Showing posts with label Woodley Gardens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Woodley Gardens. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Aggravated assault with firearm in Rockville


Rockville City police were called to a townhome in the Woodley Gardens area of the city Friday night, January 20, 2023, after an aggravated assault with a gun was reported there. The assault was reported at 11:21 PM Friday, in the 600 block of Azalea Drive.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Slice of Rockville closing tonight - last chance!!


Slice of Rockville
at 1111 Nelson Street in the Woodley Gardens shopping center, will close permanently at the close of business (9:00 PM) tonight, June 25, 2021, according to the pizzeria's Facebook page. The pizza parlor has had a good 11-year run in challenging times, but is sure to be missed by the neighborhood and the nearby Rockville Senior Center. A new restaurant tenant will take over the space in the near future, but today is your last chance to stop by for a Slice of Rockville! 🍕

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mayor and Council authorize MOU for I-270 noise barrier

Noise relief for some along the I-270 corridor in Rockville is a step closer this morning. Last night, the Mayor and Council voted unanimously to authorize a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City and the Maryland State Highway Administration to construct a 2,609' Type II noise barrier wall along the east side of the interstate.

There's no indication of the exact start and end points of the wall, other than the stipulation that it begins "at the interchange." Proximate neighborhoods include West End Park, Woodley Gardens and Regents Square.

The barrier, which is currently being designed by the SHA, will begin at the interchange with W. Montgomery Avenue (MD 28) and continue northward for about half a mile. It may require land acquisition by either the SHA or the City.

SHA will pick up 80% of the design and construction costs; the remainder will be paid by the City to the SHA in installments that must be paid within 30 days.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton noted after the vote that had the barrier been constructed when originally sought several decades ago, it would have been far cheaper to build.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Residents protest proposed school bus parking lot at Carver Center in Rockville

Outraged residents spoke out last night about a Montgomery County Government blunder that has resulted in a school bus parking lot being proposed at the Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville. Even more troubling - some residents, as well as City Councilman Mark Pierzchala, see evidence the lot may not just be a short-term plan.

A resident of College Square called the bus plan "malpractice" at Monday's Mayor and Council meeting. He said the smart growth plan "went off the rails" after the County failed to enforce the agreement that the developer purchasing the current Crabbs Branch Way bus depot would have to find a new bus parking site. The private developer plans to build housing on the depot site.

Another resident who lives near the Carver Center said she is concerned for the health and safety of her two young children. But in addition to her fears about noise, pollution and neighborhood traffic congestion, she suspects a potentially more-sinister County plot. Montgomery County Public Schools currently plans to merge the adjacent Rock Terrace School with Tilden in Bethesda. That move, she said, "would create a very large area for bus parking." Several other speakers concurred, and the potential for maintenance and fuel facilities on such a larger site were predicted.

Pierzchala shares those concerns. He noted that MCPS is bonding over a million dollars for the bus site plan at Carver. "You don't bond something if you're just going to use it for a few years," Pierzchala noted.

Other concerns expressed by residents include the plan for an ugly high fence at the historic school site, and questions over not only how buses would get in and out of the site, but the traffic generated by their drivers taking their personal vehicles to and from work twice a day. Many mentioned the dirty tactics by the County Council in giving virtually no advance notice, and holding the only public hearing on the matter during workday hours when residents would be unable to attend to testify.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton sought to not only assure residents that she would "do everything in my power" to stop the plan, but also to dispel "an unfortunate statement" by an unnamed County Councilmember that Newton supports the plan. County Councilmember Craig Rice (D-Upcounty) was quoted in The Sentinel as saying, "“The mayor was supportive of the plan." "I just want to set the record straight," Newton said in making clear her opposition to the current proposal.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Osdoby, Feinberg take on critics; candidates tackle crime, purchasing report, EZ Storage in debate

Rockville mayoral challenger Sima Osdoby and Council incumbent Beryl Feinberg fired back at their political detractors at last night's College Gardens/Woodley Gardens-sponsored debate. A standing-room-only crowd packed into the Carnation Room at the Rockville Senior Center to hear what candidates'  plans were for their neighborhoods and the city at-large. And they sat through to the end, earning praise from moderator Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-District 17), herself a past resident of both communities.

Osdoby cut right to the chase in her opening statement, addressing "the rumor going around" that she and her slatemates on Team Rockville are beholden to developers. "There is no room in Rockville for this kind of nasty campaign shenanigans," she declared. Feinberg was dealing with the second broadside against her campaign in as many weeks. But the primary target of her remarks was neither on stage nor on the ballot. Councilmember Tom Moore, who is not seeking reelection, took his once-ally Feinberg to task in a blistering critique on his blog. He chronicled Feinberg's evolution on the Adequate Public Facilities Standards controversy, frankly expressing his sense of betrayal at her shift.

