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City makes changes to Chestnut Lodge zoning tract

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – The City Council Monday night decided to facilitate City plans to develop the historic Chestnut Lodge property into a public park.

The Rockville City Council voted 4-0-1, with Mayor Bridgett Donnell Newton voting to abstain, to file a local map amendment to rezone the area around Chestnut Lodge. In July, City officials acquired the three parcels of land on West Montgomery Avenue that make up the Chestnut Lodge property, with the intention of turning the site of the former 19th century psychiatric institution Chestnut Lodge into a public park.

Council member Mark Pierzchala said he specifically wanted to amend the City’s Planned Residential Unit (PRU), or zoning.

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Rockville City planners looking to future of development

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – Large corporate campuses and office parks are a thing of the past according to Rockville City planners.

But as of today, the City is full of large office buildings and parks, mainly along the Interstate-270 corridor, something City planners from generations ago envisioned would be a hub Rockville’s business. On Monday night, the City Council held a work session to discuss mixed-use zoning along Rockville’s portion of the Interstate Highway 270 corridor along Research Boulevard, Piccard Drive and Shady Grove Road.

“As office buildings age in these suburban areas, the market is not producing replacement or many times even rehabbed offices as they get beyond the point of where cost effective rehab makes sense they come down,” said David Levy, chief of Long Range Planning and Development at the City of Rockville.

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Palakovich Carr announces bid for House of Delegates

  • Published in State

Rockville City Council member Julie Palakovich Carr filed her paperwork this week to run for District-17 in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Palakovich Carr, a two-term member on the Rockville City Council, said she wanted to run for state government because she believes she can have a greater impact on education, transportation and economic issues at the state level.

“I decided to run because I think it's important to be pushing progressive reforms in Annapolis,” Palakovich Carr said.

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"It's Time..."

  • Published in Local

Rockville votes to take a stand against President Trump and federal immigration policy

Rockville SealROCKVILLE – Rockville City Council members called the debate over the proposed ordinance to prohibit city officials from enforcing immigration law, one of the most contentious issues they have dealt with.

On Monday, the Rockville City Council and Mayor voted to pass the Fostering Community Trust Ordinance 3-2, which will ban City officials from assisting in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Council members Virginia D. Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr and Mark Pierzchala voted in favor of the ordinance while Council member Beryl L. Feinberg and Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton voted against it.

“When it comes to this jurisdiction, I think it’s time for the City of Rockville to take a stand,” Pierzchala said.

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Rockville bans smoking for outdoor dining areas

  • Published in Local

cigarette with smokeROCKVILLE – Rockville passed another ordinance telling smokers to butt out.

On Monday, the Rockville City Council and Mayor voted 4-1 to ban smoking at the outdoor seating and patio areas for restaurants and bars. The new ordinance includes vaping or electronic cigarettes, which release water vapor instead of tobacco smoke.

“It’s really exciting. It’s a great day for this City. As a resident and a dad, I’m thrilled to live in a place that prioritizes the health of kids and families,” said Adam Zimmerman, a Rockville resident who lobbied the City for months to pass the ban.

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Rockville promotes diversity with flag display

  • Published in Local

Rockville Flags 21aFlags from countries around the world are being installed across Rockville. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER Diversity is what the City of Rockville wanted to portray when officials decided to hang flags of the world on its light poles, but initial reaction to the flags created a diversity of another sort.

When shoppers mulling around Rockville Town Square recently were asked what they thought of the international display, a few said they hadn’t even noticed, and others thought the flags were regularly put up each year for Memorial Day. Only a few connected it with cultural diversity.

The City of Rockville currently is installing a total of 193 flags – the number of sovereign states in the United Nations – to show its commitment to diversity and inclusion. More than 150 are already decorating Rockville.

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Rockville considers relocating KID Museum

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – The Rockville City Council held a budget work session during its meeting Monday night, focusing mostly on proposed funds directed toward the KID Museum.

On Monday, the Rockville City Council discussed dedicating funds in the FY18 budget to possibly relocate the KID Museum, an interactive children’s museum currently located at the Davis Library in Bethesda.

The proposed plan would move the KID Museum to 255 Rockville Pike, near Rockville Town Square, where the County has several offices.

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Rockville battles budget woes

  • Published in Local

Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Residents and community representatives spoke out Monday night in the last public hearing before the City Council passes the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

City Manager Robert DiSpirito proposed a $129.4 million operating budget, which would be a 2.5 percent increase from last year’s. DiSpirito proposed to keep the city’s taxes for real property and personal property the same as last year’s.

The city manager said he did not have as much influence over the budget as he would like, given that he started in Rockville long after the city began to craft its budget.

“I’m a Johnny-come-lately on the process, definitely,” said DiSpirito, who started as city manager in January.

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Rockville stays the course

  • Published in Local

Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said it is too early to tell whether a proposed ordinance to prevent city officials from enforcing immigration law could cause Rockville to lose federal funding. 

“The city council hasn't had the discussion yet,” said Donnell Newton when asked about whether Rockville could lose federal funding if the City Council passes the Fostering Community Trust Ordinance.

Monday night, residents each took their turn to mostly voice their opinions on one issue – immigration. For more than hour, during the usual public comment during city council meetings, residents told the City Council to pass the Fostering Community Trust ordinance, the proposed bill that would prevent city officials from complying with federal immigration detainers.

“This will ensure that our residents, citizens and permanent residents, visa holders and yes, also undocumented immigrants feel safe reporting crime and serving as witnesses,” said John Yang, president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil rights organization.

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UPDATE: Rockville fires Swift

  • Published in Local

Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Rockville is one manager down after action this week.

The city manager fired the director of Community Planning and Development Services March 3, spokesperson Marylou Berg confirmed.

“I made a change in the best interest of the organization and the City,” City Manager Rob DiSpirito said Monday. “I feel that the department needed new direction and a fresh start.”

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