Showing posts with label East Rockville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East Rockville. Show all posts

Friday, November 4, 2022

Assault in East Rockville

Rockville City police responded to a report of an assault in the Croydon Park neighborhood of East Rockville yesterday morning, November 3, 2022. The assault was reported along the street in the 200 block of N. Horners Lane at 12:00 AM Thursday.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Rockville arsons in same neighborhood under investigation

Shed destroyed by fire on
Grandin Avenue in Rockville

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services investigators are examining what they say is a case of arson in East Rockville, the second reported in that immediate area since last Friday. City of Rockville police responded to a reported case of arson at a home early Friday morning, January 15, 2021. The arson was reported at a home in the 100 block of Coleman Park Lane around 4:21 AM, according to crime data.

Another view of Grandin Avenue
shed fire damage now being 
attributed to arson

Now, MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer has announced that fire investigators are seeking public tips regarding a second arson only blocks away. The second fire was allegedly set in a shed in the backyard of a home in the 300 block of Grandin Avenue around 3:00 AM on Sunday. Anyone with information about that fire is asked to call the Arson Tipline at 240.777.2263, Piringer tweeted Sunday night.

Photos by Pete Piringer/MCFRS

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Comment period extended for proposed East Rockville asphalt crushing plant

The public will have an additional 60 days to comment on the proposed M. Luis Company asphalt crushing and screening plant at 14900 Old Dover Road in Rockville. This comment period will close on October 6, 2017.

Comments may be sent by U.S. Mail to Maryland Department of the Environment, Air Quality Permits Program, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 720, Baltimore, MD 21230-1720 or emailed to

If you were unable to attend the July 19 public hearing, and have questions beyond what is covered in that report or my previous report, a docket with full information on the project is available for review at the Rockville Memorial Library in Rockville Town Square.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Noise, traffic, dust, lack of community engagement top concerns about proposed East Rockville asphalt crushing plant

About forty Rockville residents, community leaders and City officials attended a public hearing last night, regarding the asphalt crushing plant proposed for 14900 Old Dover Road in East Rockville. Natalia Luis, Chairman and COO of applicant M. Luis Products, Co., and company President David Slaughter said locating the plant in Rockville would eliminate 5000 annual truck trips through the city. Nearby residents expressed concerns about noise, dust, odors, traffic and a lack of notification of the proposed plant.

The crushing plant recycles asphalt, which can be up to 30% of the material mixture M. Luis uses as road surfacing. Luis said the firm limits recycled asphalt to 30% because using much more than that would produce weaker material that would not meet the company's high standards for durability. She said that as a small, family-owned firm, M. Luis has difficulty obtaining a steady, sustainable supply of recycled material, so it is "better to do it ourselves." M. Luis is currently the only women-owned, minority-owned asphalt business in America, and has received recognition from Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump in recent years.

Slaughter told attendees that M. Luis currently has to either crush asphalt in a cramped space at their property on Southlawn Lane, or send it as one of those 5000 truckloads to a crushing plant in Laurel. He said they leased the Old Dover Road site from the current junkyard tenant, and have cleaned it up, getting rid of tractor trailers, cars and auto parts languishing on-site. Slaughter added that M. Luis would like to buy the property in the future, if possible. Luis expressed pride in the appearance of the company's other properties and promised this one would be held to the same standards.

The plant would have two full-time employees, and crush about 60,000-70,000 tons of recycled material annually, Slaughter estimated. A new crushing machine has been purchased by the company. He and Luis said they will make every effort to require trucks coming and going to use Gude Drive instead of N. Horners Lane through the adjacent residential neighborhood.

Residents were most concerned that they, and their civic associations, had not been alerted by the company about the proposed plant. Alexandra Dace Denito, VP of the Lincoln Park Civic Association, said she and the association received no notice of last night's hearing, nor of a previous meeting in March. "I find it disturbing there has been no outreach to the community," resident Susan Clemons said.

Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton suggested to the Maryland officials presiding over the hearing that the state add a new requirement that future industrial applicants contact City officials including the City Manager, appropriate department heads, and all residents within a 2-mile radius of a proposed site. She noted that over the decades, the City has "not done a good job protecting this neighborhood. There's more we can do."

One Lincoln Park resident criticized the company for not considering what else is around a site they plan to operate on. She discounted the promised reduction in truck traffic, saying they would still have to contend with trucks cutting through the residential neighborhood to reach the site. Slaughter and Luis both promised to do everything they could to enforce the Gude-only access policy. Newton urged them to not only forbid trucks to use N. Horners, but to stipulate that in their subcontracting contracts, which would help the City enforce the ban.

Another resident said her main concern was seeing or hearing the plant. Slaughter said there is no odor from a crushing plant, only from an asphalt manufacturing plant. Luis explained there is no dust issue, because the liquid asphalt has already bound and encased the solid material in the mixture. She said dust complaints at the company's former Baltimore site were actually caused by an adjacent concrete plant, which a City Councilman mistakenly blamed on them.

Dace Denito said she lives just slightly over 1000' from the proposed plant site, and already suffers from the daily impacts of other industrial businesses nearby. She asked the company to consider that there is an elementary school nearby, as well as a heavily-used community center.

"What is the worst case scenario?" asked Suzan Pitman, President of the East Rockville Civic Association, regarding potential air pollution disasters at the future plant. She gave a fire as an example. Many scientists live in the neighborhood, Pitman said, and they have been warning of potential air pollutants in such a scenario. 

An air quality specialist with M. Luis said that while vapor can be emitted from burning asphalt, scientists currently do not consider such emissions as a cancer-causing agent. She added that the EPA recently delisted asphalt plants from the federal "major sources of air toxins" list.

Since some objections and concerns were raised during the hearing, the state will now review those comments and produce a report responding to them. Parties of record will be notified of the report, and it will also be announced in a local newspaper. If the resident concerns are found to be legitimate in the state's view, the permit will not be issued. If the state finds the concerns without merit, they will issue the permit for the plant, and residents can file a legal challenge to the permit in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Car vandalized on Coleman Park Lane in Rockville

Montgomery County police were called just after 12:00 AM this morning for a report of vandalism in the 100 block of Coleman Park Lane, in the Croydon Park area of East Rockville. A resident reported that their car window had been broken.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mayor & Council nix dramatic changes for Southlawn industrial area in Rockville

Rockville will likely take a more conservative approach to improving the co-existence of the Southlawn industrial area and the residential neighborhoods that adjoin it than a consultant study recommended. The study provided a range of options from modest to dramatic for review by the Mayor and Council. Last night, there was unanimous agreement on most issues that it is too early to take a radical approach.

Transportation is one of the biggest concerns of residents in East Rockville, especially cut-through traffic. Several residents testified during the Community Forum earlier at last night's meeting that they were displeased with City staff's recommendations to not take more drastic action to curtail such traffic. They noted that neighborhood plans from years ago were already recommending such changes prior to the Southlawn Industrial Area Study.

The Mayor and Council, while seeking further study of the citywide implications of more dramatic options like closing sections of streets, generally felt that more modest measures could have an impact. These could include stricter enforcement of truck traffic restrictions, and more speed cameras on N. Horners Lane.

Regarding potential road network changes, Councilmember Julie Palakovich-Carr said she was "not quite ready to take this one off the table." She asked for further study, including whether adding more direct road connections rather than closing sections of roads might help reduce cut-through traffic. Councilmember Mark Pierzchala did not favor road closures at this time, saying it could actually hurt access for residents by making the neighborhood "one big giant cul-de-sac." He suggested a better approach would be to "make it a real pain to traverse that area," by adding more stop signs and increasing funds in the next budget for traffic enforcement in that area.

Of 10 transportation recommendations, the Mayor and Council ultimately gave the green light to Recommendations 1 through 6. They asked for further study of #7, the potential realignment of Southlawn Lane to straighten the bend north of Lofstrand Lane. Recommendations 7 and 8 were eliminated, and they asked staff to come back with more potential options for #10, long-term changes to the street grid.

The other major decision was whether or not to rezone the public housing development David Scull Courts. Clark Larson, project manager for the City on the Southlawn study, said staff concluded the development's current industrial zoning is not an issue. As public housing, David Scull Courts retains a public use rather than being a private residential development. To rezone it as residential would essentially be a semantic change, rather than a practical one.

"I don't see the need to change the zoning," Pierzchala said. Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, Palakovich Carr, Onley, and Councilmember Beryl Feinberg concurred with Pierzchala on leaving David Scull Courts as industrial. They did not favor reducing setbacks between industrial and residential uses where an opaque wall separated the two uses, nor did they want to change zoning for properties in the industrial area at this time.

