Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and the City Council unanimously approved a project plan on Monday for a 370-unit development at a car dealership site along Md. 355.
At least 58 of the units must be moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs), according to city code. Those units must be affordable according to formulas involving area median income. For instance, a family of four would qualify for living in one if their maximum income is $77,400.
David Levy, Rockville’s assistant director of planning and business improvement, said in an interview before Monday’s meeting that the city’s Planning Commission still needs to approve a site plan for the project before construction can begin.
That site plan will involve more specifics about the overall buildout, he said.
Levy said the type of housing in the development, its proximity to the Shady Grove Metro station and its overall alignment with Rockville 2040, the city’s long-term comprehensive plan, are all positive aspects. The mayor and council approved Rockville 2040 in August.
The type of multifamily housing that will be in this development has been in great demand in the region since at least the Great Recession, Levy said.
“It’s a transit-oriented location that offers a different variety of housing types than are typically found in Rockville,” Levy said of the project.
City staff members, elected officials and EYA, the project developer, made tweaks to the proposal before the unanimous vote Monday. That included a recommendation for up to 908 trees across the development, as long as the Planning Commission agrees to that in the upcoming site plan.
According to city staff documents, some residents were concerned about the potential traffic impact of 370 units on the immediate area. Levy said the city’s engineering staff is confident the local road network can handle the increase in housing.
Newton said after the vote that she believed it will be a great development for the city.
But she added that city officials should work with Pepco to put electrical wiring under Md. 355 as the project is built. It’s an issue that she said has existed since she and Council Member Mark Pierzchala were elected to the City Council in 2009.
Pierzchala and Council Member Monique Ashton also praised the project after the vote.
“It’s a great project. I know it’s been discussed for at least three to four to five years prior to now. And I’m glad to see it moving along,” Pierzchala said.
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