The city of Gaithersburgâ€™s possible plans to annex an approximately 28-acre parcel of land on the south side of Shady Grove road is running into opposition from the city of Rockville.
Rockville officials claim Shady Grove Road is the most logical dividing line between the two cities, and the annexation would violate that boundary.
Linowes and Blocher, on behalf of Sears and Roebuck Co., recently petitioned Gaithersburg to annex the land from Montgomery County.
Sears wants to repurpose the property that has been known as The Great Indoors. As part of the annexation, Sears is requesting that the city agree to rebate municipal taxes payable from the Sears Property for a period of five years. This amounts to approximately $37,500 a year for a total of $187,500.
In a Jan. 12 letter accompanying the annexation application, representatives from Linowes and Blocher state that in 2006, Montgomery County comprehensively rezoned the property to Research and Development. That designation normally does not permit retail use, the letter said, although The Great Indoors was â€śgrandfatheredâ€ť as part of the rezoning.
Now that the store is closed, Sears is looking to achieve â€śmore flexible and realistic zoningâ€ť through the proposed annexation by Gaithersburg, the letter said.
But that proposal has led to a dispute because the property lies just south of Gaithersburg and arguably is within the limits of both Gaithersburg and Rockville.
Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz declined to comment on the matter because the public record does not close until July 5. A policy discussion is anticipated on Aug. 6.
However, Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio has repeatedly expressed her opposition to the plan. In a June 5 letter to Roger Berliner, president of the Montgomery County Council, she said Rockville â€śstrenuouslyâ€ť opposes the annexation because the land is properly located with Rockvilleâ€™s maximum expansion limits.
â€śShady Grove Road is the logical long-term boundary between Rockville and Gaithersburg,â€ť Marcuccio said in the letter. â€śAccordingly, Rockville opposes any proposed annexation by another municipality on the Rockville side of Shady Grove Road.â€ť
To help preserve the â€ślong-term excellent relationship between the two cities and Montgomery County,â€ť Marcuccio suggested the three parties convene a working group to discuss the matter and perhaps update a 1992 memorandum of understanding that was developed as guidance for annexations.
â€śIt is clear that, as our cities are in such close proximity to each other, we must engage further and with greater frequency on this topic in order to establish a renewed and mutually satisfactory understanding,â€ť Marcuccio said. â€śWe request that the County Council support Rockvilleâ€™s effort to firmly establish the boundary between the two cities as Shady Grove Road.â€ť