The formal process of addressing concerns in the Southlawn area began 13 months ago, when the City began a long-asked-for review of community issues there.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

East Rockville sewer improvements scheduled to begin

Pipes and manholes along several streets in East Rockville will be replaced starting this month. The work is expected to begin in Maryvale Park near Taylor Avenue, and end at the intersection of East
Middle Lane and Monroe Street. Additional streets that will be affected are Hungerford Drive, Park
Road, North Stonestreet Avenue, Grandin Avenue, Highland Avenue, South Horners
Lane, Seth Place, and Charles Street.

If you are in that area, you can expect temporary road closures, on-street parking restrictions and
construction noise. But water service will not be affected.

The project is expected to be completed in about a year, with each of the above streets requiring four to eight weeks of work apiece.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Should part of the Southlawn industrial area be redeveloped as residential? (Photos)

One residential vision for
currently-industrial land on
N. Horners Lane in
Consultants unveiled two possible visions for the future of Rockville's Southlawn industrial area, and its interactions with the surrounding residential neighborhoods in East Rockville, at a public meeting last night. They wanted feedback from residents and business owners on what strategies and directions the City should pursue in the short and long-term in that area. Also there to hear that feedback were Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, Councilmember Beryl Feinberg, and members of City staff.
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton
and Councilmember
Beryl Feinberg

The basic choice offered was to make some modest improvements in pedestrian safety and cut-through traffic, or to allow a part of the industrial area along N. Horners Lane to be redeveloped as residential, a transformation that would cut off several roadway connections that currently exist between the industrial uses off Gude Drive and the residential neighborhoods.
The more-modest
Alternative A
Alternative B's
more radical makeover,
including townhomes

To encourage redevelopment along Horners, a new road would be constructed. Horners would no longer have an industrial use, and be fully integrated with the residential area. Townhomes and low-rise apartments would have industrial uses behind them, and a buffer zone in-between.
Buffer area for
proposed new residential
development along
N. Horners Lane
One option for buffer
area between homes
and industrial along
N. Horners
The latter plan is more ambitious, sure to be controversial, more expensive and involves private property not under City control. But, "everything's for sale, my brother," one of those private landowners said last night.

Another major proposal in both alternatives is to rezone the public housing development David Scull Courts from industrial to residential. I asked one of the consultants if that would make David Scull Courts vulnerable to redevelopment through a public-private partnership. In other words, does the inability to build residential on the currently-industrial site prevent a knock-down such as is being proposed at Halpine View, where residents end up scattered - if they are lucky - to other affordable housing, while their building is replaced with a luxury development most will never return to.

He suggested the new residential zoning might actually help preserve David Scull Courts from being replaced by an industrial use, by zoning it what it actually is today.

During break-out sessions following the presentation, residents discussed a number of concerns. These included how the changes would relate to the new Maryvale Elementary School building, which will eventually include the addition of the Carl Sandburg Learning Center, which will relocate from Meadow Hall Drive. That will add at least 100 more students and 100 staff members, Melissa McKenna of the MCCPTA CIP Committee said, as well as 15-17 more buses and a second bus loop to the site.

Those types of changes could determine what the City should and should not change regarding pedestrian safety and parking in that vicinity. Currently, cars line up on both sides of the street to pick up kids after school, which offers a county-wide French immersion program. Sandburg is also a countywide magnet program.

These pylons or other
signage would attempt
to brand the neighborhood
Helicopter view over Gude Drive looking down
Taft Street at First Street
Both alternatives show improvements at the intersection of First Street and Taft Street. But there is also a middle school and high school bus stop at that intersection, McKenna said.

Plans to use signage to discourage cut-through traffic met with skepticism from some residents. "I don't think it will work," one predicted. "[Drivers] don't pay attention to it."

Scenario A

Attendees' feedback on
Scenario B
Scenario B

Friday, October 30, 2015

Southlawn Industrial Area study team offers initial recommendations

Consulting firm VHB offered options its team believes could improve the Southlawn industrial area of Rockville, and make it more compatible with the residential neighborhoods that surround it, at a public meeting last night. Also attending the meeting at Maryvale Elementary School were David Levy, Chief of Long Range Planning and Redevelopment for the City of Rockville; Susan Swift, the city's Planning and Zoning Director; Rockville Planning Commission chair Don Hadley; and City Council candidates Richard Gottfried and Patrick Schoof.

The suggestions fell into the categories of traffic, land use, and improving the viability of the current industrial uses.

