ISO – In Search Of a New Board Member: WMCCA has an
opening on its
Board of Directors. This is a great way to get involved in challenging
local issues. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call
Susanne Lee at 301-738-7987.
Planning and Zoning: George Barnes
Justement Woods – Chang property at 11731 Glen Mill Road. The
developer has made changes to the plan originally submitted to the
Planning Board/Development Review Board and is seeking a meeting on
site with neighbors and WMCCA to address concerns of the community.
Falls Road Dental Office – A hearing was held on September 28 on an
application for a Special Exception for a dental office with a
non-resident dentist. Prior dentists at this address have resided in
the building, which is approved similarly to a home occupation. The
hearing is to be continued at a later date because some of the
information that the applicant submitted had not been reviewed by
Parking and Planning technical staff. WMCCA will testify on our
concerns when the hearing is rescheduled.
Esworthy Estates – A nine-acre parcel with 20 feet of road frontage on
Travilah Road has a preliminary plan for four houses at the end of a
long pipestem driveway. Zoning regulations require road frontage at
least 25 feet. A waiver would be required, and the Planning Board has
never granted a waiver for more than two houses with insufficent
frontage. It would be an unwelcome precedent if the Planning Board
began granting multi-lot subdivisions in locations that do not meet
requirements of the zoning ordinance.
TPC at Avenel -– A special exception hearing is scheduled for October
13 before the Hearing Examiner on an application to modify the existing
special exception for the Tournament Players Club at Avenel. The
Planning Board will hold a hearing on October 5, and will make comments
or recommendations to the Board of Appeals. Individuals may testify at
the hearing both at the Planning Board and the Board of Appeals without
prior notice; groups must give notice of their intention to testify
before the Board of Appeals ten days prior to the hearing date.
Just a note about the process in case you are confused by the names and
players. The Board of Appeals has jurisdiction over Special Exceptions
and variances. The Planning Board has jurisdiction over Development
plans, first preliminary, then final. The Planning Board will also
hold a hearing on a Special Exception application to determine if it
meets the criteria set forth in the Zoning Ordinance, and the Planning
Board's technical staff will evaluate the application for
compliance with other county statutes such as forest conservation,
stormwater, imperviousness, and parking. The Planning Board will
report its findings to the Board of Appeals and make a recommendation.
The Board of Appeals has delegated the conduct of Special Exception
hearings to the office of the Montgomery County Hearing Examiner who
will conduct the actual hearing and make a report to the Board of
Appeals, which will then vote to approve or deny the application based
on the evidence and recommendations from those hearings.
Environmental Report: Ginny Barnes
1. Proposed amendments to the Forest Conservation Law (FCL) submitted
to the County Council by the C&O Canal Task Force are being converted
into a bill that Councilmember Howard Denis hopes to introduce after
the first of the year.
2. Bill 26-06 to establish a Forest Preservation Advisory Board was
introduced by Tom Perez. There has been a public hearing before the
County Council and discussion at the Planning Board. The County
Council will take action on Tuesday, October 3.
3. A Forest Conservation Task Force at MNCPPC is concentrated on
improving the current FCL’s implementation process, and will issue a
set of recommendations by the end of the year.
Stormwater – The Stormwater Partners Coalition, which includes WMCCA,
is a broadly based county-wide group of civic and environmental
groups trying to add measurable pollutant standards to the NPDES Permit
issued by Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to jurisdictions
under the Federal Clean Water Act. Without placing limits on
pollutants entering our streams, we cannot stem the degradation of
water quality throughout Montgomery County watersheds. This issue is
closely linked to forest conservation because one of the best
attenuation measures for stormwater run-off is trees and forest. As we
continue to lose forest, water quality declines too.
Over the summer, using data from the county’s Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP), the Stormwater Partners compiled a list
of the Top Ten most polluted streams in our county that includes
several in the Potomac Subregion. Cabin John, Rock Run, Muddy Branch
and Watt Branch all have pollutants such as raw sewerage leaks,
biological declines, bacteria, and sediment. In Watts Branch, it is
estimated the sediment pollution causes an additional $800,000 annually
in drinking water treatment. A draft permit is expected to be issued
by MDE some time this fall.
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.