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Gaithersburg Unanimously Approves Sears Property Annexation

Council members unanimously supported the annexation of property along Shady Grove Road and spoke out against criticism from Rockville officials.

The Gaithersburg City Council unanimously approved a resolution to annex the 27.89-acre Sears property along Shady Grove Road in spite of harsh criticism from Rockville city officials.

Earlier Monday, that Gaithersburg officials were "preparing to wreak serious, unnecessary and perhaps permanent damage upon the relationship between their city and the City of Rockville."

and council member Jud Ashman said, "I think some of [Rockville's] interpretations of our process and the narrative history aren't correct."

Much of the debate over the annexation has centered on a 1992 memorandum of understanding between the two cities which, according to Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney A. Katz, expired on July 23, 2012.

Related Coverage of Sears Property Annexation:

 (Monday, Aug. 6, 2012) [Blog post by Rockville city council member Tom Moore]

 (Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012)

 (July 31, 2012)

  (July 26, 2012)

 (June 7, 2012)

 (March 5, 2012)

Brigitta Mullican August 07, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Listened to the Rockville City Council meeting tonight and the Council voted to stop the annexation knowing that Gaithersburg was planning to annex the property.
Sean R. Sedam August 07, 2012 at 03:16 AM
You're right, Brigitta. The Rockville City Council opted not to pursue its bid to annex part of Shady Grove Road. "Let's forget the Gaithersburg event, as I would call it," Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said, "and let's move on with what we'd like to do." It seems that the Rockville council's bid to annex portions of the roadway in order to establish a border between the cities was a bluff. On Monday, the Gaithersburg City Council called their bluff.
CP August 07, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Is Councilmember Moore the official spokesperson for Rockville? Did the rest of the council, including the Mayor, endorse Moore's tirade against Gaithersburg and their intent to annex the Sears property? His rhetoric was that of a bully, and not representative of what Rockville citizens expect from our elected body.
Chris August 07, 2012 at 03:07 PM
So is there a plan for what Gaithersburg will do with the property? After all it is right next to the transfer station. It is zoned industrial. Previously it was suggested that if the land were rezoned it would be worth more to Sears to sell. To who? For what? If Gaithersburg wants to be above board they should open their plan for the site. If it is progress the people will back it, if it is less than honorable it will be fought. Law is law, right is right, both is best.
Greg Cohen August 07, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Chris -- The Montgomery County Council last week approved a rezoning of the property to mixed use.
Bob Drzyzgula August 07, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Chris, it is more a question of what the property owner will do with the property. Gaithersburg isn't buying it, they are only incorporating it into the City limits. Sears has stated that they would like to continue a retail and warehouse use for the time being. The land use element of the City's master plan suggests that the City will "Adopt Commercial/Industrial-Research-Office land use designation, if annexed". One thing that seems certain is that the future use will not include residential as long as the transfer station is there; this will remain true even if Sears sells the property, as there is now a restrictive covenant to that effect.
Chris August 07, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I expected the rezone, the questions remains what gears are in motion. Why would Gaithersburg want to annex a property that is defunct? Sears closed it's store so it would seem they are not interested in operating retail in that location. There has to be a motivating factor for this change. We are talking about politicians, it is either money or power. Is Gaithersburg flexing political power or is there a financial gain to be made?
Vince Korsak August 07, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Chris, the problem is that Sears closed the entire Great Indoors chain, not just that location. The County gave them just a few months to set up another building materials store or lose the retail use altogether. Even the County realized this was stupid, but there was nothing they could do to fix the problem quickly. The annexation will allow sears to continue the retail use without the building materials restriction. There doesn't have to be anything to this beyond giving the property owner the flexibility to continue using the property in an economically productive manner.
CP August 07, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Tax revenue....small at first ($10K), but must have potential for more and also attract new businesses.
Chris August 07, 2012 at 06:05 PM
So it is about Gaithersburg doing for Sears what the county was not willing to do? Sounds like go as ask Dad after Mom said no. Wait, if there is tax revenue involved that makes is a proposition. Sounds like G-burg is looking to score some easy revenue then. That might explain the "straight law" talk out of the council. Why the need run for cover? If it is progress just say it, if it needs a veil there must be more to it.
Vince Korsak August 07, 2012 at 06:27 PM
No, it's more like getting dad to give you a ride to the swim meet because mom had to go to work that night. The County didn't say no so much as say there was nothing they could do. The County could have locked up the zoning for five years after annexation but they didn't. Watch the County PHED committee and Council sessions on the topic, they're online. I fail to see any "veil", i think the "law" comments out of the Council were more in response to Rockville claiming there was something improper going on.
Theresa Defino August 07, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Hey, CP, if you invested the time to actually read some news stories about this issue you would know that the Rockville mayor and council have been unanimously in their opposition to G-burg's annexation. Mr. Moore is giving voice to how they all feel and he represents us just fine, thank you.
Chris August 07, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I think there is something improper going on as the G-burg council is not saysing why they are doing this, merely that they can legally. Without the background of why a decision is made you lose the ability to judge the decisions that a lawmaker/politicians makes. Does what they suggest and accomplish bare fruit down the road. Without the what and why they are keeping the public in the dark. If there is anyplace for transparency it is local government.
Vince Korsak August 07, 2012 at 06:59 PM
But they did say why: Because Sears asked. Certainly the tax revenue makes it worth the effort in the long term, but why does it have to be more complicated than this?
Jim Burnetti August 07, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Please leave Derwood and Mill Creek Towne alone as you sprawl toward Shady Grove Road. If I wanted to live in Gaithersburg, I would have bought a home there.

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