WMCCA Meeting at the Potomac Community Center
Updating the General Plan; Thrive 2050
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, Jan, 15, 2020 – 7:15 p.m.
If schools are closed because of inclement weather, the meeting will be cancelled.
SPEAKER: Steve Findlay, Planner Coordinator, Area 2 Planning Division, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC)
Thrive 2050 is the precursor to updating the 1964 General Plan and the 1993 General Plan Refinement. Initiated by MNCPPC, the purpose is to gather data from citizens and subject matter experts to consider a shared vision that allows us to retain what we love about the County, consider what we want for the future, and ultimately create a shared vision to guide the General Plan revision. Eight working groups have been assembled to seek input from citizens. The Environmental Working Group will address those issues that are most critical to protecting and preserving natural resources, addressing climate change and mitigating impacts of development on our diminishing available land. Three core themes have been identified for the plan: Economic health, Community equity, and Environmental resilience. Steve Findley heads the Environmental Working Group for Thrive 2050. Since our Potomac Subregion Master Plan is based on protecting natural resources, this is a good lens through which our community can look at and start participating in the process. Bring your visions of the County you'd like to see in 30 years. For background on this initiative, go to:
As always, the public is welcome to attend.
Looking Back 10 and Forward 10 – with Gratitude and Increased Resolve
By President Susanne Lee
Having a decade roll over seems to prompt more than the usual New Year’s introspection. Looking back over the last 10 years prompts us to express our deep gratitude to community members who have joined with WMCCA to help preserve the environmental green wedge and the quality of life in the Potomac Subregion. Individuals throughout the Subregion took time away from other responsibilities and dedicated hours and hours of their time and their creativity, financial, and other resources in these efforts. Here are just some of the groups of neighbors that have done so much in the past 10 years: Brickyard Coalition and River Falls and other abutting neighbors (Brickyard organic farm, soccerplex and solar installation, Old Angler’s Inn events venue); East Gate (monopole); Potomac Tennis Club site Lockland Rd. neighbors (Brandywine Senior Living); Carderock (Artis Senior Living); Gary Road (WSSC and forest conservation); Glenstone neighbors (sewer extension, water table, and stream conservation); Query Mill Road (Potter Glen Subdivision); Glen Hills (County sewer policy); Oaklyn Drive (Potomac Swim and Tennis Club); Cutters Lane (Glen Mill Road Subdivision); Fire Station 30 neighbors (monopole); and, Woodrock (Rockwood Manor).
Countless other neighbors have worked with us to preserve or improve specific environmental conditions, especially by stopping the destruction of forest stands and stream buffers throughout the Subregion.
And then there is the ongoing work done by our Board members in coordination with others regarding artificial turf playing fields, cell towers, and preservation of the C&O Canal and the Agricultural Reserve. But what about the next 10 years? Certainly WMCCA will be engaged in similar issues.
We begin the new decade by joining with the Greater South Glen Neighborhood Association to oppose the massive Heritage Gardens townhouse development. The Spectrum Senior Living proposal for the Potomac Petals and Plants garden center site on River Road will likely be filed soon. But perhaps it is time for all of us, as individuals and in concert with others, to step up our game.
Think about the enormous impact overdevelopment throughout the Metropolitan Region in the past 10 years is already having on the quality of life for all of us and on the natural environment - from clogged roads and impaired water and air quality to likely declining songbird populations. Yet County policies encourage even more development. With the rollback of the EPA’s air, water and toxics regulations and the failure of the Planning Board to enforce State and County environmental protections, we as individuals and organizations have to be even more proactive to ensure human health and safety. Most importantly, even here in our area away from the coast, EPA predicts rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns are likely to increase the intensity of storms as well as both floods and droughts. We are already experiencing extreme weather events - cars floating on Canal Road, historic flooding along Kendale Road.
In these next critical 10 years, our focus must be on solutions that don’t involve more pavement and beltway expansion. It must instead be on whatever we can do to address the wider issues – reducing carbon in the atmosphere and slowing climate change.
Winter Salt Usage
Submitted by Ken Bawer
As stated in a December 10, 2019 article in WUSA9, “Montgomery County is taking an active approach to protect the environment and preserve road infrastructure this winter.” The County’s DOT wants to better manage how it uses salt on local roadways. “The goal is to use less," MCDOT Director Chris Conklin said. “Conklin explained that salt used to de-ice roadways can often end up in local waterways. On top of that, he added that the usage of salt can be corrosive on asphalt and concrete roads.”
Salt run-off also kills plants and is harmful to aquatic organisms. A Wisconsin State Journal article (11/11/18) states that a myriad of problems arise from over-salting. The salt that is spread on pavement inevitably ends up in nearby soil - altering its composition and slowing plant growth - or washing into area waterways and polluting the water. One teaspoon of salt that washes into lakes, rivers, or streams can pollute five gallons of water to a toxic level. Salt causes seasonal chloride spikes that endanger the freshwater animal and plant life, and the salt does not break down once it is in the waterways.
This winter, consider using less salt for icy conditions around your home. As alternatives, consider using sand or non-clumping kitty-litter to provide traction (although neither will melt the ice). But be sure to sweep it up later so that it doesn’t gets washed into our streams and cause sediment problems.
Heritage Gardens Townhouse Development
Submitted by Susanne Lee
Heritage Gardens LLC (HG) seeks to build 51 separately owned townhouses on individual lots on 30 acres zoned RE-2 (2 acre minimum detached houses). In order to build these townhouses in an RE-2 acre zone, the applicant seeks approval for them as a conditional use under the guise of Group Living, and in particular as an independent living facility for seniors. HG’s conditional use application is currently pending before the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH). WMCCA filed a Motion to Dismiss the application because, on its face, the supporting documentation establishes that the intended project does not constitute an “independent living facility for seniors” as that conditional use is defined in §126.96.36.199.C.1. of the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance. Briefing has been concluded and the OZAH Hearing Examiner has requested that the County’s Department of Permitting Services provide her with their totally advisory interpretation of the provision by January 8th. A hearing on the Motion is scheduled before the Hearing Examiner on January 13, 2020. If she grants the Motion, the application will be dismissed. If she does not, the hearing on the application is set to begin on Feb.10, 2020.
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P.O. Box 59335, Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President – Susanne Lee: President@WMCCA.org
Website: WMCCA.org – Peter Poggi, Newsletter Editor – Nancy Madden
Follow on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheWMCCA/