The Rockville City Council this week approved a controversial request by the Marriott Corp. to rezone land at Shady Grove Road and Research Boulevard for a 148-room motel.

The corporation asked to have zoning for the five-acre property changed from light industrial to industrial park, where motels are permitted as special exceptions.

Marriott still needs approval for its special exception request from the city's board of appeals, which is expected to decide on the proposal next month.

At that time, the board is expected to rule on Marriott's request for several variances that would allow parking spaces within 20 feet of abutting roads, instead of the normally required 50 feet.

Marriott's plans for its "Courtyard" motel, which would be surrounded by a landscaped courtyard, have been opposed by two local competitors, Days Inn and Sheraton Potomac, on the grounds that the rezoning, special exception and accompanying variances would amount to "spot zoning."

But city officials said that most of the surrounding property has been rezoned from light industrial to industrial park during the past decade.

In other Rockville news, the 111-year-old Dawson family farmhouse, Copperstone Court, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, city officials said.

Peerless Rockville, a preservation group, applied last year to have the farmhouse placed on the register, a listing of historic properties recognized by the federal government as worthy of preservation.

The farmhouse, the former home of a family that settled in the county in the 1700s, was renovated last year after Peerless Rockville secured a $30,000 loan from the city. The loan was paid back several months after the renovation was completed.