Tag Archives: Town Center

Rockville Candidates Missing the Forest and Trees for the Rocks

Last week, I received the following email message from Joe Jordan, who is closely associated with Bridget Newton‘s election campaign:

Max, there have been at least two occasions where Clark Reed has been seen wearing a handmade name tag that reads “Rockville City Council – Clark Reed”. It was pointed out to him at the MPT showing on Friday, yet he wore it again at RTS on Saturday. Recalling two years ago, I recall how you were concerned about integrity and propriety and following election guidelines, and while nametags may not be covered under them, I am sure you can see how misleading his nametag can be.

Can I be confident in the fact you will bring this to his and Sima [Osdoby]’s attention, and ask that, at a minimum, he and all slate candidates use the wording “candidate for” if they are not incumbents.

Thanks for your attention to this important matter.

Name badgesMr. Jordan is correct that name badges are not specifically addressed in Rockville’s election code (although it addresses nearly everything else: “any pamphlet, circular, card, sample ballot, dodger, poster, advertisement or any printed, multigraphed, photographed, typewritten or written matter or statement or any matter or statement which may be copied by any device”) and that I value transparency, honesty, and accuracy in government (and in business and personal relationships).  I’ve passed his message onto the candidates of Team Rockville, but just to clarify, each candidate that is part of the Team is responsible for his or her own campaign (I don’t manage individual campaigns, just the Team’s; and this blog is mine, not the Team’s).

More important, though, I am growing increasingly concerned with the topics deemed important in this election.  Richard Gottfried sent out the first campaign mailer of the season and accused his opponents of associating with “fat cat developers” without providing any evidence.  On the Twinbrook Listserv a couple weeks ago, Brigitta Mullican complained about the inaccuracies in my blog post (I said Beryl Feinberg worked in the county’s office of management and budget) and that she wasn’t allowed to post comments, then recruited Beryl Feinberg to pile on:
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Tentative Plans Revealed for Old Giant Store in Downtown Rockville

Tony Greenberg of JBG describing plans for downtown Rockville.

About two dozen people gathered in the Red Brick Courthouse last night to hear Tony Greenberg of JBG Companies of Chevy Chase discuss conceptual plans for a three-acre lot in downtown Rockville, the site of the former Giant grocery store on Washington Street near Beall Avenue.  The Town Center Action Team hosted the meeting and among those attending were councilmember Bridget Newton and chief of planning Jim Wasilak.  JBG is one of the region’s major developers and is currently building the Alaire and rehabilitating the million-square-foot Health and Human Services Building in Twinbrook.  Greenberg noted that JBG Rosenfeld is an affiliated but separate company that specializes in managing retail properties (such as the Twinbrook Shopping Center).  JBG’s focus is primarily planning and construction of offices, hotels, and mixed use projects (i.e., retail AND residential, such as the North Bethesda Market which combines a Whole Foods Market and 400 apartments).

Old Giant Store Site in downtown Rockville.

The Old Giant site has been vacant for years and is receiving very little revenue (mostly leases for parking).  It’s part of the next phase of development for the Town Center (aka Town Center 2) and although currently sited mid-block along Washington Avenue, the City’s plans include streets bordering two other sides of the three-acre lot (an extension of Maryland Avenue from Town Center and a new Dawson Street linking Washington and Hungerford).  JBG’s current conceptual plans include those streets as planned (although adjustments have been discussed to avoid awkward leftover parcels) and how their project might relate to the adjacent properties as Town Center 2 is developed.  Greenberg noted that adjacent properties are separate parcels owned by others, such as the Maxim supermarket and the fire station, some of whom are not interested in selling because they want to develop the property themselves.  Plans for relocating the fire station have died down, development of the Bank of America parcel have been scrapped due to the economy, but a Walgreen’s drug store is underway along Hungerford.

JBG considered various possible uses, including office, condo, and hotel, but in the current economic climate, the only ones that made sense were Continue reading →

Baltimore Road improvements planned

Baltimore Road project map on exhibit.

With about thirty other residents, I attended the public meeting on the “Baltimore Road Intermodal Access Project” at Glenview Mansion on Wednesday night, February 3.  The City of Rockville is studying the entire length of Baltimore Road from the Town Center through East Rockville and Twinbrook to the city limits at Rock Creek.

A bit of background

Emad Elshafei, chief of traffic and transportation, opened the meeting by stating that Baltimore Road was studied nearly ten years ago but wasn’t implemented due to lack of funds.  In 2006, the City received a federal appropriation of $4 million spread over a series of years for planning and implementation (and the City needs to provide a 20% match).  The City also expanded the scope of the project to consider the needs to pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as connect to the new Town Square.  Earlier this year, the City hired Rummel, Klepper and Kahl (RKK) to lead the study, documentation, and planning with the assistance of several city staff members.  RKK is based in Baltimore and their previous projects include the Wilson Bridge and the Downtown Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall.

First of three public meetings

This public meeting is one of three planned prior to construction in summer 2011–if funding supports the project costs.  RKK is conducting a survey of the entire route and this meeting was merely to Continue reading →