Any member of the community may address the Mayor and Council for 3 minutes during Community Forum. Unless otherwise indicated, Community Forum is
included on the agenda for every regular Mayor and Council meeting, generally between 7:00 and 7:30 pm. Call the City Clerk/Director of Council Operation's Office at 240-314-8280 to sign up to speak in advance or sign up in the Mayor and Council Chamber the night of the meeting.
6. Mayor and Council's Response to Community Forum
8:40 PM 11. Discussion, Instructions, Possible Introduction and Possible Adoption of an Ordinance to Amend Chapter 16 of the Rockville City Code
Entitled Public Ethics So as to Amend, Delete, and Add Definitions; and to Amend the Purpose and Policy, Administration, and Enforcement Sections Contained in Article I; Amend the Conflicts of Interest Provisions in Article II; Amend the Financial Disclosure Provisions in Article III; Amend the Lobbying Provisions in Article IV; and Add a New Article VI Entitled Whistleblower Protection.
9:10 PM 12. Presentation and Introduction of Ordinance to Repeal in Its Entirety and Re- Enact Chapter 21 of the Rockville City Code Entitled Streets
and Public Improvements, So as to Amend the Title to Include Roads and Rights-Of- Way; to Reorganize the Code to Improve Readability; to Clarify that the Chapter Applies to City-Owned Water, Sewer and Stormwater Management Facilities; to Revise and Clarify Certain Administrative Provisions; to Add and Amend Definitions; to Clarify Standards and Specification for Public Improvements; to Reorganize and Clarify the Provisions for Permits and Construction of Roads, Public Improvements in the City Right-Of-Way; to Clarify Enforcement Provisions; and to Add an Appeals Process.
9:30 PM 13. Presentation and Introduction of Ordinance to Repeal in Its Entirety and Re- Enact Chapter 24 of the Rockville City Code Entitled Water,
Sewers and Sewage Disposal So as to Revise the Title to Water, Sewers and Wastewater Disposal; to Include New Administrative Sections; to Comply with Federal and State Provisions; to Provide for Proper Maintenance of Private Water and Sewer Facilities; to Amend Requirements for Water Restrictions and Droughts; to Revise and Establish Requirements and Standards for Water and Sewer Authorization to Connect to City Water and Sewer Systems; to Establish Monetary Credit Towards Capital Contribution Charges When a Developer Constructs an Off-Site City Water or Sewer Improvement; and to Generally Reorganize and Revise the Chapter.
Discussion At its October 29, 2018 worksession, the Mayor and Council considered possible changes to regulations for accessory buildings, accessory
apartments, and accessory dwelling units. Following discussion, the Mayor and Council directed staff to develop proposed changes that would provide more opportunities for accessory apartments and separate accessory dwelling units on existing single-family lots. In addition, the Mayor and Council wanted to consider more flexibility in the size of accessory buildings (i.e., garages) for single family homes based upon public feedback. This text amendment is intended to address residential accessory buildings in the residential zones and properties in both the MXT and Historic District zones. A companion agenda item for April 8th addresses changes to regulations for accessory apartments and accessory dwelling units.
The direction given regarding accessory buildings was to allow additional flexibility in the size of the buildings, particularly regarding the 500
square foot maximum floor area, which many homeowners consider to be too restrictive.
Background The regulations for accessory buildings in residential zones are found in Sec. 25.09.03 of the Zoning Ordinance. For residential accessory
buildings in the residential zones (R-40, R-60, R-75, R-90, R-150, R-200, R-400 zones), the code specifies that accessory buildings must be in the rear yard, are limited to one story and 12 feet in height (measured to the roof peak from the grade
in front of the building), and have a minimum setback from property lines of three feet. The code also includes standards for maximum rear yard
building coverage based on the zone of the property (15 for the R-150, R-200 and R-400 zones; 25 for all others), as well as additional setback requirements for structures that exceed the 12-foot height limitation up to the maximum of 15 feet (an additional three feet in setback for each additional foot in height).
