Paul Tukey, chief sustainability officer for the Glenstone Museum in Potomac and author of “The Organic Lawn Care Manual,” will give a presentation on organic grounds management at the March 8 meeting of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association at 7:15 p.m. in the Potomac Community Center.
The public is invited to attend. If schools are closed because of inclement weather, the meeting will be cancelled.
Go Organic: Save Green and Stay Green
By Carol Van Dam Falk
American households spent nearly $30 billion in 2013 on lawns and gardens, about $347 per household, according to a National Gardening Association survey. That does not include the cost of time and energy spent on performing these chores.
Homeowners can slash the amount of time and money spent on maintaining their yard, avoid toxic chemicals, and still have a great-looking lawn. There are successful alternatives to maintaining green lawns, such as replacing grass with perennials and mulching — but if your desire is to keep a green lawn looking lush without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, there are environmentally friendly ways, according to Paul Tukey, chief sustainability officer for the Glenstone Museum on Glen Road in Potomac. Glenstone does not use any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Instead, Tukey instructs gardeners to spread a thin layer of compost on the grass in the spring, irrigate deeply every so often, and mow with cutters set high, not low. Mowing closely actually causes lawns to deteriorate.
Tukey recommends mowing only when needed, more often in the spring when grass is actively growing and less often during the hot spells of summer. Hear what Paul Tukey recommends to retain moisture, fight clover and dandelions, and how to care for a chemical-free lawn when he addresses our General Meeting at the Potomac Community Center.
Maryland Catering Inc. Banquet / Motel Facility Hearing Postponed — Again
By Susanne Lee
The hearing on Maryland Catering’s application for a conditional use permit to build a banquet/motel facility at 10801 MacArthur Boulevard adjacent to the C&O Canal National Historical Park was scheduled to begin on Feb. 24 before the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH) Hearing Examiner (HE) Lynn Robeson.
Instead, shortly after it began, the hearing was postponed yet again to Sept. 25. The application was filed nearly two years ago and the hearing has now been rescheduled five times.
The major reason for the postponement was the Montgomery County Planning Board’s determination that it had insufficient information from Maryland Catering and thus it could not provide a recommendation regarding the application. The Planning Board stated that “due to the unique location of the subject property adjacent to the National Park and the issues arising from the proposal for this use as this location” it had a strong interest in providing an informed recommendation.
This followed a lengthy hearing before the Planning Board on Fe. 16, at which WMCCA and a broad coalition of citizens associations and adjacent homeowners, as well as representatives of cyclist and canal user organizations, testified in opposition to the application. The hearing officer ordered as follows: Maryland Catering must submit all documents by April 3; a new Planning Board Public Hearing will be on July 13; and, “[n]o postponements of the Sept. 25 hearing date will be granted absent force majeure or other acts outside of the control of the parties.”
Tree Montgomery Is a Program to Plant Shade Trees — for Free
By Ginny Barnes
The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection is looking for places to plant shade trees, including yards of single family homes, around parking lots, and multi-family communities. They are also targeting areas where there is a lot of development, little tree canopy, or a real need for shade. The county will install shade trees and give them some after care — all for free.
When installed, the trees will be more than 10 feet tall and they will eventually grow to more than 50 feet tall. These shade trees will provide decades of shade. Funding for Tree Montgomery is on-going and provided through the Tree Canopy Law. If you are interested in a free shade tree, sign up now.
Please go to: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/trees/tree-montgomery.html and simply input the address where you want to plant a shade tree to start the application.
Zoning and Planning Updates
By Susanne Lee
WMCCA along with the Brickyard Coalition and the Pauls, the abutting homeowners, have appealed the partially adverse District Court decision in Brandywine Senior Living regarding the Board of Appeals’ conditional use approval for a 140 assisted living facility on the former site of the Potomac Tennis Club on Falls Road.
WMCCA members, working with adjacent homeowners, are preparing arguments in opposition to a forest conservation plan variance request for 12925 Circle Drive, the site where a 255 year-old, 65 inch ash tree was recently chopped down.
WMCCA is also preparing comments on a proposed change in countrywide sewer policy that would allow extensive expansion of sewer into low density RE-1 zones throughout the county in violation of the Potomac Subregion Master Plan and Statewide sewer and smart growth policies.
WMCCA Nominating Committee
The following individuals are proposed to serve on the Nominating Committee and will be voted on at the March 8 General Meeting:
Chairperson – Ken Bawer
Members: Barbara Hoover, George Barnes, Jill Phillips, and Ginny Barnes
The committee will nominate officers and directors to be voted on at the May 10 General Meeting.