A six-foot-high chain-link fence has divided a Rockville neighborhood in more ways than one.
Last night, city officials offered some solutions at what many hope will be the last in a series of community meetings on the topic. The only true consensus was that this meeting was more civil than some expected. But that may just speak to how contentious the issue has become. The fence was put up after some neighbors complained of their cul-de-sac becoming a hangout for smokers driven off campus by a tobacco-free policy enacted last year. But the fence also closed off a walkway, which had served as pedestrian access onto the west side of the campus for decades -- angering hundreds of other neighbors.
Last night city and school officials laid out a possible solution before about 80 testy residents. It calls for a rerouted walkway and a designated smoking area within the campus fence, on city rather than on college property. Security cameras and permit only parking in the neighborhood are also possibilities. The proposal will still need approval from Rockville's mayor and city council.
Jonathan Wilson was at the meeting and has this report...
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