Showing posts with label Rockville 2040. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rockville 2040. Show all posts

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Rockville Mayor & Council to review recommendations for Wootton Parkway, Woodley Gardens, College Gardens in 2040 plan

Rockville's Mayor and Council will discuss sections of the draft Rockville 2040 comprehensive master plan at their Tuesday, July 6, 2021 meeting related to Wootton Parkway, Woodley Gardens, and College Gardens. In response to public testimony discouraging widening or other methods of increasing vehicular capacity on Wootton Parkway, The City planning staff report is recommending limiting such improvements to "creative solutions" at intersections.

The staff report is also recommending designating the property of the Woodley Gardens Swim Club at 850 Nelson Street as "Open Space Private." While sale of the property is under consideration, the staff report notes, one or more potential new owners have indicated they wish to maintain the existing pool operation. 

In regard to the College Gardens area, the report is supporting public testimony that called for reopening the walking/biking connection between Princeton Place and the Montgomery College - Rockville campus, leaving out any mention of a planned new roadway between W. Gude Drive and Yale Place, construction of a pedestrian path between College Gardens and Woodley Gardens, and for a new sound barrier along I-270 on the western side of Woodley Gardens.

However, the report does not support entirely eliminating a proposed new I-270 interchange with W. Gude Drive. The report recommends the Mayor and Council retain the draft's proposal for studying such an interchange, but to amend the language that would only endorse an interchange "that has minimal or no impact on the Woodley Gardens and College Gardens neighborhoods." A new interchange had support from residents in Fallsgrove and the West End who participated in listening sessions, and from businesses in the Southlawn industrial area, the report states.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

New planning area divisions proposed for Rockville

City of Rockville planning staff presented a newly-proposed map dividing the city into 17 new planning areas to the Planning Commission last night at City Hall. The map is part of the Rockville 2040 Comprehensive Master Plan Update process.

The areas are proposed to be labeled as follows:

1. Town Center 
2. East Rockville 
3. Hungerford, Lynfield, and New Mark Commons 
4. West End and Woodley Gardens East-West 
5. Woodley Gardens and College Gardens 
6. Lincoln Park 
7. Montgomery College 
8. Twinbrook, Twinbrook Forest and Northeast Rockville 
9. Rockville Pike 
10. Montrose and North Farm 
11. Woodmont 
12. Tower Oaks 
13. Orchard Ridge, Potomac Woods, and Falls Ridge 
14. Rockshire and Fallsmead 
15. Fallsgrove and Research 
16. King Farm 
17. Southlawn and Redgate

Among the new changes are that Stonestreet Avenue has been split and moved into the East Rockville and Lincoln Park areas. The new map will also keep both Twinbrook planning areas together, as they were in the Twinbrook master plan update.

Commissioners raised some questions about the accuracy of the nomenclature for some areas. "Woodley Gardens East-West," appearing on the same list as "Woodley Gardens" is "a little confusing," Commissioner Don Hadley noted. The label was apparently based on a separate subdivision name for part of the area lumped in with the West End.

Another concern, addressed by Hadley and Commissioner Charles Littlefield, was the lack of consideration of borders between conflicting land uses, such as residential and industrial. How these could be represented on the map, or whether they should be, were topics of debate.

One such area, N. Adams Street, has a mix of office and residential uses. That could cause issues if redevelopment occurs along the street, which is a transition area between single-family homes and the Town Center. Chief of Long Range Planning David Levy said the street was discussed by staff and community representatives Tuesday night, including former Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo.

Hate the map, or feel your neighborhood wasn't heard in the process? Planning staff will be meeting with all neighborhoods to discuss the proposed planning area boundaries in the coming months.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rockville Planning Commission discusses community facility trends report

Red marks Rockville homes not currently
within 1/4-mile walking distance of a park
A new study of current community facility trends in Rockville was presented to the Planning Commission last night. Community facilities include everything from parks to hospitals to educational institutions. The report forecasts a need to hire 166 new City employees by 2040, notes there is little if any land left for new parks, and warns of shortcomings in the water and sewer system.

Issues such as the latter concerned some commissioners, as they consider public facilities in the context of a citywide Master Plan rewrite currently underway. The Executive Summary of the report cites the Martin O'Malley administration's controversial "12 Visions" for planning statewide. In regards to infrastructure, Vision 5 states, "Growth areas have the water resources and infrastructure to accommodate population and business expansion in an orderly, efficient, and environmentally sustainable manner."

Citing sewer and water deficiencies, school overcrowding and road capacity, Commissioner Don Hadley suggested the City may need to temper growth expectations unless those deficiencies are addressed. "There's a lot of stuff that doesn't add up here," he said. Hadley advised that those who are tasked with making these decisions need to "get out of our dream machines and into reality," before planning any significant expansion.

