Monday, October 31, 2016
Amenities include two courtyards, a large outdoor pool, a clubhouse with free WiFi, 24-hour emergency maintenance, pet salon, billiard and movie rooms, and complimentary coffee or tea.
Signs are inviting drivers to visit the building's leasing office, as the finishing touches are put on the renovated building.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Anyone wishing to testify should call 240-314-8280 before 4:00 PM on November 1 to get on the speakers’ list.
The proposed FY-2018 budget is scheduled to be introduced by the City Manager on February 27, 2017, and the Mayor & Council will vote on its adoption in May.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
According to police, Soumah allegedly entered a home in the 400 block of N. Horners Lane around 2:00 PM Monday, and held a knife to the throat of an elderly woman after she caught him going through her bedroom drawers. He fled after another occupant in the home intervened. The suspect allegedly entered a second home on Robert Road, and engaged in a scuffle with a resident. Soumah managed to take cash from a desk despite the struggle, and fled.
Shortly afterward, a Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy noticed a man who fit the description given by both victims in the parking lot of the Burgandy Park Shopping Center. He stopped Soumah, and he was ultimately arrested for the crimes.
Anyone with information about this incident or this individual is asked to call the RCPD Criminal Investigations Unit at 240-314-8938. Callers may choose to remain anonymous.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Walking around the store, you'll notice several ways Lotte Plaza differs from Giant and Safeway. There is a greater selection of international foods, of course. A huge selection of pre-packaged sushi is available. But even more notable is the seafood section. Here it is more like a real fish market, with fresh-caught fish of all kinds displayed on beds of ice. In the produce section, you'll find a more diverse variety than the other local chains.
On the other end of the food spectrum, Lotte Plaza even has Banquet frozen entrees you won't find at Giant or Safeway, including their updated Pizza with Macaroni & Cheese dinner.
Monday, October 24, 2016
The Rockville Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Rockville Real Estate Breakfast (click link to register) tomorrow morning, Tuesday, October 25, from 8:00-10:00 AM. It will be held at the Best Western hotel. The breakfast will be free for members of the Chamber, and $20 for non-members, and is being sponsored by the C. Clifton Veirs Insurance Agency.
Tomorrow's event will begin with networking and light breakfast fare, followed by a panel discussion on the current state of Rockville real estate, and the impact of current and future development on the local economy.
The panel will consist of D. Todd Pearson, VP of Acquisitions & Develop ment - B.F. Saul Company; Matt Brady, Sr. VP - Scheer Partners; Laurie Boyer, Executive Director - Rockville Economic Development Inc.; and Ron Thomas, General Manager - Federal Realty Investment Trust.
Pie 360 - "Where every pizza is personal" - is a Baltimore-based chain offering customizable pizzas and wraps, as well as salads. Their specialty pizzas include Ring of Fire, Ricotta Infusion, and Buffalo Chicken.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Applicant JNP Chestnut Lodge, LLC has proposed constructing 6 townhomes on the spot where the historic Chestnut Lodge psychiatric hospital stood until it was destroyed by fire in 2009. Nancy Pickard, Executive Director of historic preservation organization Peerless Rockville, testified that townhomes were not part of the heritage of Rockville at the time Chestnut Lodge was built.
Pickard told commissioners that, while wealthy estate dwellers did buy townhomes in urban areas in those days, they did not do so in Rockville. She said the first townhome developments in the City weren't constructed until the 1960s, nearly a century after the era of Chestnut Lodge's birth as a hotel. She also criticized the idea that the proposal should be considered only in the context of the SOI Rehabilitation standards. The other 3 sets of SOI standards - Restoration, Reconstruction, and Preservation - should be applied as well, she said. Rehabilitation standards ceased to be relevant after the main lodge burnt down, she added.
HDC chair Rob Achtmeyer asked Pickard if the individual access doors of townhomes vs. the shared entry of a condo building was her central concern. "It is a large factor," Pickard replied. "That housing form (townhouse) was not introduced in this city until the 1960s. That is not the heritage of Rockville," she said.
"Massing, the stronger verticality of the original hotel. There was the relationship of the dominant hotel to the outbuildings. The whole site was larger."
Kate Kuranda of Goodwin and Associates, speaking for the applicant, said what is left of the Chestnut Lodge site would not qualify for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Once a building has burned, she said, it is removed from the Register. Kuranda said she concurs with City staff that the plan does meet the Secretary's rehabilitation standards, and that it retains the park-like setting of Chestnut Lodge.
Kuranda said the developer, Jim Proakis, has offered to establish a website to archive all of the photographs, oral and written history, and other records available on the historic hotel and hospital. Proakis has already discussed the idea with a firm that has experience in creating this type of website, she said. Achtmeyer said he found the website offer "very intriguing." He also exhorted attendees and the televison audience to bring forward to staff any materials they may have on the lost building. Achtmeyer called sitting on such materials as this plan rapidly moves forward "counterproductive. Please, do us all a favor - share."
In a presentation earlier, staff liaison Sheila Bashiri said that the suggestion by many in the community to rebuild Chestnut Lodge as it was would only make sense if it was then opened as a hotel or psychiatric hospital. The primary goal of a reconstruction, Bashiri said, is education. A building would usually be reconstructed, and then opened to the public, who could learn from visiting or touring it about its history.
Bashiri recommended the commission find the plan does meet the SOI Rehabilitation standards.
