Wednesday, November 30, 2016
By the time either motion reaches the end of the line in court, the approved site plan for the facility will expire. City staff is recommending the Planning Commission - which originally granted the approval, before the project was blocked by a Zoning Text Amendment forbidding self storage within 250 feet of a school (Maryvale Elementary School, in this case), passed by the Mayor and Council in February 2015 - approve the 1-year extension for the self storage project. The commission will take up the matter at its meeting tonight at 7:00 PM at City Hall.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
The City of Rockville has named Robert DiSpirito, who is the interim senior manager of the Sarasota County (Florida) Planning and Development Department, as its new City Manager.
DiSpirito also served as the city manager of Dunedin, Florida for nine years, and as city manager of Oberlin, Ohio for eleven years.
In Dunedin, DiSpirito oversaw 400 employees and an $80 million budget. He created the city's Housing & Economic Development Department, and is credited with guiding Dunedin's award-winning downtown and redevelopment citywide. This could be an asset for a town center in Rockville that some consider to be currently underperforming in certain respects.
"My wife, Evangelina, our children and I truly look forward to making Rockville our new home," DiSpirito said in a statement. "This is an amazing and diverse community of strong neighborhoods, beautiful parks, high-performing schools, a lively town center and engaged citizens. As city manager, I look forward to reaching out and hearing what matters to our employees, residents, civic groups, schools, businesses and other partners."
The Metropolitan will include 275 apartments, and is scheduled to deliver in the 4th Quarter of 2017.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Friday, November 25, 2016
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
A preliminary investigation determined that this was the third time the Trump supporter's home had been targeted. The home was previously vandalized on October 16, police said, and a Trump-Pence sign was stolen from the front yard of the property in late October.
This incident shows the danger of jumping to conclusions, as the Montgomery County Council has, in regard to a handful of hate-based vandalism incidents since the election. With no evidence, and not a single suspect having been arrested and questioned, our County Council has alleged these incidents were inspired by Trump and/or perpetrated by his supporters.
The Council has now been wrong twice in the last week; the only physical hate violence in the County so far has been directed against a Trump supporter, during a student protest last Wednesday in Rockville. And now in Four Corners, the only case where we have a clear motive, all evidence again points to anti-Trump forces.
Fortunately, the police are not taking a political approach, and are examining all cases objectively in their investigations. In a statement, detectives said they believe the homeowner's support for Trump is the motivation for the thefts and vandalism in the Four Corners case.
Anyone with information about these thefts or the vandalism incidents is asked to contact the 3rd District Investigative Section at 240-773-6870. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect(s). Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Photo courtesy Montgomery County Police
Alternative 3 will require the demolition of at least 2 homes, as well as 41 other property takings of various sizes, along the proposed Veirs Mill Road route of BRT. These are the numbers before the project even gets into the design phase, and station locations are not yet determined, either. Those later decisions, and issues that inevitably arise in any transportation project, could further impact property beyond what we know today.
Councilmembers Mark Pierzchala, Beryl Feinberg and Julie Palakovich Carr voted in support of Alternative 3; Councilmember Virginia Onley was absent. Newton was dissatisfied with the options presented, saying, "I don't think we're right yet." With homes threatened by the project, Newton called the decision a "rush to judgement," and a threat to naturally-occurring affordable housing in the Veirs Mill corridor.
Pierzchala said you can't have a major transportation project without having some negative impacts. He argued that the affordable homes lost would be more than replaced by future redevelopment of the Twinbrook Shopping Center, which would require affordable units. Pierzchala also said the affected homeowners would be "handsomely recompensed" for the value of their homes.
Newton countered that the money the homeowners will receive will not be enough to afford a similar home in Rockviille under current market prices. "Where are you going to buy another home for that price," she asked.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Friday, November 18, 2016
Flash could help us generate some genuine laughs, as we know the BRT will take 48 minutes to travel only 15 miles. Can you imagine telling someone, "I'm waiting for the Rapid?"
Neither can I.
After the County admitted they were getting consulting advice from the Communist Chinese government on BRT, the implosion of the Independent Transit Authority scam, the realization that BRT will result in the condemnation of thousands of residential and commercial properties countywide, and the revelation that the "futuristic, sleek, train-like vehicles" are actually just going to be old-fashioned diesel buses, these ongoing pratfalls are par for the course for a boondoggle the public opposes - and which could cost taxpayers $500-1000+ a year in additional taxes.
"I am ready to support the infrastructure upgrades [a.k.a. tax increases] that may be necessary in order to provide a higher level of service," County Councilmember and tax-hike specialist Hans Riemer said yesterday.
With Ike Leggett already promising a major tax increase in 2017, which will follow the historic tax hike of 2016 that resulted in the passage of term limits by voters, taxpayers are most definitely not ready to support these taxes...er..."infrastructure upgrades."
Hosting a naming contest in which the public can't even suggest a name? Just more evidence that the cartel swears by Steven Lukes' Power: A Radical View as much as Robert's Rules of Order. Lukes' book fuels most of the ham-fisted government corruption that produces things like the Westbard sector plan and BRT.
