Friday, November 29, 2013


Are you hitting all the stores at Westfield Montgomery Mall today, the biggest shopping day of the year? You could find your phone powering down, whether it's an outdated battery, or simply from using your browser to look up the deals online. Now what?

Head to the CouCou kiosk on the Upper Level near Macy's.

Let them hook you up to their portable chargers, and they'll juice you back up. While waiting, you might want to check out their selection of portable power banks.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving to all readers of Rockville Nights! I am thankful for all of you who read this blog, and hope to continue improving the quality of the site each day.

Here are a couple of Thanksgiving links I hope are useful:

Rockville restaurants open Thanksgiving Day (Updated)

Black Friday deals at Westfield Montgomery Mall

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Now that we know what time the stores open at Westfield Montgomery Mall on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the question is, what are the deals?!

Here is the complete list of Black Friday deals at the mall as of this morning, and here are highlights of some of the best to help you plan:


• RCA 32” Class 720p 60Hz LED TV for only $179.99 (Save $60)
• Craftsman 220pc Mechanics Tool Set with Case $99.99 (regular $129.99)
• All DieHard work boots only $44.99 (regular $65-$105)
• Women’s sweaters from $9.99
• Juniors Bongo sweaters and skinny jeans from $12.99
• 50% off bras and panties
• Sleepwear sets from $9.99
• 50% off cosmetic kits
• 60% off jewelry boxes and more!


50% off 1st full priced item, 40% off remainder of purchase


$9.99 –your choice: coffee maker, griddle, waffle maker, rocket blender, toaster, slow cooker, deep fyer, Panini maker, pressure cooker, or blender; sharper image action camera $49.99; Tag Fairfield III 5-piece luggage set $49.99; 30% off Impulse apparel from Kensie, Lucky Brand, Miss Me, Rachel Rachel Roy, Bar III & more


30%-50% off select full price and sale items through closing


40% off Entire Store until closing


Open from 8pm, November 28; Entire store 50% off until 12noon 40% off after 12noon


50% off toys; 36 pack of AAA or AA batteries; **Samsung Galaxy S4 $49.00** (all carriers)


50% OFF EVERYTHING Including markdowns! Not combinable with any other offers or promotions. DOORBUSTERS 6AM Until 10AM Black Friday! Catch them while you can! While quantities last. Not combinable with other offers


50% off entire store 8pm-6am Thanksgiving/Black Friday; 40% off from 6am-10pm Black Friday


50% off the entire store. $10 Fleece doorbusters. Free holiday bear with a purchase of $75 or more


50% off entire store!


Buy 1 Get 1 50% off (of equal or lesser value) through the entire store Midnight-10pm 11/29

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The City of Rockville is formally expressing interest in acquiring a 5-acre property at 175 Watts Branch Parkway, which is currently owned by Montgomery County.

In response to concerns expressed by nearby residents of Rockshire and Fallsmead, the Mayor and Council voted on November 18 to declare its interest in the county disposition process.

According to Assistant City Manager Jenny Kimball, the county recently had the property appraised at $760,500. Other entities will likely seek to purchase the potentially-valuable property.

The two affected neighborhoods would like the site to be annexed into adjacent parkland. But councilmember Tom Moore expressed concern about that use. "We don't need a park there," Moore said last Monday. He argued that the neighborhood has sufficient parkland already, and that there is great need for affordable housing for the elderly and disabled.

Councilmember Beryl Feinberg disagreed. In her on-site inspection, she said, she saw residents making recreational use of the site. Feinberg also cited traffic concerns on the relatively narrow roadway.

What residents may correctly fear is either a dense, infill redevelopment of the site, or a public facility that could affect quality of life in the neighborhood. While there is Ride On bus service to Town Center in Rockshire, the site in question is not suitable for transit-oriented development.

Mayor Bridget Newton proposed an addendum to the declaration of interest that she said would give the city flexibility, should the county not prefer the site be used as parkland. Newton also suggested the possibility of a land swap to address needs elsewhere in the city.