Feinberg was equally frank in her response, acknowledging her views on the APFS have evolved. "I've never said my view on the APFS did not change," she said. "I learned. I read. I listened to the neighborhoods. There have been several [online] postings lately that have been full of lies." Promising not to engage in attacks during the campaign, she said, "I have been above the fray."

To the debate planners' credit, those weren't the only notable moments last evening. The format was decidedly more antagonistic than previous candidate forums this fall, including a segment where candidates were told to ask one of their opponents a question.

It not only made the debate more interesting, but also helped voters learn more about the candidates. For example, Feinberg asked (or attempted to ask, as her question exceeded the 15-second time limit) incumbent councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr about Gaithersburg's current flirtation with allowing its schools to operate at 150% of student capacity. The new overcrowding limit was slammed by a PTA representative at Monday night's Gaithersburg Mayor and Council meeting. Palakovich Carr, who voted to raise the limit from 110% in Rockville to 120%, expressed disapproval of Gaithersburg's 150%, saying, "I think that's ridiculous."

Council candidate Mark Pierzchala pointedly asked fellow challenger Patrick Schoof about his active role in stopping construction of the proposed EZ Storage facility adjacent to Maryvale Elementary School in East Rockville. Pierzchala attempted to cast Schoof's role as a negative, asking "Why should voters trust you when your past actions have been so extreme?"

Schoof defended himself, noting that there were 120 pages of health and safety-related evidence against the applicant for the facility. He recalled the Planning Commission had narrowly allowed the project to proceed on a 4-3 vote, "not 7-0." Schoof also echoed earlier comments by Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, arguing that, had the city performed the Southlawn Industrial Area study requested years ago by East Rockville residents, "this easily would not have gone this way." The City ended up banning self-storage facilities within 250 feet of schools, rendering the approved EZ Storage application moot, a decision that could be addressed in the courts. All of this could have been avoided, had the city acted on the Maryvale community's request for the Southlawn study earlier, Newton said. "Had that been done," she said, the project would never have been an issue.

Monday night's 3-2 vote to postpone action on a report that found serious flaws in the City's purchasing practices has already become a major campaign issue. Councilmember Virginia Onley, who voted for the 90-day delay along with Moore and Palakovich Carr, asked council candidate Brigitta Mullican how she could pay for her property tax cut proposal. Mullican seized on the purchasing report, noting the potential savings to the city's budget if it were successfully implemented. Other cities of similar size have far smaller budgets than Rockville, Mullican noted. She said she wants "a complete review of how our money is being spent."

Similarly, Osdoby asked Newton how she proposed to find the savings to eliminate the Cost Allocation Program, which Newton has said puts an unfair burden on taxpayers. Newton said that if Osdoby had watched Monday night's meeting, the report had shown a potential savings of $5-7 million, enough to allow the City to end the CAP program. "It is imperative that we show our taxpayers where that money is going," Newton said, noting that spending in some departments is "hidden from view in the CAP."

Turning the tables, Newton asked Osdoby if she would have voted to "kick the can down the road" on the purchasing report. "When I have the same opportunity to look at it as you do, that's when I'll make my deliberations," Osdoby responded. The purchasing report has been publicly available online, not just to elected officials, however.

Candidates were asked how they propose to increase Rockville's notoriously-low voter turnout. Council candidate Richard Gottfried said that in the course of knocking on over 5000 doors across the City, many of those who answered don't match the names on the voter rolls. He suggested not overlooking the value of old-fashioned ways of getting potential voters involved, such as U.S. Mail and doorknocking. "Not everyone is high-tech," Gottfried noted. Schoof said voters would be more engaged if the Council was more responsive to residents' stated preferences, rather than voting contrary to the majority's wishes. Palakovich Carr said the City should have a conversation on the question of allowing non-citizens to vote. She said 1-in-3 Rockville residents was born outside of the United States, meaning many have "no say" in government decisions. Palakovich Carr also suggested the City consider again the question of moving its elections to gubernatorial or presidential voting years. "The depressing thing is," she noted, that innovations like early voting have only increased overall turnout by about 5%. Council candidate David Hill opposed such a change, worrying that presidential year voters wouldn't pay close attention to City issues. "The quality of the voters is more important than the quantity of the voters," was his conclusion as a member of the City's 2002 Charter Review Commission, Hill recalled. Pierzchala saluted the host neighborhoods of the debate for having the highest turnout in the City. Mullican said she feared partisanship would creep into the City's non-partisan elections, if they moved to a crowded and highly partisan Presidential ballot. The change could make already-difficult fundraising even harder for City candidates, she said. Feinberg suggested better informing voters of what city funds provide versus County and state funds, and providing seed money to create more civic associations where they don't exist.

Crime was another topic covered last night that hasn't been discussed much during the campaign. Newton was out ahead of the topic in her September announcement speech, when she called for the hire of more police officers. She reiterated her concern that the City currently has only 59 sworn officers, while its daytime population swells to about 100,000 people. Newton also pointed out that more than 70% of calls are responded to by City, rather than Montgomery County, officers. The city should be recouping that $4 million in tax duplication funds, she argued.

