A small group of people purporting to represent YOU want to impose additional building restrictions in our neighborhood.
A “Design Guidelines” initiative spearheaded by the West End Citizens Association (“WECA”) with the support of the City of Rockville is on a path to be approved next year. These Design Guidelines would create additional zoning/building restrictions specifically for property owners in the West End. As currently proposed, they limit not only the size of homes and additions, but also discrete style and design choices such as building material and number of peaks on a roof.
Several aspects of both the process used to create the restrictions, and the substance of them, are concerning:
1. Community members lack awareness and therefore have limited opportunity to learn about the plans and provide input.
2. The rationale for the increased restrictions is not defined or supported.
3. Not enough research has been done to determine what negative impact the restrictions could have on property values.
4. Not enough research has been done to determine if the proposed restrictions would solve the problems they purport to address.
1. Stop the process initiated by WECA and the city until we, the citizens of the West End, can make an informed decision on whether we want MORE restrictions on our properties.
2. Preserve the character of our neighborhood and maintain the individual freedoms and property rights that made our amazing neighborhood possible.
We are an ever-growing group of West End residents who are donating our time and energy to bring awareness of this issue to our fellow residents in the West End. A small group of dedicated volunteers have walked much of the West End in an effort to engage the community directly to let the people know that their voices are important. Learn how you can get involved below!
What are your thoughts/experiences/opinions on design restrictions in The West End? Let us know.
As a result of your efforts, the city has pushed their timeline! We must continue to give feedback and let all of our voices be heard. The city says they want to hear from you! Visit the Engage Rockville site to find out about their neighborhood restriction plans and give your opinion.
Sign up for our email list to stay up to date on the issues and progress.
If you live in the West End, you're a WECA member. Visit their site, attend their meetings, and let them know how you feel about the Design Restrictions.
Your donations are needed to help us organize and fight these restrictions.
We neither need nor want anymore restrictions on what we do with our property. Government in Maryland, MOCO and Rockville are already overbearing.
Rockville City already has a highly regulated process for remodeling homes and I feel WECA is trying to misrepresent what the majority of the West End Citizens want. WECA is not an HOA and shouldn’t act like one.
We need to preserve the current character of West End as a diverse neighborhood.
We certainly oppose any additional regulatory processes related to residential modifications or new builds. Agreed with comment - "WECA is not an HOA and shouldn't act like one".
It's not just the height restrictions that are problematic. The proposed design guidelines also:
1. Increase the side set back in most lots, including undersized lots
2. Eliminates the allowance of encroachments into the side setback for porches, steps, and stoops
3. Significantly reduces the allowed lot coverage
4. Requires attached garages to be stepped back from the front of the facade even though about 60% of the respondents to the survey said this design element was not very important
5. Requires corner house to have a side facade similar to the front facade
This list is just a few of the things I strongly object to
I am not in favor of any new restrictions.
I do not agree with the actions of this small group thinking they speak for the entire neighborhood to change things. The reason people move here is there is no homeowners association. We need to leave things just the way they are!
I’m curious about the psychology of the type of person that is constantly trying to regulate and manage the actions of others.
I completely support this petition. We do not need anymore restrictions
on what we can do with our own property.
I am opposed to adding more restrictions on our properties, especially without broad community input. We love the diversity of the homes in our neighborhood.
It’s not looking for the best interest of homeowners or new homebuyers
We live under too many useless unnecessary restrictions currently.
After living in my home for 54 years, I can assure you that all the new construction, additions and remodeling have only enhanced our neighborhood. Let’s not stop this process as we move forward.
WE MOVED TO THE WEST END TO GET OUT OF HOA RESTRICTIONS! What are you doing?
I really don’t like this!
I support maintaining the character of the West End, but oppose additional restrictions and "Design Guidelines" that don't include all perspectives.
Weca is complete overreaching and should not be speaking for the West End. Period
I already know of a potential lot purchaser who cancelled their contract with the lot owner due to the over restrictive zoning and guidelines which would adversely impact the building of their family dream home. The seller of the lot will not get nearly what they hoped with the pending restrictions. House values will decline if prospective buyers know the limitations to what they can renovate. This is government overreach on behalf of a few politically connected west end citizens. Let the west end citizens association vote to form their own HOA with architectural guidelines.
