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Rockville looks to its future

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Published on: Thursday, May 16, 2013

By Holden Wilen

ROCKVILLE – As the city council begins its discussions for revisions to the city’s adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO) Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio has asked her colleagues to keep in mind Rockville’s future.

The city’s APFO and companion Adequate Public Facilities Standards (APFS) were initially adopted in 2005. The APFO exists to attempt to insure schools, roads and other public facilities serving a proposed development will remain adequate for the existing community after the development is built. Since 2005 the city has amended the APFO once and the APFS twice.

Now, at the request of Councilmember Mark Pierzchala, the mayor and council are beginning the process of looking to make changes and possibly overhauling the existing APFO and standards.

Marcuccio said she believes the city needs parameters to work with as it handles redevelopment for the city. She urged her colleagues to identify their goals for the city. Her goal, she said, is to make sure the infrastructure of Rockville can support those living there.

“There has to be some identifying plan of action that secures the city and its move forward,” Marcuccio said. “I just want a better roadmap. I certainly, I can’t see going on without one. I would ask people to identify the goals they think are important.”

The key issues with the APFO, according to Councilmember Tom Moore, are whether the APFO exists to only block development and whether public facilities are valued over all others. Moore said an APFO is better designed for newly developed areas and may not be as helpful to a city like Rockville which has been developed for a long time.

Pierzchala said his personal preference would be to dump the APFO because he finds it problematic, although he acknowledged it is an unlikely option. The law is problematic, he said, since it differs from the county’s policy. While the city’s standards are tighter, Pierzchala said, but they are not necessarily beneficial because the county officials do not consider Rockville’s APFO when making decisions.

“We are trying to solve a political problem with a policy solution,” Pierzchala said.

Councilwoman Bridget Newton said the city needs to set standards which fit the community’s needs even if they do not always match up with what the county wants.

“We can be who we want to be,” Newton said.

Councilman John Hall said the APFO law is not the problem, and the real concern should be the lack of adequate infrastructure in the city to support development. Another problem, Hall said, is the adequate public facility standards are not consistent with the APFO.

Moore and Pierzchala each said they would like to hold at least one public hearing in the future to gauge what the community thinks, an idea which the rest of the council agreed with. In the end, the Mayor and Council decided to continue the discussion at future meetings and come back with specific goals they would like to see the city achieve so they can decide what changes need to be made to the APFO.

“I think it really is a matter of the mayor and council setting the goals but also setting the vision for where the city is going to be,” Newton said. “What kind of managed growth do we want? If some of you think the APFO is not the way to do it let’s get to that point so that w can all leave Rockville better than when we started.”

Reader Comments - 1 Total

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Posted By: Carl S. Johnson On: 5/17/2013

Title: It is broke

“We are trying to solve a political problem with a policy solution,” Pierzchala said.
Like you tried to fix the employee harassment problems with the Saul Ewing cover up. The city needs fresh leadership to mold the future. Can the new city manager rise to the occasion to handle both the employee issues and the demands of future development needs of the city? Can the director of the Planning department Ms. Swift rise to the occasion and say something constructive for a change?
Traffic on the pike is dismal at best. I prefer to ride up 355 instead of down especially midday. All along the pike there are redevelopment signs for new mixed developments. This coupled with the new developments at the Old Georgetown Rd intersection and you have future gridlock.


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