Showing posts with label Maryvale ES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maryvale ES. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MCPS submits site plan for new Maryvale ES to city

Montgomery County Public Schools has submitted a site plan for the new Maryvale Elementary School to the City of Rockville, for mandatory referral by the Planning Commission and Mayor and Council. Mandatory referral is standard for government projects, and means officials can suggest changes or improvements, but MCPS is free to ignore them or overturn an unfavorable decision.

The proposed plan would construct a new elementary school in the center of the current Maryvale site at 1000 1st Street. It will incorporate the Carl Sandburg Learning Center. Together, the new facility will offer the elementary school program, as well as autism and French immersion programs. A parking lot with 176 vehicle spaces and 27 school bus spaces will be provided.

Part of the plan is to locate the school away from First Street, and utilize the created space for a shared-use student drop-off for both Maryvale and two bus loops. A service drive will be built along the north and west sides of the new building, and will require some retaining walls.

The current school building, constructed in 1969, has been identified as potentially-historic by the Maryland Historical Trust. This means the planned demolition of the structure will have to be reviewed by the city's Historic District Commission.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Maryvale Elementary School students' art livens up N. Washington St. in Rockville (Photos)

A graffiti-style painting that appeared in a pedestrian covered walkway on N. Washington Street may have been a premonition of things to come. CBG Building Company, which is constructing the Brightview Rockville Town Center senior apartment project at 285 N. Washington Street, has an art program that puts works by local students on display at their construction sites.

Here in Rockville, CBG asked third, fourth and fifth graders at Maryvale Elementary School what they do for fun in their neighborhood. The resulting artworks have now been installed at the site's covered sidewalk area. In addition, CBG posted a couple of renderings of the project, which is expected to deliver in May of 2017.

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.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


School sign indicates Maryvale ES
is nearby proposed self storage site
at First and Taft Streets in Rockville
A zoning text amendment that could scuttle a planned self storage facility near Maryvale Elementary School in Rockville will be presented by staff to the Mayor and Council at their January 12 meeting, following a vote instructing staff to do so Monday evening. The ZTA would prohibit self storage facilities to be place within 250 feet of schools, which would disqualify the facility currently proposed by Siena Corporation on Taft Street.

Siena's attorney, Robert Dalrymple, has previously threatened legal action against the city, should his client's project be stopped. The ZTA appears almost certain to pass, as Mayor Bridget Newton, and Councilmembers Beryl Feinberg and Virginia Onley have spoken in support of it. Feinberg and Onley both stressed Monday evening that, in their view, the ZTA is not targeted toward the Siena project. But passage of the ZTA is the only thing standing in the way of Siena's plans, particularly after the Rockville Planning Commission ruled that there was no legitimate reason to deny the company's proposal last month.

Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr put great weight on the commission's ruling, quoting from each commissioner's remarks during the discussion. Councilmember Tom Moore concurred, saying that while he often disagrees with the commission, he thought the decision was significant. Both warned Monday evening of the potential legal and fiscal consequences passing the ZTA could hold for the city. Moore attempted to grill Feinberg for more detail on what specific data should give the city pause about the potential dangers a self storage facility would pose toward schools and residents. He read from a list of other possible uses for the Taft Street property, including fuel filling station, temporary carnival and adult-oriented establishment, arguing that several on the list posed greater dangers to children and pedestrians than self storage. The meeting grew contentious as Moore pressed Feinberg for specifics. Feinberg later returned the favor, demanding data to back up one of Moore's points, saying, "I'm gonna do to you what you do to me."

As the debate began to circle further into the night, Newton chided Moore, saying, "people don't know when to stop repeating themselves."

Moore offered an amendment to grandfather the Siena project, but it was defeated 3-2, with Newton, Feinberg and Onley opposed. Feinberg suggested making the buffer 500 feet, but withdrew her amendment after staff could not demonstrate advantages in the city requiring the added distance. A third amendment by Moore would have required the city to set aside $3 million dollars in FY2016 for legal fees, which he believed would face the city should the ZTA pass. That measure, too, failed, only drawing support from Palakovich Carr.

Newton said the matter was a public safety issue, which should take priority over fears of legal action. Feinberg concurred, saying, "I'm not going to be intimidated or succumb to fearmongering."

Ultimately, the Mayor and Council voted 3-2 to instruct city staff to draft a final ZTA, and present it at the January 12 Mayor and Council meeting. Moore, who said he is "deeply concerned" about the zoning action, and Palakovich Carr, who lives in East Rockville, were both opposed to the motion.
Photo: Google Maps