I am writing with an update on the proposed use of Rock Creek Hills Park for a new middle school.
In late September, the Court of Appeals of Maryland declined our petition for certiorari, thereby upholding the previous finding of the Court of Special Appeals that we lack standing to bring suit to enforce the law and preserve the park. Specifically, the Court of Special Appeals held that adjacent property owners lack adjacent property owner standing because the County’s option to reclaim the land for educational use was not a land-use related provision. We recently met with legal counsel to review this outcome, and concluded that no further legal action should be taken.
It does look like a new, second, middle school for the Bethesda – Chevy Chase cluster will be built on the site of Rock Creek Hills Park, with groundbreaking scheduled for July 2015, and opening in August 2017. The funds have been approved by the Council, and the construction program is in the Board of Education’s capital budget work plan.
Although our efforts – to direct the new school to a more suitable site; to enforce the law; to defend the park – did not succeed, they should be a source of pride. I am proud of our community’s sustained engagement on behalf of these goals. At this point, we need to focus on the many changes that the new school will bring, and on working together to seek best outcomes.
Thank you for your support and understanding.
James J. Pekar, Ph.D.
President, Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association