Rockville's Mayor and Council are holding a , on .
This battle is not lost. Your Mayor and Council deeply value the input we receive from citizens at our public hearings. You would be amazed by the effect an outpouring of public opinion can have. I encourage you to sign up for the hearing and make your voice heard.
It's polite to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 240-314-8280, or send a fax to 240-314-8289 to sign up to speak, but even if you don't sign up, you can still show up Monday night and you will be heard.
You can even make your voice heard before Monday: Post this article on Facebook, tweet it, or email the link to your Rockville friends.
When you get to City Hall on Monday night:
- Let us know how much you value Rockville's family-owned businesses. And tell us why you don't think the City of Rockville should casually tell a family-owned business that has operated in Rockville since 1854 to simply move away.
- Tell us you'd like us to actually support Rockville's employers, not just promise to do so during our campaigns, and not just talk about doing so during our meetings.
- Remind us that the more successful Rockville's businesses are, the less tax Rockville's people have to pay.
- Let us know how much you value pedestrian safety. Please ask us what we're going to do when the first funeral-goer trying to dart across Route 28 at dusk ends up needing their own funeral.
- Remind us that 's is a valued neighbor. Let us know that you realize the West Montgomery Historic District is a historic district with a lovingly cared-for funeral home smack in the middle of it. Feel free to point out how the funeral home is possibly the best-maintained building in the West End, sometimes irritatingly so in comparison to our own homes.
- For that matter, remind us that Pumphrey's predates the historic district—and just about every home in the area.
- Remind us that Rockville's employers need to be able to rely on the decisions their government makes. Remind us that we are a lesser place when we can't trust the word of our City government.
- Remind us that the only reason the parking lot didn't get built promptly after the approval was given way back in 2010 was that Pumphrey's did trust the word of Rockville's government. More than $100,000 in planning and legal costs later, I'm sure they are sorry they did.
- Come equipped Monday night with information about what else could be built or operated on that space if Pumphrey's left. (The short answer: not much.) Come bearing the knowledge that it was fully legally and procedurally appropriate for the previous council to decide what it did.
- Remind us of something we're already fully aware of: The City of Rockville always evaluates each zoning exception request it receives on a case-by-case basis. There is no such thing as "opening the floodgates."
- Remind us that Pumphrey's asked to combine their two lots only because City planners asked them to do so; point out to us that wielding that request as a weapon against them now is grossly unfair.
- And remind your Mayor and Council that when we make a commitment to overturn a previous decision only if that decision was legally or procedurally wrong—and it turns out to be neither—we should keep our promise, even if it ends up in a result we don't like. Our word matters.
- More than anything, remind us that you will not allow Rockville to be run by the rule of NIMBY. We are better than that.
See you Monday night!
The author is a member of the Rockville City Council.