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Hogan joins in for Marriott groundbreaking in Bethesda

  • Published in Local

As a sign of the amicable relationship between elected officials and one of the state’s largest corporations, Gov. Larry Hogan and County Executive Ike Leggett joined in for a groundbreaking ceremony of Marriott International’s new headquarters in Downtown Bethesda last Thursday.

The ceremony served as a victory for state and local officials, who agreed to a combined $33 million in subsidies to the global hotel chain in order to keep them based in the County. On June 21, elected leaders and representatives from Marriott said the day was about honoring Marriott’s longtime commitment to Bethesda.

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Building components can be hazardous

for sale sign outside houseIt’s not unusual that new materials are produced to make construction and system installations easier, less expensive, and/or safer. However, once in a while, it’s found that the component may fail or can become dangerous as it ages or if it’s installed improperly. Examples of such materials include FRT plywood, polybutylene pipe, Chinese drywall, and most recently CSST.

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County defers on Leisure World plan

  • Published in Local

The County Planning Board voted 3-1 to defer a decision on plans for a new $7.2 million administration building for Leisure World after some two dozen residents testified in opposition to the proposal and nearly 2,000 residents from the 5,659 residential units signed a petition opposing the new building,

The Board urged Leisure World executives to try and work things out with residents and return in a few weeks with improvements to the plan for a two-story, 20,555 square foot administration building where there currently is a parking lot.

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Leisure World residents revolt against new plans

  • Published in Local

Leisure World logoSome residents of Leisure World, a residential facility in Silver Spring that is home to 8,500 people who are at least 55 years old, are so frustrated with management’s call for a new $7.2 million administration building that they intend to hold a town hall meeting of their own.

Just Us, a residents group run by Sheryl Katzman, is inviting residents to attend a July 28 meeting. The idea, Katzman explained, is to make sure that residents are aware that under the proposal, the administration building will be demolished and a new one built near the golf course even though an engineering study was never done to see if the current building could be refurbished instead.

“The residents are trying to put a stop to it. I am leading the charge,” Katzman said.

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County settles on Silver Spring Transit Center

  • Published in Local

County Executive Ike Leggett praised a $25 million settlement between the County and developers of the Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center last week.

Months after the County sued the transit center’s contractor Foulger-Pratt, its designer Parsons Brinckerhoff and the construction inspector Robert Balter, they settled May 30. The County claimed the developers and designers of the Silver Spring Transit Center were negligent and breached the contractor when they designed, built and inspected the transit center, but settled before the matter was decided by a jury.

"I am pleased that the County has settled the lawsuit we brought to recover taxpayer costs associated with the repair and remediation of the Silver Spring Transit Center,” Leggett said in statement after the settlement. “This is very much in the public interest. The $25 million payment to the County will cover 90 percent of the hard costs we incurred to deliver a safe and durable Silver Spring Transit Center.”

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Buzz gets louder over the new G-Burg drone

  • Published in Local

droneregistration

GAITHERSBURG -- The city owns a drone and city officials are deciding what to do with it.

At a work session with Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council Monday night, Assistant City Attorney Frank Johnson and city spokesperson Britta Monaco presented options for using the unmanned drone aircraft, which the city purchased in June.

Johnson and Monaco said that the city’s primary interest was to use the drone for promotional and media activities.

“We have contemplated the use of a drone for quite some time,” Monaco said. “We, meaning the Public Information staff, have primarily contemplated its use for marketing purposes, taking areal pictures of our festivals and special events.”

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County construction will finish after election

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – A construction project to repair structural decay to the Executive Office Building is scheduled to finish by Nov. 15, 12 days after voters finish casting early ballots at 101 Monroe Street.

Project manager Randall Hawkins said construction was previously scheduled to wrap up in September after starting in May 2015.

County officials scheduled repairs after discovered deterioration within the building's traffic circle.

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Executive Office Building construction to be completed in time for elections

  • Published in Local

A project to fix the Judicial Center Traffic Circle at the Executive Office Building in Rockville will be completed in time for the 2016 general election according to Hamid Omidvar, chief of the Division of Building Design and Construction for Montgomery County.

According to the description of the project on the County website, the project was originally scheduled to be finished in September, but is now expected to be completed in November. Omidvar said the goal is to finish the project before the November general election as the Executive Office Building is scheduled to be used as an early voting site.

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Rockville nixes building heights

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – The mayor and City Council removed limits on minimum and maximum building heights in certain parts of the Rockville’s Pike Neighborhood Plan while also voting for a compromise regarding the width of the Pike.

The compromise would allow the construction of access lanes along the Pike but would also allow developers whose projects meet certain criteria to negotiate with the mayor and council for more development space in lieu of the access lanes.

“I think it’ll be hugely effective and primarily because it allows both the mayor and council to be much more flexible in what they go forth with and give more space on the ground to build more housing or to have more open space,” said Pierzchala. “In terms of smart growth, it’s hugely advantageous for the city.”

During the Monday night meeting, the mayor and council unanimously backed a motion to eliminate part of the Pike Plan in which Planning Commissions recommended a minimum building height of two stories in most of the plan area and three stories in the South Pike Core.

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Tower Oaks next for residential development

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE -- The extent that a proposed residential development at Tower Oaks will affect local public schools depends on whether a new school opens on time and the boundaries for that school.

On Monday, the mayor and City Council hosted a public hearing for a 375-unit residential development proposal. Boston Properties, Inc. is selling their heavily wooded, 41-acre site along Preserve Parkway to residential developer EYA. Their proposed residential site would feature townhouses and single-family houses and keep 14.2 acres of forest area, though one local resident said to the mayor and council it could result in the removal of 600 trees.

The residential proposal did win at least some approval from the council, which did not vote on it Monday.

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