Category Archives: Archive

Newsletter – May 2022


A Fond Farewell to Loyal WMCCA Volunteer

President’s Letter by Carol Van Dam Falk

We have been indebted to Peter Poggi, our ongoing volunteer webmaster who took us from having no online presence to providing an inviting, up-to-date home page with easy-to-use links on our newsletters, meetings, archive material, and more.  Peter has uploaded all of our newsletters, important testimony, and other pertinent information without fail for more than 25 years.  He also became involved as an activist on certain issues that were close to his heart, including one several years ago in which the head of Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation proposed to straighten a stretch of Quince Orchard Road in North Potomac that is part of the County’s prized Rustic Road network.  MCDOT wanted to make it easier for truckers to pass through and may have been planning to link up Travilah and Quince Orchards with a second river crossing at the time.  Peter, along with the late, beloved WMCCA Board member George Barnes, and I testified before the Planning Board in strong opposition to the proposal, arguing the windy nature of the Quince Orchard was a natural barrier to speeders, especially teenagers who often traversed that stretch of road at night as it was near Quince Orchard High School.  The Planning Board agreed with us; Quince Orchard Road was left untouched.

We have good news to share on the search for a new WMCCA web administrator.  Local resident Thomas Fahey has stepped up to the plate!  Thomas is joining WMCCA in the capacity of volunteer webmaster beginning this month.  At the same time, we are migrating from a decades-old web provider to a new one that has a more straightforward, modern design and will be easier to maintain.  Thomas has had an evolving career, including posts focused on interacting with government agencies, ‘neighborhood-level’ community development, and software design.  He recently returned to the Washington Metropolitan Area after spending several years away, and happily lives with his family in a welcoming community near the Potomac River, not far from Old Angler’s Inn.

We thank Peter Poggi for his dedication and service to WMCCA and look forward to our new chapter with Thomas Fahey.


2021 Water and Sewer Plan Update

Submitted by Ken Bawer

As of this writing, we are still waiting for the County Executive’s office to transmit their updates to the Water and Sewer Plan to the County Council for a public hearing.  We will object to continuation of the peripheral and abutting mains sewer policies and multiple “special rule” changes that are inconsistent with the Potomac Subregion Master Plan and Maryland Smart Growth Statutes and are designed to benefit specific property owners who are otherwise ineligible for sewer extensions.

Aside from the Water and Sewer Plan update, there is a property in the Palatine of Potomac neighborhood which is requesting a category change to allow sewer hook-up.  Per the County Executive’s office, “The applicant has proposed the provision of public sewer service for an existing residential lot along Centurion Way in Potomac, Maryland.  The approval of public sewer service for the property requested is not consistent with Water and Sewer Plan sewer service policies or with 2002 Potomac Subregion Master Plan recommendations.  This location is outside of the planned public sewer envelope in the Palatine of Potomac subdivision.  The Potomac peripheral sewer service policy can allow for the consideration of public sewer service for some properties at the edge of the planned sewer envelope.  However, properties at the edge of the Palatine subdivision are excluded from qualifying under this policy.”


Amendments to County Forest Conservation Law

Submitted by Ginny Barnes

On Thursday April 28, 2022 the Planning Board approved amendments that seek to add strength to the existing law and move the County closer to achieving ‘no net loss’ of forest.  A MoCo Forest Coalition consisting of staff and representatives from a number of civic and environmental organizations worked on developing the amendments for over a year.  There was strong favorable public testimony at the hearing.  The proposed changes are an improvement on the existing law but do not go as far as the MoCo Forest Coalition recommended.  Their priority is to protect existing forest, not just replant what is destroyed for development.  Existing forest stands are diminishing and it is nearly impossible to plant and nurture new forest, especially with the added stress of the expanding deer population, invasive species, and climate change.  Here is the link to the Planning Board update:

https://montgomeryplanning.org/planning-board-approves-proposed-changes-to-montgomery-county-forest-conservation-laws-to-achieve-no-net-loss-of-forest/​

Amendments will now be sent to the County Council where they could be strengthened.


Potomac Friends of the Library Dissolved ??

Submitted by Ginny Barnes

For 31 years our Potomac library has enjoyed the care of dedicated volunteers from our community that has enhanced programming, sponsored book sales, contributed money for library improvements, and even dressed as storybook characters for the annual Potomac Day parade.  Not every County library has a Friends Chapter. Of the 21 Libraries, 15 have their own chapters.  All are overseen by a nonprofit Montgomery County Friends of the Library.  On March 19, 2022, without notice or discussion with any chapters, the trustees dissolved all existing local chapters.  In notifying chapters of the decision, a lack of fiscal responsibility by a few was cited as the primary reasoning.  The stated solution being to centralize chapter functions, which means community members may not be able to volunteer in their own libraries but be assigned elsewhere.  This is not what community is all about.  If other chapters not as well functioning as others needed help, why not make that decision as a community of chapters instead of doing away with all chapters?

I learned the value of our Chapter when I nominated them in 2019 for the Potomac Chamber of Commerce  ‘Citizens of the Year’ Award’ after discovering they’d never been nominated.  The Chamber voted them the award and I was fortunate to be able to present it to the Potomac Chapter at the awards dinner.  I’ve never met a more dedicated group.  A group that defined ‘community’ here in Potomac.  Up until that time, I’d only partaken of monthly book sales or the shelf in the lobby as I left after each visit.  For me, as for many I’m sure, just this service was invaluable; putting books in the hands of many who cannot afford to buy from distributors of new books.  There must be a better way to keep our libraries attractive to local volunteers as well as spreading services among the different chapters.  The Board of Trustees needs to rethink such a rash decision.


2022 ELECTION OF WMCCA OFFICERS AND BOARD of DIRECTORS:

The election of the WMCCA Officers and Board of Directors will occur at our May 11th General Meeting.  The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of Officers and Directors to the membership for a vote.  Nominations may also be made from the floor.

President:  BARBARA BROWN

Treasurer:  BARBARA HOOVER

Immediate past President:  CAROL VAN DAM FALK

Secretary:  KATHY PETITT

President Elect:  SUSANNE LEE

Newsletter:  NANCY MADDEN

Vice President:  GINNY BARNES

Nominees for a two-year term:  KEN BAWER

To serve 2nd Year of their two-year term (no action needed):  THEODORA SCARATO


REMINDER:  YOUR SUPPORT IS VITAL TO OUR CONTINUED WORK – PLEASE JOIN OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2021-2022!  

If you live in the Potomac Sub-Region (most of zip codes 20850, 20854, 20817),  you really should belong to the only Citizens Association representing your interests in preserving the charm of the Potomac area.  Membership is only $25 individual/ $50 family.  As a member you will receive our monthly newsletter and notices of our monthly meetings (October thru May), and we’ll alert you to issues that may impact you and fight with you to protect our “Green Wedge”.


Newsletter – April 2022


Pass the Synthetic Turf Disposal Bill; Fight Airplane Noise Pollution

President’s Letter by Carol Van Dam Falk

This past week WMCCA wrote our state lawmakers calling on them to support SB 321/HB 131,“Synthetic Turf and Turf Infill – Chain of Custody,” which requires manufacturers and owners of synthetic turf and infill to maintain a chain of custody of its installation, reuse, repurposing, recycling, and ultimate disposal, and to report this information to MDE for posting on a public website.  This bill has no down side; it protects citizens from being exposed to dumped turf fields which are known to contain carcinogenic material.

We know that 80,000 square foot synthetic turf fields have an average life span of 8 to 10 years and produce a significant amount of waste as they are made from 40,000 pounds of mixed plastic turf, most of which is used tires.  Synthetic fields and infill contain aquatic and human toxins, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals, and immune disruptors, including PFAS or “forever” chemicals.  State officials keep no inventory of the number or location of synthetic turf fields across Maryland and have no idea of where the used fields end up, even though some of them have been dumped in woods or near waterways.  In 2021, Sierra Club volunteers found 347 fields in 18 counties and Baltimore.  They estimated the waste produced over the next decade for 328 of the fields, as they are replaced, which includes more than 67,000 tons of plastic carpet and infill, almost 123,000 cubic yards of infill, and 24 million square feet of plastic carpet, or 557 acres.