In Lukes' concept, when I negotiate with you, the only options on the table for discussion are all acceptable to me. The options that are unacceptable to me are not even up for discussion. Sound familiar?
Taxpayers' goal now should be to continue stalling the creation of BRT until 2018, when we can finally clean house of the remaining stragglers who weren't covered under the 3-term limit this time. Then we can vote in new leaders who will support transportation projects that will actually reduce congestion, and move the largest number of commuters for the lowest cost. These include a new Potomac River crossing, the M-83 Highway upcounty, extension of the Montrose Parkway to the ICC, the Damascus Bypass, widening East-West Highway, upgrading Beach Drive, and building the Northern Parkway.
The name most high-information voters would give BRT can't be printed in a family newspaper.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
MCPS super calling for end to walkouts after Trump supporter beaten in MoCo/MCPS-backed student protests
Yesterday's attack has "required us to rethink the situation" regarding student walkouts, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith will tell students this morning in a video message. Smith will tell students who defy the order that they will face disciplinary action, a change from the "bring a note from Mommy" policy MCPS had just 24 hours ago. "I am asking and expecting all students to remain in school," Smith will say.
The Tuesday promise by the Montgomery County Council of "community safety" and "respect" for every resident of the jurisdiction apparently didn't apply to Donald Trump supporters. A 15-year-old Trump supporter was brutally beaten by as many as six students, eyewitnesses said, during an otherwise-peaceful protest by Richard Montgomery High School students yesterday in Rockville.
Wearing a Trump "Make America Great Again" cap, the boy was repeatedly punched, thrown to the ground, and then kicked multiple times by his attackers, according to WTOP, which quoted Rockville City Police Major Michael English as saying the students "jumped him and beat him up pretty bad." The student was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Media accounts suggest he could have potentially-serious head injuries, describing him as "disoriented" and groggy following the beatdown.
According to the Rockville police, only one of the attackers has been identified, but is not in custody. They say the attack occurred in the 100 block of Maryland Avenue, the location of the County Council building where councilmembers declared peace and respect for all just 24 hours earlier. Police say the identified 17-year-old student will face second-degree assault charges.
To his credit, RM principal Damon Monteleone condemned the attack. Dan McHugh, VP of the Montgomery County Young Republicans, said he was "appalled" by the violence. "We condemn any act of violence, or hate crime of any kind, directed towards any candidate [an] individual supports," he said Tuesday.
|Councilmember Hans Riemer|
endorses student walkouts on
It's certainly a positive to have hundreds of students this engaged in the political arena - hopefully they'll register to vote, and governments will consider lowering the voting age to 16, as Takoma Park has. It's also ironic to have politicians who claim to be concerned about pedestrian safety egging kids on to walk into busy state highways during school hours.
County and MCPS officials could face legal consequences, should these students be injured during the hours we are paying exorbitant dollars to give them a free education. The parents of the beaten student certainly have grounds for a civil suit against MCPS in this case. Guess who would make the payouts in those lawsuits? You, the taxpayer.
It now appears Smith has come to the same realization.
Our other local officials seem to have missed yet another of the messages of the successful passage of term limits last week - residents are asking them to be the adults in the room on this, and so many other serious issues. Facing so many crises from our budget deficit to a failed transportation system to our moribund private sector economy, the last thing we need is Hans Riemer and George Leventhal trying to be the "cool dad."
Perhaps the most immoral crisis of all, is our worsening achievement gap at MCPS. One thing's for sure - that gap didn't get narrowed while students were walking around highways and malls this week.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
According to a UFCW Local 400 spokesperson, the deal will preclude takebacks Ahold had sought in the new contract. If successful, the agreement will avert a damaging holiday-season strike.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
The switch in ownership actually happened over the summer, but the official rebranding is only happening now. That may be because original owner John Hickman passed away on October 17. I like the retro font on the "town center" signs.
|The original J.C. Hickman|
sign, from Google Maps
|Same wall, now with|
"Town Center Exxon"
Monday, November 14, 2016
Friday, November 11, 2016
Very much an icon of the "urban renewal" phase of the later-mid 20th century in Rockville town center, Americana Centre is now surrounded by a landscape of change, however slow its pace.
Carl M. Freeman and Associates was chosen by the City of Rockville to design the complex, which opened as a rental property in 1972. Quickly converting to condominium, the property was the first residential high-rise in the city. But the complex also includes many garden-style and townhome units, as well.
Folks with Delaware beach property may be familiar with another Freeman property, Sea Colony in Bethany Beach. The firm also has several other Americana-branded developments in the area, including one now known as Glenmont Forest. That garden apartment community is now in danger of demolition and redevelopment, thanks to our corrupt County Council's passage of a destructive Glenmont sector plan.
Americana Centre may be spared from such an ignominious fate - staff is recommending approval of historic designation for the property. The HDC will review the request at its November 17 meeting at City Hall, scheduled for 7:30 PM.
Meanwhile, the staff report is very much worth a read if you are interested in midcentury modern Rockville, including an extremely rare aerial photo of the Rockville Mall.
|Staff report photo of|
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Photo by Marcus Rosano/Montgomery College