Commission chair Charles Littlefield noted that "there is a difference between sustainability, and sustainable growth."

The report refers to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' prediction that Rockville's population will increase from its current 65,937 people to 87,000 by 2040. Such growth, however, requires that the City allow construction of however many new housing units would be required to house those 22,937 people. Controversial local figures like former Montgomery County Planning Director Rollin Stanley have told us, "They're coming," and there isn't anything we can do about it. Not true.

In fact, they'll only come if the housing is built. That is where the decisions need to be made, in the context of infrastructure such as the commissioners referred to last night.

The report should be useful tool in that regard. It provides a good overview of City, Montgomery County, and private facilities, and discusses whether they are adequate today - and if they will be so by 2040.

Map courtesy City of Rockville

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Final Rockville 2040 listening session March 8 in Rockshire

The last of a preliminary set of listening sessions for citizen input on how the City of Rockville should grow over the next few decades will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. It will begin at 7:30 PM, at the Korean Presbyterian Church at 800 Hurley Avenue in the Rockshire neighborhood.

Parking at the church is limited, but there is additional parking at the adjacent Rockshire Village Center. That center is sure to be a major part of the discussion. The Giant Food store vacated, and new tenants are needed. A developer has interest in replacing the center with townhomes, which seems at odds with the planning principles espoused today regarding having walkable communities, including retail within walking distance. Ironically, Rockshire has had just that since 1978, until things went south at the center in recent years.

A new citizen group has formed to represent resident voices in the debate over the fate of this shopping center. Concerned Citizens for Rockshire Center includes former City Councilmember Bob Wright.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rockville planning commissioners want more historic designation options

Planning Commission Chair
Charles Littlefield
Members of the Rockville Planning Commission would like the City to take a more varied approach to historic preservation, as planners and commissioners consider a report on the past and future of such efforts. Rockville's Chief of Long Range Planning David Levy told commissioners that one of the main objectives of the report is to get feedback from the public on historic preservation during the Master Plan process currently underway. Levy and planner Cindy Kebba said the topic has not really come up in the many public listening sessions the City has hosted so far.

While communities such as Lincoln Park have welcomed preservation efforts, other neighborhoods like Twinbrook have been wary of what historic designation would mean for property values and redevelopment options for the small homes there.

Commissioner Don Hadley said sometimes the current designation process goes too far. Not every historic building is of the same importance or value, and some restrictions on properties are cumbersome while adding little value to preservation efforts. Hadley gave the example of a homeowner who can't easily obtain a particular siding material for a small outbuilding being forced to pay for custom manufacturing.

The City needs "a more nuanced set of tools," Commissioner Jack Leiderman concurred. He suggested having several gradations of preservation that could be more flexible, and put the property in question into the right context. When it comes to historic designation in the City today, he said, "people are a little bit scared what that means."

Commission Chair Charles Littlefield asked staff why the thresholds to start and complete the designation process are so high. It currently takes 40% of residents to agree to start the process, and 85% to apply the designation. Littlefield said that is much higher than the simple majority (51%) or two-thirds majority more often applied to legislative decisions. Zoning Chief Jim Wasilak said the City intentionally set a "high bar" for designation, to ensure that such decisions wouldn't be rammed through easily by a minority of residents. The current system requires clear buy-in by the community in question, Wasilak said.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Rockville 2040 public listening session in King Farm tonight

The Rockville 2040 listening sessions being held citywide continue tonight in King Farm. Residents, and business and property owners, are invited to the King Farm Clubhouse tonight at 7 PM, at 300 Saddle Ridge Circle.

These sessions are one source of public input on the Rockville Planning Commission's major task of updating the city's Master Plan. Commissioners and city planning staff want to know what you think Rockville should look like in the year 2040, both citywide and in your neighborhood.

If you can't attend, you can find more information on the Rockville 2040 website. There will also be future opportunities to address the Planning Commission directly, as the process goes forward.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What should Rockville look like in 2040?

How much should Rockville's "city of neighborhoods" grow by 2040? You can be sure developers, politicians and land-use attorneys have some very solid plans in mind. That's why citizens should make sure they are part of the conversation being started by the Rockville Planning Commission regarding an update of the city's master plan.

A "kick-off meeting" is being held this Saturday, May 9, in the Buchanan Room at the VisArts Center, at 155 Gibbs Street in Rockville Town Square. The meeting will run from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM Saturday.

The Rockville 2040 discussion will cover everything from development to facilities to the environment. For more information on the plan process, and the different ways you can give input, visit the Rockville 2040 website.