The fate of this incredible amount of toxic, plastic waste is nearly impossible to track.  No documentation is required regarding how much, if any, of the material is repurposed or recycled or how it is disposed of.  Many waste facilities do not accept synthetic turf waste because of its high volume, weight, and toxicity.  When improperly disposed of and uncontained, especially near waterways, these materials pose untold risks to humans, wildlife, and the environment.  We hope this is the year that Maryland paves the way for other states by becoming the first state in the nation to approve this important legislation.

This week we also wrote U.S. Members of Congress including Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen regarding the March 17, 2022 Aviation Subcommittee Hearing: Aviation Noise: Measuring Progress in Addressing Community Concerns.  Aircraft noise continues to negatively impact hundreds of people in our community who were not adequately represented at the hearing.  The only speaker (1 of 8) who spoke for communities was from the organization N.O.I.S.E. which does not represent Montgomery County.  Airplanes fly directly over Cabin John and several other local neighborhoods, sometimes every 4-5 minutes in the mornings and evenings.  The planes are so loud they drown out conversations on the street.

Studies have shown repeated exposure to aviation noise pollution is a significant public health hazard.  It has been proven that aircraft noise pollution has negative health impacts on the cardiovascular system, including increased risk of strokes and heart attack.  It also harms the endocrine and nervous systems, impairs cognition, and causes sleep disruption, anxiety, and depression.  We urged the aviation panel to address the serious health impacts caused by aviation noise pollution, including amending the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 which stripped away all local control over aircraft and aviation noise.  Alternatively, we called for Congress to give responsibility for regulating aircraft noise to the EPA, not the FAA, which has no experience handling health-related issues.


Heritage Gardens (CU2022-01) Submitted by Susanne Lee

No date has been set for the next and perhaps final hearing before the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH) regarding this conditional use application to construct a townhouse / senior care community on the 30-acre lot at the intersection of Norton and South Glen Road.  OZAH has remanded part of the case back to the Montgomery County Planning Board staff to address the need for a traffic study.  In the meantime, on March 23rd, Wormald, the applicant townhouse developer, submitted its proposed legal structure for the facility. 

It still proposes what we believe is a bizarre arrangement in which this age-restricted senior living facility and the required conditional use will be owned by 46 different entities – the 45 townhouse owners and Wormald who will own the Lodge structure containing independent and assisted living and memory units.  Sage, the actual provider of services, will not have any ownership interest or hold the conditional use.

On March 31st, the Hearing Examiner asked the applicant for further clarification of the proposed legal structure. She also referred the submission to the County’s Department of Permitting Services “to see if they have any concerns regarding enforceability of the conditional use given the multiple levels of HOA [Home Owners Association] and multiple conditional use holders.”  The Greater South Glen Neighborhood Association (GSGNA) and the surrounding neighbors continue to work on a variety of issues including compatibility and the impact this massive development will have on the neighborhood and those using South Glen Road.  If you would like to further support these efforts, we urge you to send donations for legal and consultant expenses to GSGNA at 11021 Dobbins Drive, Potomac, MD 20854, or by Venmo to @Neil-Goldman-9.  GSGNA will provide a receipt for all contributions.


Glen Road Bridge over Sandy Branch near Glenstone Museum Submitted by Ken Bawer

Several questions arose after reviewing the “Glen Road Bridge Replacement” document prepared for Glenstone by Rocky Powell, et. al. dated April 22, 2021.  What would be the purpose for the proposed upstream side cross vane and plunge pool?  What would be the impact on movement of aquatic organisms (fish, etc.) up and down the stream?  Is the extensive proposed left (east) bank protection (rock wall) really needed?  Is the proposed upstream side “realign and shape channel for better entrance to bridge” really needed?  This is a lot of engineering in a stream channel which would destroy the natural character of the stream and its riparian plant life. On the downstream side, why extend the plunge pool to the head of the downstream riffle?  This would disrupt the current stream bed and its aquatic life.

Regarding the Rustic Road Advisory Committee letter of May 5, 2021 to Barry Fuss, Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) which supports the proposed improvements to the upstream channel, the issue should not be visual enhancement.  The primary issue should be the protection of the natural area.  What is the impact of this project on the ecology of the project footprint?  The beneficial effect on stream quality has not been established.  We will relay our views to MCDOT.


2021 Water and Sewer Plan Update Submitted by Ken Bawer

DEP staff has prepared the 2021 triennial comprehensive update of the Water and Sewer Plan which it turned over to Executive Elrich’s office.  After the Executive’s review and sign-off, the Plan goes to the County Council; a public hearing will follow.  We are providing comments on a variety of issues.

For example, creating a septic system survey requires that it be initiated by a property with a septic system failure, but DEP can expand the survey area to include as many additional properties as they desire, even if these properties have no septic system failures.  This loophole can result in numerous properties unnecessarily being granted sewer category changes from septic to sewer thereby promoting extension of the public sewer system in spite of the fact the WSSC sewer system spills enormous quantities of raw sewage each year (almost 8 million gallons of raw sewage in 2021).  Aside from the environmental consequences of spills, sewer line extensions can lead to higher density development resulting in more impervious surfaces, causing more stormwater runoff that erodes our streams.  We have asked that the Plan be changed so only properties with failed septic systems can be added to a survey.  

We are also objecting to continuation of the peripheral and abutting mains sewer policies and multiple “special rule” changes that are inconsistent with the Potomac Subregion Master Plan and Maryland Smart Growth Statutes and are designed to benefit specific property owners who are otherwise ineligible for sewer extensions.


WMCCA NEEDS A NEW WEB ADMINISTRATOR!  We have updated the website and are poised to turn it over to a new provider.  Would you be interested in performing this important task for the organization?  It would require uploading the monthly newsletter, the occasional testimony by Board members, community and environmental issues, etc.  If you’re interested, contact us at president@wmcca.org.


REMINDER: IT’S TIME TO JOIN OR TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2021-2022! Your support is vital to our continued work. As a member you will receive our monthly newsletter and notices of our monthly meetings (October thru May), and we’ll alert you to issues that may impact you and fight with you to protect our “Green Wedge”.

Newsletter – March 2022

March 2022


Light at the End of the Tunnel

President’s Letter – by President Carol Van Dam Falk

Finally, we’re seeing some light at the end of the long, pandemic tunnel. COVID-19 cases are falling and local governments across the country, including our own, are lifting restrictions, although it’s wise to still exercise caution in public places. Like most institutions, the Montgomery County Planning Board held meetings online during the pandemic which is completely understandable, but it failed to inform the public how they could attend some of those meetings. The Board’s Development Review Committee repeatedly violated the Open Meeting Act by failing to provide links to such meetings. The Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) agreed. In a letter this week, we asked the County Council if it plans to launch an investigation. Stay tuned for its response.

In another letter this week to Marc Elrich, we asked the County Executive to immediately fund the People’s Counsel. The County Council is looking at controversial zoning changes in connection with Thrive 2050 and already passed other questionable legislation regarding the installation of 5G technology. The People’s Counsel once played a critical role in ZTAs that represented the interests of ordinary people, not corporations or developers. The People’s Counsel was defunded years ago.


New Residential Cell Tower Zoning       Submitted by Theodora Scarato

Councilman Hans Riemer has proposed another cell antenna zoning amendment ZTA 22-01– which will allow cell tower antennas on existing utility poles 30 feet in front of homes in residential areas, removing notice to residents and public hearings. Note – This is an attempt to fix a technical loophole in ZTA 19-07 (which the Council passed in the summer of 2021) allowing short “small cell” towers 30 feet from homes. There is a coalition petition online at https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07/. Sign up for the Council’s public hearing for ZTA 22-01 on Tuesday July 12, 2022. If the waiting list fills up, they may accommodate speakers by moving the event to the evening for a longer hearing.


