Rockville officials want ideas for future of King Farm Farmstead -- Gazette.Net







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This article was corrected at 3:45 p.m. Oct. 17. An explanation follows the story.

Rockville’s mayor and council are looking into forming a task force to study potential uses for the King Farm Farmstead.

The historic farm house, two barns and several other outbuildings are on Grand Champion Drive, at the edge of the King Farm development. The mayor and council discussed forming a task force at their meeting Monday evening.

Christine Henry, acting director of recreation and parks, said before the meeting that the city has had the farmstead since the late 1990s. It was given to the city with certain restrictions.

A previous task force sent out a call for ideas about how to use the farmstead. Three nonprofit groups — Habitat for Humanity, Bikes for the World and Growing Soul — submitted proposals for using the property, but none of those moved ahead.

“We got three substantial proposals, and nothing has really happened,” Henry said.

A few organizations use portions of the facilities, Henry said.

Bikes for the World uses the space to refurbish bikes for donations. Some of the land is divided into about 40 community garden plots. The Maryland Central Model Railroad Club also has used some of the facilities in the past.

Over the summer, Councilmember Mark Pierzchala suggested revisiting the task force process and getting a plan together, Henry said.

“I’d really hate to see this historic resource further deteriorate,” Pierzchala said Monday.

The mayor and council are expected to discuss the task force further and take a formal vote on forming one at a future meeting.

Different decisions on proposed historic designations

The mayor and council also moved the process forward for one proposed historic designation while halting another.

They asked staff to prepare a formal resolution to designate as historic 628 Great Falls Road, owned by the Rockville, Maryland, Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Pierzchala and Councilmembers Bridget Donnell Newton and John F. Hall Jr. voted in favor of moving forward with the next step in the historic designation process. Councilmember Tom Moore voted against it.

Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio abstained from the vote.

A neighbor recommended the property for historic designation. The congregation has opposed designating its property as historic because it is seeking to expand on the property behind the house. It is worried the designation could block or severely limit its expansion plans.

A final vote is expected Oct. 28.

A closed-door executive session was scheduled before the meeting for the mayor and council to receive legal advice about the property, according to the agenda.

The mayor and council also stopped the historic designation process for the “pink bank” at 255 N. Washington St. The apartment development and management company Kettler wants to tear down the bank, possibly to build condominiums on the property.

The mayor and council voted against filing a sectional map amendment to change the zoning, which would have triggered further review of potential historic designation at the Planning Commission and mayor and council level, including two more public hearings.

Hall, Newton and Marcuccio voted against filing the amendment. Moore and Pierzchala voted in favor of filing it to continue the review process.

The historic designation review was required before Kettler could demolish the building, which was constructed in 1964.

Marcuccio, Hall to be recognized for service

Two more mayor and council meetings are scheduled ahead of the Nov. 5 election. They will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 and 28. During the Oct. 28 meeting, officials are scheduled to recognize Marcuccio and Hall, who are not running for re-election.

A reception for them is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Oct. 28 at City Hall. The public is invited to attend.

After the election, the new mayor and council are scheduled to meet again at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at City Hall. The inauguration is scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 17 at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, 603 Edmonston Drive.

This article previously included the wrong date and location for the inauguration. It also incorrectly stated who voted in favor of filing a sectional map amendment to continue review of the proposed historic designation for the “pink bank” building. Moore and Pierzchala voted in favor of filing the amendment to continue the review process; Hall, Newton and Marcuccio voted against it.