The suits, appeals of decisions made by the Rockville City Council last month, were filed by members of the New Mark Commons Homeowners Association and the Hungerford-Stoneridge Swim Club. The organizations contend that the land-use plan and rezone for the 200-acre property were approved illegally by the council.
"The neighborhood planning process, according to the city's definition, is supposed to reaffirm the master plan. It's not there to make major changes to it," said Sima R. Osdoby, one of the plaintiffs.
Osdoby said the council had approved the site's new mixed-use zoning designation despite a recommendation in the existing area master plan that the land be used for housing. The council amended the master plan when it approved the industrial office park.
City council members refused this week to comment on the suits.
"I don't think it's appropriate for any of us to talk while we're engaged in litigation," member Stephen N. Abrams said.
The plaintiffs also charged Rockville Planning Commission Chairman Leah K. Barnett with a conflict of interest for participating in decisions on the development.
During the nine-month planning process, Barnett served as president of the Rockville Chamber of Commerce, which had publicly stated its support for the development.
"Under such circumstances it would be difficult, at least, for the chairman of the committee to be impartial and unbiased and without preformed opinions," the plaintiffs charged in court documents.
Barnett was out of town earlier this week and was not available for comment.
The council's action last month cleared the way for the developers, Westmont Associates, to build up to 2.1 million square feet in offices. Westmont expects to develop the property, which parallels I-270 from Montrose Road to New Mark Commons, over 10 to 15 years.
The land-use plan approved earlier by the council requires Westmont to set aside nearly 20 acres for the construction of about 100 housing units and to devote about 13 acres for a storm-water retention and recreational lake. COMING UP: Chevy Chase, Section 3 Village Council, annual town meeting, village council elections, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Chevy Chase United Methodist Church, 7001 Connecticut Ave.
Chevy Chase Village Town Council, 8 p.m. Monday, Village Hall, 5906 Connecticut Ave.
Garrett Park Town Council, 8 p.m. Monday, Town Hall, 10814 Kenilworth Ave.
Glen Echo Town Council, 8 p.m. Monday, Town Hall, 6106 Harvard Ave.
North Chevy Chase Village Council, 8 p.m. Tuesday, North Chevy Chase Christian Church, 8814 Kensington Pkwy.
Rockville City Council, 8 p.m. Monday, City Hall, Maryland Avenue at Vinson Street. -- Carlos Moncada