Traffic concerns were covered in the most detail last night. Dan Lovas of VHB said the team's traffic study suggests that 10-30% of traffic in the study area is cut-through traffic. The fact that much of the cut-through activity occurs during the rush hours, Lovas said, can make the amount seem greater than those numbers suggest.

Schoof, who has been working with residents and business owners in the study area on several issues in recent years, asked if the study was an actual count using license plate data. That would more accurately show where cars ended up after driving through, and whether they were residents, or cut-through drivers. Lovas said they "haven't done a full-scale origin-destination study." Schoof said there have been ongoing concerns and questions regarding the accuracy of City-conducted traffic counts in the past.

The options proposed by Lovas were:

1. Change traffic patterns.

This was the most dramatic change proposed to reduce cut-through traffic. Access to N. Horners Lane from Southlawn Lane and Dover Road would be cut off, and a new loop would be created using Mason Drive to connect Southlawn and Dover.

There is also a piece of land owned by Montgomery County that would be an alternative route for the potential road connection. When these options were presented, one current business owner was not pleased. "One of [the route options] takes my property," he said. He added that there is an African-American graveyard in a junkyard there, "so good luck with that."

Cutting off the industrial area to the north, and preventing customers from reaching Southlawn businesses from the residential streets, were other concerns about this option.

Regarding such current customer trips via neighborhood streets, land use attorney Bob Harris warned "You'll kill that once you cut off access to town center."

Hadley said a larger issue is the overall lack of access from the study area to MD 355, which is cut off from East Rockville by the Metro Red Line tracks. He suggested the City explore the possibility of annexing land to permit a new vehicular crossing of the tracks into East Rockville.

Swift said residents might not agree to such an idea, noting that past discussions regarding connections via Westmore Road/Avenue have not sat well with some residents in Lincoln Park. "There's not an easy fix" to the 355 connectivity problem, she said.

Less drastic options included installing wayfaring signage that would encourage drivers to use Gude Drive and Route 28 to reach the Metro station and Rockville Town Center, and traditional traffic calming measures such as turn restrictions, speed humps, partial street closures and roundabouts.

Another member of the VHB team said he was told that N. Horners Lane is considered a primary through street by the City, and may not be eligible for speed humps or severe restrictions on speed.

Nancy Fox of VHB outlined possible strategies to improve economic conditions in the industrial area. She said the City could use its economic development tools and incentives, and smooth the regulatory and permitting processes.

Businesses could also take active steps, she said. One approach recommended was for the Southlawn industrial businesses to form a Southlawn Business Association. Similar to a merchants' association, Fox said it could potentially be administered by an existing group like REDI or the Rockville Chamber of Commerce. The group could raise funds to facilitate streetscape improvements, and work with larger industrial associations.

Schoof said he had concerns that the Chamber might not be the right fit to represent industrial businesses, and that REDI has programs primarily to attract new businesses and help current ones expand, as opposed to simply sustaining enterprises. He also warned of outside organizations being brought in from the region or state, if they did not have the best interests of the Southlawn tenants in mind. Harris concurred. Swift said that Southlawn having its own organization "is where the strength would be."

On land use, VHB's Paul Mayer suggested making the properties along 1st Street and N. Horners Lane a "transition area" could better connect the residential neighborhoods with the residents of David Scull Courts, a public housing complex at Taft Street and 1st Street. He also suggested changing the zoning of David Scull Courts from industrial to residential, and creating a gateway to the community at the 4-way intersection of Taft and 1st. The latter would involve better pedestrian crossing infrastructure, and streetscape improvements to give a more residential character.

One question that didn't come up regarding a zoning change for David Scull Courts - does the current industrial zoning protect those affordable homes from redevelopment? With all of the development occurring in the Shady Grove/Gude/Crabbs Branch vicinity, residential zoning would surely make the David Scull property worth a fortune.

There was some consensus among attendees that many of the traffic issues in the study area may need to be addressed with the larger traffic congestion issues along MD 355 and Veirs Mill Road. Swift encouraged stakeholders to give feedback on those wider concerns, so that they can be taken into account in the study. Levy suggested the current citywide Master Plan process could also provide "a broader lens" for discussion of big-picture issues.

The next Southlawn public meeting will be on December 9 at 6:30 PM at Lincoln Park Community Center. An additional meeting will be held in January, and in February, the study recommendations will go to the Planning Commission and Mayor and Council.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Southlawn business owners remain wary of industrial area study in Rockville

Business owners whose enterprises are located within the Southlawn industrial area, and in other currently-industrial parts of Rockville, are wary of the motives behind the Southlawn Industrial Area Feasibility Study now underway. Those concerns were expressed by some who attended the third public meeting on the study last night, at the Lincoln Park Community Center.

