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ROCKVILLE — The Rockville City Council voted Monday to delay its discussion and vote on the much-debated issue of school overcrowding.
The debate centers on the city’s Adequate Public Facilities Standards policy, which places a moratorium on development in the city once a nearby school reaches 120 percent capacity. Councilmember Mark Pierzchala has argued to raise the limit, which they say would permit more development in the city, while the moratorium could mean a loss in revenue.
With a discussion and possible vote initially scheduled for the evening, the council voted 3-1 on Jan. 28 to move the item to Feb. 4 to allow for more “staff input,” as described by Councilmember Beryl Feinberg. Feinberg voted alongside Councilmembers Pierzchala and Virginia Onley to reschedule the discussion. Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton cast the lone vote against the motion.
Pierzchala reiterated his stance by stating that school capacity is a county-wide issue and that those concerned should take their advocacy efforts to the county government and Board of Education.
“I think you [‘ve] really got to look at how the money works when it comes to school construction,” he said during the meeting. “If you can allow development that actually pays more to the county in impact tax than it would take to build classrooms for those students, that’s a positive.”
The city council will consider four potential options, as outlined by Chief of Planning Jim Wasilak. They include no change to the APFS, increasing capacity above 120 percent in certain areas, providing exemptions based on conditions and providing a waiver based on specific criteria.
A waiver option would allow development to move forward based on the mayor and council’s discussion of the amendments which is set for Feb. 4.