2021 Water and Sewer Plan Update       Submitted by Ken Bawer

The Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is preparing a final draft of the Water & Sewer Plan for submittal to the County Executive. They expect to transmit it to the County Executive by the end of the day on March 4th. DEP will also request a meeting with the Executive to discuss any questions he may have. Once that is done, within the next few weeks, the Executive’s office will transmit the Executive draft to the County Council and the Council will set a public hearing date. Given the Council’s schedule with other water and sewer issues, DEP does not expect a hearing to be scheduled until late April or May, once the Council is through with the budget. The Council is required by State law to provide a minimum 30-day notice for the hearing. We will be looking for, and opposing, any changes which grant special favors to developers. For example, the owners of the Potomac Oak (a.k.a. Travilah Oak) Shopping Center and the “old white house” diagonally across from each other at the intersection of Travilah Road and Glen Road have each asked for a 5,300-foot public sewer line extension along Travilah Road to their properties which are outside the planned sewer envelope.


Heritage Gardens Land, LLC’s Proposed Townhouse/Senior Care Community at 10701 South Glen Road – Conditional Use Application No. CU202201       Submitted by Susanne Lee

Two more days of hearings (February 28th and March 2nd) were conducted before the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH) regarding the conditional use application to construct a townhouse / senior care community on the 30-acre lot (RE-2-residential) at the intersection of Norton and South Glen Road. This followed a win on February 11, 2022, when OZAH granted the motion submitted by West Montgomery, the Greater South Glen Neighborhood Association (GSGNA) and other neighbors to require a traffic study that the applicant had failed to submit. In siding with us, OZAH rejected a long-standing interpretation by the Planning Board regarding such studies – an interpretation that was clearly inconsistent with the plain language of the requirements.

The traffic study requirement was remanded to the Planning Board and any additional hearings will be scheduled after that is completed. During these recent hearings WMCCA, GSGNA, and many residents expressed their opposition through testimony and written submissions. Many have done extensive research and they presented a broad range of reasons why this application must be denied. We at West Montgomery focused on 3 major reasons:

  • First, the placement and construction of the Lodge Complex will violate the environmental protection requirements contained in state and federal laws and regulations and summarized in Montgomery County’s Environmental Guidelines and the forest preservation requirements in the Potomac Subregion Master Plan.
  • Second, the construction of a facility this size at this location is inconsistent with the basic framework of the Master Plan, including the elderly housing and special exception provisions.
  • Third, the ownership structure of the facility is so bizarre that, when coupled with the stringent age restrictions, dooms it to failure and guarantees an enforcement nightmare – thus requiring stringent covenants, staging, and reporting requirements.

The OZAH link to the exhibits has been taken down until just before the next hearing. If you want details about the project, many of the exhibits can be found at the Montgomery County Planning Board website here:

If you would like to submit a written statement, the hearing record is still open and you can do so by sending your signed submission by email to nana.johnson@montgomerycounty.gov. If you would like to further support our efforts, we urge you to send donations for legal and consultant expenses to GSGNA at 11021 Dobbins Drive, Potomac, MD 20854, or by Venmo to @Neil-Goldman-9. GSGNA will provide a receipt for all contributions


WMCCA Nominating Committee The following individuals are proposed to serve on the Nominating Committee and will be voted upon at the March 9, 2022 General Meeting. They in turn will nominate Officers and Directors to be voted upon at the May 11, 2022 Annual Meeting:
Chairperson – Ginny Barnes
Members: Barbara Hoover, Ken Bawer, Kathy Petitt, Barbara Brown


Finally – WMCCA NEEDS A NEW WEB ADMINISTRATOR! We have updated the website and are poised to turn it over to a new provider. Would you be interested in performing this important task for the organization? It would require uploading the monthly newsletter, occasional testimony by Board members, and the like. If you’re interested, contact us at president@wmcca.org.


West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President – Carol Van Dam Falk
Website – WMCCA.org – Peter Poggi, Newsletter Editor – Nancy Madden


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.

Newsletter – November 2021

November 2021


Protecting Our Rustic Roads

President’s Letter – by Carol Van Dam Falk

This past month it came to our attention that a highway inspector with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (DOT) had recommended installing asphalt curbs and gutters on a section of South Glen Road – an Exceptional Rustic Road – where there have been periodic runoff and drainage issues due to heavy rains. It was suggested that the County’s DOT install 100 feet of curb and gutter down a hillside to the low spot in the road, then re-grade the swale at the low point of the road with Rip-Rap stone to alleviate the flow of runoff water. Members of WMCCA pointed out that asphalt curbs and gutters do not address the problem, only push the water further down the road, and often lead to larger erosion problems in area streams, especially the Watts Branch. Curbs and gutters are an inappropriate remedy for such drainage issues when there are environmentally friendly alternatives.

As past WMCCA President Ken Bawer put it, “Amor-plating the swales with Rip-Rap stone does nothing to decrease stormwater volume and only forces the water along so it ends up firehosing into the nearest stream. If feasible, and if the best solution at this specific location, DOT should install bioswales and/or bioretentions, which absorb the water within the swales instead of shunting it downhill.” WMCCA has recommended bioswales and bioretention mechanisms to address the problem on South Glen which hopefully will be carried out, but attempting to fix runoff issues with ‘armor-plating’ is not just a local issue; it unfortunately is the preferred course of action on designated rustic roads, and other roads, all over the country, and that is a frightening trend. It is also alarming to realize that if this had not been a designated Rustic Road, neighbors would not have been consulted and the asphalt curbs would likely have already been installed.

On top of the environmental concerns of installing curbs and gutters on a wiggly, rustic road such as South Glen, a high curb here could be hazardous to bicyclists who often traverse this road, especially on weekends. Another scary thought.

We are grateful DOT is working through these issues with the local community and thank them for starting the patching and repaving work that is proceeding now. It makes our Glen roads much safer.


Update on Thrive Montgomery 2050, the new Montgomery County General Plan      

Submitted by Ken Bawer

WMCCA had testified and also submitted written comments on the “Public Hearing Draft Plan” for Thrive Montgomery 2050 back on November 19, 2020 at the Planning Board’s public hearing. Subsequent to that, the Planning Board did an almost complete re-write of that draft Plan. The new document became the “Planning Board Draft” and included an entirely new organization, different chapters, and missing chapters. This “Planning Board Draft” was then submitted by the Planning Board to the County Council, and the Council held their own public hearing on July 7, 2021. Again, we submitted our comments. We said that the long-term consequences of the pandemic are unknown. The current draft plan could be inappropriate for the reality of a post-pandemic County. As a result of our shared experiences during the pandemic, personal and professional choices may change. People may favor less dense housing arrangements for health reasons. Transportation preferences and commuting patterns may change dramatically if workers continue telecommuting after the pandemic.

Continued high levels of telecommuting may cause a drastic downturn in the commercial office market. Therefore, we recommended pausing the finalization of this plan at least until the consequences of the pandemic start to become clearer. We objected to the designation as a “growth corridor” of River Road from the District line all the way to Potomac Village. We were never consulted on making River Road in our area a “growth corridor” nor in designating Potomac Village as a “potential center of activity”. MacArthur Boulevard has also been designated a “growth corridor” with no consultation from the neighbors. We don’t know if these are necessarily good or bad things (bad, we suspect), but we objected to the Planning Board inflicting their vision on residents with absolutely no collaboration – this speaks to the lack of public transparency in the process of developing this plan. Does this mean that River Road would need to be expanded from 2 to 4 lanes all the way to Potomac Village? We completely rejected the premise that the County will inevitably become more urban.

Certainly, the County will become more urban if this plan is implemented as written. However, the authors presented this outcome not only as a fait accompli, but as the desired outcome based upon their personal preference (and developer interests) for a more urban county. We reject that a more urban county is an outcome that we should strive towards. The mantra expressed in this plan is growth, growth, growth (whether economic, business, or population). Instead, this plan should be designed around the mantra of “sustainable growth”. That is, how can we grow our quality of life in a sustainable manner within the physical limits of our environment? Not adhering to sustainable growth is how we ended up with the global warming crisis, why the Chesapeake Bay is polluted, our air quality is poor, we have traffic gridlock at times, we have contaminants in our drinking water, and we have degraded natural areas. There were many other areas we commented upon. On Sept. 20, 2021, the Council’s Planning, Housing, and & Economic Development (PHED) Committed held a session to discuss the Plan (additional sessions were planned as well). The good news is that they removed River Road outside of Beltway as a “growth corridor” from the “Growth Map”. What is disturbing, and what lays bare the blatant push towards over-development, is that the 1993 General Plan’s urban ring has exploded up along I-270, Rt. 28, and Rt. 29 like an amoeba engulfing the County. Calling this ever-expanding blob “corridor focused” growth is disingenuous.


