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G-Burg authorizes Kelley Park negotiation

  • Published in Local

Gaithersburg Govt logoGAITHERSBURG — The Gaithersburg City Council voted unanimously to grant City Manager Tony Tomasello the authority to negotiate with Montgomery County Public Schools over the proposed construction of a new elementary school on Kelley Park.

On March 22, the Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the superintendent’s recommendation for the construction of a new elementary school on the grounds of Kelley Park, a city-owned property on the east side of Gaithersburg, which features a playground, walking trails, a tennis court, and baseball fields that are used in the summer by the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. The school is intended to reduce overcrowding in the Gaithersburg cluster, where several of the elementary schools that serve city residents are operating well over capacity.

The vote and the prospect of the new school have been divisive issues in Gaithersburg. Some residents feel that the school would provide much-needed relief to the city’s elementary schools, whereas others have argued that the construction and operation of the school would deprive residents of a valued community gathering and recreational area, negatively impact property values, worsen traffic congestion as a result of parents picking up and dropping students off, and provide negligible relief to the schools.

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Gaithersburg residents discuss pros and cons of closing Kelley Park

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — On March 22, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the recommendation from the Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith to construct a new elementary school on the grounds of Kelley Park which abuts the Saybrooke neighborhood of Gaithersburg.

As the park is city-owned property, Mayor Jud Ashman and the Gaithersburg City Council will have to give final approval for the school construction.

The proposal has provoked mixed reactions from city residents. While some feel that the school would benefit the city and relieve overcrowding, others fear that it would deprive the surrounding neighborhoods of a valuable community space and negatively impact their quality of life.

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Immigrants plead case to Gaithersburg government

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — Several immigrants and their advocates came to City Hall Monday night to ask Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council to pass a “restoring community trust” ordinance to provide protection to immigrant communities and assuage their fears of interacting with government agencies.

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Gaithersburg Receives Legislative Update

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG With one-third of the state legislative session remaining, Gaithersburg officials were alarmed by the recently-introduced General Assembly bill to strip local governments of their authority to regulate placement of small cell towers. 

Monday night Legislative Affairs Manager Monica Marquina joined lobbyist Moira Moynihan to brief Mayor Jud Ashman and the rest of the City Council on legislative issues of concern to the City.

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G-Burg fathers take retreat to discuss city’s future goals

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — At Gaithersburg’s annual planning retreat, held Monday night at the Casey Community Center, the heads of various city departments presented Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council with their goals and strategies for the coming fiscal year.

Britta Monaco, director of the Communications and Public Relations Department, said her department would focus on new means, such as increased social media presence, to promote the city’s activities. But one of her department’s objectives – leveraging existing community groups such as homeowner associations, neighborhood watches and other groups as “Citizen Influencers” to promote city events – sparked some questions from the Council.

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Apartments a problem in Gaithersburg elections

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — The members of Gaithersburg’s Board of Supervisors of Elections discussed the past and future of the city’s electoral processes at the City Council meeting Monday night. 

Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council convened for a work session, during which City Attorney Lynn Board and Elections Clerk Lauren Klingler presented a “debrief” of last fall’s municipal election, outlining changes made to the city’s electoral process and proposals for future modifications.

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Gaithersburg residents express concerns about development

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gaithersburg buildingGAITHERSBURG — Several Gaithersburg residents came to a work session at City Hall Monday night to voice concerns about the effects of a proposed property development.  At work sessions held on March 27 and July 10 last year, Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council were briefed on a proposal from Maser Consulting to construct two six-story apartment buildings and a parking garage on the site of the Kentlands Apartments. 

At those sessions, officials and area residents expressed concern that the developments could have adverse effects on traffic, particularly in regards to a proposed ingress/egress entrance on Great Seneca Highway, school capacity, snow and trash removal and public green spaces. Residents of the Colonnade, a condominium association which would be abutted by the proposed development, have expressed concerns about the impact of the development on their quality of life. 

Jodi Kline, an attorney with Miller, Miller and Canby, who represents the applicants, said that Maser Consulting had negotiated with Colonnade residents and incorporated their concerns into the revised proposal that was presented Monday night.

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Gaithersburg approves Johnson property plans

  • Published in Local

GAITHERSBURG — Nearly 13 months after voting to annex the Johnson Property – an area near the intersection of Darnestown Road and Quince Orchard Boulevard – into the city, the Gaithersburg City Council on Tuesday voted to approve a development plan for it after a year of litigation surrounding the circumstances of the annexation vote.

On Dec. 19, 2016, the Council passed resolutions to annex the Johnson Property, an area near the intersection of Darnestown Road and Quince Orchard Boulevard and authorizing City Manager Tony Tomasello to execute an agreement to develop the property for mixed zone commercial and residential use. 

At the time the Council debated the annexation resolutions, it was operating at reduced capacity following the death of Council member Henry F. Marraffa. Council member Ryan Spiegel was also absent due to an illness, and had indicated that he would recuse himself after learning that his employer, the Bethesda-based law firm Paley Rothman, had a business relationship with one of the developers.

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Kagan briefs Gaithersburg on legislature

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GAITHERSBURG Senator Cheryl C. Kagan (D-17) came to Gaithersburg City Hall Tuesday night to brief Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council on the issues she would prioritize in the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly.

“I have had two constituents die when 911 failed,” Kagan said. She said she would pursue legislation to improve and modernize 911 service. “In a lot of the country, you can text 911. In Gaithersburg, you can’t. If there’s a bad guy in your house, you should be able to text 911. Currently, Frederick County is the only jurisdiction in Maryland where you can text 911. Montgomery County is moving in that direction, but I don’t think they’re moving fast enough.”

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Gaithersburg Mayor and Council sworn in

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GAITHERSBURG – The winners of last Tuesday’s municipal election were sworn into office Monday night as Gaithersburg’s Mayor Jud Ashman and City Council members Michael Sesma and Laurie-Anne Sayles took their oaths of office during a special session held in the council chambers.

After a representative of the Montgomery County Board of Election Supervisors presented the officially-certified results from last week’s election, Ashman, the winner of last week’s mayoral election, took the oath administered by Montgomery County Circuit Court Clerk Barbara Mieklejohn.

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