TAKOMA PARK, MD — In an effort to curtail divisive and repetitive debate about the Takoma Junction development, city officials have decided that future arguments about the development will be confined to a dedicated “battle zone” located in the controversial building.
All discussions, presentations, speeches and demonstrations about the project will be restricted to a dedicated room located on the second floor of the 40,000 square foot retail and office development, which will contain a battle beam, nerf swords, and sumo suits for anyone seeking to engage in mock fights with a disagreeable neighbor.
The battle zone also will have fluffy pillows for anyone seeking to express their rage with a pillow-fight as well as padded walls and tables for residents interested in banging their head against a flat surface when trapped in endless debate.
The Takoma Park City Council voted to create the battle zone in a 4-3 vote, after a five-hour debate concluding at 2:30 a.m.
“With this vote, we can move the goal posts forward to start construction on the project,” stated the Mayor said. “And after those goal posts are set, those who still feel the need to argue about the development can throw their opponent into them.”
After the battle zone opens, discussions of Takoma Junction will be prohibited on Internet forums, including Facebook, Twitter and neighborhood e-mail listservs. Violators will be subject to a fine of $50 and be forced to sit through a Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission hearing.
Residents felt relieved. “This should really reduce the number of nonsense emails on our list serv,” stated Ward 2 resident Kelly Peters. “Now I will be able to complain about cut-through traffic on my street without any interference.”
The battle zone’s walls will be decorated with historic photos and hundreds of architectural proposals of the Takoma Junction project site from developers, city residents, and elementary school students. A reference library will contain all 274 studies, reports and transcripts of meetings about the project since 1979.
A special “protest closet” will contain pre-printed signs saying “Bethesdafication,” “Monstrosity,” “No Big Dig,” “Say No To Corporate Greed,” “Sammie Abbott is Rolling Over in His Grave,” “I Can’t Breathe,” “Save Public Space” and “OMG Build This Damn Thing Already!!”
In a special “Design Your Own Junction” section, the space will also contain two computer stations with AutoCAD software and piles of building code books for residents who think they can do a better job designing a complicated, mixed-use development. The programs include construction cost-estimating software to show users that an estimated $250,000 design actually costs $22 million.
The battle zone is expected to draw dozens of Takoma Park residents every night. The Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op said it would provide free CBD oil, vegan chili and incense for calming purposes. A drum circle will make occasional appearances.
“I’m interested to finally meet the people I’ve been arguing with on Facebook for the past four years,” said development proponent Mike Peterson, a 7-year resident of Takoma Park. “Wait till they see my jousting moves.”
Development critics objected to the battle zone, saying it was too small, and lacked an area for breakdance fighting. They also bemoaned the omission of a safe space, where groups can secretly form without the fear of hearing opposing points of view.
“At least 50 percent of the Takoma Junction development should be dedicated to debating the Takoma Junction development,” said Henrietta Whipperson, a 32-year-resident of Takoma Park. “City officials have bungled this project from the beginning by completely underestimating the amount of public space that we need for arguing about this development. What a miserable failure. We’re not against all battle zones, we’re just against this battle zone.”
When asked how he felt about yet another bizarre requirement on a project already burdened with the impossible task of fulfilling everyone’s demands, Adrian Washington, president of developer Neighborhood Development Corporation, commented, “I’m actually really looking forward to this battle zone requirement. It’s a great idea as I’ve got some aggression to release myself.”