Are photo rights threatened in Rockville Town Square, as mayoral candidate (and big NIMBY) Drew Powell wants us to believe? A month ago, the head of NeighborsPAC was hassled by security for attempting to take a picture in front of the new Rockville Library (at left), but he only recently brought it up on the Flickr group DC Photo Rights.
Unfortunately for Powell, there's no denying that the Square is public. A tax map of the Town Square development refers to the square itself as lot N122, which this tax assessment lists as owned by the City of Rockville. Federal Realty, the developer of Town Square, doesn't have a lease agreement with the City the way Peterson does with Montgomery County on Ellsworth Drive in Downtown Silver Spring.
The Post's Marc Fisher, who's made the Downtown Silver Spring photo controversy (and the ensuing protest) a personal cause in recent weeks, is eager to rock the boat in Rockville as well. But this remains a largely Silver Spring issue. As the Penguin reports, a dialogue is beginning between the Peterson Companies and Silver Spring residents to ensure that personal rights are being respected Downtown.
Downtown Silver Spring was literally the first project of its kind in our area. A lot of mistakes were made - both in its design and execution - that later developments of its kind were careful to avoid. A clear, legal definition of public and private space in the Rockville Town Square shows how local governments are learning from those mistakes to ensure that personal rights are kept safe. I just wish that Drew Powell wouldn't take advantage of it for his own political gains.
Research by Adam Pagnucco; analysis by Dan Reed.