Each year following the legislative session, the West Montgomery County Citizens Association invite the local delegation to give updates on their work in the Maryland General Assembly and the work of the State Legislature. Speakers will include state Sen. Brian Feldman and District 15 Delegates Kathleen Dumais, David Fraser-Hildago, and Aruna Miller. Their efforts to improve the lives of citizens in their district and throughout Maryland are always important.
The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 9, 7:15 p.m.at the Potomac Community Center. The public is welcome to attend.
As a civic organization, most of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association's work takes place at the local level. We are well acquainted with the County Council, Planning Board, County Executive agencies, the Board of Appeals, and Hearing Examiner. Though we interact less frequently with our state legislators, we know our delegation is busy in Annapolis working to improve our lives.
Lawmakers concluded the 2018 session by passing legislation to ban bump stocks and one called a "red flag" law that allows judges to temporarily remove firearms from people considered a danger to themselves or others.
Another bill would put Maryland at the forefront of requiring social media platforms to track all political ads, keep copies of them, and record which users are being targeted. State elections officials could use the data to detect bad actors or foreign interference.
The Federal tax cut had the effect of increasing taxes for most Marylanders. A bipartisan coalition in the Assembly agreed to changes to modestly alleviate the hike for 58 percent of residents while targeting relief for the working poor and some retirees. Attorney General Brian Frosh has said the 2018 session made "great strides" increasing consumer protections. We look forward to learning how it did so. District 15 legislators always impart enthusiasm for their work, giving us both an overview as well as glimpses into the daily dramas attendant to lawmaking. Please plan to attend.
UPDATE ON WATER & SEWER PLAN
By Ken Bawer
A vote on the draft Ten Year Water and Sewer Plan was supposed to happen at the County Council meeting on April 17. Strong objections were raised by some councilmembers to the Elrich Amendment, which was supposed to limit sewer sprawl (and the inevitable increases in house sizes, higher building density, more impervious surfaces, and the resulting increased stormwater runoff that degrades streams with sediment and contaminants).
The objections were made by councilmembers who, we believe, were looking out for the legitimate interests of homeowners on septic systems. In fact, our original proposal was for a much less restrictive requirement to trigger a septic survey, but our suggested wording was changed somewhere along the way.
We are currently working on revisions to the Plan (to reinsert our original language) in response to those legitimate concerns about the need for pro-active measures before septic systems actually fail. We are suggesting the use of our original proposed language which added "imminent failures” (as appropriately defined) along with “actual failures” as reasons for triggering a septic survey. Thus, owners would not have to wait for an actual septic system failure to request a survey.
This is in contrast to the language used to trigger the Glen Hills area surveys in which properties with “anticipated” problems that might theoretically happen decades in the future could be granted septic to sewer conversions. We are perplexed as to why none of the councilmembers suggested making this simple change and then holding the vote during the April 17 meeting. The Plan may now be sent back to the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment (T&E) Committee to work on revised language.
WHAT IS THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY QUIET SKIES COALITION?
By Barbara Hoover
The Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition (MCQSC) is a group of concerned citizens and community associations in Montgomery County whose daily lives are severely impacted by new flight paths and procedures into and out of Reagan National Airport (DCA). These newly formed flight paths send hundreds of disruptively loud, low-altitude flights over our homes, schools, parks, and businesses each day. MCQSC represents neighborhoods with approximately 7,500 homes, 20,000 residents, and numerous K-12 schools.
The Coalition is committed to working with residents, elected officials, the FAA and others to resolve the excessive levels of noise, air pollution, and health and safety risks imposed on our communities by the FAA’s flight paths and procedures at Reagan National Airport (DCA). More information can be found on their website: https://sites.google.com/site/208xxquietskies/home.
The local neighborhoods currently impacted are: Avenel, Bannockburn, Brookmont, Burning Tree Village, Cabin John, Carderock Springs, Fort Sumner, Glen Echo Heights, Glen Echo Town, Glen Hills, Green Acres, Goldsboro, Kenwood Park, Mohican Hills, Persimmon Tree, Potomac, Potomac Highlands, River Falls, Rock Creek Forest, Springfield, Sumner, Tulip Hill, Westmoreland Hills and Overlook, Wood Acres, Woodrock, and Wyngate.
The next MCQSC meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Brookmont Church, 4000 Virginia Place, Bethesda. For new members, there is an optional New Member Orientation at 7 p.m. The Regular Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. MCQSC meets every-other-month on the second Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m.
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 9 meeting. Nominations may also be made from the floor.
President: Ginny Barnes
Treasurer: Barbara Hoover
Immediate Past President: Ginny Barnes
Secretary: Barbara Brown
President Elect: Susanne Lee
Newsletter: Nancy Madden
Vice President: Ken Bawer
Directors serving second year of a two-year term: George Barnes, Kathy Petitt
Nominees for a two-year term: Jill Phillips, Carol Van Dam Falk
Need advice on how to maintain a healthy lawn without pesticides harmful to kids, pets, and bees? Montgomery County Department of the Environment has a new website just in time for Spring gardening: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/lawns/
WMCCA announces the launch of its facebook page. Please like and follow us at: West Montgomery County Citizens Association.