Mayor and Council to Approve 370 Residences near King Farm with Unusual Conditions

Site plan for 300 new residential units at 16200 Frederick Road (King Buick) proposed by EYA.

At its Monday, November 8, 2021 meeting, the Rockville Mayor and Council will approve 370 residences at 16200 Frederick Road (aka King Buick), amend the City Code for “moderately priced housing”, and increase water and sewer rates starting in the second half of 2022. On the Consent Calendar (items approved without discussion) are a replacement shelter at Isreal Park, among others. The Mayor and Council will also receive a report from the Planning Commission.

Proposed increases to water usage rates.

In the agreement with EYA (the developer) to build the proposed 370 residences at 16200 Frederick Road, the City of Rockville includes several unusual conditions in its annexation agreement (Exhibit C):

  • #11. Long-term bicycle parking is not required but space for a “cycle track” on Frederick Road is required. (Vision Zero seems to be a rather limited vision of the future if it won’t encourage bicycle use by setting aside space for parking bicycles; this would never happen with cars.)
  • #12. Overhead utilities on Frederick Road fronting the property shall not be placed underground. (Yuck, preserving visual pollution.)
  • #18. The Historic District Commission may conduct a courtesy review of the development as its affects the adjacent historic King Farm Farmstead, including the construction of a new entrance drive and 47 parking spaces—but all comments are non-binding on the City Council or the developer. (So what’s the point of conducting a review if no one has to listen?)
  • #23. Despite being annexed into the city as a Mixed Use Zone (MXCD), no ground-floor retail businesses will be required along Frederick Road. (Seems this development avoids the intent of mixed-use zoning.)

The development will include a community building, but boy, the architectural design is a dud compared to adjacent King Farm. It has all the charm of a double-wide trailer. Why did EYA think this was appropriate for Rockville? How did this get approved?

EYA’s proposed community building with a meeting room, gym, restrooms, and a patio for 16200 Frederick Road.

In its annual report, the Planning Commission anticipates that the City of Rockville’s population will increase 33 percent in 25 years to 96,073 persons. It also notes that seven major areas of the city have inadequate sewer capacity (Lakewood, Atlantic Avenue, Lorraine Drive, Glenora, Congressional, Halpine, and Twinbrook Metro) and should be mitigated within the next ten years by the city or developers.

Planning Commission Annual Report (2020), page 10.

More details in the 301-page agenda packet available at https://www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_11082021-6402.

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