Newsletter – October 2020

October 2020

A Year Like No Other

President’s Letter – by Ken Bawer

This pandemic is possibly the worst disaster that many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. Our region is fortunate to not be plagued by many natural disasters routinely faced by other parts of the country such as large-scale forest fires. But the COVID-19 pandemic is a different beast – it is not limited by geography. And there are segments of our population that are bearing the brunt of the disease – the elderly, low income folks, people of color, and those with pre-existing conditions. Our thoughts go out to those in our community who have lost family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Beyond loss of life, additional hardships caused by the pandemic are many faceted – lost jobs, closed businesses, students having to attend school remotely and the burden that places on entire families. Maybe we can all reach out with a kind word of encouragement, a word of thanks to essential workers, and an offer of assistance to a friend or neighbor. Of course, we have an election coming up. You are encouraged to vote by whatever method meets your own comfort level to protect your personal health.

I would be remiss in not thanking our outgoing President Susanne Lee for her innumerable contributions to the community this past year. The same goes for our entire Board (we are all volunteers) who have spent countless hours on issues of importance to our members. In closing, remember that we are YOUR citizens association. The Board doesn’t have all the good ideas or know all the issues, so please come to us with any ideas or suggestions you might have. Plus, you don’t have to be a Board member to get involved. If there is an issue that you are passionate about, any member can participate with us on a particular project.

Spectrum Senior Living (CU-20-5) OZAH Hearing Postponed Submitted by Susanne Lee

As described in our May, 2020 Newsletter, Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC, a Denver-based corporation that operates 48 senior living facilities in 10 states, proposes to construct its first facility on the East Coast at 9545 River Road near the intersection of River and Persimmon Tree Road. The site is the current location of Potomac Petals and Plants and was previously the site of Behnke’s Nursery. The 5 acre site is zoned RE-2 Residential – single family houses built on 2 acre lots. Spectrum proposes to construct an assisted living facility with 100 plus units, including some memory care units. In order to do so in this single family residential zone, it must obtain a Conditional Use approval from the Montgomery County Office of Zoning and Administrative Appeals (OZAH). Neighbors near the site have been actively involved in responding to the proposal. The conditional use hearing before OZAH was originally scheduled for July 17, 2020, but has been postponed to November 2, 2020.

To obtain additional information and keep up to date with the proceedings, check the OZAH website at and the Montgomery County Planning Board’s DAIC Dashboard at the link below. If this link does not work for you, you can search for the file on the Montgomery County Planning Board website by using their Spectrum Case No. CU202005.

Illegal ATV Trail in Watts Branch Stream Valley Park Submitted by Ginny Barnes

In early summer, a neighbor in the Glen contacted WMCCA to report men riding ATVs and carrying equipment to clear vegetation on his property. The neighbor’s property abuts the park so Park Police were notified and they began an investigation. First, Ken Bawer (our current President), then several WMCCA Board members, took a reporter to hike the damage which extended for miles into Watts Branch. Motorized vehicles are strictly prohibited on County Park property. The illegal clearing had been going on for some time. Park Police traced the sources of incursion to a neighborhood on Piney Meetinghouse Road. Parks natural resource staff was called in to assess the extensive damage which included several stream crossings. Park Police sent out letters warning the activity is illegal. While arrests have yet to be made, Parks staff and Park Police continue to monitor the area.


Please renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Go to our website to download a membership form or join using PayPal: Individual: $25 / Family: $50. We welcome donations to our Legal Fund. While we try mightily to get good results without litigation, sometimes it is unavoidable and highly effective. Contributions from members enabled us to join efforts to successfully fight the Brickyard Road soccerplex, the Old Anglers Inn event complex, and the Heritage Gardens townhouse development on South Glen Road. We also joined with neighbors to oppose the Brandywine Senior Living facility and in the appeal of the Glen Mill Road Piney Branch Stream Valley subdivision currently pending before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

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.

Beltway Expansion Opposition Submitted by Carol Van Dam

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s push to widen Interstates 270 and 495 in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties continues despite the pandemic. There is pushback from many communities, including our own and from The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The Commission staffers said a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released recently fails to properly analyze impacts on low-income communities, understates the loss of parks and cultural sites, and neglects to account for current and future stormwater runoff. Please write a letter in response to the draft DEIS. According to Arlene Montemarano with CABE, “any letters sent to MDOT must contain the exact words…”I support the no-build option.” If they don’t, MDOT will not count your letter as being in opposition, no matter how eloquent the letter. The comment period deadline for DEIS is Nov. 9, but the County has asked that any residents submitting comments get them to County officials no later than Oct. 16.

Public comment letters should be addressed to:


Lisa B. Choplin, DBIA, Director, I-495 & I-270 P3 Office
Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration I-495 & I-270 P3 Office,
707 North Calvert Street, Mail Stop P-601,
Baltimore, MD 21201

with copies to:

Governor Lawrence J. Hogan:
Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot:
Treasurer Nancy Kopp:
County Executive Marc Elrich:


The election of the WMCCA Officers usually occurs at our May General Meeting. However, because the May meeting was cancelled, the election will occur at our General Meeting on October 14th. The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of Officers and Directors to the membership for their vote. Nominations may also be made from the floor.

President: KEN BAWER
Immediate Past President: SUSANNE LEE
President Elect: CAROL VAN DAM FALK
Newsletter: NANCY MADDEN
Vice President: BARBARA BROWN

Nominees for a Two-Year Term: GINNY BARNES, SAMUEL STAVIS
To Serve 2nd Year of their Two-Year Term (no action needed): GEORGE BARNES, KATHY PETITT

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 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,

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. 

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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