The study, which was supposed to have occurred years ago, was resurrected after a dust-up over a proposed self-storage facility next to Maryvale Elementary School in East Rockville. Residents protested, and the Mayor and Council ultimately voted to ban self-storage facilities within 250' of schools citywide.

That vote was "a very dangerous precedent," Rockville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Michelle Day said at last night's meeting. The ban now has industrial businesses citywide spooked that they will be next, Day said. Along with real estate redevelopment pressures, the sense that industrial is on the way out was palpable among some business owners who attended the meeting.
A business owner (far left) comments on
the Southlawn Industrial Area Study
last night in Rockville
"Where are the industrial businesses going to go, besides Frederick," the owner of an auto repair shop not far from Southlawn asked. Before moving to Rockville, he recalled, "I had an auto repair shop by White Flint. I paid $3000 rent" per month. The repair shop that took it over when he moved is now "paying $6000. Bullying somebody out because, 'I can make more money.' I know, because that's what they have done."

Susan Swift, Planning and Zoning Director for the City of Rockville, said "nothing's being proposed yet. These are facts and findings so we can move forward. There may be that nothing in these plans change; there may be a lot that changes. But we're not trying to pit one use against another. We really are trying to benefit everybody."

Residents said they didn't want the businesses to leave, either. One who was instrumental in getting the study revived said "I'm totally fine with [industrial businesses] existing. It's part of my community. I get my car repaired there."

Another resident noted that the residential neighborhoods in Lincoln Park and East Rockville were actually there before the Southlawn industrial area. But, she added, "I don't think the purpose of this is making change. It's so we can co-exist."

Brigitta Mullican, a candidate for Rockville City Council, said "it's important to indicate to business owners that this plan is not about pushing them out."

A landowner in Southlawn said there is far more demand for the warehouse space he currently offers to his tenants than for office space.

The fate of the industrial area will indeed partly be determined by the real estate market, which was a major focus of last night's study update.

Consulting firm VHB did a more detailed study of the market since the last meeting in June. VHB's Nancy Fox noted that the vacancy rate in the Southlawn industrial area had actually increased to 16% in the second quarter this year. Southlawn industrial rents are higher than those in industrial sites in the northern part of the county and beyond. But they are lower than those in the two industrial submarkets it straddles in Rockville.

Considering what other land uses might work in Southlawn did not turn up many promising alternatives. There is already too much vacant suburban office space for this to be an appealing location to build any more, Fox said. Retail is performing better around Southlawn, however, she said. The retail vacancy rate is 5.4% within a 3 mile radius of the study area, and 6.6% along the Gude Drive corridor. By comparison, the County's moribund office market has a 15% vacancy rate.

What kind of tenants might want to redevelop or repurpose industrial sites in Southlawn? Fox said gyms, recreational space, showrooms, retail warehouse outlet stores, biotech companies and business incubators all currently find such sites appealing. Not only do they need features such as high ceilings, space, and loading facilities, but the rents are far lower than in traditional commercial space.

VHB's Paul Mayer said the team has reached a few preliminary conclusions at this point, while stressing they won't make final conclusions and proposals before running them by the public for feedback:

  • Expanding land-use types is worthy of study, but not very optimistic
  • The current industrial uses have value both for residents, and the region as a whole
  • Better dialogue is needed between industrial businesses and nearby civic associations
  • Traffic calming measures are needed
  • But there is "limited ability to change traffic patterns" on public streets
Mayer said the next meeting will be in mid-to-late October, and that VHB will have completed a traffic study by then. It couldn't be done earlier, he explained, because school was not in session and that would have generated inaccurate traffic volumes.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rockville residents, businesses express concerns at Southlawn Industrial Area listening session (Photos)

The City of Rockville held two listening sessions on the Southlawn Industrial Area Feasibility Study Thursday, at the David Scull Community Center on First Street. A presentation by consultant VHB gave a background on the current conditions of the industrial area bordered by Gude Drive, First Street, Lincoln Street, Lofstrand Lane and North Horners Lane.

