Tonight Rockville residents will have a chance comment on proposed changes to the city’s policies on growth and development—amendments that include allowing waivers for projects near Metro stops and increasing the threshold for overcapacity schools.
A public hearing has been set for 8 p.m. tonight during the Rockville City Council meeting at City Hall. The City Council meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
An Adequate Public Facility Ordinance or APFO is meant to ensure development doesn’t overburden nearby schools, roads and other public services. The city is asking for feedback on the criteria that approved projects would have to meet under the city’s APFO. These guidelines are known as the Adequate Public Facilities Standards.
Council Members John Hall Jr. and Tom Moore co-authored draft revisions to the APFS. Developers have also submitted a separate draft of amendments. Both are posted at the city’s website.
One of the amendments proposed would let builders seek permission to bypass the city’s growth ordinance for projects within 2,000 feet of a Metro station, though such a waiver would require a supermajority council vote.
There is also a proposal that would change the threshold for school capacity.
Under current policy, the city won’t approve developments if they bump school enrollment past 110 percent capacity. One of the proposed changes would increase that capacity to 120 percent—to match Montgomery County’s benchmark, according to city records.
Another amendment would exempt certain types of development—such as schools, churches and nursing homes—from the city’s APFO.
Cities, states and counties across the country have adopted APFOs since the 1960s, according to a July report from Maryland’s Sustainable Growth Commission’s APFO work group.
Rockville’s APFO and APFS were adopted in 2005 and have been a contentious issue ever since—at times, the source of legal disputes.
Critics argue the policy has stifled development and has not helped reduce school overcapacity. Proponents of the APFO argue that it’s needed in order to make sure the type of development that arises in Rockville is in the city’s best interest.
People who want to testify have until 4 p.m. today to add their names to the speaker’s list. To do so, residents are asked to call 240-314-8280.
>>>Speak Out: How do you feel about these proposed amendments?