Monday, July 12, 2021

Rockville police chief to address Asian community safety Thursday night

Rockville Police Chief Victor Brito will address the safety of the city's large Asian-American community in a virtual forum this Thursday night, July 15, 2021 at 7:00 PM. You can register online in advance to participate in the meeting, which will also include representatives of the Asian and Pacific Islander community. The forum is being organized by the City of Rockville's Asian Pacific American Task Force.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Rockville zoning change would allow self-storage use at office buildings in mixed-use employment zones

U-Haul, Inc. has filed a request with the City of Rockville for a zoning change that would permit a self-storage use on existing properties citywide that are currently zoned as MXE (mixed-use employment) zones. The applicant is seeking the change because it would like to install self-storage units in an office building it owns at 1355 Piccard Drive. Self-storage warehouses in MXE zones were eliminated as a permitted use in 2019 by the Mayor and Council, and became a conditional use, and only if the site adjoins property that allows heavy industrial uses.

A zoning text amendment (ZTA) proposed by U-Haul would allow the self-storage use under the following conditions

  • Self-storage would be operated in conjunction with an existing permitted use in the MXE zone
  • Access to the self-storage units is internal-only, from inside the building
  • Self-storage use is located inside an existing office building

The Rockville Planning Commission will receive a briefing on the proposed ZTA at its July 14, 2021 virtual meeting. 

Planning staff have advised against adopting the ZTA. At U-Haul's Piccard Drive building in particular, staff suggests the area proposed for conversion to self-storage is large enough to make that the principal use, rather than a use "in conjunction with" an existing principal use. The change would also reduce the job-creating potential in existing office buildings, staff argues. Any existing, "underperforming" office building could add self-storage as its principal use under the ZTA as proposed, which staff indicates goes against the reasoning behind banning self-storage facilities in MXE zones in the first place.

The ZTA will come back before the Planning Commission on July 28. At that time, commissioners will have the opportunity to discuss and make a formal recommendation to the Mayor and Council on the ZTA.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Underground utility work on E. Middle Lane in Rockville (Photos)

A utility crew was working under the street on E. Middle Lane in Rockville Town Center late last night. The work took place near the driveway entrance to the Choice Hotels headquarters garage. A new apartment building is under construction on that block. At least one City of Rockville vehicle was on-site.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Rockville city drinking water again gets a passing grade in annual report

The latest annual report on the municipal water supply shows that Rockville's water once again meets or exceeds federal standards for safe drinking water. Rockville has its own water treatment plant on the Potomac River, and serves 13,000 customers in the city. "Thousands of daily, monthly, quarterly and annual laboratory tests help monitor our water quality and determine the correct type and level of treatment necessary to provide our customers with safe, reliable drinking water," Rockville's Director of Public Works Craig Simoneau wrote in an introductory letter to the new report.

Photo courtesy City of Rockville

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Car stolen from Rockville apartment building

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a vehicle being stolen from an apartment building garage in Rockville yesterday. The vehicle was taken from the garage of a building in the 500 block of Hungerford Drive. It is believed the car was stolen sometime between 4:00 PM Sunday and 11:00 AM Monday, according to crime data.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Car stolen from home in Rockville

City of Rockville police responded to a report of a stolen car at a home in the Twinbrook area of Rockville yesterday afternoon. The vehicle was parked along the street in the 300 block of Nimitz Avenue, according to crime data. It is believed the car was stolen sometime between 9:30 PM Wednesday night and midday Thursday.

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.