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Judge Throws Out Suit Against Kensington Middle School

by Aaron Kraut | April 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm | 587 views | 1 Comment

Rock Creek Hills Local Park, via Montgomery ParksUPDATED 1:35 p.m. on Friday A judge today threw out a lawsuit from nearby residents who hoped to block MCPS from reclaiming a local park and building a middle school on it.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Rubin ruled in favor of the school system, which wants to build a second middle school at Rock Creek Hills Local Park (3701 Saul Rd.) to accomodate overcrowding at Westland Middle School and the planned reassignment of Grade 6 students from Chevy Chase and North Chevy Chase Elementary Schools.

Members of the Save The Rock Creek Hills Park group and the surrounding Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association have sought to block the school and maintain the 13.4-acre park that the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) acquired from the Board of Education in 1990.

School opponents argued that the use of Program Open Space funds to improve the park was inconsistent with the reclamation terms of the transfer agreement under which the M-NCPPC took title to the property. The Planning Board also recommended against placing the school on the site of the park.

Rubin issued a declaratory judgment, stating “neither the deed or the transfer agreement violated federal or state law.  No statute has been violated.”

“This suit always struck me as incredibly frivolous,” said Rafe Petersen, a PTA Board member of Rosemary Hills Primary School with three kids in the school cluster. Petersen was also part of the original site selection committee. “A lot of us think it’s a little bit selfish of the people in that neighborhood. This after all is public land.”

MCPS is planning for the middle school to open in August 2017.

“This is really about our kids and any other further delays are only going to harm our children,” said Fritz Hirst, a cluster parent and another member of the site selection committee. “But I think all people of goodwill should realize that this school should move forward.”

John Robinson, president of the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association, said his group was disappointed by the decision and is considering an appeal.

Photo via Montgomery Parks

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  • Not from Rock Creek Hills …

    Wow. Comments by Rafe Peterson are really inappropriate. It’s one thing to say that the suit doesn’t have any merit. But completely inappropriate to call people “selfish”. Were the Rosemary Hills parents that worked to oppose the siting of the new middle school on the land at the Coffield center by the site selection committee also “selfish”? Were the Bethesda parents who organized to oppose use of the land at Lynnbrook also selfish? A community expressing its concerns about a governmental decision isn’t “selfish,” it’s engaging in “democracy”. That the Rock Creek Hills community chose to pursue this through the courts is only a reflection of what many felt was the inadequacy of the site selection process. I’m not from RCH, but it’s entirely their prerogative to pursue all available remedies. The site selection committee knew these questions about the use of the property during the site selection process and picked it anyway, thus the consequences of that choice and the subsequent delays were easily anticipated.

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