During a period of public testimony, Paul Newman, the president of the 30 Oaks Civic Association, asked why the input of the West End Citizens Association was not included in the staff report. "Where is it," he asked.
Newman said it was inaccurate to claim that the new building resembles the footprint of the lost building. He said he walked the grounds of the site, and noticed that some of the markers indicating the footprint of the proposed building are actually on pavement, not the grass, indicating it is larger. Newman called Chestnut Lodge "one of the anchors of the historic district. It's a little disingenuous to say [we can't reconstruct it]."
"Changing an access road to the outbuildings into a back alley with garages and trash cans," Newman said, "that is a major change in character." The applicant previously has promised to hide trash receptacles through both the design of the homes, and via condo association rules about when they can be placed outdoors.
There was very little mention of the Planned Residential Unit agreement that high-profile opponents like current Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, and past mayor Larry Giammo, have argued remains in effect. That PRU demanded that the main building be restored as a prerequisite for its adapted re-use as a condominium development. The PRU agreement was reached between the City and a previous developer who sought to redevelop the site.
After a short break, commissioners returned at 10:45 PM to discuss the matter.
"I find the massing and the roofline very problematic," Commissioner Stefanie Tincher said. "It changes its relationship to the surrounding buildings. I'm having a real problem with it."
No other commissioner commented on the plan. Achtmeyer suggested going forward then with the body's recommendation to the Mayor and Council.
First, a majority of the commission agreed that they should employ the Rehabilitation standards. Then they took straw votes on each of the applicable standards.
For Standard #1 (A property will be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal
change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces, and spatial relationships), commissioners voted "Yes" by 3-2. Tincher and Commissioner Emily Correll were the dissenters. Tincher argued that #1 didn't apply, because the new structure will change the spatial relationships.
For Standard #2 (The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces, and spatial relationships that characterize a property
will be avoided), commissioners unanimously voted that the project does meet the standard.
For Standard #3 (Each property will be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements
from other historic properties, will not be undertaken), commissioners voted 4-1, with Tincher dissenting. "I'd like to revise the staff report" on scale, mass and design, Tincher said. Achtmeyer suggested it might be faster to just cast her lone dissenting vote, and move on.
Achtmeyer joined Tincher in dissenting on Standard #9 (New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work will be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment).
The Planning Commission will be the next body to review the plan. Achtmeyer said he would like to hold off the vote until next month, so that the Planning Commission can reach their own conclusions apart from the HDC's influence.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
This CalTort's owner has been candid about the financial pressures he has been under, from the rent costs to the disastrous town center parking situation that has driven customers away from small businesses there. "You don't understand how much we're suffering. We're basically slaves now," he told the Mayor and Council during a discussion of how to fix the parking problem this past summer.
That lease runs to 2025, with a 5-year extension option, according to the sale listing.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Monday, October 17, 2016
Friday, October 14, 2016
This proposal reduces the number of townhomes from seven to six, in response to community and historic preservation experts' concerns that the structure's footprint was wider than the original building, which burnt down in a suspicious fire in 2009.
Planning staff is recommending a favorable recommendation by the HDC.
The public will have the opportunity to speak at next Thursday's meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 7:30 PM at City Hall.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Question B, if approved, would limit County Councilmembers and the County Executive to a still-whopping 3 terms (12 years), effective immediately and retroactively.
The MCCF action, from an organization that factually contains vastly more Democrats than Republicans, further undercuts the ridiculous claims being made by some councilmembers who face ouster. Last Thursday, Councilmember Nancy Navarro hijacked a Council committee meeting on a collective bargaining issue to make a political speech. This was totally inappropriate, and ethically improper.
Navarro, who I have had a great deal of respect for in her work in the non-profit realm and on the Board of Education, has increasingly sounded paranoid about the term limits issue. She and her surrogates have claimed term limits are not the result of citizen rage about record tax hikes and communities being ignored in the development process in Westbard, Lyttonsville, Rockville (bus depot fights), etc. Instead, she claims they were proposed specifically to remove her from office.
We know many residents are increasingly fed up and now favoring term limits. Now the MCCF is backing term limits.
But here's who Navarro says you, the average citizen, are, in her view:
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Leggett is correct. I'm correct. We are becoming the bedroom community for the region. And now we need to get a County Council that doesn't live in an alternate reality, and can get us out of the economic development mess we're in. We can start by voting for term limits this November.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Councilmember Mark Pierzchala, a BRT supporter, was not convinced that option would be worth the money for the modest transit ridership boost the Maryland Department of Transportation claims the line will produce.
The loss of left-turns at many intersections was another concern for Pierzchala, as that would impact residents trying to get around their own neighborhood. Given the cost and disruption of the Cadillac option, Pierzchala said he is more comfortable supporting Alternative 3, which would provide dedicated curb lanes for BRT "where feasible."
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton suggested that cutting corners with BRT would fail to produce world-class results for passengers, and for economic development. She warned against trying to "nickel and dime around the edges" of a major project. At the same time, Newton said she was very concerned about the impact on residents and homes along the route. Houses and businesses along Veirs Mill are threatened with demolition to various extents, depending upon which alternative is chosen.
Newton also urged that any extension to Montgomery College of the service reflect the actual hours classes are held on the Rockville campus.
MDOT is scheduled to make its final BRT recommendation by the end of this year.
Photos via MDOT
Monday, October 10, 2016
Friday, October 7, 2016
|View of cranes at Rockville|
Town Center Phase II sites
from Rockville Town Center
Phase I area