Tree Canopy – It’s Important
President’s Letter – by Shawn Justament
Many trees are lost in older neighborhoods as the small houses built a half-century ago are replaced with much larger houses, and, with the countys decreasing inventory of buildable lots, there is more pressure for infill development. Montgomery Countys Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is endeavoring to switch large areas of the Glen Hills neighborhood from septic systems to sewer service. If this change is approved, the infill development will thin the lush Glen Hills tree canopy as well as damage sensitive stream valleys. And it seems that DEP is looking at bringing sewer into neighborhoods similar to Glen Hills.
The Maryland Public Service Commission, in an attempt to improve reliability, has directed Pepco to increase tree cutting along power lines. At our April meeting Pepco representatives told us that, in the past, trees were pruned sufficiently to last two years before needing to be trimmed again. The current standard is now four years, and trees that can’t be cut back enough to last four years need to be removed. The resulting tree removal has been substantial, and the power companys drastic pruning may stress many trees too much for survival.
Two bills being considered by the County Council are designed to limit the loss of tree canopy by providing incentive to preserve trees where possible and bringing in funds to replant trees when removal is necessary.
- Tree Canopy Conservation (Bill 35-12, proposed by County Executive Leggett and sponsored by the Council President) endeavors to limit the amount of tree removal when properties are redeveloped or new development occurs. Legislation would not prevent a development from being approved, but if trees on a property cannot be saved, a fee would be collected to provide funds to replant trees, either on the same property or elsewhere.
- Roadside Trees Protection (Bill 41-12, sponsored by Councilmembers Berliner and Elrich) would require a permit and ensure protection of trees in the right-of-way. As in Bill 35-12, if a tree cannot be saved, a payment to a tree-planting fund would be required to replace the lost tree canopy.
Potomac Elementary School Modernization
by Curt Uhre Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) staff held the first public meeting regarding the modernization of the Potomac Elementary School (PES) since the decision was made by MCPS to consider building a new PES at the Brickyard site. Approximately 50 people attended. Traffic concerns and the added travel time for the students to the Brickyard site was the top concern expressed. About 90 percent of the PES students would be traveling through the congested Falls Road/River Road intersection during morning rush hour traffic. The lack of public notice of the decision to consider Brickyard as a school site was also raised by many attending. Most citizens preferred building a the new PES at the current site rather than moving the school to the Brickyard site. There were no votes for the Brickyard site in a straw poll taken by the MCPS.
Election of WMCCA Officers and Board
The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of Officers and Directors to the membership for a vote at our May 8th meeting. Nominations may also be made from the floor.
Resident: GINNY BARNES
President Elect: CURT UHRE;
Vice President: SUSANNE LEE;
Immediate Past President: SHAWN JUSTEMENT
Treasurer: GEORGE BARNES;
Secretary: MIKE DENKER and BARBARA HOOVER;
Newsletter: NANCY MADDEN
Directors serving second year of a two-year term:
BARBARA BROWN, BETSI DAHAN, ELIE PISARRA CAIN, ALISON MROHS
Nominees for a two-year term:
KATHY PETTIT, CAROL VAN DAM FALK,LOIS WILLIAMS,JOHN YASSIN
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.