Judge clears way for middle school on Kensington park site -- Gazette.Net


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A Montgomery County judge yesterday dismissed a complaint brought by a Kensington civic group hoping to prevent a school from being built on the site of Rock Creek Hills Local Park.

“Obviously, as the plaintiffs, we’re disappointed, and we believe the judge’s ruling was erroneous, but that’s where it stands,” said John Robinson, president of the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association.

Robinson said the group has not yet decided whether it will appeal the ruling.

“We’re considering it, but no decision has been made,” he said.

In August, the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association filed a complaint in circuit court, arguing that converting the park to non-park use would violate state and federal law, according to the Save Rock Creek Hills Park website.

Montgomery County Schools spokesman Dana Tofig said the middle school, which will be part of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster, is still on schedule and expected to be finished by August 2017.

“The ruling will allow us to move forward to provide a much-needed school in the B-CC cluster, and we look forward to working with the community on that,” Tofig said.

The debate over building a middle school in the Kensington park has been going on for the past two years. The Montgomery County school board proposed building a middle school at the current site of Rock Creek Hills Local Park, 3701 Saul Road, after abandoning a plan to build the school on another park site in Silver Spring following objections from nearby residents,The Gazette reported in April 2011.

The Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association opposed building a school on the park site, and in November 2011, the school board voted to restart the school site selection process due to the controversy.

In February 2012, a committee of residents and parks and schools officials again recommended Rock Creek Hills Local Park for the school site.

The school board voted unanimously in April 2012 to use the park as the site for a new middle school despite a request from the Planning Board to consider the former Lynnbrook Elementary School site instead. School officials said that site was not large enough for a middle school, The Gazette reported at the time.

ewaibel@gazette.net