Wow, just when you think you know everything, the Planning Board comes along and screws around with your predictions! In my last several blogs discussing the ongoing middle school site selection, I hastily suggested that the Rock Creek Hills site was almost a done deal. This came on the heels of a strong recommendation from the Site Selection Advisory Committees and the Superintendent. How wrong I appear to have been:
Last night the Montgomery County Planning Board met for a mandatory review of the Superintendent’s recommendation to build the new middle school on the Rock Creek Hills site.
They voted 4 to 1, that while recognizing the right of reclaim on the Rock Creek Hills Park, that rather MCPS reconsider Lynbrook Park as the site for the new B-CC Middle School.
The Planning Board said this would provide a good outcome to both county agencies. MCPS would get their Middle School and Parks and Planning would keep their park (RCHP) with 2 full size soccer pitches in exchange for losing a lesser used park (!!! my exclamation points!) with one overlaid baseball/ soccer pitch.
Lynbrook was eliminated from consideration by the Site Selection Advisory Committee (SSAC) for many reasons including: inadequate acreage to build a middle school, inadequate street width for middle school buses and most importantly the fields at Lynbrook are used by B-CC High School for sports practices after school.
The Board of Education meets next Tuesday (April 17) beginning at 10am to consider and vote on the Superintendent’s report on the site selection for the Middle School. Please consider attending, sign up to give testimony (public testimony will run from 10:15-10:45am) or email your comments to the Board of Education.
I’m not sure where the planning board figures into the decision making process, or what weight their recommendation will have on the final outcome. I suspect they are merely trying to protect their park. My concern with the Lynbrook site, in addition to those already raised (plot size, traffic), center around East Bethesda’s ability to absorb two schools within its’ boundaries. It’s a lot to ask of any community. And do we really want a middle school so close to the high school? Shouldn’t the BOE reserve this site for a future elementary school, which will surely be needed down the road?
I am really disappointed that the planning board didn’t raise their objections sooner. At this stage in the game it reeks of desperation and opens a real can of worms. Stay tuned.