The motion to proceed, including the addendum, passed unanimously.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Here is a short list of restaurants in or near Rockville that will be serving dinner on Thanksgiving Day this year:

CHEF GEOFF'S (Rockville Pike)

HOOTERS (Open 4 PM to 10 PM Thanksgiving, 1584 Rockville Pike)

IHOP (Rockville Pike)

MERITAGE (White Flint at Marriott conference center hotel)

SEASONS 52 (White Flint)


BUCA Di BEPPO (Gaithersburg/Kentlands)

Friday, November 22, 2013


In the best traditions of political cartooning, William Charles is putting pen - and Rockville politics - to paper. And via Rockville Nights, to the internet:

(Click cartoon to enlarge for more detail)


A site plan amendment for the Pike & Rose development, on the former Mid-Pike Plaza property along Rockville Pike in White Flint, will be taken up by the Montgomery County Planning Board on December 5.

The amendment would allow changes to be made to, and around, an existing retail building currently leased by Bank of America and Starbucks. That building is located at the southeast corner of the Pike and Rose development, where Old Georgetown Road meets Rockville Pike, and is referred to as "Building 13."

Changes described in the amendment include new building facades, a 1000 square foot expansion of retail space, a new pedestrian connection to Rockville Pike, and screening of existing trash receptacles and an electric transformer.

On the Pike side of the structure, the amendment would allow for outdoor cafe seating with overhead catenary lights, landscaping and a fountain.

Planning department staff have recommended approval of the site plan amendment.

Map via Montgomery County Planning Department:

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Black Friday will begin on Thanksgiving at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Many stores will open "after dinner" on Thursday, November 28.

Old Navy will actually open Thursday morning, but then close at 4:00 PM. Then it will re-open at 7:00 PM.

Other stores will follow throughout Thanksgiving night:

American Eagle
Forever 21
Dippin Dots
Tea Neck
Abercrombie & Fitch
Hollister Co.
Arden B
Pac Sun
Piercing Pagoda
Walking Company



Caribou Coffee

Jamba Juice

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


An electric car charging station is coming soon at the Woodley Gardens shopping center in Rockville. In addition to serving any nearby residents with electric cars (I saw a Chevrolet Volt parked in the area), it could also be a charging point for drivers between Bethesda and Frederick, as the shopping center is off of exit 6A on I-270.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Jim Marrinan, a former Rockville city councilmember, expressed concerns about recent and future city elections at last night's Mayor and Council meeting. Speaking during Citizens Forum, Marrinan submitted a written outline of issues he believed the city's election board should review.

Marrinan said the under-17% turnout in the 2013 city elections was unacceptable. He suggested early voting be adopted. The election night delay in the counting of votes was also troubling, and should never happen again, he said.

He also criticized the involvement of partisan elected officials in this month's non-partisan city election. Marrinan did not name any specific individuals, but has been critical of partisan politics entering municipal elections in the past. When former councilmember Bob Dorsey challenged Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews in a Democratic primary for the District 3 county council seat - while still holding a city council seat- Marrinan warned of fallout at the city level. A city official could become less effective, with constituents saying, "I didn't like what that councilman said when he ran in that partisan race," Marrinan argued at the time.

He also suggested that the use of Ritchie Park Elementary School as a polling place while school is in session is a danger to students there, presumably referring to cars coming and going during arrival and dismissal times.

Marrinan endorsed the Team Rockville slate in the 2013 city elections.

Monday, November 18, 2013


The Halloween Adventure pop-up store is now reverting back to Smart Toys at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda.

Smart Toys emphasizes toys with a science or learning element, such as a build-it-yourself robot.

Friday, November 15, 2013


The farce that was the last 48 hours of Red Line service on Metro is not the last straw. Whatever the last straw was (I think most riders and employees have lost count at this point), it happened a long time ago. Yet Metro continues to slouch forward, its leadership locking arms with apologists in local government and media. The result is that, in the customer's experience, there has been no positive change whatsoever.

Metro has been a good subway system in the past. Sure, there have always been issues, but nothing like that of recent years. Metro can be at least that good again with the right leadership, and adequate funding.

We've heard a lot about the "aggressive" changes in maintenance, safety and service. Riders have suffered through endless weekend station closures, closures that - along with punitive fare increases - have sent some riders back to their automobiles.

But those inconvenient closures have produced no tangible results. There continue to be delays, derailings, and even another fatal accident that killed an employee. Does anyone call this an improvement?

Yet Metro truly has a Teflon leadership. No matter what happens, it's never held accountable. But riders have leverage beyond their farecards: asking their local and state government officials to tell Metro's leadership enough is enough.

If our elected officials don't take action, we should take action at the voting machines in DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Furthermore, the state of Maryland should consider doing what Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell did three years ago: decide what substantive leadership, operation and safety changes they believe should be implemented, and withhold Maryland's Metro funding until those are enacted. Should that be the first and only means of bringing about real change? No. But if all else fails, is allowing one of the best subway systems in the world to continue to decline an option?

