GAITHERSBURG — The City Council discussed and voted on development plans in the Kentlands, salary increases for the mayor and City Council members and amendments City policy at its meeting Monday night.
Saul Holding Limited Partnership presented its sketch plan for development in the Kentlands, which, while corresponding well with the vision for the master plan, left the Council members with some questions. The sketch plan presented at the meeting displayed a 12-acre plot of land which is set for multiple uses including both commercial and residential. The city council members expressed some reservations regarding the plan, including the wording of the plan as well as height limits of the buildings. Most notably the plan included the phrase “up to” when describing most of the developments, which concerned City Councilmembers who thus did not know exact specifications of what will be built. In the end, however, the City Councilmembers voted unanimously to support the sketch plan.
“It’s early, but the sketch plan conforms very closely to the master plan that was adopted and planned years ago by the city,” said Gaithersburg mayor Jud Ashman. “I think it’s got that going for it. I remain concerned about potential for large densities and its impact on schools and roads.”
Ashman also proposed a discussion of salary changes for the mayor and City Councilmembers. Ashman wanted the City Councilmembers to vote in favor of introducing the discussion at a public hearing on Aug. 21. The Council negotiates salary changes every four years.
Ashman noted a potential increase in the salary of the mayor, but was pushing more an increase in the salary for the City Councilmembers. Ashman said he believed the gap in between the salary of the mayor and the salary of the City Councilmembers was too great and wanted to change that.
Several council members said that they were uncomfortable discussing the matter. The Council members voted in favor of bringing the discussion to a public hearing by a 3-1 vote.
In addition, among many policy changes, the Council voted in favor of allowing bikers on the sidewalk, reversing previous legislation. This new provision would allow for bikers to have the same protection as pedestrians in a crosswalk. This change passed unanimously by a 4-0 vote.