Takoma Co-op Files Suit Against Developer, City in Access Dispute

The Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op has filed a lawsuit against the Neighborhood Development Company and the City of Takoma Park in a dispute over the co-op’s access to a city-owned parking lot and its ability to take deliveries.

The lot at Takoma Junction is leased to NDC by the city, and NDC leases it to the co-op.

NDC sent a letter to co-op management on April 15, citing safety concerns over deliveries by 18-wheeled trucks expressed by both the city and the State Highway Administration, that served as notice of 30-day termination of the co-op’s sublease.

In a press release, the co-op said the letter violated the terms of a 2018 cooperation agreement between the two parties that outlined how the co-op could operate pre-, post- and during construction of a proposed NDC redevelopment at Takoma Junction on Carroll Avenue.

“NDC has no basis to throw us off the city lot or stop our deliveries,” said Mike Houston, the co-op’s general manager in a press release.

“Neither the developer nor the city has presented the co-op with any evidence of unsafe or illegal operation,” he continued. “And we have always complied with our sub-Lease with NDC. We pay our rent, we fully indemnify NDC and the city for anything that could happen on the lot, and we have insurance coverage that includes NDC and the city.”

Diane Curran, the co-op’s board president, said in the release that the city was included in the lawsuit as a defendant for its role in the matter.

“As NDC’s landlord and business partner, the city has the authority to require NDC to retract its unlawful and abusive demands,” she said.

The city released a statement yesterday on the lawsuit, saying “Last week the city formally asked NDC to rescind its earlier demand that the Co-op immediately discontinue its use of the parking lot site. The city also asked NDC to not interfere with the co-op’s use of the city-owned parking lot for its deliveries and parking for its customers, so that the co-op could continue with its current sublease arrangement.”

The deadline for compliance was Friday, April 23. The co-op filed its suit in Montgomery County Circuit Court on Tuesday, April 27.

“As mayor, I am extremely disappointed that NDC and the co-op have been unable to successfully resolve these issues, and that this dispute has now moved into a court of law,” said Mayor Kate Stewart. “NDC must abide by its existing agreements with the city. The city is exploring all possible options to find a solution to the situation. It is in the best interests of our residents that these issues get resolved as quickly as possible.”

As of 6:45 p.m. last night, NDC had not responded to a request for comment.

Screenshot from an early sketch plan presentation of the proposed NDC project

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