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.


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.


Airpark and residents forging a relationship

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GAITHERSBURG – Later this month, the National Transportation Safety Board is set to release its final report investigating the December 8, 2014 plane crash at the Montgomery County Airpark.

Preliminary conclusions point to human error with the pilot failing to activate a de-icing system causing the aircraft to stall just under a mile from the runway and plunge into a residential home resulting in six fatalities.

Christopher Hart, who led the investigation, summarized “Pilots must rely on checklists and procedures because relying only on memory can have deadly results,”

“The pilot’s failure to turn on the de-icing system in an icing situation proved to be disastrous” said Hart.


Residents fight more county cell phone towers

  • Published in Local

A bill to allow telecommunication companies to extend cell phone coverage is angering some local residents who want a public hearing.

Zoning Text Amendment 16-05, sponsored by Montgomery County Council President Nancy Floreen (D-At large) would change the zoning laws.

Telecommunication companies would be allowed to install small antennas on utility improve cell phone coverage.

County residents objected to the bill because it would allow the telecommunication companies to install the antennas without a public hearing.

 “It undercuts the participation of interested members of the public in a dialogue on where the thing ought to go or shouldn't go,” said Derwood resident Jeff Reznick.

Though a hearing for the bill is scheduled for July 19, if passed, the telecommunication companies could install the antennas without input from the public.


Dueling restaurants and zoning

Competition among restaurants can be fierce, and it is not unusual to see a restaurant owner use legal arguments to try to keep a competitor out of what the first owner believes is its territory. This is illustrated in one of my favorite names for a case this year came that came down recently from Maryland’s Court of Appeals, called A Guy Named Moe, LLC v. Chipotle Mexican Grill of Colorado, LLC.


Residents cite conflict of interest in storage facility battle

  • Published in Local

ezStorageROCKVILLE – The ongoing storage facility saga in East Rockville continued this week, now with an accusation of conflict of interest.

The mayor and City Council discussed a proposed zoning text amendment (ZTA) that would prevent self-storage within 250 feet of a school, including an approved ezStorage site near Maryvale Elementary School for which Siena Corporation already bought the land. Community activist Drew Powell also asked Councilmember Tom Moore to recuse himself because of a past campaign contribution from the lawyer representing Siena.

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