Thursday, June 05, 2014


The list of problems related to the Bainbridge Bethesda construction site along St. Elmo and Fairmont Avenues seems to be growing by the day. Monday, I reported on the Bainbridge sidewalk that is apparently higher than the existing grade along the rest of Fairmont Avenue, and the problems that may cause for adjacent property owners and pedestrians. And, of course, we've been monitoring the trials and travails of pedestrians trying to get up and down Fairmont over the last couple of weeks.

Things aren't going so well on the St. Elmo side of the project, either. First, contractors for Bainbridge have blocked access to the adjacent BCC Automotive with construction vehicles. They also have not placed a steel plate over the torn up portion of St. Elmo by the driveway, according to the property owner of BCC Auto and neighboring Red Tomato Cafe, known as Green Tomato, LLC.

Green Tomato owner Lenny Greenberg has retained architect Steven J. Karr as a consultant on the St. Elmo issues, as well as on the Fairmont Avenue problems. Karr's site visit yesterday uncovered other potential issues. The drive apron for the BCC Auto driveway appears to have been reduced in width,  compared to the original. Karr also found less-than-craftsmanlike chipping of the existing driveway, rather than a neat saw cut.

To top it off, the same grade issues on the other side of the property may be in play on St. Elmo, as well. Karr wrote in an email to county officials that the concrete sub-base now in place on the St. Elmo side appears to be higher than the original (should brick pavers be added, as expected), meaning that it won't align with "the BCC Auto apron in public space." Many of the concerns have been documented in these photos taken on-site yesterday by Karr.

Karr has requested an on-site meeting with Christina Contreras and Ralph Wolfe of the county Department of Permitting Services Right-of-Way division.

This is all potentially a big mess, and could add to the delays that have already stalled the Bainbridge project over the last two years. To whatever extent the work has been botched, it is not only causing problems for the adjacent landowner, but is potentially non-conforming to the county streetscape guidelines.

Click on photos to enlarge for greater detail:
The driveway to BCC Auto
on Wednesday

All photos courtesy Steven J. Karr, AIA, Inc.
All rights reserved

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I filed a formal complaint with the County regarding the blocked sidewalks on Fairmont. The contact I was given for it was Mr. Wolfe, but he never returned my call. Who pays their salaries?