Osdoby urged the City to ensure there was adequate street lighting, a problem Pierzchala concurred with from his own experience as past president of the College Gardens Civic Association. "It's very hard to get Pepco to get them all going," he lamented. Pierzchala also suggested a data-driven Special Operational Unit that could target upticks in crime in specific neighborhoods. He also recommended "revising Neighborhood Watch in a big way," recalling seeing Watch signs with peeling paint when he walked every street in the City as a warmup to his campaign.

"Rockville probably has the best police department I've ever seen," Gottfried said. He advised other communities have officers come out to pinpoint problem areas, as he has in Twinbrook, where he is President of the citizens association. Officers showed where bushes should be trimmed to eliminate hiding places, Gottfried said, and the neighborhood is seeking additional street lighting.
Hill said the insularity of neighborhoods can sometimes increase their vulnerability to crime. "Visibility and awareness" are important, Hill said, and he shared Newton's concern over the size of the police force in the growing city.

"We are the best defense against crime," Onley said, also suggesting police increase their visibility in neighborhoods.

Council candidate Clark Reed said he thought community policing was working well in the City. He said police notify civic associations to crime spikes in a timely fashion.
Jerry Callistein, President of
the College Gardens Civic Association
confers with moderator
Cheryl Kagan moments before
the debate begins
 
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton
makes an opening statement;
L-R: Council candidate
Beryl Feinberg, mayoral
candidate Sima Osdoby,
council candidate
Richard Gottfried

Sima Osdoby




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ROCKVILLE RESIDENTS TELL PLANNING COMMISSION: CURRENT BIKEWAY PLAN WOULD BE "DISASTER"

The president of Regents Square's condo board told Rockville planning commissioners that the draft Bikeway Master Plan would be "a disaster for our community," at last week's public hearing on the document. Joe Covey said his community of 252 townhouses on Azalea Drive, and Nelson Street, were planned with street parking designed to complement off-street lot parking. Woodley Gardens Civic Association President James Reschovsky shared Covey's concern, although both emphasized that their communities are not opposed to improving bike mobility through their neighborhood.

A primary issue is the plan for a .4 mile bike climbing lane on Azalea Drive, that would displace existing street parking. Reschovsky said he did not have the precise number of parking spaces that would be lost, but estimated them as 50-75. "What I can say with confidence," Reschovsky added, is that "the street is totally parked, the off-street parking lots are full [and] there’s already a parking problem now." "50 to 75 is a substantial number of cars," Planning Commissioner Jack Leiderman said, describing the parking elimination as "a major change."

Reschovsky suggested the city examine alternative routes for the new bike connection between Nelson Street and Gude Drive. Pressed by commissioners for specific routes, Reschovsky said it would be inappropriate to speculate, without input from Woodley Gardens residents. He said Crocus Drive and Aster Boulevard would be possible alternatives, but that residents had not had a chance to address that specific question yet.

Montgomery College also expressed opposition to the draft plan's route that passes through its Rockville campus. Don Smith, director of the college's Evening and Weekend Office, and a member of its bike task force, said the college "strongly supports" biking, noting its participation in the Capital Bikeshare program. But "it cannot compromise security by opening the perimeter fence" in the northwest area of the campus, Smith said. "Controlling access is critical to the prevention” of crime on campus, Smith argued. The college "does not endorse" the plan's proposed through-campus route for that reason, Smith said.

The solid opposition of the college to opening the fence needs to be taken into account before passing the draft plan, two commissioners argued. Commissioner John Tyner said the campus is "not to be breached in any place." Leiderman pointed out that, while the city can put any route into the plan, the college cannot be compelled to open its property. To go forward with the college segment as written, would be "exercising futility, to put something in a master plan that cannot be," Leiderman argued.

Proponents of the plan stressed the importance of bike route connectivity both within the city, and to bike infrastructure outside of it. Rockville is already ahead of most in the county in its number and route miles of bike trails. It seems realistic that the goal of more connections could be accomplished while addressing community concerns, such as those expressed at the hearing.

Leiderman moved to hold a second public hearing after the commission holds work sessions, and to keep the public record on the plan open until after that hearing is held. That would ensure the public can comment on finer details not yet known, he said. Tyner agreed, and urged citizens to get involved on the issue. Commissioner David Hill recommended the record close one week following the second hearing. Leiderman and Tyner concurred. Leiderman's amended motion passed unanimously.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING STATION COMING TO WOODLEY GARDENS SHOPPING CENTER IN ROCKVILLE (PHOTOS)

An electric car charging station is coming soon at the Woodley Gardens shopping center in Rockville. In addition to serving any nearby residents with electric cars (I saw a Chevrolet Volt parked in the area), it could also be a charging point for drivers between Bethesda and Frederick, as the shopping center is off of exit 6A on I-270.