Heritage Gardens 10701 South Glen Road – Conditional Use Application No. CU202201      

Submitted by Susanne Lee

They’re back – property owner South Glen Properties, Winston-Salem NC, contract purchaser Ken Wormald/The Wormald Companies, Patricia Harris, Lerch, Early & Brewer, and now aided by Councilmember Friedson who supported their Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-08 adopted by the Council on May 11, 2021. Their last attempt at a townhouse development on this site was clearly illegal under the Zoning Code and they withdrew it on January 31, 2020. Now under the guise of a residential care facility/senior care community, they are proposing an even larger and more destructive development on these 30 acres of environmentally sensitive land in this low density (minimum 2 acre) residential zone. The core of the proposal is still a high end town house development – 45 privately owned town houses – 11 triplexes and 6 duplexes. Each with 3 bedrooms/2 baths and it appears starting at approximately $1.25 million. In addition they’ve now added a large 4 story “lodge” building containing parking and 102 units/141 beds consisting of 29 independent living units, 45 assisted living units, and 28 memory care units. They still propose a Clubhouse and other disturbances in the stream valley buffer.

The proposed development of the lot is so intensive that it will destroy a portion of multiple forest stands and in particular will destroy 42 of the 128 spectacular large specimen trees that are to be protected under the Forest Conservation statute. It will adversely impact 11 other large specimen trees and they admit it will even adversely impact 10 large specimen trees offsite on neighbors’ properties. We believe the proposal still fails to meet the zoning code requirements for group living in a residential care/senior care community. And it is clearly an environmental, traffic, and, with private townhouse ownership, an enforcement disaster. WMCCA is working with the surrounding neighbors to oppose it.

The proposal was submitted to the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH) on 8/17/21 for their required conditional use approval. It is currently pending before the Planning Board for their review and recommendation but no staff report has been posted or hearing date noted on their agenda. The OZAH hearing is scheduled for December 13, 2021 at 9:30 am. Information regarding OZAH, including information regarding participating in the process, is here:

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ozah/

Documents describing the proposal can be found here on the Planning Board site:


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, 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 background in current website design/development methods, and a familiarity with available hosting options. Please contact Peter Poggi, peter.poggi@yahoo.com.


REMINDER: IT’S TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2021-2022! 

Please renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Go to our website https://wmcca.org/ to download a membership form or join using PayPal: Individual: $25 / Family: $50. We encourage 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 address several 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. If you have any issues or concerns in your neighborhood, please contact WMCCA. We appreciate the input from our neighbors. Thank you for your support !!


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 (www.wmcca.org).

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

Newsletter – October 2021

October 2021


Emerging From The COVID Pandemic

President’s Letter – by Carol Van Dam Falk

It’s been a long, slow, frightening odyssey of twists and turns as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has affected everyone’s lives, whether they know someone dear to them who has been infected or not. The summer surge of U.S. cases has started to decline thank goodness, but the virus still poses a threat in places where large chunks of the population lack immunity. WMCCA will continue to host its General Meetings with key speakers via Zoom meetings for the next several months and provide a link for members to join us in thoughtful discussions. This month, we have invited delegates Sara Love and Marc Korman of District 16 to give us an update on what is happening at the state and local levels with COVID-19, other health care issues, the environment, development and infrastructure, and other legislation they have been involved with in Annapolis. Sara was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2018. She is a lawyer, a social justice advocate, and a single mom. Sara is passionate about women’s reproductive rights, civil rights and civil liberties according to her website. Marc Korman was first elected in 2014. He has dedicated his time in the state legislature to ensuring economic growth in Maryland and believes that if the economy is strong, the state can achieve goals like protecting the environment, according to his website.

It has been our tradition to hear from District 15 delegates in the Spring when the delegates update us on legislative achievements and battles, but we thought it would also be good to hear about the work of District 16 delegates, since they represent a significant portion of the Potomac subregion. We encourage you to ask questions following their brief presentations.

Due to COVID-19 and especially the rapid spread of the Delta variant across the country including parts of Maryland, the WMCCA board has decided not to partake in the annual Potomac Day parade and celebration on 10/23/2021.

Although we were not meeting over the summer, the WMCCA Board stayed in touch and on top of issues affecting our area. When we learned that MDOT was looking into the possibility of installing traffic lights in the Glen on rustic roads, WMCCA made phone calls and sent letters to locally elected representatives and MDOT requesting more information and expressing our opposition to the proposal. As Ginny Barnes describes in greater detail in this newsletter, MDOT is no longer considering installing traffic lights in the Glen !!

We encourage you to stay involved with WMCCA, attend the General Meetings, bring to our attention any development plans or other changes that affect your neighborhood, and stay safe.


Proposed Traffic Lights at the One-Lane Bridges in the Glen   Submitted by Ginny Barnes

On 9/3/21, an onsite meeting with Montgomery County Department of Transportation (DOT), Rustic Roads Advisory Committee (RRAC) members, and neighbors living in the Glen was held to discuss safety issues. While there was no public notice, WMCCA had learned DOT was considering installing 2 traffic lights at the one lane bridges.

The Glen has long been considered the heart of Potomac as it embodies many environmental and historical elements of the Subregion: a former grain mill site, extensive wetlands, a narrow wildlife corridor surrounded by steep wooded slopes at the confluence of 2 streams critical to the public drinking water supply. Here Glen, South Glen, and Glen Mill roads meet. All are part of the County Rustic Roads Program. RRAC members noted that crash reports do not support a need for lights and have decreased in recent years. Neighbors were more concerned with the condition of road surfaces. By meeting end, DOT agreed to patching and/or repaving roads leading into and out of the Glen. There is CIP money allotted for this road work, which could start in late Fall 2021 or early Spring 2022. They also agreed to better signage: relocating one Stop sign and installing a back-to-back Stop sign at the approach from Glen Mill Road, as well as installing Stop bars at all Stop signs.


MoCo Council Votes for ‘Short” Cell Towers in Neighborhoods  

Submitted by Theodora Scarato

Despite strong community opposition, over the summer the Montgomery County Council passed a new zoning amendment – ZTA 19-07- which allows “short” cell towers 30 feet from houses without routine notice and public hearings. The streetlight or utility pole in front of your home can now be replaced by a taller pole topped with cellular antennas and an unlimited amount of equipment boxes (up to 12 cubic feet). WMCCA, along with several cities, homeowner and community groups sent letters to the Council opposing this ZTA. Twelve MoCo climate groups asked the Council for climate, racial equity, and social justice impact statements but the Council refused. A county wide coalition is advocating for changes.

Just weeks after the MoCo vote, a federal court ruled on a case regarding cell tower radiation safety standards in favor of environmental health groups and a Montgomery County resident. The U.S Court of Appeals for DC Circuit ruled in EHT et al v FCC that the FCC’s decision not to update its 1996 standards was “arbitrary and capricious” and did not address children’s vulnerability, long term health impacts, and impacts to the environment.

Hundreds of new neighborhood cell antenna applications are expected this fall. If you want to know when companies apply to locate one near your home, sign up for email notifications:

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cable/Towers/home.html


Sewer Category Change Requests   Submitted by Ken Bawer

The owners of the Travilah Oak Shopping Center and the old white house diagonally across from each other at the intersection of Travilah Road and Glen Road have each asked for a public sewer line extension to their properties. The County Council’s T&E Committee voted for a deferral (rather than a denial as recommended by the County Executive and the Planning Board). The property owners of an unimproved lot at 13417 Valley Drive in Glen Hills also asked for a sewer category change to allow connection to the public sewer system. In this case, the T&E Committee did the right thing by voting 3-0 to recommend a denial.


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, 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 background in current website design/development methods, and a familiarity with available hosting options. Please contact Peter Poggi, peter.poggi@yahoo.com.


REMINDER: IT’S TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2021-2022! 