The regulation of accessory buildings began with the standards in the 1957 Zoning Ordinance. Accessory buildings were limited to 15 feet in height
with a two-foot minimum setback from a lot line and could only be located in the rear yard. The maximum rear yard coverage was limited to 25 in all the residential zones. Within these parameters, the floor area of an accessory building was limited to 10 percent of the actual lot area.
In 1988, the code was revised to limit accessory building floor area to 10 percent of the minimum area of the zone. This meant that, in the R-60
Zone, the total amount of accessory building floor area was limited to 600 square feet, as the minimum lot area is 6,000 square feet.
In 2005, the code was revised to further limit the size of accessory buildings by adding a percentage limitation related to the zone of the property.
The limit was still tied to the minimum lot area of the zone, but with 10 percent allowed in the R-40 and R-60 zones, 9 percent in the R-75 Zone, and 8 percent in the R-90 Zones. The larger lot zones remained at 10 percent of the minimum lot area in the zone.
The 2005 revision also included a change to the height provisions. Buildings taller than 12 feet had to be set back two feet for each additional foot
of height up to the limit of 15 feet, measured to the mid-point of the gable. The amendment also included a grandfather provision allowing accessory buildings installed under previous standards to be conforming, allowing them to be repaired or replaced per the standards in effect at the time they were built.
When the comprehensive revisions to the Zoning Ordinance were adopted in 2008, further limitations were imposed on accessory buildings. The
percentages of floor area to minimum lot area were retained, but the regulations related to height were substantially changed. Height is now measured to the peak of the roof, rather than the gable mid-point. Height at the minimum setback of 3 feet was limited to 12 feet to the peak, with an additional 3 feet of setback for each additional foot of height up to 15 feet. Also, any one accessory building was limited to 500 square feet of gross floor area, and buildings are limited to one story.
Staff has reviewed the accessory building standards in adjacent jurisdictions, including Montgomery County, the City of Gaithersburg, and the
District of Columbia (see chart) in order to compare the standards for accessory buildings with the standards for Rockville. The accessory building standards in these jurisdictions are not as restrictive as the current standards in Rockville, particularly regarding height and floor area.
Must be subordinate to and secondary in size to main building
Rear yard 5 5 20 to mid-point of roof.
If height is greater than 15 , setback must be increased by 2
for each additional foot of
50 of footprint of main building
or 600 sq. ft., whichever is
If a wall exceeds 24 long, setback must be increased by 2 for each added 2 .
Gaithersburg Rear yard Less than 144 sq. ft., 3 setback.
Greater than 144 sq. ft., 10
Less than 144 sq. ft., 3 setback.
Greater than 144 sq. ft., 10
15 50 of main building footprint
Accessory garages must be set back 10 from lot line. May be connected to main house with a breezeway. Limited to 50 of main house footprint or 576
sq. ft., whichever is greater. Height limited to 15 .
Since the adoption of the Zoning Ordinance, staff have received complaints about the maximum floor area limitation of a single building being only
large enough to construct a small two-car garage. Four variances have been applied for over the years to exceed this limitation. Staff has also received concerns from property owners about the limits on the heights of accessory buildings.
Recommendations Staff proposes that the maximum floor area and building height limitations be changed to allow for larger accessory buildings than is
currently permitted, while also retaining neighborhood character. The changes described below and included in the proposed text amendment are intended to provide more flexibility to homeowners who wish to construct an accessory building (typically garages), by simplifying the calculations required and making compliance and administration of the standards easier for residents, contractors and staff.
A summary of the proposed changes are listed and further described in Attachment A:
Change the area measurement standard from gross floor area to building footprint, which staff believes is a more accurate indication of building
size, and is an easier standard to administer.
