Whew – 2011 was a busy, busy year for WMCCA and a busy year for the many neighbors with whom we partnered. It was a particularly fine year for doing what WMCCA does best – sharing our knowledge, resources, and energy with others to maximize our collective effectiveness. We thank all of you from Brickyard Road to Oaklyn Drive and Gary Road to Glen Hills and points in between who stepped up and jumped in to help protect and preserve the environmental quality of our little corner of the planet.
Undoubtedly there will be new, unforeseen challenges in 2012. Already we are beginning to address issues presented by the development of the Glenstone Foundation site on Glen Road and a proposal for condominium apartments for special needs young adults across Falls Road from the Bullis School entrance. But for now, we sit back and do a little dreaming – Sugarplum Visioning, if you will – and make our resolutions for the New Year. We resolve to work to make these wishes come true:
Brickyard Road Soccer Complex – The lease between the Board of Education and Montgomery County will be revoked, and the entire process for deciding the future of the site restarted. This time, though, there's maximum public transparency and participation. In the meantime, Nick Marvell harvests another year of organic crops. In the short term, government officials will expeditiously comply with the requirements of the Maryland Public Information Law, eliminating the need for an appeal to the Circuit Court to force them to produce documents related to the Brickyard Road site.
Sewer Expansions – The State of Maryland will continue to reverse all Montgomery County Council sewer approvals that are inconsistent with the Potomac Subregion Master Plan. In accordance with the Master Plan, the Glen Hills study will be “conducted in conjunction with the citizens of the area” and measures developed to “ensure the long-‐term sustainability of septic service for new home construction and existing home renovations, minimizing the need for future sewer service extensions.”
Gary Road Water Main – No large trees will be cut for the construction of a WSSC water main, and the character of this wooded area remains as before. Even better, WSSC will decide not to construct a new water main in Gary Road.
Potomac Swim and Recreation Association – The Board of Appeals' original decision denying construction of an indoor tennis bubble will be reinstated following a successful appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. In the meantime, the Club strictly adheres to the existing restrictions, including the 9:00 p.m. curfew, membership and use limitations, and trash and parking requirements.
Greened Up – No forest conservation easements will be violated or reduced in scope, and no one clear cuts a site. Instead, landowners plant more trees and vegetable gardens, lawn area diminishes, and tree canopy increases throughout, even in Potomac Village.
Water Quality – County and state officials will strictly enforce all stormwater management and pesticide use restrictions, stop new sources of run off, and remediate existing sources. The water quality in our streams, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay improves.
And . . . we all will join or renew our membership in WMCCA, make a contribution to the association’s legal defense fund, hike the C & O Canal each week, and put in that new vegetable garden!
Potomac Swim and Recreation Association Tennis Bubble: On December 12, 2011, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Michael Algeo denied Motions by WMCCA and surrounding neighbors to intervene and vacate the Judge's prior decision approving construction of an indoor tennis facility at the Club's Oaklyn Drive location. On December 19, WMCCA's Board voted to appeal the decision to the Court of Special Appeals.
Ongoing Pepco Tree Trimming: While we understand the role that trimming trees plays in the ongoing concerns about Pepco reliability, it is shocking to see the extent to which the utility has gone in mauling not just our roadside tree canopy but well beyond, even to the extent of removing trees which have no bearing on utility lines. This is especially egregious on our designated Rural and Rustic Roads, where Pepco contractors have wreaked environmental havoc. By completely clearing steep slopes, they leave nothing to absorb storm water, thus creating conditions for severe runoff during future rainstorms. In consultation with our conservation colleagues in the Agricultural Reserve, we've found the same heavy-handed practices have altered both the roadsides and trees on private property, even when permission to cut has been strictly forbidden by the property owners. Trees maimed by the practices being employed now will eventually die and become hazards. Pepco continuously asserts they are not opposed to trees near power lines, but subscribe the practice of "right tree, right place.” To date, we've seen no plans or offers to replant our Rustic Roads with appropriate trees.
Brickyard Road School Site: Organic Farmer Nick Maravell has agreed to drop his Open Meetings Act Circuit Court lawsuit against the Montgomery County Board of Education in exchange for a lease extension until August 2012. This is related but separate from the community struggle to stop planned soccer fields by the County Executive. Nor is it the end of Mr. Maravell's concerns. He still has an administrative appeal pending at the Maryland Board of Education that challenges the use of the land for a public-‐private partnership and, in a separate case, nearby Brickyard property owners are also challenging the decision of MCPS to lease the property to Montgomery County. WMCCA has joined a number of other Potomac civic groups in creating the Brickyard Coalition, which continues to raise funds for the administrative and legal challenges to come in 2012. WMCCA still maintains the County Executive is violating the approved and adopted Potomac Subregion Master Plan as it attempts to turn the property over to a private entity to develop a soccer field complex.
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President - Susanne Lee Ph: 301 956-4535
Newsletter - Lois Williams
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.