Monday, May 22, 2017

Mr. Smoothie for sale at Rockville Town Square

Mr. Smoothie is for sale at Rockville Town Square. The smoothie and frozen yogurt cafe has been in business since 1996, and remains open at this time. Sale price is listed at only $59,999.

Friday, May 19, 2017

F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre to close temporarily this summer for repairs

The F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre in Rockville will close temporarily for repairs late this summer, from July 24-September 6, 2017. Roof beams will be reinforced, and a new motorized light bar will be installed, during the closure.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mayor and Council could pass outdoor dining smoking ban Monday

Smoking in outdoor dining areas could be banned in the City of Rockville as soon as Monday night. The Mayor and Council are scheduled to discuss the ordinance, but could waive a layover and cast their final vote, as well.

Of the public feedback on the proposal received by the city, 22 of 24 written comments supported the ban. However, one of the two negative submissions is a petition opposing the ban, signed by 189 people who oppose it. City staff has been unable to confirm how many of the 189 are Rockville residents, but then again, not everyone dining in Rockville is necessarily a Rockville resident.

Residents, businesses and patrons of Rockville establishments will have the opportunity to address the Mayor and Council on this issue during Community Forum, which is earlier in the meeting. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM this Monday, May 22, 2017, following an executive session that is closed to the public.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mayor and Council seek permission to demolish Rockville home for parking lot

The Historic District Commission will consider whether or not to declare a 1977 home in Lincoln Park historic at their meeting tomorrow night, May 18, at 7:30 PM at City Hall. Rockville's Mayor and Council purchased the home recently, for the purpose of demolishing it to make room for a parking lot at the Lincoln Park Community Center.

Although the area is historic for being one of the first subdivisions in Montgomery County available for purchase by African-Americans, the home itself is on a parcel that was created in 1976, 313 1/2 Frederick Avenue. Staff liaison Sheila Bashiri is recommending against historic designation.

For my part, having attended a number of events and meetings at the community center, I can attest that additional parking spaces are desperately needed at this facility.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Halpine View setting stage for redevelopment

The case of Halpine View and the taking up of the Veirs Mill Corridor sector plan by the Montgomery County Planning Board looks very much like a case of the tail wagging the dog. But for being one of the few actual growth sites in the plan area, the venerable garden apartment complex's ownership had few details to put on the table at a public meeting last night at Newport Mill Middle School.

Attorney Bob Dalrymple, representing the original family that still owns the complex, started off by noting that he grew up in Aspen Hill, and therefore feels personally invested in the area. He acknowledged Halpine View has been sector plan-shopping for several years, and are glad to have found a home in the Veirs Mill plan.

Nothing is imminent for the property, however. Dalrymple said the owners need the rezoning via the new sector plan in order to move forward. That means it's unlikely anything would happen for 2 years.

When it does happen, a representative of Grady Management said, Halpine View residents will get a year's notice of demolition. Surprisingly, in a county supposedly in an affordable housing crisis, he said Halpine View is experiencing a lack of interest from the market, and has vacant units.

Given that Halpine View is among the rapidly shrinking number of naturally occurring affordable apartment opportunities in MoCo, it's hard to believe they have habitable units sitting vacant. The Grady rep said renovation is not an option on the table.

The loss of 550 affordable apartments would be quite a blow. Unless the ultimate plan has that many MPDUs, it would mean a major net loss of affordable units. Dalrymple said affordable units will be "part of the discussion,' but the applicant isn't committing to anything beyond the minimum 12.5% of units required by the County at this juncture.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Another MCPS security employee charged with having sex with student

Montgomery County police have arrested and charged a Montgomery County Public Schools employee for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old student at Col. Brooke E. Lee Middle School in Silver Spring, where he was a "security employee." Mike Anthony Lievano, 21, of University Boulevard in Silver Spring, has been charged with sexual abuse of a minor, a third-degree sex offense, and fourth-degree sex offense.

Police say Lievano turned himself in late last night, and was transported to the Central Processing Unit. He is being held on a $10,000 bond.

Lievano is the second MCPS security employee in a month to be charged with having sex with a minor girl at the school he was assigned to. In the first case, at Richard Montgomery High School, it was revealed that MCPS had failed to do a background check on that employee, who had faced charges in a strip club gun incident easily found through a Google search.

Detectives say Lievano and the girl at Lee MS started "dating" on March 29, after an exchange of text messages. They did not say how the suspect obtained the girl's cell phone number. "Inappropriate sexual contact" took place between the two at his home, and her home.

Police ask anyone who believes that his/her child may have been victimized by Lievano in a similar way to call the Special Victims Investigations Division at 240-773-5400.

Timpano demolished at Montrose Crossing (Photos)

Timpano Italian Chophouse has been utterly obliterated at the Montrose Crossing shopping center in south Rockville. All that remains of the restaurant is a pile of rubble, and a graded dirt area. Property owner Federal Realty plans to build a new retail structure in its place, which will hold multiple retail and restaurant tenants. That structure will likely serve the same purpose at the front of the property as the holdover, low-rise retail did at Federal Realty's neighboring Pike & Rose, when Montrose Crossing is redeveloped in the future.