Mayor and Council to Choose New City Logo and Change Election Campaigning
At its Monday, June 11, 2023 meeting, the Rockville Mayor and Council will discuss election campaign materials, referendums on voting eligibility, and repealing Covid vaccination requirements. On the Consent Calendar (items approved without discussion) are construction contracts, grant authorizations, a zoning ordinance rewrite ($294,530), and planting trees and shrubs ($393,570), among others. The Mayor and Council will also receive reports on the state legislation session wrap-up for District 17 and the City’s Branding Initiative.
Fourteen nonprofit organizations will be receiving grants to support programs and services that enhance the quality of life for Rockville residents, including:
- Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, $120,000
- Rockville Science Center, $60,000
- Rockville Housing Enterprises, $52,820
- Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts, $48,830
- Rockville Little Theatre, $18,000
- Rockville Musical Theatre, $18,000
- Victorian Lyric Opera Company, $17,200
- Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, $10,000
- F. Scott Fitzgerald LIterary Conference, $6,700
- Main Street Connect, $6,000
- Bender JCC of Greater Washington, $6,000
- Women Who Care Ministries, $5,000
The City Council is considering an Eleventh Amendment to the Interim Management Agreement for Rockville Town Square, the a 12.5-acre mixed-use development located in the heart of Rockville City Center, and is encompassed within the area bounded by Beall Avenue, Hungerford Drive, Middle Lane , and North Washington Street. On September 26, 2022, Morguard acquired from Street Retail, the fee simple interest in all of the commercial retail properties in the Rockville Townsquare (RTS) Mixed-Use Development. Although a long-term Management Agreement is desired by both the City and Morguard, both parties need additional time to engage further. As such, staff recommends that the Mayor and Council authorize and direct the City Manager to execute the Eleventh Amendment to the Interim Management Agreement, thus extending the term of the Interim Management Agreement to June 30, 2024. This would continue the agreement that the City will not assess a property tax in exchange for management and maintenance of the Plaza and sidewalks by Morguard. More details starting on page 636.
The City Council is considering a long list of changes to city elections, including:
- Amending definition of campaign materials to include campaign websites, emails, text messages, and other electronic communications.
- Establishing a second vote center at Thomas Farm Community Center and ballot drop boxes at City Hall, Montrose Community Center, Rockville Senior Center, and Twinbrook Community Center.
- Prohibiting electioneering within 50 feet of an outdoor ballot drop box.
- Independent communications and advertisements must include a notice stating that they have not been authorized by a candidate or candidate’s committee.
- Aggregate campaign contributions are no longer limited to $2,000.
- Requiring electronic filing of all Campaign Finance Reports, but permitting the Board of Supervisors of Elections to waive that requirement, on request, for good cause.
- Requiring clear and conspicuous disclaimers on campaign materials stating whether the material has been paid for or authorized by a candidate or political committee, and if not, identifying the person who did pay for the campaign materials, but also including an exception for materials on which disclaimers cannot be conveniently displayed.
- Requiring all campaign materials to state that they are paid political advertisements and to identify the person who paid for the advertisement.
The Council is also considering a series of advisory questions to submit to voters in November about lowering the voting age to 16 years, allowing residents who are not U.S. citizens to vote, introducing a limit of three consecutive terms (12 years) for Mayor and Councilmembers, ranked choice voting, and establishing council districts.
The Mayor and Council are conducting hybrid meetings. If you wish to submit comments in writing for Community Forum or Public Hearings, please email the comments to MayorAndCouncil@RockvilleMD.gov by no later than 10:00 a.m. on the date of the meeting.
More details in the 704-page/127 Mb agenda packet are available at https://www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_06122023-6935.
Mayor and Council Tweaking FY2024 Budget
At its Monday, May 1, 2023 meeting, the Rockville Mayor and Council will discuss the FY2024 Budget (that’s it!). On the Consent Calendar (items approved without discussion) are four proclamations for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Historic Preservation Month, Older Americans Month, and National Public Service Recognition Week.
The City Council is continuing to adjust the budget. Reductions include the Movies in the Park series, residential street sweeping, composting, Latino Youth Development Program, Lincoln Park Community Center, Thomas Farm Community Center After School programs, Twinbrook rentals, and Peerless Rockville [just in time for Historic Preservation Month!] (page 18). Increases include fall protection at the Senior Center, mowing for cross country events at RedGate, Teens on the Go program, energy audits, badge system annual fees, and overtime pay for Rockville Police (page 18). Concerned? Community Forum happens at 7:10 pm (but you have to request to speak by noon of the day of the meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org; no more opportunities to just drop in!).
More details in the 92-page agenda packet are available at https://www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_05012023-6892.
New Mark Commons is not So Common
It was a beautiful day to explore New Mark Commons, the exceptionally well-designed mid-century neighborhood west of downtown Rockville. Hosted by Peerless Rockville, a standing-room only crowd of about 60 people gathered in the Clubhouse to hear an illustrated lecture by Dr. Isabel Gournay of the University of Maryland. Rose Krasnow, a longtime resident and former administrator of New Mark Commons, provided the introductory remarks. Afterwards, about half the group walked the neighborhood to visit a single-family house on Radburn and a townhouse on the lake–plus a surprise invitation to visit a second townhouse. Two more neighborhoods will be visited in the next month–the Americana Centre and King Farm–so if you’d like architecture and local history, these are a perfect way to enjoy both.
