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Council Agenda: Twinbrook Metro Place and Pumphrey Parking

Ethics complaint over parking controversy rejected; Budget work and a closed session also scheduled.

A vote on a mixed-use development near the Twinbrook Metro station, a discussion of whether to allow Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Home to build a parking lot in the historic West End and budget work are on the Rockville City Council’s agenda for Monday.

The at . The meeting will be broadcast live on Rockville 11.

Twinbrook Metro Place

The council is scheduled to vote on plans for Twinbrook Metro Place. Twinbrook Partners LLC is proposing 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 .

Residents expressed on the project on Feb. 27.

Pumphrey parking

The council is scheduled to discuss whether to reverse to allow to build a parking lot on property adjacent to the existing funeral home.

In January, a newly elected council to grant Pumphrey the right to build the parking lot.

The reversal sparked sometimes-heated debate among residents and council members.

on the issue drew nearly 500 votes and 30 comments as of Monday.

Councilman Tom Moore wrote .

Joseph Jordan, a Rockville resident who , filed a complaint with the city, saying Moore’s letter violated the ethics provisions of the city code.

In a letter to Jordan on Thursday, city attorney Debra Yerg Daniel said she found “insufficient facts to support a violation” and dismissed the complaint.

Click on the PDFs above to read Jordan’s complaint and responses by Moore and Daniel, respectively.

A March 26 public hearing drew 22 people in favor of the parking lot, 13 against it and three offering no recommendation, according to a city staff report.

Click here to view video of the hearing from Rockville 11.

According to the staff report, there were 137 total public comments received by the city. That total comprises 38 public comments from the hearing and 30 written comments received by the city—including 69 signatures on a petition opposing the lot. In total, 102 people opposed the lot and 32 supported it.

If the council decides Monday to disallow the parking lot, city staff would prepare an ordinance for the council to introduce and approve at a later date.

Budget work

The council is scheduled to review the city’s budget for fiscal 2013, which begins July 1. The work session will focus on budgets for the city attorney’s office and for the finance, human resources and recreation and parks departments.

This is the second of three scheduled budget work sessions. A third work session, scheduled for April 30 will focus on the budgets for the public works and community planning and development services departments.

A fourth work session will be held, if needed, on May 14.

A third and final public hearing is scheduled for May 7. Staff is recommending that the public record remain open for written testimony until May 17.

The council is scheduled to adopt the budget on May 21.

Closed-door session

The council is scheduled to meet in closed session before the start of Monday’s meeting to discuss “pending litigation regarding Town Center” and the appointment of a new city manager, according to the agenda.

Stephen Kelley April 16, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I wonder how many people who signed the petition also provided comments during the meeting and individual, written comments after the meeting?
Sean R. Sedam April 17, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Like the Patch poll on the parking lot, that count by city staff might be "unscientific" and duplicative as well.
Sean R. Sedam April 17, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I received an email from Councilman Tom Moore, who presumably spent more time reading through all of the public testimony than I did. He wrote: "That last bit, I think, is simply wrong. 102 people did not oppose it. 102 pieces of testimony opposing it were received. There's a big, big difference. I wouldn't be surprised if a fair number of folks showed up for the hearing, wrote comments, and also signed the petition and were thus counted three times. It's also not quite fair to count a petition in the final count, since it's inherently one-sided. What if they talked to 100 supporters of the lot in getting those 69 signatures opposing it? The best measure, I would submit, is when the two sides went head-to-head at the public hearing." If you can scroll back through the @RockvillePatch Twitter feed to March 26, you'll see our live tweeting of the hearing. Or go here: http://patch.com/bvbDV to see Rockville 11 video. And, not to bury the lede, but the council voted 3-2 on Monday to instruct staff to prepare language that will reverse the previous council's decision. A final vote is still needed, but it's likely that vote will mean Pumphrey will not be allowed to build the parking lot. (No word yet on whether there will be any legal efforts to get that changed.) Moore and Councilman Mark Pierzchala voted against changing the zoning (and in support of the parking lot).
Sean R. Sedam April 17, 2012 at 10:22 PM
My comments above correct and clarify my earlier response to reflect that Monday's vote was only preliminary.

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