It appears that, just one day after the election, the Montgomery County state delegation has submitted a bill sure to raise hackles here in Our Fair City of Rockville.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Rich Madaleno but listed as being authored by the full County delegation, would make Montgomery County the only jurisdiction with authority to issue permits and enforce codes when it comes to building or remodeling school buildings, including the placement of so-called “portables,” or temporary classrooms.
The Parents Coalition of Montgomery County reports that this bill and another bill (an also-sure-to-be-controversial bill allowing MCPS to charge bus fees) were announced in a November 3 email in an email from Sara Hartman on behalf of the delegation.
The bill appears aimed directly at the City of Rockville, as the City recently got into a dispute with the District over the placement of two new “portables” at College Gardens Elementary School. The Planning Commission had denied the District’s application because the portables did not comply with the City’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. The District went ahead and began using the modular units anyway. It is within the rights of the district to do so (just as the State is not obligated by law to follow Rockville zoning requirements). However, the move has created some consternation, especially after a strongly worded letter to the City by superintendent Jerry Weast that has some Councilmembers and the Mayor a little cranky.
According to the annotations of the bill, it appears that it was in the works at least as early as October 27. (The same day MCPS announced it would look at building a new elementary school.) However, it apparently was not announced generally until the day after the election.
There is a hearing scheduled on this bill on December 6 in the County Council Office Building right here in town.