The business-based Independents for Rockville organization retained its domination of the Rockville City Council yesterday when three of its candidates won seats on the four-member City Council.

Viola Hovsepian, 55, a long-time civic activist, was the only non-IFR candidate to be elected. Hovsepian, a member of the Alliance of Rockville Citizens, which is backed by several civic groups, received 2,044 votes. Incumbents Stephen Abrams, 38, and John Tyner, 44, both were reelected with 2,205 and 2,155 votes respectively. IFR newcomer Douglas Duncan, 26, received 1,873 votes.

John R. Freeland, 49, a four-term council member, ran unopposed for mayor. Freeland, an Air Force colonel, replaces Mayor William Hanna, who decided earlier this year not to seek reelection after four terms. Freeland, like Hanna, is a member of IFR.

The election of Hovsepian, only the second non-IFR candidate to win a council seat since 1974, along with newcomer Duncan, an account executive with the C&P Telephone Co., is not expected to change significantly the course the IFR has plotted for the much-debated development of the city's downtown district. In an unusually quiet campaign where the nine candidates appeared to agree on nearly every issue, all four who won election to the council campaigned on a platform of tying construction of the proposed $85 million Town Center to the redevelopment of the bankrupt and almost vacant Rockville Mall, a massive structure across from the county's new courthouse and executive office building.

In Gaithersburg, three incumbents were returned to their seats unopposed yesterday. Mayor Bruce A. Goldensohn, 39, and council member Sidney A. Katz, 32, each received 120 votes. Council member Gertrude (Dolly) M. Kildee, 46, received 108 votes.