Packet Pg. 6
Continue to base the cumulative building footprint of all accessory buildings on the minimum lot area of the zone, with some adjustments. The
footprint would be limited to 10 percent of the minimum lot area in the R-40 and R-60 zones (600 square feet), 9 percent in the R-75 Zone (675 square feet), 8 percent in the R-90 Zone (720 square feet) and 6 percent in the R-150 Zone (900 square feet). The R-200 and R-400 zones would have a maximum of 1,000 square feet, given the minimum lot area of 20,000 and 40,000 square feet, respectively.
Retain the overall lot coverage limitation for all structures in each zone, but eliminate the rear yard lot coverage limitation. This latter
calculation can be complex, and must be done by the applicant and checked by staff.
Staff finds that there are several options to address the height of accessory buildings. These include:
Retain the current requirement of a maximum of 12 feet measured from existing grade to the roof peak, with a setback of three feet, with the maximum
height increased to 15 feet, with an additional three feet of setback for every additional foot in height;
Increase the maximum height limitation from 12 feet measured at the peak of the roof to 15 feet measured at the gable mid-point, similar to
Gaithersburg s current and Rockville s 2005 regulations. To limit the impact on adjacent properties, the accessory building would be set back an additional two feet for each additional foot in height between 12 feet and 15 feet, measured at the gable mid-point.
Increase the maximum height limitation from 12 feet measured at the peak of the roof to 20 feet measured at the gable mid-point, to match Montgomery
County s regulations. This would allow for the construction of a second story on an accessory building. To limit the impact on adjacent properties, the accessory building would be set back an additional two feet for each additional foot in height between 12 feet and 20 feet, measured at the gable mid-point.
Staff has received feedback over the years that the maximum height limit of 12 feet measured to the roof peak is too restrictive, and limits the
slope of a gable roof unnecessarily on larger buildings. Staff finds that changing the measurement point from the peak to the mid-point between the eave and the gable would likely increase the maximum height of the building by about 2-3 feet. Increasing the height of an accessory building up to 15 feet requires additional setback, and staff has recommended that the rate of additional setback be two feet of setback per each additional foot of height, up to 15 feet.
Staff has noted that there may be circumstances when additional height of an accessory building up to 20 feet, which would allow for an additional
story, is appropriate for a particular property and is determined to be compatible with the neighborhood. Staff therefore recommends a waiver provision that gives authority to the Board of Appeals to grant the additional height, up to 20 feet, provided that the waiver is not contrary to the public interest.
Staff have identified other related issues to be addressed by the text amendment application related to breezeways, grandfathering accessory
buildings constructed to a previous standard, and accessory buildings located in both the MXT and HD zones, as noted below.
A new provision is proposed that allows for a breezeway connection between the main dwelling and an accessory building. There is a loop-hole in our
current ordinance that allows someone to build a very large addition to a house, connected with a breezeway to attach it to the main house and avoid the size limitations on accessory buildings. With the proposed regulations, the breezeway must be open and unenclosed, in a manner that does not constitute a common wall, and is proposed to be limited to 20 feet in length. This would allow for a covered connection between a residence and an accessory building, and is intended to eliminate both the possibility of what appears as a very large accessory building connected to the main dwelling, and also to eliminate the potential for a very long covered breezeway. Both of these building types are out of character with Rockville neighborhoods.
Require that accessory buildings in both the MXT (Mixed-Use Transition) Zone and the HD (Historic District) overlay zone meet the same limitations on
setbacks, maximum height and cumulative building footprint requirements as a residential accessory building in a residential zone. This would allow for new accessory buildings that are more in character with the historic residential character of such properties, which are mostly former dwellings reused as offices.
Public Notification and Engagement Once filed, notice will be provided via the neighborhood association listserv. Notice of the public hearing will
be posted in a local newspaper for at least two weeks prior to the date of the hearing. Staff proposes to hold several informational/feedback meetings on these proposed changes and those associated with the companion changes to accessory dwelling units.