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Council Tightens Review Process for Certain Town Center Projects

Zoning amendment places more scrutiny on projects for Town Center’s performance district. Pending plans to build commercial space at former Giant store on North Washington Street would not be affected

More scrutiny will be placed on projects within Rockville’s Town Center’s performance district, following the City Council’s decision Monday to amend the city’s zoning rules.

The amendment eliminates, for the performance district, the “level 1” review process for smaller projects that would have only needed approval by the city’s planning chief. 

Instead, performance district projects would require approval from the Planning Commission as a “level 2” site plan or would require mayor and Council approval as a project plan.

Applicants also would have to give notice to affected civic and homeowners associations.

The measure passed 4-1, with Councilman Tom Moore casting the opposing vote.

“I think it's adding a layer of complexity to development in an area where there's no disagreement,” Moore said. “We would like this to be developed.”

In December, the planning commission approved the amendment 6-0, with Planning Commission Chairman Jerry Callistein absent. 

City staff said the only pending level 1 project—plans to build a two-story building with a bank and commercial space at the site of the former Giant grocery on North Washington Street—would not be subjected to the changes.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was originally published to correct the vote. The zoning ordinance amendment passed 4-1.

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