Please renew or become a new member of WMCCA.Go to our website http://www.wmcca.org to download a membership form or join using PayPal: Individual: $25 / Family: $50. We also welcome donations to our Legal Fund.


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 (www.wmcca.org).

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

Newsletter – May 2021

May 2021


Our Members Speak Out

President’s Letter – by Ken Bawer

First of all, long time Board member and current Secretary Jill Phillips has resigned from the Board. We thank her for her many years of service to WMCCA and the community.

Our April General Meeting was an “open mic” session which generated lots of good discussions and information:

Diana Conway raised the issue of synthetic turf fields in public schools. Diana made the points that they are hot, toxic, expensive, have a higher injury rate, and are unsustainable and unrecyclable. Synturf is also a source of microplastics pollution. Plus, there are no companies in the US that will recycle old synthetic fields. Kathy Michaels posted a set of links on this topic in the chat. Diana also brought up the County’s Climate Action Plan, which WMCCA submitted comments on, and noted the lack of measurable metrics to meet the stated goals. Diana posted emails to get involved with County activists.

Don Libes asked about PFAS chemicals in WSSC’s drinking water. These are a class of so-called “forever” chemicals that are very persistent in the environment and accumulate over time in the human body. Don said WSSC reports that the PFAS in their water is below EPA safe level amounts. Theodora Scarato said that PFAS chemicals are endocrine disrupters. She recommended the movies “Dark Waters” and “The Devil We Know” and posted links in the chat.

Theodora Scarato brought up the newly proposed Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) related to 5G cell towers which would mean that these towers could be installed as close as 30 feet from homes with no notice or public hearings, and the Hearing Examiner could allow then to be even closer. This could be voted on by County Council this summer. She posted a link for a letter-writing campaign (not a WMCCA initiative, although we have previously expressed our concerns).

Regarding the proposed Heritage Gardens Senior Living Facility (on the previously 4th Presbyterian School property on S. Glen Rd. near Norton Rd.), ZTA 20-08 was introduced (as promoted by Heritage’s attorneys) to redefine senior living facilities to allow the Heritage facility. The next step is a decision by the County Council regarding whether or not to enact the ZTA. Our issue is not with senior living facilities, but we oppose changing the zoning to allow increased density in low density residential zones under the guise of senior housing using the special exception process.

Susanne Lee reported the proposed Spectrum senior living facility on River Road at the former Behnkes and current Plants & Petals site got approval from the Hearing Examiner. However, the sale of the site, which we believe was contingent on conditional use approval, still has not gone through. This would be Spectrum’s first facility on the East coast. Susanne also raised the issue of trees being cut in our area with only minimal tree planting to replace them and the issue of violations of forest conservation easements. She also brought up the issue of the violation of wetlands protections by developers. The Planning Board has admitted that they have no expertise in this area and continue to allow violations of State regulations.

Regarding the sewer category change request by Potomac Oak Center (a.k.a. Travilah Oak Shopping Center) and “the old white house” at Travilah Rd & Glen Road, DEP has yet to make a recommendation. WMCCA opposes the request since it would set a dangerous precident and encourage higher density development.

The degrading quality of the back roads in our area was discussed, especially near the Glen one-lane bridge. It was pointed out that County action on roads is driven by complaints (call 311).


Update on Wetlands & Forest Destruction at 13417 Valley Drive in Glen Hills      

Submitted by Susanne Lee

First a bit of background. On July 16, 2020, WMCCA member Sam Stavis reported to the Montgomery County Planning Department (MPD) what appeared to be illegal clearcutting of forest on this vacant lot. MPD Forest Conservation Inspector Stephen Peck immediately examined the site and found not just destruction of the forest stand, but wetlands as well. He determined that more than 17,000 square feet of forest, including portions of a forest stream buffer, had been cut and cleared. The County issued a citation that included a $1,000 fine and required submission of a Natural Resource Inventory/Forest Stand Delineation (NRI/FSD) and a Forest Conservation Plan. He also referred the matter to the Maryland Department of the Environmental (MDE) for wetlands violations. According to Mr. Peck, MDE issued a formal report and required the wood chips that were dumped within the wetlands to be hand removed. The initial restoration of the stream buffer, including hand removal of the wood chip piles, and planting was to be done in the Fall, 2020.

As of today, absolutely no restoration has occurred on the site, so we reached out for an update. The NRI/FSD documenting extensive wetlands and 2 streams was submitted on December 18, 2020. The Forest Conservation Plan was not submitted until much later and review was completed by MDP in mid-March. With regard to the wetlands, according to Sean McKewen with MDE, recently he and Mr. Peck met on-site with the current property owner, the contract purchaser, and the developer’s consultant “to discuss restoration at the…site, as well as their future plans….Appropriate vegetation…must be replanted within the area identified as nontidal wetland and the mulch must be removed from within the wetland and wetland buffer….As for any future plans they have to apply for a Joint federal/State authorization for any activity that will impact nontidal wetlands, and/or the 25 -foot nontidal wetland buffer.” Although we still have not received the requested information regarding whether and what compliance action the State took against the owner for the initial violations, the State appears to be requiring compliance with the Federal and State wetlands regulations.

The County, however, even after determining that a major portion of the lot is composed of streams and wetlands and that “[t]he challenge is a delineated wetland and wetland buffer bisect the lot” has stated that because it is an “existing platted residential lot, the Planning Department has to allow for construction of a home.” Not only does this sound crazy, it is. The reason this lot has not been developed, even as much of the rest of the Glen Hills was built out, is because it is composed almost entirely of sensitive wetlands. These are so significant they were identified in the Potomac Subregion Master Plan environmental studies as critical components of the Middle Watts Branch tributary system and as such should be protected. Currently the biggest elephant in the room appears to be that the lot also doesn’t meet the requirements for septic and the property owner has requested both public water and sewer connections. However, the sewer request must be denied because the lot clearly falls outside the approved sewer envelope for Glen Hills enacted by the County Council in the County Water and Sewer Plan.


2021 ELECTION OF WMCCA OFFICERS AND BOARD of DIRECTORS:

The election of the WMCCA Officers and Board of Directors will occur at our May 12th General Meeting. The

Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of Officers and Directors to the membership for a vote.

Nominations may also be made from the floor.

President: CAROL VAN DAM FALK

Immediate past President: KEN BAWER

President Elect: BARBARA BROWN  

Vice President: SUSANNE LEE

Treasurer: BARBARA HOOVER

Secretary: KATHY PETITT

Newsletter: NANCY MADDEN

Nominees for a two-year term: DONNA PERLMUTTER and THEODORA SCARATO
To serve 2nd Year of their two-year term (no action needed): GINNY BARNES


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, 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 background in current website design/development methods, and a familiarity with available hosting options. Please contact Peter Poggi, peter.poggi@yahoo.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. 


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.

Newsletter – April 2021

April 2021


Spring has Sprung and Synthetic Turf will Continue to be Flung

President’s Letter – by Ken Bawer

Spring has finally arrived, for which we are grateful. Unfortunately, once again, the Maryland General Assembly failed to pass a bill, which we actively supported, that would have required the tracking of worn-out synthetic turf fields from removal to final disposal. In the past, old synthetic fields have been found in woods, empty lots, and elsewhere. This seemed like a no-brainer, but it speaks to the power (read: money) of the industry. Apparently, synthetic turf will continue to be flung.

We have learned that the Potomac Oak Center (a.k.a. Travilah Oak Shopping Center) owner is in negotiations with two immigrant farmers to lease land behind the shopping center. Caroline Taylor with Montgomery Countryside Alliance was involved as part of the Landlink program which matches farmers with land owners. Unfortunately, negotiations are dragging on so the Spring planting season is probably already lost. The owner says that if he isn’t granted the ability to hook up to WSSC sewer service, he will need the extra land to expand his septic system.

We are still tracking the forest conservation easement violation at 13417 Valley Drive. This property is now under contract, but will be impossible to build on (it doesn’t perc) unless a sewer category change from septic to sewer is approved. We will oppose this since the property is outside the County’s planned sewer envelope. Because a small stream runs through the property, the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Inspector told us that Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) will review the proposed construction plan and proposed wetland impact to determine if non-tidal wetland impact is permitted under the applicable State of Maryland regulations. The owner’s consultant will be submitting a wetland disturbance application to MDE staff review. MDE’s review may require the owner to provide additional mitigation.

