The next meeting of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association will be held Wednesday, May 13, 7:15 p.m., at the Potomac Community Center. Speakers will be Senator Brian Feldman and District 15 Delegates Kathleen Dumais, David Fraser-Hildago and Aruna Miller. Each year we ask our District 15 Legislators to brief us on the session just completed in Annapolis. Join WMCCA to hear about the work accomplished during the Maryland General Assembly's 90 day session concluded on April 13. The legislators had their first session working with new Gov. Larry Hogan. One of the best aspects about the representatives is the passion and pleasure they bring to representing District 15.
As always, the public is most welcome to attend WMCCA’s meetings. If schools are closed because of inclement weather, the meeting will be cancelled.
Old Angler’s Inn on MacArthur Boulevard and the Potomac Tennis Club on Falls Road are the subjects of two new substantial development proposals. The Old Angler’s Inn proposal, in particular, presents potential enormous problems. Initial indications are that the proposal is for the development of a 5.83 acre site to include construction of a two-story (38 ft. high) 9,000 sq. ft. wedding pavilion and rental condominiums, a new access road from MacArthur Boulevard, and a new 100-car lighted parking lot. All of this construction will take place on the steep slope behind the existing restaurant and its parking lot. On the weekends that location is also already the most congested and unsafe area in the Potomac Subregion due to car, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic and parking issues associated with the C&O canal and Potomac River access across the street.
On March 24, the owners of the Old Angler’s Inn property filed an application for a Conditional Use under the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance in order to operate the property as a “Country Inn with 8 overnight guest suites.” The site is currently zoned R-200 Residential (minimum lot size 20,000 sq. ft.). A public hearing on the application has been set by the Montgomery County Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings for July 20.
Such an intensive development on this site poses a wide range of adverse impacts. In addition, use of the Country Inn Zone raises a variety of unique zoning issues. WMCCA has worked on such issues in the past regarding several other potential Country Inn sites in the Potomac Subregion. Neighbors living near the property have already begun to organize their efforts. We will be working with them and others on the substantial issues the proposal raises. We encourage all of you with an interest in that site to become involved.
In addition, the owner of the property on which the Potomac Tennis Club operates on Falls Road (near the Falls Road Golf Course and adjacent to the existing ManorCare-Potomac facility) is proposing the construction of a new senior living residence on the site. The four-acre property is currently zoned RE-2 Residential (minimum lot size 2 acres). Although a formal application has not yet been filed, Brandywine Senior Living, an organization operating a large number of such facilities on the East Coast, will propose what it terms a senior residence, including a unit for those with memory issues. It will include 110-120 suites and will be three stories in the front and two stories in the back. The building will be constructed to LEED green building standards and include substantial storm water management on site and extensive landscaping.
Representatives of the owner of the property have indicated that the tennis club will probably be able to operate through at least one more indoor season, but the long term plans are that the tennis club will no longer exist at this site. For a variety of reasons, this proposal appears to have fewer adverse impacts than the Old Angler’s Inn proposal. However, WMCCA will follow the application process closely and focus on those aspects that are of special concern. We encourage you to participate and join in our efforts to minimize or eliminate the negative impacts of both proposals on our communities.
Reports and Updates
By Ginny Barnes
PROPOSED SPECIAL SIGNS FOR RUSTIC ROADS
The County budget included $25,000 for signs to distinguish roads in the Rustic Roads Program. The Potomac Subregion has a number of such roads and the Master Plan process included designating and protecting them. Doing so helped Potomac in the effort to retain our two-lane road system. Many residents do not know which of our roads are considered Rustic or Exceptional Rustic and the proposed brown signs would further the education of their significance to Potomac history. However, provision of funds is at stake in the final budget decision coming mid-May. Please contact the County Council to support special signing for County Rustic Roads: email@example.com
PENNYFIELD LOCK ROAD BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
The County Council has approved funds for the Department of Transportation (DOT) preferred alternative. However, since the Council expressed concern that DOT failed to notify key organizations and few members of the public, WMCCA and the Montgomery Countryside Alliance (MCA) have been offered a meeting to discuss concerns and suggestions for the project. DOT cites several improvements inherent in the alignment they prefer, including: improved road alignment and visibility leading to the bridge, improved stream functioning and stability, reduced construction time and environmental impacts compared to constructing a temporary bridge while restoring or rebuilding the bridge in the existing location, and reduced long-term maintenance. WMCCA and MCA remain concerned by the process DOT used to obtain their choice for replacement.
ROCKWOOD PARK FEASIBILITY STUDY
Rockwood is an Enterprise Division park so it must generate income. It is currently being used extensively for a wedding, conference, and events venue. The Feasibility Study identifies a number of proposals to alter the park, including a one-way entrance off MacArthur Boulevard, exiting via Belfast Road. Results of the study are anticipated to go before the Planning Board this summer. WMCCA continues to be concerned about funneling traffic onto Belfast Road, causing increased disruptions to the adjacent neighborhood. With Old Angler’s Inn seeking to build a wedding venue on the hill above their existing restaurant, concerns about traffic safety are a major issue. For additional information about the study go to:
ELECTION OF WMCCA OFFICERS AND BOARD
The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of officers and directors to the membership for a vote at our May 13 meeting. Nominations may also be made from the floor.
President (and Immediate past President): Susanne Lee
Treasurer: Kathy Pettit
President Elect: Carol Van Dam Falk
Secretary: Barbara Brown
Vice President: Ginny Barnes
Newsletter: Nancy Madden
Directors serving second year of a two-year term: Betsi Dahan, Alison Mrohs, Jill Phillips, Elie Pisaara Cain
Nominees for a two-year term: Mark Israel, George Barnes
Nominees for a one-year term: John Yassin.