WMCCA Newsletter


WEST MONTGOMERY COUNTY
CITIZENS ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER

An Archive of past newsletters, back to the January 2003 issue, is now available on this website.

December 2008



President's Letter - 62,000 jobs and 15,000 housing units
Carol Van Dam Falk

That's a lot of cars and people, and they're coming to a neighborhood near you.  As part of the Master Plan for what is called "Gaithersburg West," major development is planned in Gaithersburg on several hundred acres on the northeast side of Route 28 at the junction of Muddy Branch Road on the Belward Farm  – areas not currently within the City of Gaithersburg.  What affects Shady Grove Road, Muddy Branch Road, Quince Orchard Road, Darnestown Road, and Travilah Road affects the Potomac Subregion.  The amount of additional traffic generated by this mixed-use development on our local roadways will be devastating without transit.

At our last general meeting Councilwoman Nancy Floreen said that it would be foolish to build such a massive development without transit, yet it has happened before – with Traville, with the King Farm, and with the Shady Grove Life Science Center.  The Corridor Cities Transitway is promised, but transit promised and not delivered could very well happen again.  We need to make sure that, this time, public transit is an integral, non-negotiable part of the plan from day one.  Without transit, this project should not be allowed to move forward.

Transportation is just one of the issues raised by this huge proposed development – already there are concerns about its ultra-high density, building height, placement of tall buildings, and green buffers.  Unfortunately, there is no Citizens Advisory Group as part of the Gaithersburg West Master Plan as there was with Park and Planning’s Potomac Master Plan process.  However, an informal citizens group has formed to advocate for more limited growth and more responsiveness to existing communities.  Questions?  Contact Diana Conway, dconway@erols.com, or Pam Lindstrom,  or contact Lead Planner Nancy Sturgeon at Park and Planning, 301-495-1308 or nancy.sturgeon@mncppc-mc.org.
 

Planning and Zoning Report by George Barnes

Tennis Bubble, Oaklyn Drive: The Board has voted to oppose the application for a modification to the Special Exception that governs the Potomac Swim and Tennis Club. Our opposition is based on the impacts to the neighboring properties from an additional tennis court with lighting at night until 10:00 p.m.. During the colder months the bubble would cover the courts but may not contain noise, will require a fan unit to keep it inflated, and create traffic in and out of the club later in the evening. If the club seeks permission from the Board of Appeals to have different classes of membership (for example, tennis only, or limited duration) it would create a significant departure from the current requirements in the Zoning Ordinance for a swim club to operate and would require that the Ordinance be modified, with county-wide repercussions.

PNC Bank, Potomac Village: While not opposed to a new facility, the WMCCA Board is not particularly happy with the proposal made by PNC and the shopping center management to build a two-lane drive through banking facility in the parking lot along the Falls Road side of the lot where the existing ATM kiosk is located. A number of parking spaces would be lost and a complicated set of stop signs at the Falls Road exit would try to regulate traffic attempting to leave the center. We are unconvinced that this proposal will result in anything but confusion and congestion at a point in the parking lot where it should be easier to navigate rather than made more difficult

Environmental Report – by Ginny Barnes

City of Gaithersburg Annexation Plans – The City of Gaithersburg has identified parcels of land outside its boundaries for possible future annexation because the city does not have enough land to accomplish future development goals.  No reference is made to the fact that development outside the city’s boundaries is regulated by the Potomac Master Plan that covers Potomac, North Potomac, and Darnestown.  The three associations in the Potomac Subregion will be writing a joint letter to the City of Gaithersburg.
Planning and Zoning Report – continued

Tennis Bubble, Oaklyn Drive:  The Board of Appeals has scheduled a hearing on the tennis bubble application filed by Potomac Swim and Recreation Association, Inc. for January 9, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.  WMCCA will testify in opposition.  Individuals may testify on their own behalf without prior notice, but groups and organizations and individuals represented by counsel must file two copies of their statement ten days before the scheduled hearing date.  The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold a hearing prior to the Board of Appeals hearing.  As of this writing that hearing is not yet scheduled.  The applicant’s submission may be examined at the Board of Appeals’ office located in the Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Room 217, Rockville.
 

Opposing the ICC – by Diana Conway

The state’s own study shows Intercounty Connector (ICC) will not relieve traffic on 495, 270, 95 – the new road will induce more new driving than its relief can match.  We can expect 700,000,000 more miles of new driving per year because of the thousands of acres of associated "dumb growth," car-centric sprawl.  And we in the Potomac area fear that the ICC points to this six-to-eight-lane toll-road plowing right through our residential area, for a NINTH Potomac River crossing.  The WMCCA Board is meeting with elected officials, asking them to reconsider their support for this increasingly expensive road in light of our economic crisis.  The ICC will cost over $4 billion, not the $2.4 billion promised in 2004.  By stopping now, the state could save over $3.5 billion and redirect much of that funding to other projects including intersection improvements and transit projects – both of which are shown to improve traffic.  Spending our federal dollars on transit instead of the ICC would also trigger a matching contribution from federal transit resources, thus increasing the total transportation.  Questions?  Contact Diana Conway dconway@erols.com or Carol Falk .

 


West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter


P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President - Carol Van Dam Falk, 301 963-6779
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).

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