Hugged Your Trees Lately? Why Not?
President’s Letter – By Susanne Lee
We tree huggers get such a bad rap. Really, what’s not to love about trees? In the big scheme of things, trees are a critical element in the efforts to combat global warming. But even for die hard skeptics of global warming, the reasons for tree preservation are also local very local and personal.
Our hearts drop when we witness a swath of mature trees laid low by chainsaws. But in addition to the very natural emotional reactions, for those with respiratory illnesses, the impact of tree loss is more than just aesthetics. Trees filter enormous amounts of harmful health threatening pollutants from the air. Air pollution refuses to limit itself to areas inside the Beltway or to stay in Tysons Corner. There is no escaping what envelopes the entire metropolitan area on bad air days. Trees clearly can help.
Trees provide shade and water vapor that cools and mitigates the heat generated by asphalt covered parking areas. Trees soak up excess water and slow stormwater flow. Tree loss and the attendant pollution caused by increased stormwater ends up in the Potomac River just upstream from our drinking water intake sources, increasing the costs to all of us of water treatment. Increased stormwater wrecks havoc on our local stream valley parks and the C & O Canal. If you live near one of the many streams that crisscross our neighborhoods, you may experience the direct impact of flooding caused by tree destruction and overdevelopment in the headwaters upstream.
We in the West Montgomery County Citizens Association are very fortunate to live in the green wedge of the Potomac subregion. Despite low-density zoning and forest conservation laws, however, high-value trees continue to be destroyed at an alarming rate, replaced with ever-larger housing footprints, asphalt and the monotonous monoculture of the savannah the American lawn.
Our December speaker Katherine Nelson will demonstrate an incredible tool for examining tree canopy issues right down to the lot you live on that will soon be available to all citizens through the Montgomery County Planning Board website. It will provide all of us with assistance in understanding the impacts of loss and increases in tree canopy. Most importantly, it will help us determine where and how we should focus out efforts at preserving and increasing tree cover. Or trees to hug!
Special Exception Request for Apartment Building for the Disabled: The Foundation for Special Needs Housing is requesting Montgomery County approval of a special exception to allow the construction of an apartment building in an RE-2 zone (two-acre residential) at 10550 Falls Road. If approved, the plans for the property include retaining the existing house on the property for offices and staff housing along with construction of a new 16-unit apartment building to house young adults with special needs. Representatives of the Foundation provided a description of the proposal at the November WMCCA Board Meeting. Please contact Susanne Lee at 301-956-4535 if you are interested in working with WMCCA on the issues involved in this special exception request..
Potomac Swim and Recreation Association Tennis Bubble: WMCCA and surrounding neighbors are still waiting for Montgomery County Circuit Court Associate Judge Alego to conduct an evidentiary hearing and rule on our Motions to Intervene and to Vacate his prior judgment allowing construction of a commercial indoor tennis facility, including a bubble, at the Association’s Oaklyn Drive location. In the meantime, construction at the site has continued. On December 1st, several residents of the surrounding community met with representatives of the Association to express their continuing concerns regarding the facility.
Brickyard Road School Site: WMCCA is part of the Brickyard Coalition and has been working since March when the community first learned of the County Executives decision to use the school site that has been leased to Nick’s Organic Farm for 31 years for a soccer complex to be developed and run by a private entity. Our goal has been to halt the process, rewind, and, through a public process, determine the best use of the site. So far the County has pushed forward with their plans. December will be a turning point for the issue since the countys RFP (Request for Proposals) should be ready for release and Nick’s Organic Farm current lease expires at the end of the month. The County has refused him an extension. For further information, go to www.brickyardcoalition.org.
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President – Ginny Barnes 301 762-6423
Newsletter – Lois Williams
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