Michael Subin, President
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Dear Mr. Subin:
The members of the Potomac Subregion Leadership Group, consisting of representatives from the West Montgomery County Citizens Association, Darnestown Civic Association, North Potomac Citizens Association, and the Willows and Neighbors Citizens Association, express our grave concerns with the recent approval for the applications WSSCR 00A-TRV-03 and WSSCR 01A-TRV-10, which constitute a direct violation of the recently adopted Potomac Master Plan.
Our four civic associations worked extensively on the Potomac Subregion Master Plan, commencing in 1998 through its adoption by the County Council in March 2002. Members of three of our civic associations served on the Potomac Master Plan Advisory Group (MPAG) during those five years. Our civic associations also provided input on the plan during the multiple public hearing sessions before the Planning Board and the County Council. We were convinced that the Master Plan, after Council approval, provided a set of comprehensive recommendations and guidelines for the use of publicly and privately owned land within the Subregion. As adopted, the Master Plan recognized that limiting sewer capacity in the Subregion was integral to both protecting the environment adjacent to the Potomac River and the public water supply.
Due in part to the amount of citizen effort which was expended by our respective organizations and its individual members over the five year period within which the Master Plan was developed, we are disappointed, disillusioned, disheartened, and quite frankly, astonished by the approvals of the County Council on October 22, 2002 and November 26, 2002 of two sewer extension applications which clearly violate the specific language of the Master Plan as it pertains to the restriction of further sewer extensions in the Glen Hill area and the Piney Branch Restricted Access Policy. Specifically we refer to applications WSSCR 00A-TRV-03 and WSSCR 01A-TRV-10.
The Council's decisions on these two sewer extension applications are not supported by any other government agency involved in the process. The record reflects that the County Executive, the Maryland Park and Planning Commission, and your staff repeatedly recommended denial of these applications to maintain consistency with the updated Master Plan recommendations and your water and sewer plan policies. Yet they were both approved, the latter on a 5-4 vote at the Council's November 26, 2002 session without public notification that the item would be on the agenda.
The Council's decision on these two matters goes, in our opinion, well beyond the sewer extension applications themselves. We believe Council's action calls into question the Council's respect for and commitment to the recently adopted Potomac Subregion Master Plan. We need to hear from the Council that such is not the case. We believed the Approved Master Plan would be the defining document for future development in our communities and that we could trust it to guide your decisions. We did not expect, especially after the amount of citizen time devoted to the Plan's construct, to be dealing with an issue that so clearly violates both the letter and spirit of the Potomac Master Plan only eight months after the Plan's adoption. This is not good government!
Each of our organizations intends to update our members on these recent Council actions. This will be done by including this letter in our respective newsletters, related publications and community meeting agendas. We respectfully request a prompt reply to this letter so your response, too, can be included as part of our member update.
Tom DeGraba, President, Willows And Neighbors Citizens Association
Susanne Lee, President, West Montgomery County Citizens Association
James R. Grant, Jr., President, North Potomac Citizens Association
Terrence Reis, President, Darnestown Civic Association
WMCCA will testify before the County Council on January 14, 2003 opposing Council Bill No. 38-02, which would make optional development standards (denser development than under existing zoning) currently available to developments of 35 or more units also available to any other developments that contain moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs), no matter how small the parcel of land or the number of dwelling units proposed. While WMCCA supports efforts to increase the number of MPDUs available, under this legislation high-density infill developments could be approved for single lots in established single-family detached neighborhoods without regard to zoning, the Master Plan, or the character of the surrounding neighborhood.
The Board of Appeals hearing on the Allentuck Special Exception Request (nursery at corner of Glen Road and Falls Road) has been postponed until February. At that time WMCCA plans to support the proposal in general, subject to the imposition of certain limitations on lighting and sales of garden furniture.
Environmental Affairs: Ginny Barnes, WMCCA's Environmental Chair, testified before the Planning Board on February 6, 2003 regarding the Countywide Trail Plan Amendment.
Planning and Zoning: Copies of the site plans for the Greenbriar Preserve and Congressional Forest Estates developments will be available for examination at the WMCCA meeting on February 12.
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.