I'm certainly open to other suggestions of how Montgomery County and Maryland specifically can apply pressure on Metro on behalf of their beleaguered residents; feel free to leave a comment below.

But we can't continue to be told that change is just around the corner. When's the last time your train was automatically run, rather than manually operated? How many years have gone by without fixing that problem? I don't even hear Metro, the media or politicians talk about that issue anymore.

I'd like to see politicians show the same animation and fury they generate about plastic bags and trans fat on behalf of an unacceptable level of subway service for their constituents. And, if they don't, they should be replaced with people who will.

We can't go on like this.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The AT&T Store in Mid-Pike Plaza is moving up Rockville Pike. Its new location will open on Friday, November 22, at 12147 Rockville Pike, next door to T.G.I. Friday's.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


This morning's Washington Post contains an article on the proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) system that will be taken up by the Montgomery County Council today. Some information stated as fact in the article is actually untrue, unproven, or just subjective opinion. Let's correct the public record.

POST: (Headline) "Network of enhanced service envisioned on 10 roads to alleviate congestion"

FACT: There is no factual evidence whatsoever that BRT would "alleviate congestion." Journalism 101 tells us the media should never give authority to one view on an issue, particularly when there is no evidence to back up the assertion. The statement is false, and the headline should have been prefaced with "Advocates say..."

POST: The complete BRT system "would cost as much as $3 billion."

FACT: The Montgomery County Planning Department estimated a countywide BRT system would cost $10 billion. Concluding that was too expensive, planners reduced the size of the network by 50%. 50% of $10 billion is $5 billion.

POST: "It could be at least 2020 before construction begins on the first segment."

FACT: Not true. County master planner Larry Cole stated on County Cable Channel 6 this year that implementation in some areas could begin in early 2014, where major road alterations were not needed.

POST: "BRT is now regarded by many county leaders as the only rational way to address some of the worst commuter traffic in the country."

FACT: We've actually been rated as the worst commuting area in recent years. BRT is far from the only "rational" solution. For example, we know that about 25% of traffic on the American Legion Bridge is traveling to or from the Dulles area. If you built the long-delayed second bridge across the Potomac as an extension of either the ICC or the unbuilt Rockville Freeway, you would remove about a quarter of vehicles from that stretch of the Beltway. BRT can't remove anywhere near that amount of vehicles from roads. Would you spend money on a problem you know you can solve (Legion Bridge), or one that is purely speculative, like BRT?

POST: "[T]here is little room for new roads, [BRT] advocates contend."

FACT: Absolutely false. Rights-of-way exist for the Rockville Freeway, M-83 (Midcounty Highway Extended), new Potomac River crossing, and Northern Parkway. There are virtually no homes or businesses, if any, that would be demolished to build those roads.

POST: "'Nobody's going to widen any more roads or build another Wisconsin Avenue or Georgia Avenue...,' said council member Marc Elrich."

FACT: Interstates 270 and 495 both have room to be widened, as do Rockville Pike, Georgia Avenue and many other state highways. During the 1970s, county leaders deliberately chose not to build critical roads that were designed to allow through traffic to bypass Wisconsin and Georgia Avenues: the Northwest and North-Central Freeways.

POST: BRT "is rooted in the notion that if you take away a lane for cars on a congested road and set it aside for [BRT], some motorists will abandon their cars."

FACT: At least they used the word "notion!" In fact, Cole, the county master planner, said during public hearings this year that planners think and believe that if drivers see a fast bus, they will switch to the bus. They have no data or MoCo-esque area that has implemented a BRT system, much less a successful one. You can't justify reducing the vehicle capacity of MD 355 by 33% when you just "think" or "have a hunch" about a wacky plan.

POST: "County planners...estimate that an exclusive bus lane on MD 355 from the Capital Beltway to Western Avenue, for example, could move about 600 more people an hour than car traffic."

FACT: There is no data that shows any such thing. And the speculation assumes that those 600 people will switch from cars to bus. In fact, the corridor in question already has rapid transit, the Metro Red Line. Subways move far faster than BRT. Yet, those 600 drivers they refer to have already declined to use rapid transit. Why would they suddenly choose to use an even slower "rapid" bus (which moves 12 miles in 48 minutes, according to the county's own data) that doesn't even travel to their destination, downtown DC (BRT will end in Bethesda or Friendship Heights)?

