A Washington builder has stunned and angered Rockville lawmakers and citizen by suddenly withdrawing a compromise plan to build on the last three undeveloped parcels of land in Rockshire, a community of single-family homes and townhouse in Rockville.
For three years, citizens and city officials attempted to reach a compromise with Community Associates of Washington, owners of the only underdeveloped land in the Rockshire Village Center.
The compromise plan, which was to have been accepted by the Rockville City Council at Monday's meeting would have permitted the developer to construct a 120-unit high-rise on two adjoining parcels of land in the village center. A third but smaller parcel was to have been developed as a tennis court or playground adjacent to the existing community pool. The compromise was reached in early March, according to a Rockshire civic leader.
Citizens attending Monday's meeting appeared outraged when Rockville Mayor William E. Hanna Jr. announced that Community Associates had withdrawn its request for aproval of the development plan, adding that no further consideration would be given to development of the land as outlined in 1966 when construction at Rockshire began.
At that time, the orginial Rockshire developer, the Yeonas Company of Rockville, was given the go ahead to include construction of a high-rise in exchange for dedicating 54 acres of land to the community for use as park land. e
But as Rockshire grew, the idea of a high-rise was "shifted around" until it was placed in the town's center, said Keith A. Rosenberg, attorney for the homeowners.The three downtown sites remained vacant for so long, city staff said, because the county decided only late last year -- much to the chagrin of residents -- that Rockshire was not a suitable site for a county library. The library site then became available for over development.
According to David E. Betts, attorney for the developer, construction of housing for the elderly on the site is now under consideration and federal funds for the project are being sought.
Harriet Plesh, president of the Rockshire Homeowners Association, said the community does not object to a high-rise but in concerned about the fact that the land has remained vacant for so long -- "and we still have no assurance as to what will be developed there."