Homes and Hospitality Tour this Saturday
Get to know your city a bit better through the upcoming Homes and Hospitality Tour on Saturday afternoon, May 12. Peerless Rockville organizes this special one-day exploration of a neighborhood every two years, and this year’s focus is East Rockville. Most people don’t realize that this neighborhood east of the tracks not only has one of the densest collections of historic houses, but also some award-winning contemporary homes. Once directly connected to downtown Rockville via Baltimore Road, after the streets were rerouted in the mid-20th century, East Rockville became hidden and forgotten, with many of the houses being cut up into apartments or falling into disrepair. During the last couple decades, however, young couples and entrepreneurial investors saw the potential of this derelict neighborhood and began restoring the historic houses or building new ones on rare empty lots. Interest in this neighborhood continues to grow given its long history, its architectural diversity, and its proximity to Metro, MARC, and downtown.
The Tour includes six different places to visit at your own pace and in any order: three historic houses, two modern houses, and one public building. All have remarkable stories (one of the first electrified houses in the city, another linked to a typhoid epidemic, and another that stands on a former “laboratory to prepare for Armageddon”–wow!) and by exploring them together, you’ll leave with a new appreciation for your community and be inspired by the care of your fellow residents (several have won awards). Unlike most home tours, however, the event is staffed by many community leaders (so you may greeted by your Mayor, Police Chief, or State Delegate), many local restaurants provide refreshments (such as Carmen’s Ice Cream and Tower Oaks Lodge), and music is provided by local artists and students. For $25, it’s a bargain for a special afternoon in your own town (and a great gift for Mother’s Day!) but if you buy in advance or if you’re a Peerless Rockville member, you can get a discount of up to 25% off. Get your tickets in advance at PeerlessRockville.org or on the day of the event at the Pump House at 401 South Horner’s Lane.
Twinbrook Station Tour Discusses Future Development
This morning’s Peerless Rockville tour of the Alaire not only provided an intimate behind-the-scenes tour with representative of JBG of this award-winning combination of residences and stores, but also discussed the plans and timing for several projects in the Twinbrook Metro area. About a dozen people joined the conversation to see the lobby, common rooms, and a one-bedroom apartment of the Alaire, then went out onto the street to discuss the current and upcoming development for the region. Among the items that caught my ears:
1. WMATA owns the land and has leased it to JBG for 99 years. That means that projects need to be approved both by the City of Rockville and WMATA.
2. WMATA wants to maintain the 1100 parking spaces currently available at the Twinbrook Metro station, so before any existing surface lots can be developed, sufficient parking has to be provided elsewhere. The parking structure currently under construction at Halpine and Chapman will allow development of the next phase of Twinbrook Commons.
3. The next phase of Twinbrook Station will occur on the west side of Fishers Lane, across from the Alaire. Called the Toronto, it will consist of a combination of residences, stores, and a parking structure and will be intentionally designed by another architectural firm to avoid a monotonous appearance for the development. Groundbreaking is expected to happen Continue reading →
Peerless Rockville Brunch Starts New Year
Today’s Peerless Rockville Brunch at Glenview Mansion was packed with lots of members, friends, residents, and community leaders. Mayor Marcuccio was joined by Rockville City Councilmembers Bridget Newton, Mark Pierzchala, and Tom Moore; Montgomery County Council by Phil Andrews and Hans Riemer; Maryland State Delegate Kumar Barve and Luis Simmons; and Maryland State Senator Jennie Forehand. Everyone was generous with their potluck dish and I regretfully made it to the dessert table long after Brigitta Mullican’s famous Christmas cookies had been devoured. During the presentation, Peerless Rockville noted the important achievement of this last year was the designation of Glenview as an city landmark and that this year they’ll be focusing on simplifying the historic designation process in the city.
Exploring Rockville’s Downtowns on May 7
I’ll be leading a 1.5-hour walking tour of Rockville’s downtowns for Peerless Rockville on Saturday, May 7 at 10 am. Wear comfortable shoes, be prepared for the weather, and consider enjoying lunch afterwards (unfortunately, some of the tour is not accessible to persons with limited mobility). Space is limited so please register in advance with Peerless Rockville.
New Year Opens in Rockville with a Peerless Brunch
|Peerless Rockville Brunch 2010|
The Peerless Rockville New Year’s Day Brunch at Glenview Mansion was the first official event celebrating the 150th anniversary of the City of Rockville and everyone enjoyed a beautiful day, a nice mix of members and friends, and of course, lots of good food. Although it’s a holiday, the event always draws a good crowd of community leaders, including State Senator Forehand; State Delegates Barve, Simmons, and Gilchrist; Rockville Mayor Marcuccio; Rockville Councilmembers Gajewski, Newton, and Pierzchala; and City Clerk Funkhouser. This year’s event invited people to wear something vintage and among the standouts were Bill Forehand (with a Civil War sailor’s uniform) and Cindy Cotte Griffiths (with an amazing vintage dress–satin and velvet?). Peerless also encouraged everyone to submit their nominations for Places That Matter in Rockville (standing or not) and Peerless will be using it as a guide for events and activities for the upcoming year (Phyllis Marcuccio was actively supporting the Pump House). Glenview Mansion is an ideal place to hold the brunch–it’s almost perfectly suited to this type of event–and it was wonderfully decorated for the holidays. Rockville is very fortunate to have such a marvelous historic venue for community events (so much better than a high school gym!). If you want to see a photoalbum from the day, click on the picture or caption.