We remain concerned that the Planning Board and County Council having decreased the time limits for public testimony. We have suggested to the Potomac Almanac that this would be a good topic for an article.

Regarding the proposed Heritage Gardens Senior Living Facility (at the site of the former 4th Presbyterian School property on S. Glen Rd near Norton Rd), we had opposed this project based on the fact that it did not meet the County’s definition of a senior living facility. The original proposal was for 51 separately owned duplex townhouses on the 30-acre site. However, since it is currently zoned RE-2 (for a maximum of 15 detached houses on 2-acre lots), the applicant sought approval as a “conditional use” under the guise of Group Living, and in particular as an independent living facility for seniors. Following community opposition and our advocacy, the company withdrew its application but has now proposed a Zoning Text Amendment to redefine senior living facilities their proposed duplex townhouses. The Greater South Glen Neighborhood Association is reaching out to the County Council to oppose this, and are also planning to meet with Councilmember Andrew Friedson.

We are still in the middle of a pandemic but more and more vaccines are being rolled out. And we will soon be in the middle of emerging 17-year cicadas. Unlike the virus causing COVID-19, these bugs are harmless to humans so just enjoy nature’s show.

On a lighter note, Spring has finally arrived here at The Bitternut Conservancy (my house). As of this writing, the Wood frogs have already mated and laid their eggs, the Bloodroot is in bloom as is Spicebush, and the Virginia Bluebells are above ground with the slightest hint of color in their buds. The Ramps are up as are Toadshade trilliums. White Wood Aster is leafing out (be patient – they will bloom in late summer), and Slender and Cut-leaf Toothworts are up as is Rue-anemone but none are in bloom yet. Hepatica now has beautiful small, yet spectacular, blue blossoms. You can still see the leaves of our native orchids, Puttyroot and Cranefly Orchid, which will die back by the summer before blooming.

As always, please contact us about your issues and concerns. You can also volunteer to help us on specific areas of interest.


Montgomery County Pesticide Law   Submitted by Barbara Hoover

Springtime reminder that Montgomery County has a law that bans the cosmetic use of pesticides on your lawns. For more information:

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/lawns/law/

Specific bans include:

NO Weed & Feed Products: These products contain both a fertilizer and pesticide and none of them are allowed for use under County law on lawns.

NO “EPA Reg. No.” on Label: Most products with an EPA registration label contain chemicals that cannot be used on lawns, playgrounds, childcare facilities, or mulched recreation areas. There are a few exceptions. Check the above website for a description of the exemptions that apply.


Bumps in the Road and Signs on the Ground – Who Ya Going to Call?      

Submitted by Barbara Hoover

If there’s something lumpy that makes your ride bumpy, or you missed that turn and just continued on cause that sign is gone…who you going to call?

For County Roads contact the County. County Roads don’t have numbers. You can call 311 or file an online service request at https://www3.montgomerycountymd.gov/311/Services.aspx?SolutionId=-1. You must have the closest address or crossroads, with a good description of the problem. Think MacArthur Blvd, Democracy, Bells Mill, Tuckerman, Seven Locks.

For State Roads contact the State. You can file an online request: https://marylandsha.secure.force.com/customercare/request_for_service

You must have the closest address or crossroads, with a good description of the problem. Think Wilson Lane (Rt. 188), Falls Rd. (Rt 189), River Road (Rt. 190), Bradley Blvd (Rt. 191). There are three types of roads maintained by the State:

Interstate sign
Interstates
Interstate sign
Roads with US Route #s
Interstate sign
Roads w/ MD Route #s

Winter is ending, and that means lots of pot holes and cracks in the road. It also means there are a lot of signs that have been knocked down by storms and snowplows. The State and County rely on residents to report problems, so don’t complain – report the problem.


2021 ELECTION OF WMCCA OFFICERS AND BOARD of DIRECTORS: The election of the WMCCA Officers and Board of Directors will occur at our May 12th General Meeting. The Nominating Committee is currently seeking individuals to serve on the Board. If you are interested in serving on the Board, please email (President@WMCCA.org).


SAVE THE DATE – MAY 12TH GENERAL MEETING at 7:30 p.m.

Our meeting will feature a Legislative update from the District 15 Delegation to the MD General Assembly.


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, 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 background in current website design/development methods, and a familiarity with available hosting options. Please contact Peter Poggi, peter.poggi@yahoo.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. 


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.

Newsletter – March 2021

March 2021


Waiting for Godot (and a Vaccine)

President’s Letter – by Ken Bawer

I am ready for Spring. I am ready for the pandemic to be over. I am ready to resume former activities. And I am waiting for a vaccine. Fortunately, we are headed in the right direction: the days are getting longer, and the vaccines are rolling out. Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine has just been approved by the FDA for emergency use, projects to have 20 million doses ready in March and 100 million by June. None of these can come fast enough, but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel and these will all certainly arrive before Godot.

We recently signed onto two letters that commented on the County’s draft https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/climate/index.html. One, from the MoCo CAP Coalition, provided an extensive critique of the entire 130-page document. The other, from the Montgomery Coalition to Prevent Stream Destruction, provided comments relating to “stream restorations”.

There are six Water & Sewer Service Category Change Requests that we continue to follow in our area. Some of these property owners requested conversions from septic systems to WSSC sewer service even though they don’t qualify by law. Plus, two new requests were made as 2Q 2021 applications. Several of the owner requests claimed special circumstances and asked that they not be held to the same rules as everyone else. Why is it important to limit sewer line sprawl? The answer is to protect the water quality of streams in our low-density areas from polluted runoff associated with large impervious surfaces and higher density development. Water from Watts Branch, Piney Branch, and Muddy Branch are taken up by the WSSC Potomac River Filtration Plant on River Road.

The County Department of Environmental Protection is working on a “technical update” to the Water and Sewer Plan. We anticipate an attempt to weaken the rules for sewer line connection which would lead to more sewer line sprawl in our area.

Proposed Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA 20-01) with amendments for Community Solar in the Agricultural Reserve was approved by the County Council. Rather than the original text, which would have allowed much more expansive installation of solar arrays in the Ag Reserve, the amendments – which we supported – ensure that each construction application must be approved on a case-by-case (Conditional Use) basis. This was a compromise situation to somewhat stem the tide of creeping industrialization in the Ag Reserve – this area was created as an agricultural reserve, not an industrial zone.

WMCCA signed onto a letter by the Montgomery Coalition to Prevent Stream Destruction asking for a temporary pause in “stream restorations” in the County and Parks to allow a reexamination of their desirability.

As expected, the Planning Board approved the Forest Conservation Plan Amendment for Congressional Country Club. We opposed the plan since it will allow the cutting of previously protected trees and will allow armor-plating of their stream with boulders instead of controlling their stormwater at its source.

Finally, we met with and provided suggestions to the County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding new septic legislation they will be proposing to require septic tank pumping every five years.


Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC    Submitted by Susanne Lee

On February 25, 2021 the Montgomery County Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings approved Spectrum’s application and granted conditional use approval to allow the construction and operation of a residential care facility for individuals 62 years and older at 9545 River Road (currently Potomac Petals and Plants/formerly Behnke’s garden center). The facility is approved for 100 units with up to 130 beds (assisted living and memory care units). Eighty five parking spaces must be provided and up to 43 employees may be on site at any one time. Although not included as a condition in the decision, in its revised application Spectrum agreed to reduce the building height from three to two stories. Spectrum now joins the other two new residential care facilities approved by OZAH: Brandywine (140 assisted living and memory care units) 10800 Potomac Tennis Lane next to ManorCare and Arden Courts and Artis Senior Living (72 memory care units) 8301 River Road near Sunrise at Fox Hill. It will be interesting to see how marketable the Spectrum units will be given the number of such units already available and under construction in Potomac and nearby, the documented desire of seniors to age in place, and the issues surrounding congregate living facilities that have been tragically underscored during the pandemic.


