Thursday, April 8, 2021
JOIN US FOR A VIRTUAL MEETING!
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. via ZOOM
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82559842806?pwd=RElrOFhLY3VMbVdzbmFlMkRoSWhTUT09 or call in with 301-715-8592 (Meeting ID = 825 5984 2806, Passcode: 574119)
A recording of this meeting, and hotlinks within the Newsletter, will be available on our website: http://www.wmcca.org
SPEAKER: YOU - OPEN MIC NITE - Bring Your Concerns
Each year we try to devote a meeting to continued discussion of issues we are following as well as concerns raised by members. The Potomac Subregion is threatened by a number of bad ideas with enormous impacts to our way of life from the proposed widening of 495/270, to the all too obvious impacts of climate change such as increased flooding, loss of habitat in parkland, and diseases destroying important tree species. The use of synthetic turf on playing fields has created unforeseen health issues from heat, runoff, and eventual disposal of toxic waste. Sewer and water category changes have always been at the forefront of our efforts to hold the line on sprawl and protect water quality. Please come and bring your issues. Expect updates and lively discussion.
Spring has Sprung and Synthetic Turf will Continue to be Flung
and other notes, submitted by President Ken Bawer
Spring has finally arrived, for which we are grateful. Unfortunately, once again, the Maryland General Assembly failed to pass a bill, which we actively supported, that would have required the tracking of worn-out synthetic turf fields from removal to final disposal. In the past, old synthetic fields have been found in woods, empty lots, and elsewhere. This seemed like a no-brainer, but it speaks to the power (read: money) of the industry. Apparently, synthetic turf will continue to be flung.
We have learned that the Potomac Oak Center (a.k.a. Travilah Oak Shopping Center) owner is in negotiations with two immigrant farmers to lease land behind the shopping center. Caroline Taylor with Montgomery Countryside Alliance was involved as part of the Landlink program which matches farmers with land owners. Unfortunately, negotiations are dragging on so the Spring planting season is probably already lost. The owner says that if he isn’t granted the ability to hook up to WSSC sewer service, he will need the extra land to expand his septic system.
We are still tracking the forest conservation easement violation at 13417 Valley Drive. This property is now under contract, but will be impossible to build on (it doesn’t perc) unless a sewer category change from septic to sewer is approved. We will oppose this since the property is outside the County’s planned sewer envelope. Because a small stream runs through the property, the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Inspector told us that Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) will review the proposed construction plan and proposed wetland impact to determine if non-tidal wetland impact is permitted under the applicable State of Maryland regulations. The owner’s consultant will be submitting a wetland disturbance application to MDE staff review. MDE’s review may require the owner to provide additional mitigation.
We remain concerned that the Planning Board and County Council have decreased the time limits for public testimony. We have suggested to the Potomac Almanac that this would be a good topic for an article.
Regarding the proposed Heritage Gardens Senior Living Facility (at the site of the former 4th Presbyterian School property on S. Glen Rd near Norton Rd), we had opposed this project based on the fact that it did not meet the County’s definition of a senior living facility. The original proposal was for 51 separately owned duplex townhouses on the 30-acre site. However, since it is currently zoned RE-2 (for a maximum of 15 detached houses on 2-acre lots), the applicant sought approval as a “conditional use” under the guise of Group Living, and in particular as an independent living facility for seniors. Following community opposition and our advocacy, the company withdrew its application but has now proposed a Zoning Text Amendment to redefine senior living facilities to include their proposed duplex townhouses. The Greater South Glen Neighborhood Association is reaching out to the County Council to oppose this, and are also planning to meet with Councilmember Andrew Friedson.
We are still in the middle of a pandemic but more and more vaccines are being rolled out.
And we will soon be in the middle of emerging 17-year cicadas. Unlike the virus causing COVID-19, these bugs are harmless to humans, so just enjoy nature’s show.
On a lighter note, Spring has finally arrived here at The Bitternut Conservancy (my house). As of this writing, the Wood frogs have already mated and laid their eggs, the Bloodroot is in bloom as is Spicebush, and the Virginia Bluebells are above ground with the slightest hint of color in their buds. The Ramps are up as are Toadshade trilliums. White Wood Aster is leafing out (be patient – they will bloom in late summer), and Slender and Cut-leaf Toothworts are up as is Rue-anemone but none are in bloom yet. Hepatica now has beautiful small, yet spectacular, blue blossoms. You can still see the leaves of our native orchids, Puttyroot and Cranefly Orchid, which will die back by the summer before blooming.
As always, please contact us about your issues and concerns. You can also volunteer to help us on specific areas of interest.
Montgomery County Pesticide Law
submitted by Barbara Hoover
Springtime reminder that Montgomery County has a law that bans the cosmetic use of pesticides on your lawns. For more information: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/lawns/law/. Specific bans include:
NO Weed & Feed Products: These products contain both a fertilizer and pesticide and none of them are allowed for use under County law on lawns.
NO “EPA Reg. No.” on Label: Most products with an EPA registration label contain chemicals that cannot be used on lawns, playgrounds, childcare facilities, or mulched recreation areas. There are a few exceptions. Check the above website for a description of the exemptions that apply.
Bumps in the Road and Signs on the Ground – Who Ya Going to Call?
Submitted by Barbara Hoover
If there’s something lumpy that makes your ride bumpy, or you missed that turn and just continued on cause that sign is gone … who ya going to call?
For County Roads, contact the County. County Roads don’t have numbers. You can call 311 or file an online service request at https://www3.montgomerycountymd.gov/311/Services.aspx?SolutionId=-1. You must have the closest address or crossroads, with a good description of the problem. Think MacArthur Blvd, Democracy, Bells Mill, Tuckerman, Seven Locks.
For State Roads, contact the State. You can file an online request:
http://marylandsha.force.com/customercare/request_for_service. You must have the closest address or crossroads, with a good description of the problem. Think Wilson Lane (Rt. 188), Falls Rd. (Rt 189), River Road (Rt. 190), Bradley Blvd (Rt. 191). There are three types of roads maintained by the State:
Interstates, Roads with US Route #s, and Roads with MD Route #s
Winter is ending, and that means lots of potholes and cracks in the road. It also means there are a lot of signs that have been knocked down by storms and snowplows. The State and County rely on residents to report problems, so don’t complain - report the problem.
2021 ELECTION OF WMCCA OFFICERS AND BOARD of DIRECTORS:
The election of the WMCCA Officers and Board of Directors will occur at our May 12th General Meeting. The Nominating Committee is currently seeking individuals to serve on the Board. If you are interested in serving on the Board, please email (President@WMCCA.org).
Help support our efforts in defending the Master Plan. Renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Go to our website to download a membership form or join using PayPal: http://www.wmcca.org
SAVE THE DATE – MAY 12TH GENERAL MEETING at 7:30 p.m.
Our meeting will feature a Legislative update from the District 15 Delegation to the MD General Assembly.