Less restrictions, not more! Have more faith and trust in folks to make good decisions with regard to the way they handle their property and that they will show respect for the rights of their fellow neighbors
WECA is really overstepping. This would benefit nobody and would hurt the property values and the diversity of the neighborhood.
I am against the City of Rockville overreaching and impeding the rights of property owners.
Sick of the Woke Liberals trying to tell us what's best for us? 45 years in the West End and 20 in Bethesda. I, done and moving to Worcester County on the water to Gods country.
Taxation without representation here. This needs to be on a ballot measure to be actual representation. Why isn't it? Who is making money off of this?
This proposal needs more context and exposure to us citizens that will be impacted by it.
No restrictions on our property!
These design guidelines are shortsighted, oppressive and exclusionary. The city of Rockville already has building restrictions in place. Further, a large portion of the West End already falls under historic district restrictions. Lastly, the volunteer WECA does not have the legal authority to impose their tastes and preferences upon the entire neighborhood. I am opposed to these "guidelines"
The many signs on our west end streets tell me - not all are in agreement. That’s not a bad thing. More information needed. No proposals should be made by WECA at all to the City Council.
It's already too hard to get anything done in Rockville. I can't even add a screen porch to the back of my house
We have an effective zoning code, leave it alone.
I made a donation too, let me know how I can help
Thank you to the gentleman who came by our home this evening. I had no idea this item was up for discussion and I had not heard of WECE before today. I do not agree with WECA’s plan to impose design restrictions on any member of this community. Happy to support plans to prevent this ridiculous action from passing.
I worry about the unintended negative economic impact this could have on our neighborhood. I believe we need more engagement from community members and better rationale/justification for these recommendations.
I'm not interested in living in an HOA. We actively rejected living in towns where the schools are great, but you cannot live as you like in your home. We like Rockville just the way it is, with diversity and modern buildings mixed with beautiful historic ones. I wouldn't want our area to restrict modern buildings to have the artificial aesthetic of historic buildings. In my experience, this leads to the destruction of more historical buildings.
As a vacant lot owner planning to build a house, I already feel the negative impacts that such restrictions will create if enacted.
Let owners build to their house what they need
I am opposed to adding more restrictions on our properties than the burdensome local codes already in place.
WECA should not have the authority to dictate what a homeowner can do with their property. I am not opposed to the establishment of West End building guidelines in the form of a "best practices" for homeowners, builders and architects to take into consideration, but there should not be any additional mandatory restrictions that go beyond existing codes or restrictions. Further, the "character" of the West End that WECA wants to maintain or protect, in my opinion, is founded in the individuality of the homes in our neighborhoods from ALL of the eras of the West End's existence, aesthetically pleasing or not. Making a checklist of what a homeowner can or cannot do with their property in our current era will only limit the character of the West End for generations to come. It's ironic to think that some of the West End homes WECA is seeking to preserve now may not have even existed if previous generations had instituted "guidelines" (read "restrictions") in an effort to prevent homes and improvements those residents may have deemed undesirable.
I support this petition.
I have a smaller home and looking to make changes in future without added restrictions on top of city building code
I am opposed to any restrictions that are not Rockville City Building codes as well as WECA taking any action on my behalf as I am the property owner and should have a vote, not some vague survey that 13% of West End replied to and most residents are completely unaware of this activity. This is an overreach by WECA and would be an action if taken by the Mayor and Council that is not supported by any significant portion of the West End community. Its a Quiet action of a taking of our property rights.
STOP TRYING TO TREAD ON MY FREEDOMS!!!
Thanks for organizing this!
We do need to be sure all residents are aware of any changes and voting on any guidelines should be a big part of it.
I am not in favor of this as a member of the community living on South Adams. We already have enough restrictions through city of Rockville and it's hard enough to deal with permits as is.
It's already burdensome to get through the requirements for building and renovating. We don't need more restrictions.
There are no incompatible homes! Our neighborhood is already diverse with Historic, Craftsman, Modern, and all types of homes each beautiful in their own right. Live and let live.
