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SPEAK OUT: Gaithersburg and Rockville Officials, Residents Weigh In On Annexation

A collection of the best comments following Gaithersburg's unanimous approval of the annexation of Shady Grove Road's approximately 28 acre Sears property.

City officials and residents from Gaithersburg and Rockville alike have offered strong opinions regarding .

The decision follows a , shifting it from Research and Development (R&D), which prohibits retail, to Mixed Use District (MXD) zoning.

Prior to the vote,   that Gaithersburg officials were "preparing to wreak serious, unnecessary and perhaps permanent damage upon the relationship between their city and the City of Rockville."

Gaithersburg City Council member Cathy Drzyzgula replied directly to Moore in a prepared statement at Monday evening's mayor and council meeting, and both, as well as Gaithersburg's Ryan Spiegel, expressed interest in maintaining a strong working relationship with each other.

while Rockville did not express interest in the property for its own MGE until March of 2011.


"Let's forget the Gaithersburg event, as I would call it, and let's move on with what we'd like to do." Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said a short time after Moore announced in the Rockville council chamber that Gaithersburg had approved the Sears site annexation.

, Moore conceded Rockville needs to be more proactive in its future planning.

"If nothing else, this whole episode has demonstrated to me that Rockville does need to be proactive in where we want our city to go, and by 'we' I mean the Mayor and Council," Moore wrote. "Otherwise, over the long term, we're going to have our lunch eaten."

Others, including Rockville council member John Hall, agreed, but don't want this series of events to harm the cities' relationship.

“I don’t want us to be at war with Gaithersburg,” Hall said. “I’d like for us, after a time, to have as good communication, consultation. I’d like for us to get to work on a revised [memorandum of understanding].”

Patch users from Rockville and Gaithersburg also expressed their thoughts on the decision.

"I do not think there was anything amiss with this annexation, . "Mr. Spiegel's explanation strikes me as well-reasoned and not an attempt to "cling to [a] narrow definition of what is legal ... and ethical behavior."

"Instead, I find it dismaying that Rockville is perceived as so hostile to mixed use that the property owners had no interest in approaching our city. Good luck, Gaithersburg, I hope the project is mutually beneficial."

Gaithersburg's Tom Rowse was highly critical of his city's actions.

"This type of arrogant and poorly thought out conduct is par for the course from Gburg's 'leadership' and is what I have come to expect," . "Rockville should move to annex the former Gaithersburg West area and call it Rockville North. I'm sure that would get [Gaithersburg's] attention."

Another hoped this would not mark the start of Gaithersburg expanding in the Shady Grove area.

"Please leave Derwood and Mill Creek Towne alone as you sprawl toward Shady Grove Road," . "If I wanted to live in Gaithersburg, I would have bought a home there."


SPEAK OUT: How do you feel about Gaithersburg's annexation of the Sears property along Shady Grove Road? Will the decision affect the relationship between the two cities? Tell us in the comments.

Related Coverage of Sears Property Annexation:

(Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012)

(Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012)

(Monday, Aug. 6, 2012)

 (Monday, Aug. 6, 2012) [Blog post by Rockville city council member Tom Moore]

 (Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012)

 (July 31, 2012)

  (July 26, 2012)

 (June 7, 2012)

 (March 5, 2012)

Cathy Drzyzgula August 08, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Here is the full text from the 1992 MOU regarding the establishment of boundaries: The City Councils, the County Council, and the Executive agree to work cooperatively to determine logical urban growth areas and to establish boundaries which will serve as guidelines for a twenty-year planning horizon regarding: 1) Land use and required community facilities, 2) Capital investment responsibilities, and 3) Logical and efficient operating service areas. The full MOU can be found beginning on page 147 of this document: http://www.gaithersburgmd.gov/Documents/mc_bkd_12/080612/policy_a_x-184.pdf Cathy Drzyzgula
Piotr Gajewski August 08, 2012 at 09:51 PM
The property owner wanted to be annexed into Gaithersburg. Rockville leadership’s failure is not that they were not able to prevent the property owner, through force of law, from being annexed into Gaithersburg, but rather that the owner preferred Gaithersburg over Rockville in the first place. The present Council majority has taken numerous anti-business postures: just check out the plight of the Pumphrey Funeral Home (that was told by the current Mayor to “move”) or the Silverwood property developer (who survived the annexation of his property [just a block away from the Sears property] into Rockville by just one vote and was subsequently threatened with a law suit from a former Mayor). So long as Rockville elects a majority of members on the Council who show such attitude (and presently I count Mayor Marcuccio and Councilmembers Hall and Newton among those), we can expect business leaders, whenever possible, to look for more favorable solutions than locating in Rockville.
Jim Goheen August 09, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Pitor:I agree with everything you said. J.Hall talks about consensus & working together, but his actions belie his words! Reversing the Pumphrey zoning,pay raises instead of a bonus for the city employees,not supporting Perschalla & Moore on the financial advisory board & many other issues. Hall should be renamed Councilman NO!
Theresa Defino August 09, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Folks may also want to follow the discussions on the signs that FRIT and the business in Town Square need, part of the plan from the beginning, which the Planning Commission rejected. The owner of incoming Dawson's--supposedly the pride of some on the council--was literally begging for approval. It's not just some on the council acting this way--but, perhaps more dangerously, their appointees on the lower boards as well. The signal--message--is loud and clear.
Peter Mork August 09, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Piotr, you have accurately described the situation. Thanks.


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