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This Week in Potomac 10-13-05

SILVERMAN PROPOSES WORKFORCE HOUSING RULES

A County Council proposal would require that 10 percent of housing units near Metro stations be "workforce housing," defined as units affordable to people earning 80-120 percent of the area median income,

Area median income for a family of four is about $89,000; for a two-person family it is approximately $71,000.

The proposal was introduced by County Councilmember Steve Silverman (D-At Large), chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee.

"People who work in Montgomery County ought to have a better shot at living in Montgomery County," Silverman said in a statement.

Last year, the Council approved a major overhaul to the County's affordable housing laws, in response to rising housing prices that are forcing middle-income workers — especially civil servants — out of Montgomery County. Families earning 70 percent of the area median income or less are eligible for affordable housing.

Workforce housing is a related concept targeting a higher income bracket. It was frequently discussed during affordable housing debates last year, but so far has not been pursued.

Under Silverman's proposal, developers will be allowed to exceed normal density limits by up to 10 percent in order to provide workforce housing units.

The rules would only apply to Metro station policy areas with a density of 40 dwelling units per acre or greater. Data was not immediately available about how many units the proposed rules could potentially produce.

Some Potomac residents and others in the County have objected to the possibility of putting workforce housing on vacant school sites.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for the evening of Nov. 22.

LIFE AND DEATH ON THE C&O CANAL

Costumed park rangers and volunteers will reenact 13 historical tragedies during lantern-lit walking tours on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center at C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Scenes such as the 1890s murder of a Canal lockkeeper and the retreat from the Battle of Balls Bluff during the Civil War will be part of the ninth annual program "Life and Death on the C&O Canal."

Tours begin every 15 minutes from 6:30-9 p.m. and will last about one hour. Reservations are required.

Visitors are encouraged to wear good walking shoes and bring a flashlight. Fees are $6 for adults and $4 for seniors, ages 62 and older, and children, ages 4 to 14. Children under 4 are free, but parents are advised that some scenes may be too intense for young children.

To make reservations, call 301-767-3714.

HAUNTED TRAIL RETURNS

The Johnson family haunted trail, an annual Halloween tradition in Potomac, will be open Saturday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Oct. 29, 6-9 p.m.

The walking trail features ghosts, ghouls, treats and scary surprises. Refreshments will be served.

As always, there is no charge for admission, but donations will be collected for charity. This year, funds will go to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief.

Note that for the first time the trail will not be open Halloween night.

The location of the haunted forest is 11930 Cragwood Way, off of Glen Road just north of Piney Meetinghouse Road. Call 301-299-9164.

DEER HUNTS IN BLOCKHOUSE, MUDDY BRANCH

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission announced plans Monday to expand its managed deer hunt program.

New hunt locations include the Serpentine Barrens Conservation Park and Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park in Potomac as well as the Dry Seneca Stream Valley Park in Poolesville, portions of the Great Seneca Stream Valley Park and North Germantown Greenway Park in Goshen.

This decision follows recommendations from an inter-agency work group commissioned to help reduce deer-related traffic accidents and other negative impacts.

Hunts in Potomac will take place at the Serpentine Barrens and Muddy Branch Parks, and Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (an existing hunt location) Tuesdays Nov. 8 and 22 and Dec. 13.

The parks will be closed from sunrise until sunset those days, and closure notices will be posted.

For more information, visit www.mc-mncppc.org/environment/deer/index.shtm or call the Commission’s deer information hotline at 301-495-3585.

PAGE'S RUN BENEFITS CYSTIC FIBROSIS FOUNDATION

Join the first annual Page’s Run 5K, a 5-kilometer race and quarter-mile fun run through the neighborhoods around Winston Churchill High School on Oct. 16. Page’s Run honors Kimberly “Page” Whetsell, who died of cystic fibrosis at the age of 22 on June 3, 2005. Proceeds will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Call race director Steven Bettis, Churchill’s cross country coach, at 301-343-5633, e-mail coachbettis@yahoo.com, or visit www.pagesrun.com.

POTOMAC DAY TO HELP KATRINA VICTIMS

The Potomac Chamber of Commerce will donate proceeds from Potomac Day 2005 to Hurricane Katrina relief.

"Every year we choose a charity and we try to get local charities, but this year with the catastrophic level of Katrina, we though our resources would best be used there," said Chamber president Andrea Alderdice.

A specific charity has not yet been selected, though Alderdice said the American Red Cross and Salvation Army were likely candidates.

Potomac Day is a free event for community members, but raises money through the business fair and registration fees for the 5K fun run. The Chamber uses that money to cover event costs and donates the rest to charity — usually $5,000 or more.

"I think it may be more this year," Alderdice said. "We've gotten bigger and better every year."