The proposed design standards seem highly subjective and overbearing. Many of us are not living in historic houses for a reason and shouldn’t be subjected to strict design regulations as if we were.
No restrictions without clear purpose and clear process. More information please!
Seems like the homeowners should get a say in this.
Love your neighbor. Don't crush them under further bureaucracy. The existing permitting/review process is already obscene.
There has been no economic impact study on the affect of the proposals on property value. Owners with modest/fixed income will be hurt the most.
Not convinced we need this
I love the diversity of the West End. Even the houses that might not be 'consistent' with the historical architecture.
As a resident of the Rockville community for many years ,I find the city invasive ,towards solid communities, with potential restrictions impacting their property rights. Stick to "other" governing issues such as police, schools, sanitation, crowded schools, etc. etc
For this sort of restriction to property owner's rights I would like to see strong justification. So far, I see only vague hypotheticals.
I agree with this petition. Not in favor of more restrictions on home modifications with so little involvement of the West End residents in the design of these guidelines. The West End with the current renovations made over the last 2 years ( without these restrictions ) looks great to me. The proposals are far in excess of typical building codes and are not wanted.
No New Restrictions! Thank you.
Vic and Karen
I believe that there hasn't been enough awareness and notification of the proposed changes. These changes need to be vetted more comprehensively before they are put into effect.
Some of the most active members of our community -- who serve as youth sports coaches, school volunteers, and PTA leaders -- live in homes that would be prohibited by these guidelines. New construction brings vibrancy and engaged residents to our neighborhood. We should not impose any restrictions until there is a real consensus around the change. Currently, there is not.
The existing restrictions on historic properties are onerous enough. We need to amend those and oppose these new restrictions.
This is not a pressing issue and best use of the City's time, energy, and resources. I would like to see the original "Survey" issued in May 2022 (if someone has a copy - that would be very helpful). Some of the design guidelines (regulations) would have prevented the construction of some of the legacy "historic" homes in the West End. This could inhibit future updates and upgrades to existing housing stock in need of attention.
This is clearly overreach by the Proponents of these regulations and also the City
Thank you to the coordinators of the Preserve the West End group for bringing this to our attention. I strongly disagree with WECA;s rationale for the restrictions.
We do not need more oversight from WECA. We already have the City of Rockville planning commission and the Historic District Commision. Why do we need another committee. Makes little sense
I applaud the efforts of my neighbors to be engaged and to raise our awareness to these important developments in our city. Thank you! Having said that, I think the guidelines on the City of Rockville site are reasonable, and similar to the existing zoning ordinance. In some cases they are less restrictive than existing standards. The intent is to preserve the character of the West End, which the draft design guidelines describe well. That is why I bought my house in this neighborhood 18 years ago – I bought the neighborhood as a place to raise my children, more than the house itself. The pamphlet that this group distributed to me some weeks ago indicated that my existing home would be somehow non-conforming, which isn’t true. I appreciate that you are clarifying that the guidelines only apply to new builds and additions or renovations to existing structures. The December 8 letter from the Mayor and Council was helpful, and I would encourage others to read it and comment on the links to the designs, if they haven’t already. Best, Lisa T.
The City and WECA have made clear that design guidelines do not cause existing homes to “become illegal”. Regarding the question asked by many about whether an existing house could be rebuilt as-is, in case it gets damaged or destroyed:
The design guidelines draft could simply include a standard that makes clear that existing homes can be rebuilt as-is if they are damaged by fire, etc.
In this way, design guidelines could help to provide a protection that I believe owners of existing homes do not have today under current zoning: to be able to rebuild in case of damage or destruction, according to the original design, even if zoning has changed in the interim.
- Margaret, West End
I can’t believe this is happening.
We do not want more restrictions in the west end.
We are a neighborhood and not in a petri dish.
Absolutely no more new (unnecessary) restrictions conjured up and approved by a handful of people - without consultation from the citizens of Rockville.
The proposed architectural standards are poorly articulated, and conflate an esthetic that apparently is favored by one group within the West End with traditional zoning requirements. This idea needs considerably more study and broad community involvement before the city government should even begin to consider modifying the zoning ordinance.
Preserve the West End
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