- The Sept. 1 hostage situation at Discovery's headquarters has caused all kinds of security worries. (Photo: Jay Westcott)
Trouble is, closing the garden to the public, albeit for security reasons, is in violation of Discovery's site plan with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The company is in the midst of conducting a security assessment to determine whether it's safe to keep the garden open to the public, but site plan enforcement manager Ehsan Motazedi tells TBD that if Discovery needs more time beyond the initially-reported deadline of Friday (which he is hesitant to even refer to as a deadline), he understands.
"More than anything, it's about the safety. They're doing the security assessment for their employees and also for the public, because the public uses those facilities, too," he says. "So if they need time to complete their assessments, we want to make sure" they can, although Motazedi adds that he's "confident they will finish this shortly."
"It's been a sensitive issue," Motazedi says.
A Discovery spokesperson declined to comment on the record about the matter.
So what happens if Discovery decides it's unsafe to reopen the garden? The company will have to apply for an amendment to its site plan. They may also receive a notice of non-compliance, although it doesn't carry any county-determined fines, Motazedi says.
A previous amendment to the site plan [PDF] states that the garden's fencing should be designed "all for the purpose of increasing the public’s sense that they are welcome and safe in the garden” and that the garden be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., or until dark.