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Silverwood Project, Pumphrey Parking and Lutheran Home Bonds On Council Agenda

The council will meet with school officials before Monday's regular meeting.

Legal maneuvering over the proposed development of the site of the former Reed Brothers Dodge site, a proposed parking lot adjacent the Robert A. Pumphrey funeral home and bonds for the National Lutheran Home are on the agenda as the Rockville City Council holds its first meeting of 2012 on Monday.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. at .

The council will meet with Montgomery County Public School officials at 6:15 p.m., before the regularly scheduled meeting.

The regular agenda includes a discussion of whether the council wishes to weigh in on legal challenges to a proposed mixed-use project across Frederick Road from King Farm.

Silverwood/Shady Grove LLC is seeking to build a six-story 417-unit multifamily building with ground floor retail on the 4.3-acre former Reed Brothers Dodge site at 15955 Frederick Road.

King Farm resident Cathy Scott and former Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo have filed separate petitions for judicial review of decisions by the city. Scott's seeks a review of the council's decision to annex the property. Giammo's seeks a review of the city Planning Commission's approval of the project.

The city’s Planning Commission voted Nov. 30 not to reconsider its Oct. 26 approval of the project, The Gazette reported. Scott had requested the reconsideration, citing concerns about added traffic the development would bring.

Reconsideration could be on the table for another project, however. The council will consider whether to revisit a November 2010 vote that cleared the way for the to apply to build a parking lot on a property adjacent the home.

Two members of the council that are no longer on the council.

The council also will consider whether to issue economic development bonds on behalf of the National Lutheran Home & Village at Rockville, Inc. The nonprofit corporation says it has a purchaser for the bonds, which it would use to finance a project that would add assisted living facilities—but would not add buildings—to The Village at Rockville, at 9701 Veirs Drive.

The city would issue up to $25 million in bonds, but would assume no financial liability should the lender default, according to city staff. The issuance would not affect the city’s ability to issue debt, staff wrote in a report to the council. It could, however, make it more difficult to receive a competitive interest rate if the city finds it necessary to issue bonds totaling less than $10 million during 2012, staff wrote. The city does not anticipate any such bond issuance this year.

The proposal raised some concerns from residents who, at a Dec. 23 hearing, said that the city needs guidelines for bond sales on behalf of nonprofits, The Gazette reported.

The council will discuss establishing guidelines as part of a broader discussion of the city’s financial management policies on Monday.

The council also will discuss whether to adopt a change to the definition of “family” in city zoning.

The proposed definition applies to married couples, blood relatives and unrelated people living as a “single housekeeping group.” The intent of the definition is to distinguish single-family homes from “rooming houses, boarding houses or multi-family dwellings,” which are prohibited in parts of the city zoned for single-family residences.

The agenda also includes a staff recommendation that the council reject eight bids to renovate the bathhouse at the outdoor pool at the Rockville Swim and Fitness Center. The budget for the demolition of the 43-year-old bathhouse and construction of new facilities is $715,000. Contractors’ bids received last year range from $957,777 to $1,371,817, according to the staff report.

Staff recommends that the city rebid the project in the spring so that demolition can begin after the pool closes for the summer season in early September.

Theresa Defino January 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM
In a shameful act of pandering and with absolutely no legal basis, John Hall led the council in a 3-2 reversal of approval of the parking lot for Pumphrey's. The action also violated his vow not to revisit decisions of the past council for simply the sake of a redo--there was absolutely no new evidence or factors that had come to light that should have caused this action, which came after 12:30 a.m. It's just that HE imperiously decided it was the wrong decision--after civic association meetings, public hearings and the like having all was concluded prior to his taking office. The vote came despite the fact, as Councilmember Pierzcahala pointed out, the site is actually improved with a lot due to storm water drainage. The neighbors wanted this to relieve overcrowding on local streets, which makes for a dangerous situation. Perhaps Mr. Hall, despite serving on the council previously, really doesn't understand its role, versus the role of city boards that review actions for legal and technical compliance. His position that this was an expansion of a non-conforming use is "never done" is flawed, because it was not an expansion of the actual business, only the parking. And for goodness sakes, it was a parking lot for a funeral home that has been in Rockville for 80 years--not a waste treatment facility, chemical plant, autobody shop, gas station or others that could be detrimental--on a state road that is heavily traveled and hardly residential. Shame on you, John Hall.

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