Synthetic Turf Disposal   Submitted by Carol Van Dam Falk

WMCCA submitted testimony last week and testified before the Maryland Environment and Transportation Committee via zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 24th in favor of HB0857, which would require manufacturers and owners of synthetic turf and turf infill to file with the Maryland Department of the Environment, disclosing the owner and location of the field and infill. This after one Montgomery County high school’s used-turf field was dumped in a Balitmore County community and another was shipped off halfway around the world to Malaysia, purportedly to be recycled. The following is an excerpt from Carol Falk’s testimony:

Roughly 40,000 scrap tires go into the making of each synthetic turf field, along with hundreds of tons of mixed plastic. That means each synthetic turf field that is either carted off to a landfill or dumped at unmarked locations contains tens of thousands of pounds of plastic material containing PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) and other harmful chemicals, in addition to hundreds of thousands of pounds of pulverized infill of tire or other plastic.

Every year, more than a thousand of these synthetic turf fields have to be ripped out, (typical lifespan is 8-10 years) and disposed of according to the Synthetic Turf Council, (STC) the industry’s leading association. The STC estimates that 80 million square feet of plastic carpet weighing 40 million pounds and 400 million pounds of infill, usually made of tire waste, are disassembled and it all has to go somewhere. The disturbing fact here is that no one is monitoring, much less regulating where used-synthetic turf fields go when they are removed. Several municipal solid waste disposal facilities in Maryland have said they would not accept used-synthetic turf waste due to the weight and volume that are associated with a single playing field.

In addition, recycling facilities in this country have rejected synthetic turf fields and infills because it is usually too costly to separate the materials. That means these chemical-laden plastic carpets are either being incinerated, repurposed, or dumped “in ravines, deserts, woods, and empty lots” according to a Fair Warning investigative report, and dumping often happens in lower-income communities. That is a big problem, not only here in Maryland, but everywhere. The direct impact on aquatic life has also been documented in many sources.

Since no regulations currently exist governing the disposal or recycling of these materials, synthetic turf companies have been known to make unsubstantiated claims regarding reuse, recycling, and disposal of their product at the end of their lifespans, as they have done with officials and parents within Montgomery County Public Schools at “information meetings.” If the Synthetic Turf Council recommends end-of-life chain of custody certification, and it does, why wouldn’t Maryland lawmakers support such legislation?

We are hoping Maryland lawmakers agree with us. We will update you on whether HB 857 is favorably reported out of committee.


Rushing Beltway Expansion Won’t Solve Congestion   Submitted by Carol Van Dam Falk

Even though the final environmental impact statement is not expected until the Fall, on January 27, 2021 Maryland highway officials announced they are plowing ahead with plans to expand I-495 and I-270, adding 4 toll lanes to each roadway. As currently envisioned, the plan also would include a managed “lane flyover” cross ramp at River Road that would cross Seven Locks Road and encroach on the historic Moses Hall and Cemetery off Seven Locks Road.

“Alternative 9” will add four High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes: two in each direction:

  • to I-495 between the American Legion Bridge and the I-270 spurs
  • to I-270 between the Beltway and Interstate 70 in Frederick

In mid-February, MDOT selected Accelerate Maryland Partners, a consortium led by Transurban, to do “predevelopment” work on its $11 billion-plus 495/I-270 road widening project. As John Stout, the U.S. PIRG transportation advocate wrote in a Washington Post Feb. 2 opinion piece, “The science is clear: Highway expansion doesn’t solve traffic congestion. Wider roads mean more drivers. Expanding our highways traps us in our cars, increases harmful air pollution and destroys our environment.”

Among the wasteful highway boondoggles still moving forward amid the coronavirus pandemic, few would harm local residents’ health more or cause greater, irreversible environmental damage than Maryland’s Capital Beltway project.” The expansion is opposed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, environmental activists, the U.S. Navy, and County residents who say the expansion will threaten hundreds of acres of natural parkland and streams and destroy numerous homes.


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, 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 background in current website design/development methods, and a familiarity with available hosting options. Please contact Peter Poggi, peter.poggi@yahoo.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. 


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.

Newsletter – February 2021

February 2021


A Busy Month

President’s Letter – by Ken Bawer

It has not been a quiet month for the West Montgomery County Citizens Association. At our January General Meeting, we heard Dr. Andrew Lazur, Statewide Water Quality Specialist with the University of Maryland Extension, discuss care and maintenance of wells and septic systems. The County provides no proactive education to new or existing homeowners on how to treat and maintain their wells or septic systems to avoid serious health and environmental impacts, not to mention expensive repairs or irreparable septic system failure. We have requested such education from the County, but none has been forthcoming to date. A replay of January?s General Meeting is available at http://www.wmcca.org, and Dr. Lazur?s presentation itself is at:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IBYHheQ5mJeh2Q2E-pvOBILlXnDCwGSC/view

We testified at both the Planning Board and County Council public hearings regarding sewer service category change requests in our area (see details below).

We also filed a Petition for Certiorari in the Maryland Court of Appeals to appeal the County?s decision to allow subdivision of a lot on Glen Mill Road in the Piney Branch Special Protection Area which would let a house be built too close to the Piney Branch stream. And we testified at a County Council hearing opposing Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-08 (see details below).

There was an Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearing (OZAH) hearing on January 15th for a conditional use application for the proposed Spectrum Senior Living facility at 9545 River Road (currently Potomac Petals & Plants / formerly Behnke site). We agreed not to object to the development after the builder accommodated neighbors? concerns and agreed to decrease the height from three to two stories. The developer is holding a virtual meeting on Wednesday, February 3rd at 7:00 pm to review their plans and give you an opportunity to provide input and ask questions. To attend, go to https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/995832869 or call in to (517) 317-3122, Access Code 995832869.

We signed on to a letter asking that the proposed Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA 20-01) to allow large solar arrays in the Agricultural Reserve be rejected as written and replaced by a compromise Conditional Use proposal instead. Rather than a blanket ?Permitted Use?, this compromise would allow solar arrays but would require Conditional Use reviews and permitting for each proposed array facility (a process that will afford more care in siting the arrays). The County Council?s straw vote was 6-3 for conditional use. The official vote on this amendment will take place at next week’s council session. There was also an official vote (5-4) to protect Class 2 soils (in addition to the Class 1 soils protected in the ZTA as written). We wrote a thank-you note to our Councilmembers Friedson and Katz for the work they did on the issues and the amazing results they achieved.

And, we signed on to two different letters with comments on Montgomery County?s draft Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit to Maryland Department of the Environment. One was from the Choose Clean Water Coalition, the other from Montgomery Stormwater Partners Network of which we are both members. A WMCCA Board member provided input to both of these letters.

We provided written testimony to the Planning Board on the Forest Conservation Plan Amendment: Congressional Country Club: Final Forest Conservation Plan Amendment No. CBA 1206. We stated that the proposed ?stream restoration?, by armor-plating the stream on its property, will result in stormwater being ?fire hosed? along the stream causing damage to downstream neighbors and parkland and that Congressional Country Club should control its stormwater runoff by practices which keep stormwater out of its stream to begin with. We also said that the M-NCPPC determination that ?The granting of this variance is not a special privilege that would be denied to other applicants? makes a mockery of any Forest Conservation easement. This is a problem: if variances like this one are granted to all other applicants, then what is the purpose of a Forest Conservation easement?

As always, we welcome your help since the Board is an all-volunteer group. You don?t have to be a Board member to work with us on a topic of concern or interest to you. Let us know about any issue that is bothering or concerns you: President@WMCCA.org.


Sewer Category Change Requests Submitted by Susanne Lee

WMCCA President Ken Bawer testified on our behalf at two public hearings ? one before the Planning Board and the other before the County Council regarding multiple sewer category change requests: 10400 Boswell Lane, 10401 Boswell Lane, the 12000 block of Piney Meeting House Rd, 9701 Watts Branch Drive, and 13517 Glen Mill Road. We supported the County Executive?s recommendations for approval of the request for 10400 Boswell Lane and disapproval of the remaining requests. The requests will now be considered by the Council?s Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee beginning with a work session on February 1st. After the T&E Committee deliberations, the whole Council will vote on the requests.

