Pumphrey Funeral Home petitions for judicial review -- Gazette.Net



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The owner of a Rockville funeral home has filed for judicial review of a Rockville mayor and City Council decision that disallowed the funeral home from expanding off-street parking onto an adjacent lot.

William A. Pumphrey filed the petition June 6 on behalf of Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Home.

In 2010, Rockville’s then-mayor and council voted 3-2 to change zoning laws to allow the funeral home, at 300 W. Montgomery Ave., to add a 46-space parking lot.

But in 2012, the present mayor, Phyllis Marcuccio, and council voted 3-2 to reverse that change, thereby disallowing off-street parking.

The council reversed the decision because it didn’t agree with the decision of the previous council, some members of the council said.

In the petition for judicial review, Pumphrey claims the reversal was an unlawful reconsideration of a “quasi-judicial” decision.

“There was no new information, facts, evidence, or procedures that justified the city’s action to summarily reverse its prior decision,” the petition states.

Pumphrey spent nearly $10,000 on application filing fees required by the city prior to the reversal, according to the petition.

Pumphrey also hired a civil engineering firm to conduct property surveys and complete soil tests.

Those opposed to the parking lot say the funeral home is a non-conforming use, meaning the funeral home was lawful at its location when it was established, but no longer meets zoning requirements.

Non-conforming uses cannot be expanded, altered or enlarged, according to Rockville City Code.

The initial text amendment allowed for the expansion of the non-conforming use.

The funeral home moved to West Montgomery Avenue in 1930, after functioning in Rockville since 1854. The Pumphrey family purchased an adjacent lot in 1961, a parcel that consists mostly of open lawn.

Soo Lee-Cho, an attorney with Miller, Miller & Canby, which is representing Pumphrey, declined to comment.

Rockville officials said they were not prepared to comment on the case as of Tuesday afternoon.