The industrial area is currently in a bit of a decline, according to statistics presented by Nancy Fox of VHB. In 2011, 945 people were employed in the Southlawn Industrial study area, down 17% since 2002. Most are in the construction field, she said. Of the 27 properties there, 3 are currently at least 50% vacant, the vacancy rate is 17% overall, and vacancies are trending upward in recent years. In contrast, industrial areas described as "North Rockville" and the "Rockville submarket" are trending in a more positive direction in terms of vacancy rates. 43% of workers in the study area live within 10 miles of Southlawn, and 11% live more than 50 miles away, Fox reported.

Dan Lovas of VHB gave an overview of the transportation data the team has gathered at this early stage, although he said they will be collecting much more over the summer. Right now, they've identified North Horners Lane as the road that appears to be suffering from the most "collector" and cut-through traffic related to the industrial area. He noted "we're not seeing really a ton of tractor-trailer activity on Horners," but rather, smaller trucks. Lovas said the study area has a "pretty decent sidewalk system" with some gaps, and an unusually-high number of bicycle facilities for an industrial zone. That includes 2 Capital Bikeshare stations. The goal in the study, Lovas said, will be to better connect all of these bike facilities.

The floor was opened to attendees, who had a variety of concerns. One immediate question was, why wasn't the entire industrial area along Gude Drive being included in the study. Susan Swift, Planning and Zoning Director for the City of Rockville, said the study was intentionally limited to the area in question. She said this specific industrial zone had been a problem area for residents on 3 occasions over the last 15 years. Those controversies led to a call for a study of this type.

"What we were attempting to do was follow up on the study requested," Swift explained. In light of the study area's proximity to residents, the city hopes the study will "interface with the problems, the opportunities, but - frankly - the problems of the industrial and residential being so close to each other," Swift said. The most recent flareup was related to a self-storage facility proposed for the property next to Maryvale Elementary School.

Some industrial landowners and business owners expressed concern that the study and problems might lead to the industrial area being phased out by the city. Referring to resident complaints, one business owner argued most bought their homes well after the industrial area was in operation. "You should not live in an industrial area if you can't handle it," he said. "You should have moved to Washington, D.C., where they don't have that anymore."

One resident replied that he did not feel there was animosity toward the businesses. In talking to 200 of his neighbors related to a neighborhood issue, he said only 1 expressed negativity or a desire for the industrial area to be replaced. Fox noted during her presentation that many of the businesses support the local community, such as providing repairs and services.

Paul Mayer of VHB said concerns about the industrial use being eliminated were premature. The idea of the industrial use disappearing at Southlawn is "not a realistic expectation," he said. However, he added, the study will examine what the current market forces and trends are in the Southlawn area, and how they might be changing.

Going forward, Mayer said, there will be another public meeting in September. Between now and then, VHB will gather more traffic data, hold interviews with stakeholders, assess property values, and develop land use alternatives.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rockville launches Southlawn Industrial Area Study (Photos)

Rockville last night launched a study of an industrial area surrounded by homes, parks and an elementary school in the northeastern part of the city. The Southlawn Industrial Area Feasibility Study will be a nearly year-long process that seeks to reduce existing - and future - negative impacts of the industrial zone on the adjoining community.

The 101-acre study area is roughly bordered by E. Gude Drive, Loftstrand Lane, Dover Road, North Horners Lane, Frederick Avenue, Johnson Drive, Lincoln Avenue/Lincoln Street and 1st Street.

New attention has been turned to the area after a contentious proposal to build a self-storage facility next to Maryvale ES. That battle was resolved after the Mayor and Council passed a zoning amendment which required a larger buffer between such projects and schools in the city.

But many other issues persist, including wandering truck traffic, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and potential redevelopment or reuse of the existing industrial properties.
Map showing the various
zoning categories within
the study area

Representatives of the consulting firm on the study, VHB, were on hand last night to answer questions and take comments. The study will examine "whether industrial land uses are the most appropriate" in various locations, VHB Senior Project Engineer Daniel Lovas said.

Lovas noted that the area has a number of bicycle facilities already in place, such as the popular Millennium Trail. but that there is "not a lot of connectivity" between those facilities. That is another area the study will delve into.
Map of existing bicycle
Ways to get truck traffic back on to the routes they are currently allowed to use will also be considered.
Green routes are those
currently open to trucks

Residents who attended gave suggestions, which were written on large sheets of paper at 4 displays around the room. Several city officials and staff members were in attendance to get feedback from residents, including Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and Planning Director Susan Swift.

If you missed the open house, this is just the start of the process. A more formal opportunity for you to give feedback will be on June 25 from 4:00-8:00 PM at the David Scull Community Center. You can also contact the project manager and examine documents online.