Governor Hogan’s Highway Folly ? Is There Hope to Stop It?
President’s Letter – by Ginny Barners
Since our November meeting plans were curtailed by snow, there has been some progress on the opposition front. On Monday, December 17th, the Montgomery County Delegation will hold a public hearing on a bill to prohibit Maryland from building “any toll road, toll highway or toll bridge” in Montgomery County without County authorization through local law. MC8-19, known as the Lexus Lane Bill, is the work of Delegates Al Carr, Jheanelle Wilkins, and three Delegate Elects. It is imperative that civic associations and individuals write the State Legislature in support of this bill.
The widening of highways and creation of toll roads and bridges are but a symptom of development allowed to overwhelm available infrastructure. For the 25+ years I’ve been an activist, the County government has proposed new development that promised alternatives to auto use but failed to provide it. In the early 1990’s when WMCCA fought sewer, extensive new housing, and a conference center in the upper Piney Branch watershed, the projects were all supposed to rely on mass transit and provision of a Corridor Cities Transitway. In the end, Piney Branch was not spared sewer; the conference center was abandoned in favor of more retail and a university campus for Shady Grove, and the housing went forward. Shady Grove Road was extended and widened. What we did get was recognition of Piney Branch as a high water quality watershed that deserved expanded stream buffers. The rare geology of the Serpentine Barrens was recognized, leading to a new County Park intended to protect what acreage remained. In the housing projects, tree canopy was enhanced and what was considered at the time to be “state of the art” storm water treatment installed. A portion of Piney Branch was even designated a Special Protection Area (SPA), limiting the amount of development allowed. Despite all the effort, we are still fighting threats to the water quality in Piney Branch.
But we’ve continued to rely on auto based transportation. The ‘Science City’ concept for Johns Hopkins and the Banks Farm was also supposed to have transit. Once again, our County leaders approve extensive increases in development instead of limiting it until we have the transit promised for all the projects already in the pipeline. Such a failure helps fuel a proposal from our current Governor that will lessen the quality of life for our residents and the environment we all value. When do we stop this endless folly?
West Montgomery County Citizens Association v. Montgomery County Planning Board
by Susanne Lee:
On November 9, 2018 WMCCA filed its opening Brief in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County challenging the Planning Board’s decision to approve a subdivision in the Piney Branch Special Protection Area (SPA) on Glen Mill Road adjacent to the Glen Hills Park. The appeal has been consolidated with and coordinated with an appeal brought by the neighbors most adversely impacted by the proposed development. The site is very environmentally sensitive and any development is constrained by steep slopes, wetlands, stream buffers, and flood plain that cover approximately ½ of the site. These constraints made development with even one house problematic and the Planning Board has approved two. In so doing they adopted staff calculations of stream and wetlands buffers that are dead wrong and in violation of the plain language of the County’s Environmental Guidelines governing development in SPAs. They also ignored the provisions of the Piney Branch Sewer Agreement Covenant governing the owner’s use of the property and erroneously applied the requirements of the County’s Forest Conservation Statute. WMCCA is particularly concerned that the Board’s failure to enforce these requirements will result not just in further degradation of water quality in the Piney Branch, but, if not reversed, also sets a dangerous precedent for SPAs throughout the County.
Piney Meetinghouse Road Sewer Request Correctly Rejected by Susanne Lee:
On October 30, 2018, by a vote of 6-3, the Montgomery County Council correctly rejected a request to extend sewer to a vacant lot located in the 12000 block of Piney Meetinghouse Road (17-TRV-10A). The applicant sought to obtain the extension under the County’s abutting mains policy, but the Council correctly affirmed the provisions of the recently enacted Water and Sewer Plan and rejected it as not meeting those requirements. At the same time the Council correctly approved two sewer extensions that meet the newly enacted Glen Hills peripheral sewer policy: 18-TRV-02A — 10125 Bevern Lane; 09A-TRV-02 – 13101 Valley Drive.
REMINDER: IT’S TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2018-2019!
Help support our efforts in defending the Master Plan. Renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Go to our website to download a membership form or join using PayPal: www.wmcca.org We count on your dues to cover the cost of our newsletter. Individual: $25 / Family: $50. We also welcome donations to our Legal Fund.
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WMCCA is actively looking for volunteers for:
Website Assistance Needed by Peter Poggi:
WMCCA is looking for someone to help modernize our website.
While the current http://www.wmcca.org website has served us well since 2003, it is built upon an outdated Microsoft Frontpage 2003 platform, written entirely in HTML using frames, and reliant upon one individual. Our objectives are twofold. First and foremost, we need to have a trained backup who will share responsibility for maintaining the current site alongside our current website administrator. Once familiarized with the site, this responsibility will require a minimal time commitment of less than 30 minutes monthly. Our second goal is to identify and begin transforming the site to a more maintainable, perhaps template driven platform. This will require gaining an understanding of the existing website structure and working closely with the WMCCA Board and website administrator to come up with a suitable design.
Interested candidates should have a current background in current document management type website design and development methodologies, and a familiarity with available hosting options. Please contact Peter Poggi, email@example.com.
If you have any issues or concerns in your neighborhood, please contact WMCCA. We appreciate the input from our neighbors and are glad to review and address issues as they affect the Potomac Subregion Master Plan, zoning, and environmental threats to the “Green Wedge”, our creeks and water supplies, and the Agricultural Reserve.
Help support our efforts in defending the Master Plan. Renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Look for your renewal notice in the mail or go to our website to download a membership form or join using PayPal: http://www.wmcca.org
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 (www.wmcca.org).
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.