Changes to the city’s sign ordinance, the sale of Fireside Park Apartments and a calendar for work on the city budget are on the agenda as the Rockville City Council returns from its summer recess on Monday.
The Council at . The meeting will be broadcast live on Rockville 11.
The Council is scheduled to vote on a series of changes to the city’s sign ordinance that would allow rooftop and off-premise signs.
City staff is recommending against the changes, which were requested by .
The revisions to the ordinance would allow illuminated signs above rooftops and would set quantity and size limits for off-premises signs.
The changes would be limited to , which Federal Realty owns and operates, “but approval of these changes could set a precedent for similar requests in other areas of the city,” city staff said in a report.
The city’s Planning Commission discussed the changes on May 9. Commissioners said the proposal “highlights the need for a full review and revision of the sign code,” according to the report by city staff.
In recommending against the proposed changes, city staff agreed that a comprehensive review of the ordinance is needed.
The city continues to consider .
Fireside Park Apartments
RHE, which administers public housing in the city, is seeking the Council’s approval and $2 million in city aid to complete the $36 million purchase of the apartment complex at 735 Monroe Street, according to a report by city staff.
The $2 million could come from a $1.5 million loan from the city. The loan would require an amendment to the city’s fiscal 2013 budget, according to the staff report. The remaining $500,000 could be funded through the city’s Housing Opportunities Fund, staff wrote. Montgomery County has agreed to match up to $2.5 million.
The combined $5 million in city and county aid would be added to a mortgage secured by RHE for 90 percent of the purchase price. RHE has asked that the city serve as the guarantor for the mortgage.
“This is not the same as the City guaranteeing the loan, but rather the lender will require oversight of RHE to ensure that in the event of fraud or misrepresentation by RHE, the lender can look to the guarantor to resolve any issues,” city staff wrote.
The 236-unit garden-style complex, which city staff said could help meet the need for affordable housing in Rockville, went on the market in April. The county notified the city July 6 that an offer for the property had been received.
City staff is recommending that the city work with RHE to answer questions about the purchase. Staff also is recommending that the Council seek input from the community through neighborhood groups, written testimony and during the Citizens Forum portion of the Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 Council meetings.
Budget work sessions
The Council will consider a schedule for discussions on the city budget for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1.
City staff is recommending the following work sessions:
- Oct. 8: State of the fiscal 2014 general fund.
- Oct. 15: Employee compensation and benefits.
- Oct. 22: Capital Improvements Program and city contracting.
- Nov. 5: Reducing the city budget and what it means to cut costs.
- Dec. 3: Costs and revenues associated with new development and an overview of biennial budgeting.
Fire safety code
The Council is scheduled to introduce an ordinance that would bring the city’s fire safety code in line with state code while adding certain local amendments. The ordinance represents a wholesale change to the city code, which follows the state code, according to a city staff report. Beginning Jan. 1, Maryland is bringing its code in line with the National Fire Protection Association’s codes and standards, the report said.
The consent agenda includes approval of:
- A contract with Office Depot, Inc., of up to four years and up to $200,000, for office supplies.
- An additional $900,000 in the budget for fiscal 2013, which began July 1, for sidewalk, curbs, driveway apron and other construction, repair and maintenance. The additional spending will go toward contracts with three construction firms already under contract with the city.
- A contract of up to three years and up to $150,000 for chlorine for city swimming pools. The contract is a rider off of a county contract with Amato Industries Inc./Amchlor of Silver Spring.