The real fact is, taxpayer money would be better spent on adding more capacity to the Red Line, extending the Red Line to Germantown, expanding MARC commuter rail capacity, and completing our unfinished highway system. There simply is no money to waste on BRT, which is being pushed to expand sprawl urbanization out to areas like Wildwood, Montgomery Mall, Aspen Hill, and Olney.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Tonight is the grand opening of the ice rink at Rockville Town Square, and you're invited to the celebration.

The evening gets underway at 6:00 PM, with the Lloyd Dobler Effect performing live. After 7:00, you'll be able to meet a Washington Capitals player fondly remembered from the regrettably-now-demolished Capital Centre years, Alan May. Of course, May is today known for his hockey TV appearances, even if viewers weren't old enough to have seen him play.

Also after 7:00, meet the Capitals Red Rockers (the hockey version of cheerleaders), and Tommy McFly of 94.7 Fresh FM.

There will also be prizes, professional skating performances, and, finally, your own opportunity to lace up the skates and take to the home ice yourself.

To get you ready for the big night, here are some behind-the-scenes photos of the rink being assembled:

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Here is the latest construction progress on the first Duball tower at Rockville Town Center. As you can see, building has well passed street level at this point.

This tower will contain luxury apartments, and a 140-room Cambria Suites hotel.

Meanwhile, developer Duball, LLC has submitted an application to the Rockville planning department asking permission to increase the number of apartments in the future second tower from 222 to 400. This will be achieved by simply making the apartments smaller, which Duball claims is better suited to today's market.

Aside from changing the potential number of residents and vehicles at the site, it would also bring the total number of residential units to 663. Add in at least 140 hotel guests, many with rental cars, to the equation as well.

The matter is scheduled to come before the Rockville Planning Commission at its November 13 meeting, at 7:00 PM at City Hall (and broadcast live on Channel 11).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


With the 2013 Rockville Mayor and Council election results in, we know who won. But why did they win, and what messages are the voters sending to government through their choices?

There are no exit polls, and we don't have much information about what parts of the city most actively turned out to vote. But we can draw some preliminary conclusions today:

1. Rockville voters prize comity over policy.

Just about all we heard about during the final weeks of the election was the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. And turnout at a public hearing on that issue was large, organized, and just about unanimously opposed to altering the APFO. But yesterday, voters elected only one candidate who aligns with that position, new mayor Bridget Newton. Is that a contradiction?

On paper, yes. But many in Rockville have been critical of the ongoing squabbling between factions during Mayor and Council meetings. A high profile example of diplomacy trumping policy is former mayor Jim Coyle.

Coyle, a highly-regarded leader in the city, was arguably one of the most effective speakers opposing the high-density, mixed-use draft Rockville Pike plan in 2011. But in the election, he endorsed Team Rockville, which favors more growth on the Pike than its independent challengers did. This is a contradiction. However, Coyle has been outspoken in his belief that the city worked better when it elected slates that had general agreement on broad issues. The results suggest a number of voters agreed with Coyle.

2. East Rockville may have been a factor.

East Rockville, like Twinbrook, has been taking the brunt of development side effects, and not getting a lot of attention from politicians. It is also an area seeing an increase in young professionals. Those two trends might be among several reasons Julie Palakovich Carr received the most votes. As she mentioned in the debates, residents of East Rockville are displeased about a number of issues. Displeased voters vote. Politically-engaged young professionals likely saw Palakovich Carr as someone like them: of a newer generation, but wanting to be actively involved in the city. And she was very effective in bringing up practical issues like crime and rat control in East Rockville during the debates.

3. Among voters who did their homework on the candidates, a majority favored denser, urban-style growth for Rockville.

Was it that pro-development voters turned out in greater numbers? There is a contradiction to that, in that they elected a mayor who does not favor that type of growth. But with a 3 vote majority carrying on all issues, Mayor-Elect Newton will face a challenge in stopping it. Palakovich Carr and Virginia Onley, in particular, expressed some reservations about the Rockville Pike Plan during the debates, suggesting they did not entirely share their Team Rockville colleagues' growth agenda. If they hold to that independent streak, there could be room for Newton to reach compromises on height, density and other provisions. But, if you are a developer, you have to be feeling fairly good about the election results this morning.

