ROCKVILLE –The mayor and City Council approved an amended 15 percent parking reduction for the second phase of the Duball Rockville development, citing concerns of parking shortages in the town center.
The second phase of the project, an 18-story building at 198 East Montgomery Ave., will have a total of 400 residential units and 22,000 square feet of retail. Duball, LLC had asked for a waiver for 25 percent of the parking from 470 residential spaces down to 353 spaces.
But the majority of the council felt the town center already had enough parking problems without granting the 25 percent reduction. Councilmember Beryl Feinberg proposed the 15 percent reduction as a compromise at the Nov. 17 meeting and proposed it again Monday as an official amendment.
With the 15 percent reduction, Duball will build about 400 residential spaces.
Councilmembers Tom Moore and Julie Palakovich Carr voted against the amendment. Moore said he supported granting the reduction because according to staff, 25 percent is a reduction that Rockville has often granted developers. He also said construction in the town center was causing a parking shortage and parking availability would rise when it was finished.
But Councilmember Virginia Onley, who said she lives near the Duball development, was not convinced.
“You’re saying this is not the best choice, but then you get to pull in your driveway on the West End and you have multiple – I mean I’ve been to your house, we’ve had 12 cars in your driveway,” she said to Moore. “I’m very serious about this. This is my neighborhood and I’m very concerned, as are my neighbors … I just think 15 is a better choice because of where it’s at.”
Mayor Bridget Newton also said the “standard” reduction of 25 percent may not be good enough.
“We’re hearing all over the city of places that don’t have enough parking. Victory Court is one that I heard about this past week,” she said. “Our parking reductions are not working in every instance and I think we need to be very careful.”
Those who opposed the parking reduction also voiced concern about overestimating the number of residents who would use mass transit, since the development is near the Rockville Metro station.
However, at the Nov. 17 meeting, Duball attorney Nancy Regelin said the study of parking demand did not assume high use of mass transit for commuters.
“The whole process of doing the parking demand study was not on the hypothesis that it was a transit-oriented area. In fact, we wanted to know who had cars and when they had the cars in the garage in their spaces and not because we know that D.C. and other metro locations are probably more transit-oriented than the city of Rockville is yet,” she said. “Our studies showed that we could take a 40 percent reduction in parking but that would have been exactly to the numbers that the study showed and so the 25 percent parking waiver was to give that shoulder a little bit more of…a relief valve.”
Regelin had also said Duball could use valet parking if demand proved too high, starting with first with commercial employees, followed by restaurant and then retail customers, with residents being the last to need to use valet.
Because Onley was the most vocal proponent of including the valet parking at the Nov. 17 meeting the option was included in the resolution for approval before the council. But after the council voted to making the parking reduction 15 percent, the mayor and council took out the provision on valet parking.
Although the 15 percent amendment only passed 3-2, the final resolution passed unanimously.