Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Mayor and Council to discuss adequate public facilities standards December 17
The Mayor and Council have scheduled a discussion on the topic for their December 17, 2018 meeting, which begins at 7:00 PM. Will the standards be weakened again? That answer could turn on whether or not a public hearing and vote on the matter can be taken before January 8, the day that Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr is expected to resign from the City Council to take office as a state delegate from District 17.
A process to replace Palakovich Carr will be discussed at the Mayor & Council's December 10 meeting. Palakovich Carr would provide the deciding third vote to weaken the standards; once she is off the Council, the pro-development Team Rockville faction would no longer be assured of a 3-vote majority. The new councilmember would be the deciding vote, and we don't know the position of that yet-unknown person on APFS matters.
Any change would be a contentious one - a majority of citizens opposed the 2015 change to align Rockville's school capacity standards with Montgomery County's. That opposition never weakened; the issue was only decided in favor of the developers because Team Rockville held a 3-vote majority on the Council.
If any proposed change fails to pass by early 2019, it could become the key issue in next year's City elections. One of the problems in arguing for the change is that proponents promised the 2015 change that allowed several developers to move projects forward would solve school overcrowding in Rockville. With a development moratorium looming as soon as 2020, that was clearly proven to be a false promise.