4. Start early, or form a slate.

The only thing more embarrassing than the low turnout was the lack of candidates running. Don Hadley and Claire Marcuccio felt compelled to enter the race late, knowing they were at a disadvantage, because they could not believe no one else besides Team Rockville was running. The fact that Hadley was just about 80 votes short of winning the fourth seat suggests that he would have won if he had had more time. He had not planned to run, of course, so it was not poor planning on his part. But it is a good example for any candidate who sat out this time, that someone favoring more responsible growth can win if they have sufficient time to make the case with voters.

And if slates remain in favor, it may be necessary to form them to win.

5. Voters want Newton to be a check on Team Rockville.

Newton does not have the votes to stop a 4-1 decision. But the mayor does have power to control the agenda, steer policy, and make appointment nominations. This means that, for example, Newton can continue to fill Planning Commission vacancies over the next two years with residents who share her principles on development and growth.

The ballot question results also speak to voters sending a nuanced message: Yes, we want you to have more time in office, but we want active, engaged voters to have their voices heard in off-year elections.

6. There's much we won't know until this council begins work November 18.

Is it really a 4-1 split? Will independent thoughts, and the message voters have sent about cooperation, allow for alliances to form on various issues? My guess would be that it's possible. Citizens will be the best judge, and will play an important role at Citizens Forum and during public hearings, in communicating their concerns and priorities to the new Mayor and Council. This has certainly been the most across-the-board qualified group of candidates to run - to a person - in my time following Rockville politics. So, it will be interesting to see how the dynamics play out over the next 2 years.


Complete 2013 Rockville Election results: Click here

During the recent federal government shutdown, some argued that electing more women to Congress would end its legislative gridlock. But can electing more women to the Rockville city council have the same effect on a body recently criticized for bickering between factions? The city is about to find out.

No public list of past councilmembers is available online, as best I can tell. But the next Mayor and Council certainly contains the highest number of women members (4) in my recollection, if not in the history of Rockville. Voters yesterday chose a woman (Bridget Newton) as mayor for the third consecutive time since Mayor Larry Giammo left office. And the top votegetter in the council race was a woman, as well (Julie Palakovich Carr).

Tom Moore will be the sole male elected official in Rockville for this term of office.


Rockville voters chose councilmember Bridget Newton as their new mayor tonight, and decisively backed the agenda of the Team Rockville slate, electing all 4 members to the city council. Only 40226 city voters chose to participate in voting Tuesday, marking a low 16% turnout.

Julie Palakovich Carr received the most council votes with 4308,  (18.7%), a strong showing that placed her ahead of fellow winners Virginia Onley, incumbent Tom Moore, and Beryl Feinberg.

Don Hadley finished only 88 votes behind Feinberg, and Claire Marcuccio Whitaker had the least votes.


√Newton 53.06% 3508 votes
  Pierzchala 46.68% 3086


√Palakovich Carr 18.7% 4308
√Onley 17.60% 4063
√Moore 17.47% 4035
√Feinberg 16.01% 3698
  Hadley 15.63% 3610
  Whitaker 13.72% 3167

Expand Mayor & Council terms to 4 years?

√Yes 53.54% 3548
  No 42.98% 2848
  No opinion 3.49% 231

Hold Rockville elections in presidential election years?

  Yes 41.91% 2767
√No 53.47% 3530
  No opinion 4.62% 305

Expand council seats from 4 to 6?

  Yes 42.91% 2843
√No 50.49% 3345
  No opinion 6.60% 437

Rockville Nights will have analysis of the election results later today (it's officially Wednesday right now).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Former Montgomery County School Board member Laura Berthiaume has released a letter strongly endorsing Bridget Newton for mayor, and Don Hadley and Claire Marcuccio Whitaker for city council, in today's Rockville election.

Berthiaume also provides a detailed analysis she says proves that keeping the city's strong Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) in place - as the three candidates she endorsed have promised to do - will not prevent schools from being built in the future.

Recent attempts to weaken the APFO have been presented to suggest the ordinance was responsible for Montgomery County Public Schools not adding school facilities in Rockville. Berthiaume's provided evidence demonstrates that the APFO was not to blame in any of those instances. Rather, other issues at the county level interfered, Berthiaume writes.

Instead, Berthiaume argues strongly for keeping the APFO guidelines in place to prevent even more overcrowding in Rockville public schools. She says that Rockville Pike development will add
4-6000 new units alone. By 2016, Julius West Middle School will have more students than many small colleges, she notes.

"Do you want to see our sole middle school handling 1,800 or more students by 2020?," Berthiaume asks fellow voters in her letter.  "Please ask yourselves that question as you go in to vote [today]."

