Thursday, July 31, 2014


A large local Burger King franchisee is seeking to build a new, drive-thru location at the Red Roof Inn on Shady Grove Road. To allow this to happen, Potomac Foods Group must first obtain a zoning text amendment from the Rockville Planning Commission, to permit construction of a restaurant with drive-thru facilities on a hotel property in the MXE zone. Phew! And they said zoning was going to be simpler... The zoning change would alter the current language that forbids drive-thru restaurants in MXE zones, making it a "conditional" permitted use hereafter.

If successful, the ZTA would permit other hotels in MXE zones throughout Rockville with a minimum of 200 feet of a major highway along an existing hotel's property frontage, and which has frontage onto a major arterial road at its front line. In addition to the Red Roof Inn, this might also extend to the Crowne Plaza, the Sleep Inn at Shady Grove, Courtyard by Marriott, Quality Suites, and the Best Western. All of these are near the I-270 corridor in Rockville.

I think this should be permitted to go forward for several reasons. First, the use in this case is entirely consistent with the general commercial nature of Shady Grove Road. And those existing properties are designed with automobile access in mind. Second, a drive-thru Burger King has already been in operation there on the other side of the road. Third, it provides a convenient amenity for the Red Roof Inn. Fourth, the location is right off of I-270, which will bring travelers into Rockville, where they might see other businesses and spend further money in the city. It could also be pointed out that this location would not require a U-turn for those exiting 270 to reach. Fifth, despite the best efforts of county politicians to drive fast food restaurants out of the county, drive-thru fast food establishments remain highly appropriate for suburban and exurban areas (and even in urban areas).

Should it be built, I know I'll be a customer there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


The Rockville Development Review Committee will meet Thursday, July 31, at 9:00 AM, in the Black Eyed Susan Conference Room at City Hall. If you have any questions, call 240-314-8228.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Today is National Wing Day. To celebrate, Hooters of Rockville is offering all-you-can-eat chicken wings for $12.99. You can choose traditional, or boneless. This offer is good only for dine-in customers, not carry-out.

Hooters of Rockville
1584 Rockville Pike

Monday, July 28, 2014


At least four vehicles in King Farm were broken into on Friday, according to crime data. If you live in King Farm, make sure your car is locked, and all valuables removed from the cabin. Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to Rockville or Montgomery County Police immediately.

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Rockville on July 25:

Vehicle burglary. Ivy League Lane at Martins Square Lane.

Burglary. 200 block Martins Lane.

Vehicle burglary. 200 block Marsh Hollow Place (King Farm).

Vehicle burglary. 600 block Grand Champion Drive (King Farm).

Vehicle burglary. 500 block Lawson Way (King Farm).

Vehicle burglary. 200 block King Farm Boulevard (King Farm).

Friday, July 25, 2014


I-270 is located behind this
barrier at the
Woodley Gardens Shopping
Center in Rockville
A Montgomery County judge ordered the Maryland State Highway Administration to terminate a planned sound barrier project along I-270 in Rockville last week.

The Daily Record reports that the judge determined the state violated the property rights of the Woodley Gardens Shopping Center on Nelson Street. Soil sampling and jackhammering of asphalt on shopping center property were determined as not permissible under Maryland's eminent domain law.

Daily Record reporter Danny Jacobs writes that the SHA has not yet determined if it will appeal the ruling. Now imagine what might happen should the county and state decide to widen 270!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


The Rockville Planning Commission voted unanimously to grant a parking waiver to Hungerford Retail, LLC at last night's meeting. While virtually every future transit-oriented project in the city will likely meet the basic criteria for a parking waiver, the issuing of one is at the discretion of the commission. The planning body reached a consensus around the suggestions of commissioners Charles Littlefield and Jack Leiderman. Littlefield argued that the impact of the future Dawson Avenue extension was detrimental to the JBG Companies' project at 275 N. Washington Street, and reduced their available space for parking. It should be noted that future Town Center road extensions will also impact the Walgreens and an Asian grocery store's property and parking, as well.

JBG was credited by commission chair Don Hadley for its efforts to work with the adjoining property owners, and the West End Citizen's Association, to revise its initially-disastrous waiver presentation. Susan Prince spoke on behalf of WECA, and expressed concern at the downsizing of the planned restaurant space in the development. Prince said the neighborhood would prefer that JBG be required to contract with its neighbor, to provide additional parking in its monthly garage.

Ultimately, the commission declined to stipulate such a contract, which Sam Stiebel of JBG said would put the developer in a poor negotiating position, were it required to make a deal. It deemed sufficient, with some reservations, a deal JBG reached with Town Center II neighbor Shelter Development, that will provide 18 attended spaces in its future Brightview residential project for 275 N. Washington Street customers. A below-grade garage will hold 45 spaces, in addition to some surface parking. In addition, a valet service must begin immediately, rather than the original proposed delay.

The eventual agreement was briefly threatened when Commissioner John Tyner made a motion to grant the waiver, as he preferred to include the findings of the basic waiver criteria in the language. Leiderman and Littlefield said they could not support such a motion. After Leiderman advised Tyner to present a motion a majority could agree upon, Tyner relented. Littlefield seconded Tyner's motion.

There was still a matter of JBG's ability to be released from the parking agreement, should it be able to show there was indeed a surplus of parking available on two occasions, between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM. A friendly amendment by Leiderman restored the criteria to the original number of 5 study times.

Overall, several commissioners expressed the feeling that the desire for development in Town Center Phase II - as well as JBG's good-faith efforts in revising their proposal - outweighed their remaining concerns that parking will be a problem there in the future.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Rockville, snobbish? Hard to believe. But Rockville has now been named the 8th "Snobbiest Small City in America," tied with Encinitas, CA. The list, created by the Movoto blog, claims to represent a serious study of data on small towns across America.

Criteria for earning a high place on the list included median home price, median household income, percent of population with a college degree, private schools-per-capita, performing arts-per-capita, art galleries-per-capita, and the number of fast food restaurants.

The only snobbish attitude I've encountered in decades in Rockville, is coming from outsiders who want to urbanize the small-town atmosphere that exists in it today. People who believe that state highways are not designed to move commuters, but are places well-suited to dining on croissants and cappuccinos.

To suggest the presence of the arts equals snobbery makes little sense, when you consider that the arts often flourish in areas less wealthy than Rockville. H Street?

"Fast food restaurants per capita (the more the better[)]?" Either Movoto needs to hire a copy editor, or this was off-base. Ordinarily, fast food restaurants are not considered snobbish. Rockville could actually use more fast food restaurants, in my opinion. Starting with restoring one to the now-vacant Chicken Out in College Plaza, which used to be an A&W Restaurant.