Twinbrook Community Association Municipal Candidate Questionnaire
Name: Kuan Lee
Neighborhood of Residence: King Farm
Office Seeking: City Council
What do you identify as the number one challenge facing Rockville today and how do you propose to address it?
The broad spectrum of sensitivity towards growth and development amongst Rockville residents. At one end of the spectrum are those who prefer Rockville to remain rural-like. On the other end are those who prefer Rockville to become bigger city-like. Economic and population growth is a natural progression for a city like Rockville that is located near a major city – DC. With that said, I believe progress should always be gradual, and not immediate. That is why managed growth is important. It is about growing the city at a pace in which even the most sensitive-to-growth residents can accept. What is considered “gradual” is not determined by me or anyone on the City Council but rather by the residents of Rockville. In order to determine the amount of economic development the City can handle at a particular moment in time, Councilmembers must listen to the resident’s voices and concerns, understand the impact on City’s infrastructure from growth, and take consideration of all relevant factors the affects the community. The process takes time and effort, and it is not something that came be planned out by a few men.
What is the role of City government in addressing housing affordability issues in Rockville and what would you do to encourage the production of more affordable homes for working families?
The City must work with developers and builders. Whether new housing is affordable is mostly determined by the builders cost along with the fair market value. More density or building more homes does not guarantee that housing will be more affordable. I think the City could revisit the criteria of the Moderate Priced Dwelling Units program to expand it so more can apply.
How do you feel about the transportation options currently available in our city? Do we have enough options? How would you mitigate those concerns or change the situation?
We can improve the City’s alternative modes of transportation to encourage the use of public transit. I do believe the vast majority of single-family homeowners will still prefer to drive. However, millennials or retirees and seniors may welcome alternative, convenient public transportation to go from one place to another within Rockville.
Do you believe Rockville’s APFO (Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance) is working as intended? Why or why not? What changes would you propose?
I believe the APFO is working as intended. It essentially mandates City Council, along with the City staff and any stakeholders, to evaluate the impact of new development projects on existing infrastructure such as schools and traffic safety. However, the Standards should be reviewed and updated periodically to take into consideration any natural transformations of the City.
How do you plan on maintaining a balance between environmental sustainability and economic development?
We need to maintain the balance of Rockville residential, commercial, and green space. We should explore alternative methods of public transportation for our residents such as a bus circulator, to reduce our carbon footprint. More convenient public transportation options could increase foot traffic in Town Center, which will improve City’s economic development.
How will you implement the City’s commitment to Vision Zero? What strategies will you use to effectively partner with the County and State to ensure that Vision Zero is a reality?
The City is moving in the right direct by establishing the Pedestrian Advocacy Committee (RPAC) as well as drafting the Vision Zero Action Plan. The Plan uses a different approach in analyzing traffic safety. City Council should empower the RPAC by facilitating discussions between the Committee and State and County representative.
As Rockville’s population continues to grow and diversify, do you support increasing the size of the City Council to offer more opportunities for representation? How do you plan to involve residents from all corners of Rockville in the decision making process if you are elected?
I support increasing the size of the City Council but more discussion and resident input is needed before determining the size of increase the structure of the Council. A taskforce that includes one or two representatives from all communities and neighborhoods within Rockville will generate ideas in which City Council will consider.
Are you satisfied with Rockville’s city-manager form of government? If not, how would you propose changing it?
I do not have specific experience or knowledge about other forms of city management to informatively comment on this topic. On the other hand, I will learn and listen to ideas about other forms of city government that the people of Rockville might recommend.
Do you support protecting equal rights for all individuals in Rockville, regardless of gender, race, age, religion, ethnic origin, disability, immigration status, sexual orientation or gender identity?
Yes, as the ninth most diverse city, equality is paramount in Rockville.
If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
$1 million is not much considering the City’s budget is about $138 million. Therefore, the money should not be used for major projects. However, the amount can go a long way for community and neighborhood groups. For example, the amount can be used as a grant or a low-interest loan to community groups in desperate need of money such as the Woodley Garden Pool group.