Name: Virginia Onley
Neighborhood of Residence: Americana Centre
Office Seeking: Mayor of Rockville
What do you identify as the number one challenge facing Rockville today and how do you propose to address it?
Housing Affordability and Town Center parking. We need to work with developers to increase our affordable housing numbers and we need to work with Federal Reality to address our parking issue in Town Center.
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?
We currently work with Rockville Housing Enterprises to foster more housing affordability. I am advocating pushing harder for developers to increase the number of homes they make affordable. We need to change our laws and advocate for housing both rental and ownership for young married couples, police officers, fire fighters and teachers.
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 don’t have enough public transportation options. We need more mass transit options. We need to come up with a BRT Plan for Rockville. Both Montgomery County and Rockville have BRT Plans.
Do you believe Rockville’s APFO (Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance) is working as intended? Why or why not? What changes would you propose?
No, it is not working as intended. Unfortunately the acronym APFO scares people and it is misunderstood. Its purpose is to guide us so that we balance our infrastructure with school capacity and development. We have not been able to balance the APFO infrastructure guideline with our school capacity and our severe housing shortage. I propose we lift some of the development limits around our Metro Districts and in Town Center to help with this balance.
How do you plan on maintaining a balance between environmental sustainability and economic development?
I will continue to support economic development that fosters environment sustainability. We have an environment commission that promotes our sustainable community through initiatives relating to natural resource development. I will continue that our sustainable initiative.
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? This is an ongoing process and I will continue to foster, street and vehicular safety, making changes were necessary on our roads, at street crossings and at intersections.
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?
Yes, I support increasing the number of councilmembers. I brought forth an initiative that failed on a 2 to 2 vote to add an advisory referendum question to this year’s election ballot to increase the number of councilmembers. As we grow and become more diverse, it is imperative that we harness our diversity and increase the opportunity for more racially and ethnically diverse voices and more geographic representation from across our entire community to be heard and participate in our governing process.
Are you satisfied with Rockville’s city-manager form of government? If not, how would you propose changing it?
Yes, I am satisfied with our City-Manager form of government. I feel it’s best for the Mayor and Council to set policy and govern. This allows the governing body to pay attention to how the City is run and not worry about the day to day activity of running our City.
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, absolutely, as a women, a minority and an individual who started school during segregation and integrated after starting school, I know firsthand how it feels to be discriminated against and I will continue to support and fight for the equal rights of all individuals.
If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
I would apply it to our parking crisis in Town Center. That would alleviate some of the burden on those patronizing Town Center and be a win for our entire City.