The Rockville City Council this week killed a bill that would have required real estate agents to specify in home sales contracts the schools that serve the neighborhoods.
The bill, defeated 4 to 1, was strongly opposed by the real estate industry. Realty agents argued that it was difficult to be accurate about school districts because boundaries are often redrawn to adjust for changing pupil populations.
They contended that where school districts are later changed, Realtors could be sued for having supplied misleading information for contracts.
Buyers "are going to hold me liable for saying their children are supposed to go to that school, and if the boundary is changed, they could sue me for noncompliance of the contract," argued Realtor Jack Hewitt.
Council member Peter R. Hartogensis strongly opposed the bill, saying that identifying school districts in contracts "implies that some schools are better than others."
But council member Stephen N. Abrams, the bill's sponsor -- who cast the only supporting vote -- disagreed. He said that the purpose behind the bill was to "remove any doubt . . . and to provide consumers with more information than they otherwise would have."
Realtors, however, said that home buyers are routinely given copies of area master plans that identify school districts.
Abrams introduced the measure after city officials received complaints from residents of the Orchard Ridge subdivision off Ritchie Parkway who said sales agents for Winchester Homes, the subdivision developers, misinformed them about the schools that their children would attend.
In other action Monday, the council unanimously adopted a zoning amendment that reduces by a third the maximum commercial development allowed along congested Rockville Pike.
The reduction along the 1 1/2-mile stretch between Twinbrook Parkway and Veirs Mill Road is in response to forecasts of increased commercial development and traffic along the six-lane corridor in the next decade.