Happy New Year! The beginning of each year brings reflection, reminding me that the West Montgomery County Citizens Association was founded in 1947, making it one of the oldest civic groups in Montgomery County – if not the oldest! We came into being when there were few paved roads, sporadic electricity service, and a number of horse and cattle farms. Over the years we have kept watch and helped shape the community we are today. In the 1960's, we participated in the creation of the Montgomery County General Plan which established the “wedges and corridors” zoning model we still use today. We've helped shape the county Zoning Ordinance and gone to Court enough times over the years to be cited in law textbooks. We have a good relationship with our Chamber of Commerce and a reputation with our government for responsible and knowledgeable positions. Former Maryland State Delegate and current Planning Board Commissioner Jean Cryor calls WMCCA "the gold standard for civic associations." We have a right to be proud of our efforts.
But our success is dependent on our members. From our membership is drawn the Board of Directors, which also meets monthly and covers the actual business of the Association. We do research, meet with public officials, craft WMCCA policies, and develop positions on issues we bring to members at WMCCA General Meetings. We rely on our members to bring to our attention the goings-on in their neighborhoods. Often a small group of neighbors becomes a liaison and the leaders that address issues with our help. They join us and we join them to provide our expertise and connections. We keep our membership informed on the high profile issues, but there are many things happening out there we don't know about until you tell us. Only then can we help.
Recently, on a residential street on the C&O Canal side of River Road, a number of large trees were cut down without notice to adjoining neighbors. They just woke up one morning to chain saws! Understandably, they were shocked and upset. As it turns out, one of the felled trees was a rare species first discovered by the famous 18th century American botanists John and William Bartram. But who knew? The surrounding homeowners were aware, but perhaps thought it protected. Perhaps that tree, if better known, could have reached the attention of those in Montgomery County who designate such trees with “specimen” status. Perhaps it could have been saved. We often believe that things we see every day in our surroundings are immune to change, only to find them gone when we look away. We need you to do more than pay your WMCCA dues and read our newsletter. We need your participation at meetings and the benefit of your watchful eyes, your questions, observations, opinions, and your invaluable historical memories. You are the substance of our now sixty-year-old and still vital citizens organization.
Environmental Report – Trees and forests are going to be dominant in the coming year as the County Council starts debate on amendments to the Forest Conservation Law later this month and is solidifying plans to create a county-wide tree ordinance.
Tuesday, January 22 – The County Council has scheduled a public hearing on Forest Conservation Law amendments proposed by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNPPC) as well as amendments proposed by Councilmember Marc Elrich (D-At Large).
Thursday, January 10 – The League of Women Voters is holding a public forum for citizens to learn more about the FCL Amendments. Besides the Planning Board recommendations, Councilmember Marc Elrich has additional changes he is proposing, and both sets of changes will be topics at the forum. The panelists will include Planning Board Chair Royce Hanson, Councilmember Marc Elrich, Ginny Barnes for the environmental community, and Dusty Rood representing the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association. The forum is in the County Council Office Building (7th floor) at 7:00 p.m.
Planning and Zoning and Transportation
Sutton Property – We have just received a revised site plan for this property which reduces the number of lots from eight to seven and claims to remove the problem of cross easements. Previously scheduled for Public Hearing at the Planning Board on January 17th, this new plan may delay consideration to a later date.
Major Bridge Work on Westbound Clara Barton Parkway – We have received a notice that the bridge and ramp up to southbound I-495 over westbound Clara Barton Parkway will be rehabilitated in 2008. The bridge deck will be replaced and the work will also include cleaning and painting of the steel beams and minor roadway work approaching the bridge. A public meeting will be held January 10, 2008 at Carderock Springs Elementary School, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be no formal presentation, instead citizens can come anytime and discuss displays of the plan with State Highway Administration.
Koh Property/Country Inn Zone – A Planning Board
hearing has been scheduled for January 17th. The project then goes
before the Hearing Examiner on January 28th.
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President - Ginny Barnes 301 762-6423
Newsletter - Lois Williams
The Newsletter is published monthly, and the Board of Directors meets each month. We welcome any suggestions for upcoming meeting topics and ways to further utilize our web site (www.wmcca.org).
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.