Council Agenda: Twinbrook Metro Place, Historic Designation
'Smart' utility meters and an invitation from China are also up for discussion.
Discussions of a mixed-use development in Twinbrook and of a West End home nominated for historic designation are on the Rockville City Council’s agenda for Monday.
Twinbrook Metro Place
The council is scheduled to discuss Twinbrook Metro Place. Twinbrook Partners LLC is proposing to build three 14-story residential buildings, a 10-story office building and a 10-story hotel on 6.73 acres at 1592 Rockville Pike, just north of Halpine Road. The site is home to a one-story strip mall that includes Fuddruckers.
Residents expressed concerns about parking and building heights at a council hearing on the project on Feb. 27.
City staff is recommending that the council approve a resolution allowing the project to proceed with 43 percent fewer spaces than the maximum number of spaces that the city could require of a project of the size and scope of Twinbrook Metro Place. The maximum number of spaces that the city could require is 2,199. Developers are asking that the requirement be waived so that the project can be built with less than 1,300 parking spaces.
City staff also is recommending that the council grant the developer’s request to build up to 150 feet high—beyond the 120-foot maximum building height allowed in a mixed-use zone.
On Jan. 25, the city’s Planning Commission voted 5-0 to approve the project plan. The commission voted 5-0 in favor of a waiver of the city code that would allow a four-foot reduction (to 66 feet) in right-of-way dedicated to a new road connecting Rockville Pike to an extension of Rockville Pike.
Commissioners Jerry Callistein and Kate Ostell were not present at the meeting.
The commission also voted 4-1 against recommending a waiver to the parking requirements, with Commissioner Kathleen Cook in the minority. Commissioners asked the developers to submit more parking data for the mayor and council to review.
The commission voted 3-2 in support of the request for additional building height, with commissioners Don Hadley and Dion Trahan opposed to the height waiver.
If the council accepts the staff recommendations, the council would vote on April 16 on a resolution allowing the project to be built.
Historic designation for home
The council on Monday also will consider historic designation for a home at 103 Forest Avenue, in the city’s historic West End.
The home, on the corner of Forest Avenue and Harrison Street, was nominated for historic designation in 2002 by Tom Moore, a neighboring homeowner who is now a city councilman, and by Peerless Rockville, according to a city staff report.
The home has been preserved in “near-original condition” since it was built in 1925 for the family of Dr. Gilbert V. Hartley, whose medical practice was located in the home, the report said.
The homeowner, who is expected to attend Monday’s meeting, has since put the property up for sale and opposes the designation, the report said.
The city’s Historic District Commission recommended the home for historic designation in 2002, but agreed not to forward the recommendation to the City Council at the request of the Hartley family, which also opposed the designation.
The city has received questions about what can be done with the property, including renovations, the report said. Historic designation limits changes that can be made to the home.
The HDC was scheduled to receive a briefing on the property’s status last Thursday. This is the first time the council has discussed the property. The schedule for action on the proposal is as follows:
- April 11: The city’s Planning Commission discusses and recommends action on the historic designation.
- April 30: The City Council holds a public hearing.
- May 14: The council discusses the historic designation.
- June 11: The council votes on whether to amend zoning to include the property in the historic district.
Smart meters, Chinese invitation
The council will hear a presentation by Pepco, which is installing “smart meters” to help homes and businesses reduce their electricity use.
The council also will discuss an invitation from Jiaxing, China to attend a sister city summit.
The Rockville Sister City Corporation, with facilitates the city’s sister city relationship with Pinneberg, Germany, is recommending against the mayor and council attending the summit.
RSCC decided that the one-day summit, in China, is “too short and too focused on government relations,” according to a staff report. Airline tickets to China cost $1,771 roundtrip, according to the report.