In addition, a sewer category request for public sewer has been filed for the property at 13417 Valley Drive in Glen Hills in order to build a ?single family house and accessory dwelling unit?. This property was clear cut in violation of the County?s Forest Conservation Statute and the State Wetlands statutes. The property owner was fined $1,000 and required to develop a Forest Conservation plan. The property is clearly not eligible for sewer service under the County Water and Sewer Plan. Furthermore, given the extensive wetlands on the site, it appears there is no way a house could be built on the lot even with sewer. WMCCA will oppose the sewer category request.


Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-08 Continuing Care Retirement Community      

Submitted by Susanne Lee

On January 19, 2021, the County Council conducted a public hearing on this proposed ZTA that would allow increased density in low density zones under the guise of senior housing. WMCCA is working with the Greater South Glen Neighborhood Association (GSGNA) to oppose the ZTA, especially given the neighbors? concerns about the use of the ZTA to increase the density allowed on the proposed Heritage Garden site (formerly the 4th Presbyterian School) on South Glen Road. WMCCA submitted written materials and testified in opposition at the hearing as did David Brown, the attorney representing GSGNA. The ZTA will now be the subject of deliberations before the Council?s Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee. Members of the PHED Committee are Andrew Friedson, Hans Riemer, and Will Jawando. The PHED Committee will then forward their recommendations to the full Council for a decision. WMCCA will continue to work with the GSGNA to oppose the ZTA.


REMINDER: IT’S TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2020-2021!

Please renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Go to our website http://www.wmcca.org 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.


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, 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 background in current website design/development methods, and a familiarity with available hosting options. Please contact Peter Poggi, peter.poggi@yahoo.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. 


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.

Newsletter – January 2021

January 2021


Are “Stream Restorations” Damaging to Our Streams?

President’s Letter – by Ken Bawer

“To date, the County has completed stream restoration projects, restoring almost 30,000 linear feet of stream…” per the latest report on meeting our MS4 Permit. The inconvenient truth is that in some cases these projects may convert our natural stream valleys into engineered stormwater conveyances without addressing the root cause of the problem – stormwater fire-hosing into streams from developed areas (impervious surfaces such as roofs, roads, sidewalks, driveways, etc.). They address the symptoms (stream bank erosion), but not the cause in an effort to check the MS4 Permit box.

Every year, the County spends millions of taxpayer dollars on so-called “stream restoration” projects. First and foremost, the term “stream restoration” is a misnomer since some of these projects may not actually restore streams. See examples of destructive “stream restoration” projects here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zi7SAvswCh4vNakRtS74vf-bsdiTGsyt/view

A “stream restoration”, as defined by Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for MS4 Permits, may include stormwater management engineering practices that use heavy equipment such as bulldozers and backhoes to modify a stream channel. Typically, this involves, placing heavy boulders from outside sources to armor-plate sections of the stream bank, changing a stream’s natural meander pattern based on theoretical mathematical formulas, cutting down stream banks, and raising the level of stream channels with fill material brought from off-site. This sometimes means removing tons of stream bank soil along with all the plants and animals residing on and in it. To provide access for the heavy equipment, hundreds or thousands of trees are cut down to build access roads, and then many more trees are cut down during the construction project itself. To add insult to injury, the County and Parks asked that their “stream restoration” projects be exempted from our forest conservation laws which further enables wholesale tree cutting during these projects. (Note: infrastructure protection projects such as protecting or repairing sewer lines in streams valleys are not “stream restorations” – they are proper and necessary).

So, why are such “stream restoration” projects done? They are typically used to help meet the requirements of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit (required under the federal Clean Water Act and issued by MDE) which requires that the County decrease certain pollutants (nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended sediments) entering the Chesapeake Bay. However, while sediment caused by stream bank erosion may be reduced by these projects which armor-plate sections of streams, research by Robert Hilderbrand has shown that, “Despite the promise and allure of repairing damaged streams, there is little evidence for ecological uplift after a stream’s geomorphic attributes have been repaired.” (1) In other words, while armor-plating streams with boulders may temporarily decrease erosion (since future storms can blow out these structures), the biological health of the area is not improved. In fact, the devastating biological impact of excavations by bulldozers and backhoes in our stream valleys is obvious to even the most casual observer.

Having said all that, the WMCCA has representatives on the Montgomery Stormwater Partners Network Stream Restoration Workgroup in an effort to educate ourselves and reach a consensus position on “stream restorations”. We remain willing to be convinced that these types of “stream restorations” are good for the environment. Until such time when it can be demonstrated that such “stream restorations” are beneficial to the local environment, we ask that the County and Parks obtain their MS4 Permit credits from alternative, upland (out of stream valley) projects and non-destructive practices such as tree plantings and conservation landscaping.

What can you do? On your own property, create rain gardens and replace turf grass with conservation landscaping to decrease stormwater runoff. Don’t pipe your roof runoff to the street. See other ideas at:

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/water/rainscapes/index.html

Above all, contact our elected officials and ask that emphasis be placed on alternative practices such as upland (out of stream valley) stormwater control, tree plantings, and conservation landscaping, for example. (1) Hilderbrand, Robert H., et. al.


Beltway Expansion Project Carol Van Dam Falk

The Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) and other independent analyses have shown that Governor Hogan’s beltway expansion project would hurt local ratepayers and Maryland taxpayers, and would be especially devastating for local residents. In March, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) estimated the cost would be $2 billion to move water and sewer pipes to make way for the project; that’s more than double the original estimate from MDOT. The state has consistently refused to acknowledge who will cover the cost. WSSC fears it may have to raise ratepayers’ water bills. Despite Governor Hogan’s claims that the proposal will cost Maryland taxpayers nothing, the DEIS admits that upwards of $1 billion in state subsidies might be needed to complete the project (Washington Post).

Local communities will be pay the biggest price for the beltway project. The DEIS acknowledges that 1,500 properties will be negatively impacted, and up to 34 homes will have to be bulldozed completely. The project will disproportionately impact local communities, particularly low-income communities and communities of color, all of whom will be forced to cope with increased noise and air pollution and increased risk of flooding and water pollution. The proposal would also negatively impact dozens of community resources including schools, parks, and hospitals, not to mention the numerous environmental concerns.


County Council Hearing on Sewer Category Change Requests Submitted by Susanne Lee

A public hearing will be held on January 12, 2021 at 1:30 pm regarding five sewer category change requests for properties located in the Potomac Subregion. They are located at 10400 Boswell Lane, 10401 Boswell Lane, the 12000 block of Piney Meeting House Rd, 9701 Watts Branch Drive, and 13517 Glen Mill Road. The County Executive has recommended approval of the request for 10400 Boswell Lane and disapproval of the remaining requests. It appears that his recommendations are consistent with the law and policy governing sewer use contained in the Potomac Subregion Master Plan, the County Water and Sewer Plan including the Piney Branch limited access policy, and the Maryland Smart Growth statutes. WMCCA plans to testify at the hearing in support of the County Executive’s recommendations. The package describing these requests can be found here:


Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-08 Continuing Care Retirement Community

Submitted by Susanne Lee

The Planning Board’s crazy proposal to use a redefinition of Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) to allow and promote construction of duplexes and triplexes in the County’s remaining low density zones has arrived at the County Council. A Council public hearing is scheduled for January 19, 2021 at 1:30 pm. WMCCA supports efforts to address senior housing needs documented in Montgomery Planning’s recent study where affordability and aging in place were major themes. Our area had already been inundated with facilities, with more on the way, even before the pandemic raised serious issues regarding reliance on congregate living settings for housing seniors. This developer-driven proposal would turn the State law-based definition of a CCRC on its head and appears to be targeted at allowing developments such as Heritage Gardens on South Glen Road – a townhouse development (units starting at $1.25 million) in a single family RE-2 (2 acre) zone. WMCCA is working with the Greater South Glen Neighborhood Association to oppose the ZTA, including testifying in opposition at the upcoming hearing. Information regarding the ZTA appears here:


REMINDER: IT’S TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2020-2021!

Please renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Go to our website http://www.wmcca.org 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. 


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, peter.poggi@yahoo.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. 


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.