Quite a few residents of the Rockshire neighborhood of Rockville turned out at Monday night's Mayor and Council Meeting.
They voiced concerns during the Citizens Forum segment of the meeting about the fate of the former Karma Academy property on Watts Branch Parkway.
The property is owned by Montgomery County, and the county has not yet specified what it intends to do with it. Rockshire residents who spoke at the meeting urged the city to obtain the property, and merge it with the adjacent Wooton's Mill Park, owned by the city.
Councilmember Mark Pierzchala said that, realistically, the county will not simply hand over the expensive real estate for little or no money. Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio suggested it could be a good site for the Rockville Science Center she has long advocated for.
Residents have good reason to be concerned. The county could sell the property to a developer for a massive, dense townhome development. Or it could choose to keep it, building a school, soccer fields, or a shelter/clinic facility, as residents of Twinbrook Forest had to deal with until recently. The county council once tried to build a homeless shelter on property it obtained in an expensive Bethesda neighborhood of single-family homes, until outraged residents raised a ruckus.
Likewise, the county should not underestimate the Rockshire Association, which sued Rockville's Mayor and Council and Planning Commission over a development dispute during the 1970s.
Councilmember Tom Moore lauded the large turnout. He said the Karma Academy was "already on our radar," but that the appearance of so many residents would surely move the issue up on the council's list of priorities.