Facing The Future
President’s Letter – by Ginny Barners
For the last eight years, District 1 has been served on the County Council by Roger Berliner. The imposition of term limits and the election last November have brought us a new County Executive in Marc Elrich and a significant turnover in Council Members. The Council is made up of 5 Districts and 4 At-Large seats. As the legislative body of our County government, these 9 members make laws and policies, approve funding and Master Plans, and even make changes to our Master Plans. The public should keep a close eye on the Council agenda and work schedule. From cell towers and funding for our parks to sewer and water policy, they can alter our neighborhoods on a daily basis. As citizens, we have the right to lobby them and influence what they approve or reject. They in turn, depend on constituents to weigh in on issues affecting the quality of their lives. WMCCA makes it a practice to work closely with elected and appointed officials on behalf of the Potomac Subregion. An opportunity to interact with these officials in a public forum is beneficial to all. Our community is wrestling with some weighty public health issues including the use of synthetic turf, impacts of stormwater runoff in our streams, and loss of tree canopy through development projects. Each of us has a responsibility to inform and monitor the decisions made by public officials. This is what makes democratic government function and serve the people it represents. Please come to our February meeting and be part of the government you elected.
Heritage Gardens / South Glen Properties, LLC by Susanne Lee:
At WMCCA’s January meeting, representatives of Womald Homes and Sage Life Senior Living presented an overview of their proposal for a major townhouse development at 10701 S. Glen Road (previously the 4th Presbyterian School site). Based on the information presented at the meeting, the WMCCA Board subsequently voted to oppose the proposal. The 30 acre site is zoned RE-2 (single family residential each on a minimum of 2 acres). Townhouse developments are not allowed by right or pursuant to a conditional use approval in RE-2 zones. Instead, it appears the applicant may be seeking approval for a conditional use under the category of Group Living and in particular as an “Independent Living Facility for Seniors or Persons with Disabilities.” Based on the information presented, the proposal appears to be inconsistent with the requirements for such group living facilities and the Master Plan provisions regarding housing for the elderly. WMCCA looks forward to meeting with the staff of the Montgomery County Planning Board regarding their review of the additional specifics of the proposal.
Site Selection for a New Public Safety Radio Communications Tower in Potomac
by Susanne Lee:
The County identified areas in Potomac and along the river where existing radio coverage for public safety agencies is inadequate. As a result, as part of its Public Safety System Modernization Project, the County identified two sites where communication towers could be erected that could fill these coverage gaps and meet the County’s “95/95” coverage mandate: 95% coverage reliability in 95% of the County service area:
1. Fire Station #30, 9404 Falls Road, owned by the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Dept.; and,
2. Falls Road Public Golf Course, 10800 Falls Road, owned by the County.
If the proposed tower was a privately owned tower, e.g., Verizon, the zoning code would bar construction on the Fire Station site because it fails to meet the County’s minimum tower setback requirements established for health, safety, and neighborhood compatibility. It also violates the Master Plan requirements for the site. There are 6 structures that would fall within the setback and at least 3 of those are single family residential homes. Although taller, the Golf Course tower would not be adjacent to any homes and would easily meet the setback requirements.
There are no codified setback requirements established for public telecommunication towers erected by the County. In the absence of such standards, however, the County has always ensured that each of its towers meets the setback requirements established for private towers. Inexplicably, the County’s Department of Technology Services proposes to reject this policy and approve the Fire Station site. We have reached out to County Executive Elrich’s office to seek his intervention in ensuring that the health and safety standards necessary for private towers are applied in this case as well and the Fire Station site is rejected.
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.
CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK!
Please like and follow us at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWMCCA/
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.