Residents concerned about growth of organizations in Rockville neighborhood -- Gazette.Net


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Some Rockville residents say too many businesses and organizations are expanding in their residential neighborhoods.

The West End Citizens Association is circulating a petition opposing plans by the Rockville, Maryland, Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses to expand its facilities on Great Falls Road. The association has voted to oppose the expansion over concerns about the number of institutions in the primarily residential neighborhood.

As of Tuesday, the petition had 74 signatures.

Supporters of the petition said it is not about opposing a particular group, but rather about concerns that institutions in the area are expanding and bringing too much traffic to a residential area.

“They’ve been good neighbors, but expansion like this is going to change the whole dynamic,” said Jim Coyle, president of the Rose Hill Falls Homeowners Association.

An attorney for the congregation was not immediately available for comment.

Coyle said other organizations and businesses in the area, such as a Masonic temple and Julius West Middle School, also have been attracting more traffic lately, and he doesn’t want to see more institutions expand in the neighborhood.

While WECA’s petition specifically mentions the proposed Kingdom Hall expansion, Noreen Bryan, president of the association, said the issue is larger than one group.

“We’re concerned about institutions in general in the West End,” she said, adding that older neighborhoods often have fewer zoning restrictions than newer, planned communities like King Farm.

The association is tracking other applications for institutions in the area, including one to expand enrollment at an in-home day care, although Bryan said WECA does not yet have enough information to take a position on that application.

The association eventually plans to submit the petition to Rockville officials.

ewaibel@gazette.net