-AgReserve land mass from economic stagnation.
Rob Richardson, Silver Spring
The writer is a member of the Montgomery Planning Board appointed WOSGMP Citizens Advisory Committee.