Action: Is the ‘Pink Bank’ Worthy of Historic Designation?
The Rockville City Council is expected to take the initial steps in deciding whether the so-called “pink” bank on Washington Street is worthy of historic designation.
The site, Suburban Trust Co. building at 255 N. Washington St., earned the nickname the pink bank because of the square pink panels that frame its windows. Kettler, the property owner that sought to demolish it, asked for review of the property’s historic significance, city records show.
The vote would authorize the filing of an amendment to the city’s zoning code to designate bank as a historic place, thus protecting it from demolition. If the Mayor and Council authorize the filing, the amendment would go back to the planning commission for a recommendation and to a public hearing before any final decision by the Mayor and Council.
The Rockville Historic District Commission has already said the pink bank should be deemed a historic site, a determination was based largely on the building’s 1960s architecture and the its broader role in the development of downtown as a commercial center, Patch has reported.
According to city records, the planning commission approved in 2004 a preliminary development plan that called for the demolition of the “pink” bank to make way for a development with as many as 325 residences, city records show.
Discussion: Historic Designation for The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ property at Great Falls Road
The Mayor and Council is expected to discuss whether a property owned by a Jehovah’s Witnesses Congregation should be considered a historic property.
At issue is a house at 628 Great Falls Road. The congregation, which opposes the designation, wants to build a structure that would abut the back of the house out of need. The congregation hosts five services next door, with 150 people attending each service, according to testimony at a recent public hearing.
The project meets the city’s current land use requirements, according to records filed with the planning commission in January 2012.
But supporters of the historic designation argue that the site
has historic ties and that expansion would lead to the “institutionalization” of
a residential neighborhood.
State tax records show that the structure was built in 1923; research shows that the land the house sits on has ties to an antebellum community of freed African Americans.
City planners determined in April that the property was historically and architecturally significant “because it illustrated the development of suburban residential property at the edge of the city in the late 19th and 20th centuries.”
A public hearing on the matter Sept. 30 surpassed two hours, with 17 people speaking in opposition to the designation and 14 people speaking in favor of it—including descendants of the freed African-Americans who owned the parcel.
Final action isn’t expected until Oct. 28, should the Mayor and Council vote to request an ordinance approving a historic designation for all or a part of the property.
Discussion: Adequate Public Facilities Standards Ordinance
The Mayor and Council are expected to discuss “noncontroversial” proposals to amend the rules that govern development in Rockville.
Council members John Hall Jr. and Tom Moore redrafted their proposals to change the city’s rules for future development, backing away from a contentious proposal that would have allowed developers to ask permission to bypass traffic and school capacity restrictions for projects near Metro stations.
The move comes after residents voiced concern—calling the proposed amendments “aberrations” and threats to their children’s’ education—during public hearing that dragged on for more than three hours Sept. 30.
Councilman Mark Pierzchala asked that the council members’ draft be sent to the city’s Planning Commission for review.
>>>See: “Rockville City Councilmen Back Off Waiver Amendment” at Rockville Patch.