Through advocacy, Montgomery Preservation has saved historic buildings and properties, hosted preservation conferences, established a fund for preservation research, and supported other local preservation groups.
Background on Gaithersburg Rezoning and Development Plan(continued from the home page) In January, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that the City of Gaithersburg violated its zoning law when it rezoned three parcels from a residential to a commercial zone. The Court also overturned a related site plan that proposed more than 20,000 square feet of office space and a 116-space surface parking lot on what is locally known as the Wilson properties at the intersection of South Frederick and DeSellum Avenues. The development significantly impacted adjoining historically significant buildings and the Observatory Heights neighborhood. In late March, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals denied a request from the City and Dr. Wilson that the Court reconsider its January decision.
|Dr. Lee Davis Lodge House|
(Dr. Wilson Dental Office)
|The Sterick Cottage|
15 DeSellum Ave.
MPI's attorney, Michele Rosenfeld, said that the Court's decision to honor the City's zoning code is significant. "The City argued that this rezoning should be upheld because it had applied the law the same way in the past. Past violations do not justify ongoing violations. Residential neighborhoods throughout Gaithersburg benefit from this ruling, thanks to MPI's commitment to this case."
Read the Gazette article on the rezoning attempt.
Read the County's Executive Recommendation
A Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) historical easement prohibits MPI from altering or changing the B&O Station property or structures without approval from MHT. DOT knew of this in 2005, and knew that MHT had problems with the design and wanted alternatives, yet did not pursue MHT approval. We were as startled as everyone else that the County Executive Leggett recommended an interim at-grade crossing and removed CIP funding from the project. MPI was assured that this was a fiscal decision and eventually the problem would have to be resolved and the trail completed. However, this does give MPI and DOT the time it needs to deal with the implementation and approval issues with the Maryland Historical Trust. We recommend at least the restoration of funds for planning and consultation with stakeholders to the budget so it can move forward during this period.
Uncle Tom's Cabin
You may have read an article in the Washington Post recently alleging misuse of County funds in purchasing the Riley Farm/Josiah Henson Special Park, aka "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Nothing could be further from the truth. The article expressed opinions that the Riley/Henson site and the funds spent to research and plan the site were wasted because it is not "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Here's the real story.
The Knapp AmendmentIn February 2009, then-Montgomery County Councilmember Michael Knapp introduced a proposal that would have severely weakened the historic preservation law that for 30 years has protected historic places in our County. A public hearing in March 2009 and subsequent letters and emails submitted for the hearing record yielded overwhelming opposition to this proposal; the count was 440 opposed to the Knapp Amendment, with only 16 in favor. Opposition came from public officials; preservation organizations at state, national, and county levels; organizations and municipalities from all corners of Montgomery County; and hundreds of County residents, farmers, business owners, and preservation professionals.
The County Councilís Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee held a work session on Knappís proposal on June 8, and on July 23, 2009, Councilman Knapp held an invitation-only meeting where attendees raised issues of concern. The consensus was that emphasis should be placed on education — of the public, property owners, County Council, and Planning Board — and that communication related to historic designation should be dramatically improved. MPI agreed to assist in this effort.
Where is Mr. Knappís proposal now? Because the Council did not vote on the Knapp amendment within 18 months of its introduction, the proposed legislation expired.