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:
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”.