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Votes

Letters to the Editor 12-13-06

CLARIFYING POTOMAC SWIM AND TENNIS CLUB'S CONCERNS

To the Editor:

I wish to correct both the content and extent of words attributed to me at the Nov. 20 West Montgomery County Citizens Association Board (WMCCAB) meeting — as stated in the article “Potomac’s Needs” in the Nov. 29 Almanac.

I spoke at the meeting to state that the pool I represent, the Potomac Swim and Tennis Club, which operates under a special exception permit, is in the process of undertaking repairs and renovations to our pool and bathhouse, and that we are required to get a building permit for these efforts, which would include bumping out the bathhouse 6 feet.

I stated at the meeting that county personnel informed us that the building permit request will take two to three months, and that this delay will force us to consider postponing portions of our project to after the 2007 swim season, because we cannot afford to jeopardize the 2007 swim season. I stated also that the county informed us that there is no way to expedite our building permit request for the bathhouse and pool, because the permit is lumped in with all non-residential permit applications, even though we are a merely a non-profit operation (expediting permit applications is possible for residential building permit applications).

The article quoted me as saying, "When I approached the county, they told me that it would take at least a year to get the permit and that there was no way to expedite the process because technically we are a commercial enterprise even though we are a nonprofit organization." This quotation is in the context of my "expressed concern over the county's backlog of special exception permits" and that the "current plan would stretch one of its buildings past the zoned boundary by six feet."

This is entirely inaccurate and not what I said.

I said:

* I was concerned about the backlog of county BUILDING permit applications.

* There is no way to expedite BUILDING permits that are inappropriately lumped in with all other non-residential building permit applications — is there a way to create a different category?

* That our plans call for an expansion of our building by 6 feet.  Please note that this expansion is NOT past any zoned boundary, but rather merely an extension of its current footprint, and is within all zoning requirements, and has been approved by the County Zoning Board of Appeals (a necessary process for all special exception permit properties). The extension requires a building permit at this point. It has nothing to do with our special exception permit.

I never stated that it would take a year to get the permit (building or any other kind of permit for that matter). Further, the article states that our plans would stretch "one of [our] buildings . . . ".  We only have one building and your statement can be misconstrued as applying to preliminary plans for a separate building.

The article goes on to state that the "board acknowledged that the process of expediting such exception permits existed for residential properties but not for commercial properties." This is inaccurate, because the Board was talking of building permits, NOT exception permits. We are not seeking an exception permit. Nor do we need an exception permit for this work.

Thank you for this opportunity to provide clarification.

Ted Sears

Potomac Swim and Tennis Club

COUNTY UNHELPFUL WITH SUSPICIOUS ANIMALS

To the Editor:

Congratulations to River Falls resident Gary Gilbert, who, according to your recent article (Nov 22-28), was treated "very well" and "professionally" by the Montgomery County Division of Animal Control after encountering a rabid raccoon on his property.

Unfortunately, my family experienced the complete opposite treatment from the county when we found a rabid-appearing fox in our fenced backyard trying to fight with our two large dogs this October.

When I called the Division of Animal Control, I was told there was nothing they could do, and was referred to the State animal control office. Alas, that number was nothing more than an irrelevant recorded message, so I called the county again, explaining that my daughter's birthday party was the following evening, and I didn't want to subject 20 children to the risk of a rabid animal trapped in our yard.

I was repeatedly told that they don't "come out" for small mammals, and that my only option would be to find a private trapper who I could hire at my own expense to capture the animal.  Given my family's circumstances, I did what had to be done, spending close to $300 for the trapper's work.

Given that our family fully expected to be treated like the gentleman portrayed in your article, we were rather shocked at the lack of service provided by the County, as well as the rude manner with which the news was delivered. When the Division of Animal Control's representative, Suzanne Mullen, was quoted in your article as stating that rabies "is a fatal disease, so we don't play around," readers should be forewarned that she means they really won't do anything. Hire your own trapper.

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Liz Rubin

N. Potomac

ROAD RAGE, RUDENESS RENDER BRIDGE OBSOLETE

To the Editor:

Having witnessed many "standoffs" at the one-lane bridge at the junction of South Glen and Glen Mill Roads, I was encouraged when I saw community posted signs urging politeness and giving each other a turn to cross. One day after the signs were posted, my optimism was dashed to see them spray-painted over. Although the one lane has been kept to preserve the rural nature of the Glen, building continues and traffic increases. After witnessing another "standoff" this morning that jammed up traffic once again in rush hour, I am convinced that my neighbors cannot be trusted to be polite and control their road rage. The bridge needs either another lane or traffic lights or both in view of the unchecked continued building in the area and continuing immature behavior of some motorists.

Peter Dunner, M.D.

Potomac