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MAYOR AND COUNCIL
Meeting No. 45-99
December 20, 1999
The Mayor and Council met in Worksession on December 20, 1999, in the Mayor and Council Chambers, Rockville City Hall, 111 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland, at 7:43 p.m.
Mayor Rose G. Krasnow
Councilmember Robert E. Dorsey Councilmember Anne M. Robbins
Councilmember Glennon J. Harrison Councilmember Robert J. Wright
In attendance City Manager Mark Pentz, City Attorney Paul Glasgow, City Clerk Claire Funkhouser
Also in attendance: Deputy City Manager Julia Novak, Director of Community Planning and Development Services Kathleen Mitchell, Chief of Planning Bob Spalding, Planner III Jim Wasilak and Chief of Transportation Larry Marcus.
Re: Introductory Remarks and Discussion on Fallsgrove Process Issues
Mayor Rose Krasnow greeted everyone and said she hoped the citizens of Rockville were enjoying the holiday season. The Mayor reviewed the worksession topics for the evening, including a third session about the proposed Fallsgrove development at the Thomas Farm.
The Mayor and Council discussed the timing for “Discussions and Instructions”
(D and I) to staff regarding the proposed development at Fallsgrove. This had been scheduled tentatively for the General Session on December 27. After some discussion, the Mayor and Council decided there should be no meeting on December 27. Discussion and Instructions to staff would be held on January 10, 2000.
There was a suggestion that, because of the postponement, there should be an extension of the time for citizens and others to submit items for the public record. Upon motion by Councilmember Bob Dorsey, duly seconded by Councilmember Anne Robbins and unanimously passed, the Mayor and Council voted to extend the time for submission of written testimony regarding Fallsgrove until January 5, 2000, at 5:00 p.m.
Mayor Krasnow reviewed the process that the proposal for Fallsgrove had followed, including the numerous meetings to obtain public input. The Mayor stated that the public hearing date was postponed from August to October, partially in consideration of vacation schedules. The Mayor and Council had left the public record open for over a month to facilitate public input. She said that she felt that if anyone wanted to give input, this should be sufficient time to do so. The Mayor said the primary issue remains traffic with citizens expressing disbelief that the traffic impacts of proposed development could be mitigated.
Councilmember Robbins stated this was a complicated issue. She suggested that staff create a matrix to help the Mayor and Council analyze the data received from staff, developers and citizens that make up the public record.
Re: Discussion concerning CPD99-0004, Fallsgrove Associates-Transportation and senior housing associated with the Concept Plan for Comprehensive Planned Development (CPD) submitted to allow development on the former Thomas Farm, a 256 acre tract of land located generally in an area bounded by Darnestown Road, Shady Grove Road, and West Montgomery Avenue.
City Manager Mark Pentz introduced Bob Spalding, Chief of Planning. Mr. Spalding said the program for this part of the worksession would cover primarily two topics: traffic impact and senior housing on the Fallsgrove development. The first section focusing on traffic would include the following: current and projected traffic; regional growth patterns; a review of the concept plan; land use scenarios; the traffic impact of the different scenarios; conditions with projected mitigation measures; and transportation demand management.
After a short delay due to problems with the Powerpoint presentation, Chief of Transportation Larry Marcus proceeded to identify the locations used for the traffic study. Mr. Marcus described the current and projected traffic at various intersections at key times of day.
Mr. Spalding then reviewed the concept plan and highlighted the elements that made it acceptable to staff including:
· Lower residential development than originally proposed by the developer
· Lower density of office space than originally proposed in the Master Plan
· Inclusion of an elementary school site
· Inclusion of a community center
· A total of 34% of land area dedicated to the City
· On-site reforestation and afforestation
· Off site stormwater management
· Substantial package of traffic mitigation including $1.6 million dollars of road improvements and a multi-modal traffic center
Councilmember Harrison engaged Mr. Spalding in a brief discussion about the merits of the proposed concept plan versus the merits of a development that followed the existing master plan.
Jim Wasilak, Planner III, and Mr. Marcus explained the three land use scenarios that the Mayor and Council had requested and the associated traffic impact and plans for traffic mitigation, according to each one of the scenarios. Mr. Wasilak presented the ideas outlined in a letter from the Chair of the Senior Citizens Commission regarding their recommendations on senior housing.
There was discussion about remaining concerns of the Mayor and Council regarding the information that had been presented. Mayor Krasnow expressed a need for more information about the Level of Service (LOS) and cited the memo from Mr. Marcus about this issue. Mr. Harrison said there was not enough information, especially about traffic.
Mayor Krasnow stated that an area where the Mayor and Council need to give specific direction to staff was in the area of the mix of density of housing in the proposed development.
Councilmember Wright said he saw other many complex issues, including the issue of school boundaries. He felt he could support around the midpoint of development that had been discussed. He expressed pleasure about the amount of parks and public space anticipated in the proposal. He said that one of the issues, the truck traffic on Glenora Lane, would be an issue even if the development did not proceed.
Councilmember Robbins stated her ongoing concerns with the traffic issues. . She could not see what the merits of such a “mini-city” would be. She said she was especially concerned that the comments of citizens are seen in their full perspective and that is why she had suggested a matrix. Director of Community Planning and Development Services Kathleen Mitchell said that such a matrix could be provided once the time for public comment had concluded.
Mr. Harrison cited the 53 comments that had been received by the Mayor and Council so far. He stressed it is important for citizens to comment soon. Both Mr. Harrison and Ms. Krasnow expressed a desire for more information about traffic at the mid-point of development. There was a reminder of how to give written input via correspondence or e-mail to the Mayor and Council.
Two citizens, Helen Roberto and Randy Alton, spoke to the Mayor and Council about their opinions. Ms. Roberto said she had hoped to read the letter from the Senior Citizen Commission tonight. Mr. Alton said he would communicate the message about the need for input. He expressed his appreciation to the Mayor and Council about the dialog.
Outcomes / Next Steps:
Citizens were reminded once again to send their comments about Fallsgrove to the Mayor and Council before the public record closes on January 5, 2000.
Re: Master Plan Draft Work Plan
Because of the late hour, the Mayor and Council decided to postpone their discussion of
the Master Plan until after the New Year.
There being no further business, the worksession was adjourned at 10:59 p.m.