The Rockville City Council, bowing to concerns of residents of the North Farm neighborhood that a proposed office park development along Rte. I-270 could snarl residential traffic in the area, voted this week to hold its own public hearing on the proposal.

Public hearings on proposed developments normally are held only by the city's planning commission, which has tentatively scheduled a session for Nov. 20.

The commission is expected to make a recommendation to the mayor and council by Jan. 9, and the council has set a further hearing for Jan. 14.

At issue is a proposal by Westmont Associates to build up to 2.5 million square feet of office space on a 240-acre tract just south of the New Mark Commons neighborhood.

Dozens of North Farm residents told the City Council that development would particularly add to traffic at Montrose Road and Monroe Street, the main street leading to their neighborhood, which is southeast of the tract.

Residents also complained that the development would congest traffic along a proposed extension of Ritchie Parkway near the north end of the development.

The 240-acre site Westmont wants to build on is one of the last large parcels of undeveloped land left in Rockville.