Showing posts with label Karma Academy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karma Academy. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Bob Wright, a former Rockville City Councilmember, is urging the current Mayor and Council to take proactive steps to acquire the former Karma Academy property on Watts Branch Parkway. The city was one of several bidders on the site, which is currently owned by Montgomery County. Last year, the Mayor and Council instructed city staff to apply for consideration of acquisition of the site from the county.

Wright, speaking during Monday's Mayor and Council meeting, recalled that much of the city's green space was made possible through plans and acquisitions by previous mayors and councils. He noted that the Karma Academy site is "perfectly situated," next to Wooton's Mill Park in the Rockshire area. But, Wright said, “I’m not aware that the mayor and council have a plan for this parcel. I’m not aware that there’s any money in the budget for green spaces or parcels.”

Speaking prior to a public hearing on the city's next budget, Wright urged city leaders to develop a plan and funding for the potential addition to the existing park. "Please don’t forget about this parcel," Wright concluded.

The Karma Academy property's future is of great concern to Rockshire residents, who have testified in favor of Rockville acquiring the site as parkland in the past.

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.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Quite a few residents of the Rockshire neighborhood of Rockville turned out at Monday night's Mayor and Council Meeting.

They voiced concerns during the Citizens Forum segment of the meeting about the fate of the former Karma Academy property on Watts Branch Parkway.

The property is owned by Montgomery County, and the county has not yet specified what it intends to do with it.  Rockshire residents who spoke at the meeting urged the city to obtain the property, and merge it with the adjacent Wooton's Mill Park, owned by the city.

Councilmember Mark Pierzchala said that, realistically, the county will not simply hand over the expensive real estate for little or no money.  Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio suggested it could be a good site for the Rockville Science Center she has long advocated for.

Residents have good reason to be concerned. The county could sell the property to a developer for a massive, dense townhome development. Or it could choose to keep it, building a school, soccer fields, or a shelter/clinic facility, as residents of Twinbrook Forest had to deal with until recently. The county council once tried to build a homeless shelter on property it obtained in an expensive Bethesda neighborhood of single-family homes, until outraged residents raised a ruckus.

Likewise, the county should not underestimate the Rockshire Association, which sued Rockville's Mayor and Council and Planning Commission over a development dispute during the 1970s.

Councilmember Tom Moore lauded the large turnout. He said the Karma Academy was "already on our radar," but that the appearance of so many residents would surely move the issue up on the council's list of priorities.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to a multiple alarm blaze on Watts Branch Parkway this morning in Rockville.

MCFRS Public Information Officer Scott Graham described the fire as "heavy," but reported no injuries.

Firefighters successfully put out the flames, and Graham says investigators are now looking into the cause of the fire, which was at the Karma Academy, he said.