"It seems to me that one set of candidates [Team Rockville slate] favors essentially unlimited residential construction along 355, no matter the impact on our schools, while three excellent candidates will protect our Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) standards," she writes.

Her letter concludes:

"If you care about our children --or if you are just the sort of person who doesn't want to live in Crystal City - and never did - I ask you to please go out [today] and vote for Bridget Newton for Mayor, and Don Hadley and Claire Whitaker for Council."

Whitaker has also been endorsed by Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, Senator Jennie Forehand, and Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Fallout from a recent dust-up over Rockville's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) continues in the final hours of the 2013 Mayor and Council election.

An attempt to weaken the ordinance, which requires sufficient city infrastructure - schools and classroom space, fire and rescue resources, etc. - before development can proceed, drew a crowd of outraged residents to a contentious Public Hearing 35 days before the election. Now the disagreement over the future of the APFO standards has become the central issue in the city election.

As candidates visit homes and meet with voters across Rockville, two members of a committee that considered changes to the APFO in 2011 are urging voters to support the candidates they say will keep the current, higher APFO standards in place.

Tom Gibney, who served on the city's APFO Review Committee, says the award of an APFO waiver to the Silverwood development was a dangerous mistake, and strongly criticizes mayoral candidate Mark Pierzchala for his deciding vote on that matter, in a letter to the Gazette.

Gibney cites his committee's own review of the Silverwood case in his letter. The data that predicts 75-95% of residents will drive south on Route 355 in the morning suggests a dangerous situation for drivers and pedestrians in that area.

He says all of the Silverwood vehicles will have to use the sole means of egress from the apartment complex - a driveway onto 355. The problem, Gibney writes, is that - in order to reach the southbound lanes of 355, drivers will have to first dash across 3 of the highway's northbound lanes. Then, they will have to make a U-turn via a brief signal at Ridgemont Avenue. Gibney warns that this could result in "accidents and fatalities."

If Silverwood is an example of the "smart growth" Pierzchala and the Team Rockville slate are promising, Gibney concludes, "he does not deserve to be Mayor."

Gibney says he is supporting Bridget Newton for mayor, because she opposed the waiver for Silverwood as a councilmember.

A second member of the APFO Review Committee, Sean Hart, is also speaking out. In an email circulating on community listservs, and obtained by Rockville Nights, Hart expresses concern that some Rockville candidates "want to remove key components of the APFO," to permit far more development and growth in the city than is currently allowed. "Rockville is severely over capacity for schools, and as we all know, driving around town can be very slow," notes Hart.

Hart writes that his own analysis of the data while serving on the APFO committee suggests that working closely with the state and county to ensure needed infrastructure gets funded and built would be a better approach than weakening the APFO.

To foster that approach, he urges his fellow citizens to only vote for the 3 candidates who have been outspoken in their support of maintaining the current APFO standards: Newton for mayor, and Don Hadley and Claire Marcuccio Whitaker for city council.

"It is my belief that voting for [those] 3 (and only [those] 3) candidates for Mayor and Council will help us continue to take an appropriate approach to growth in the city," Hart concludes. Voting for only 3 candidates on the ballot, rather than the maximum possible 5 (1 mayoral+4 council seats), is allowed when voting in Rockville.

There are now less than 24 hours before city residents begin voting.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Jessica Reynolds, a member of the Rockville Historic District Commission, is speaking out on the recent 3-2 decision by the Mayor and Council to allow demolition of a historic bank building at 255 N. Washington Street.

In a letter published in this week's Gazette, Reynolds accused city leaders of preserving only those buildings with "architectural styles that meet their own tastes." The decision to not allow a historic designation process for the "Pink Bank" "has implications for how the public's voice will be heard in Rockville in the future," she wrote.

The building's distinctive design, Reynolds argued, not only serves as an important reminder of the city's blunder of demolishing its original, historic town center during the 60s, but also reinforces a sense of place in a time of what she has previously called "cookie cutter" buildings.

Reynolds predicted that the modern town center itself will be replaced again in only 30 years.

The HDC had recommended the city allow a historic designation process to begin for the structure. Supporters of demolition argued that historic designation had already been dismissed previously (however, according to preservationists, the building only recently has qualified by age for designation), and pointed to the developer's years of planning - and work with residents in the adjacent West End - as arguments for allowing the new development to proceed. Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio added that she strongly supported property rights by landowners in the city, and therefore was voting on principle to allow demolition.