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.

January 2009



President's Letter
Carol Van Dam Falk

Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services works to reduce the amount of waste that we generate and to recycle as much material as possible.  The County has a waste reduction goal of no increase in the amount of waste per resident, and a goal for businesses of no increase in per-employee-generated waste over the 1992 level.

Montgomery County’s goal is to recycle 50 percent of all waste generated in the County.  In Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, the County's overall recycling rate was 44.3 percent, while businesses recycled 40 percent of the non-residential sector waste, up from 37.3 percent recycled in FY 2007.  Businesses are critical to the success of the County's recycling achievement, as they produce more than half of the County’s solid waste.  If business recycling were carried out as intended, the 50 percent recycling goal for Montgomery County could be easily met.

Most of the Potomac-area businesses are too small to be required to submit an annual Waste Reduction and Recycling report to the County.  Like Montgomery County’s large businesses, though, Potomac’s restaurants, grocery stores, retailers, medical and dental offices, home-based businesses, and swimming pools are required to recycle mixed paper, commingled materials, scrap metal, and yard trim materials.

We are concerned that some local Potomac businesses may not fully understand the County’s goals, may feel that bins are unsightly, or may not be implementing a recycling program consistent with the County’s goals.  To address that issue, we are inviting local business owners to come and join us January 14th when Mr. Pultyniewicz speaks about the County’s recycling programs.  We, the public, also have a role.  As we patronize Potomac businesses, we need to look for – and use – recycling bins, and we can thank a manager that makes bins visible and convenient.
 

Planning and Zoning Report by George Barnes

Potomac Swim and Recreation Club  – The Planning Board voted two to two, with one Commissioner absent, on a Special Exception modification to permit additional courts and a tennis bubble for the club at Oaklyn Drive.  The decision, without finding for or against, transmits the Planning Board’s staff report, which recommended denial based on incompatibility with the surrounding residential neighborhood, to the Board of Appeals.  The Board of Appeals hearing, originally scheduled for January 9th, has been postponed.  A new date will be set and all parties notified.      
Environmental Report – by Ginny Barnes

Forest Conservation Law (FCL) Amendments – The County Executive has asked Department of Environmental Protection staff to look at creating a process to protect trees on smaller lots as well as the forest stands that are currently part of our County FCL.  Councilmember Marc Elrich, who has sponsored a set of amendments to the FCL now under consideration by the County Council, is enthusiastic about this approach. 

Circle Drive Ash Tree – Several years back, WMCCA worked to protect an enormous specimen Ash tree from land disturbances impacting the critical root zone.  We hired an arborist and testified at the Planning Board on a proposal the Board subsequently denied.  The tree is again in danger from a plan to remove the old house located just next to it, preparatory to developing the property.  We have concerns about how the tree will be made safe if the house is removed as well as the placement of long-term maintenance protections if the property is developed.

River Road Water Main Break – The enormous volume of water that rushed down River Road during the 66-inch water main break was directed by gravity to the nearest watershed, the Cabin John Creek.  While much has been made of the damage to the road and the disruption of vehicular transportation, there is an untold story in this disaster.  What did thousands of gallons of chlorinated water roaring into Cabin John do to the stream banks, aquatic life and the nearby Potomac River into which the creek flows – and from which River Road takes its name?  
 

Update on Gaithersburg West Master Plan – by Diana Conway

The current draft of Gaithersburg West Master Plan adds 20 million square feet of space, 60,000 jobs, and thousands of housing units to an area very near Potomac.  The land under study consists of several hundred acres in parcels around Shady Grove Road and Darnestown Road that are not in Potomac proper but abut our area.   This would have serious impacts on our roads, our homes, and our streams and forests. 

A group of citizens in the Gaithersburg West area has formed Residents for Responsible Development (RRD) to advocate for more balanced growth that respects existing neighborhoods and natural resources as well as original Master Plans.  WMCCA is participating in the citizen group because of the impacts so much development would have on our sub-region along with its threats to our region's role as a Green Wedge between the rural up-county and the urban down-county areas.  

WMCCA recently joined numerous civic associations in co-signing a letter to Park & Planning Chairman Royce Hanson, listing the objections and concerns of RRD and proposing several alternative planning scenarios with more appropriate densities.  RRD is particularly concerned that the transit component upon which so much density is premised – the Corridor Cities Transitway – may not be funded in these difficult budget times.  For more information, contact Diana Conway at dconway@erols.com or Pam Lindstrom at pamela.lindstrom@gmail.com.
 


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).

Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.