The Huntington Terrace Citizens’ Association (HTCA) was formed in 1937 and has ever since been recognized by Montgomery County as the association representing Huntington Terrace. Its first concern in the early years was the cost of curbs and gutters. HTCA was then involved in the early 1950s when Suburban Hospital presented a 15-year plan for expansion, and several residents appeared at the public hearings. In 1975, HTCA participated in hearings into the Hospital’s plan to expand by constructing a “D Wing.” As a result of that Board of Appeals proceeding, safeguards were mandated to protect nearby homes, including preservation of houses along Grant, McKinley and Lincoln Streets as a buffer from the institution; dedication of a “green space” behind the Lambert Building and new parking facility; and restricting the height of the hospital’s new parking garage to 20 feet.
In 1979, HTCA became alarmed by the fact that non-residents and hospital staff were parking on local streets and responded by petitioning the County to restrict weekday parking on HT’s roads to residents (and their guests) who displayed parking permits. With the development of the Metro system this restriction became more important. HTCA also successfully petitioned the Department of Transportation to install signs forbidding eastbound morning traffic from turning south into HT from Greentree Road. In 1984 the Hospital sought to construct a six-story physician office building along Old Georgetown Road. To carry out this expansion, the hospital asked HTCA to support the repeal and/or modification of the special exception granted in 1976. (This special exception allows the hospital to exist as a “guest” in the R-60 residential zone that governs all of the neighborhood.) Huntington Terrace residents voted against both repeal of the special exception and the proposed hospital expansion. Suburban abandoned the project after the Board of Appeals in 1987 voted down the planned construction, even though the Circuit Court permitted it on appeal.
In the 1980s HTCA worked closely with Bradley Hills PTA to defeat a proposal to close Bradley Hills Elementary School. This neighborhood school was later renovated and won architectural awards. BHES today is a highly-ranked primary school, and it is now being considered for another renovation and expansion.
HTCA is represented on the National Institutes of Health Community Liaison Council, which focuses on the impacts this federal campus has on the surrounding neighborhoods. The Council attempted, without success, to maintain access to Metro through NIH property, after Congress ordered fencing the campus after 9/11. Later the Council succeeded in persuading NIH to lower noise emanating from any new NIH building to 10 decibels below Montgomery County Standards.
During 2008 and 2009 HTCA has been actively seeking to preserve the residential character of Huntington Terrace. In Spring, 2008 Suburban Hospital applied to county authorities to double the size of the hospital, close the 5400 block of Lincoln Street, demolish 23 houses in the neighborhood, and introduce physicians office space to HT and construct a new, substantially larger parking garage. In the summer of 2009 Johns Hopkins Medical Group acquired Suburban Hospital and endorsed the expansion plan. However, at a community meeting, Huntington Terrace residents voted against any hospital expansion plan that would close Lincoln Street, demolish homes and create commercial physician office space in a residential community. These are principles that our neighborhood has endorsed for decades. HTCA represented Huntington Terrace through the lengthy government proceedings.
HTCA continues to stress that any hospital expansion should be in harmony with the residential community in which it is situated.
For decades, HTCA has sponsored events for residents. For many years to celebrate July 4th residents have marched the length of Madison Street, with their bikes and carriages decorated with bunting, keeping time to a patriotic drum roll; games and treats follow at Bradley Hills Elementary School. Since 1975, the annual Halloween Celebration has been held at the Triangle, located at the intersection of Garfield and Roosevelt Streets. In 2007, resident volunteers refurbished that Triangle with gardens, creating a lovely pocket park at the southwestern entry to the neighborhood. Community block parties and music events also give neighbors opportunities to meet and mingle.