Newsletter – May 2014

May 2014

Involve the Communities First – Early Public Notice and Input are Critical

President’s Letter – by Ginny Barnes

One of the important functions of a citizens association like WMCCA is bringing the community in touch with decision makers early in any process that will create change. Development proposals, recently enacted legislation, and alterations to the zoning code need to be aired and discussed before rumors and misconceptions get started. In recent years some of the most contentious issues in our Potomac Subregion have resulted from the lack of public notice and failure to engage the community in the decision making process. The most distressing and costly of these blunders was the attempt to turn Nick’s Organic Farm on the Brickyard Road School site into a private soccer complex. Some years back there was a proposal for a Country Inn on a site across from the Water Filtration Plant on River Road that created a storm of controversy and was, like the Brickyard proposal, finally and wisely abandoned. Just before the Brickyard struggle, the Parks Department got in trouble over an unsolicited proposal for a privately run recreation center at Rockwood Manor. It is always wise to involve communities early and often when plans are first in the wind. It saves trouble, brings valuable feedback to any proposal, and most importantly, leads to a better outcome and product in the long run.

Montgomery County has one of the nation’s premier park systems and departments, with responsibility for more than 420 conservation and recreation parks on more than 35,000 acres of land, or 12% of Montgomery County’s total landmass. When it comes to parks and/or potential parks, citizens of our county are unusually passionate and with good reason. We have a singular piece of luck to be bordered by a well loved National Historic Park running the length of the C&O Canal. We have an abundance of local conservation lands like Blockhouse Point and the Serpentine Barrens. We have an excellent Regional Park called Cabin John. Many of the area watersheds are bordered by long stretches of Stream Valley Parks. We do not have as many small, local parks serving neighborhoods but some are in the pipeline, like Greenbriar Local Park. We love and use them all. We even take them for granted just as we do our low density zoning and limited sewer envelope. But we should not. We need to protect these givens and demand that stewardship be taken seriously. For information on our County Park system:

Membership in the WMCCA is the best way of keeping up with and being part of any changes that will impact our daily lives. We need members and volunteers willing to serve our association founded here in Potomac over 60 years ago and still going strong. We invite you to join us, memberships are only $25 for individuals and $50 for families. Become part of a community organization that works to protect your quality of life here in Potomac. Please consider supporting WMCAA by joining when you attend our May 14th meeting or by going to our website, and clicking “Join Us”.

ENVIRONMENT PEPCO at it again. If you have seen tree trimming trucks, crews, and chippers on our local roads, it is because PEPCO is now into a four-year cycle of vegetation management. According to Jerry Pasternak, Vice President of the PEPCO Region, this is to meet Maryland’s Service Quality and Reliability Standards, known as RM43. The standards include pruning to a four-year growth beside and under most power lines. For high-voltage lines the required clearance is 15 feet below and beside the lines and blue sky clearance above. After witnessing denuding of steep slopes in the Glen and along many of our Rustic Roads, as well as complaints from neighbors on Lloyd Road, we seem to be facing a future of more canopy loss and increased stormwater runoff. Since PEPCO is not required to remove stumps, it also means limited areas for any replacement plantings as well as unsightly stump-lined roads.


The WMCCA Nominating Committee consists of George Barnes, Barbara Hoover, Barbara Brown, Shawn Justement, and Susanne Lee. The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of Officers and Directors to the membership for a vote at our May 14th meeting. Nominations may also be made from the floor.

President: SUSANNE LEE
President Elect: BARBARA BROWN
Vice President: CAROL VAN DAM FALK
Immediate Past President: GINNY BARNES
Secretary and Bookkeeper: BARBARA HOOVER
Newsletter: NANCY MADDEN

Directors serving second year of a two-year term: KATHY PETTIT, JOHN YASSIN


Nominees for a one-year term: SHAWN JUSTEMENT

West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President – Ginny Barnes 301 762-6423
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 (

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

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