See Something, Say Something
President’s Letter by Barbara Brown
While the Board members of WMCCA do a tremendous amount of work on your behalf, we cannot be everywhere and see everything that happens in our community – we are not omniscient. We rely on you – our members and community neighbors – to bring matters of interest, concern, and urgency to both our attention and to the attention of the County (e.g., parks, ZTA’s, stormwater, etc.). Please help us be the eyes and ears of our community.
Bullis School OZAH Hearing Postponed Indefinitely
Submitted by Susanne Lee
The hearing before the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH) on the Bullis School application for a major revision to their Special Exception scheduled for January 27, 2023 has been postponed indefinitely. Bullis is still submitting information to the Montgomery County Planning Board and the final plans have not been posted. However, the most recent submission on the OZAH website indicates that in addition to multiple other major changes, a new artificial turf playing field is proposed to be constructed. Please join us at WMCCA’s meeting on January 11th via the link above to learn more about synthetic turf playing fields.
Saw Something and Said Something
Submitted by Ken Bawer & Susanne Lee
Many thanks to WMCCA member Samuel Stavis who recently saw the chain saws going into action on a forested, undeveloped lot at 13321 Oakwood Drive. Samuel informed the owner and their representative of potential violations of the forest conservation statute and the need for a sediment control permit.
He also alerted Stephen Peck who has been very helpful and responsive as the County’s Forest Conservation Inspector responsible for enforcement in much of our Potomac Subregion. Stephen responded quickly and met with the owner’s representative as a first step in sorting out what they were doing and what types of permits or forest conservation plans they will need. Stephen also indicated that an additional inspector Dominic Bello will be transitioning into his territory. So in the future if you see tree cutting and clearing happening and want to ensure that the Forest Conservation statute or permitting requirements are not being violated, please contact Stephen Peck at 240-638-6681 and Domenic Bello, Forest Conservation Inspector at the Montgomery County Planning Department: cell phone 240-928-0225 and office phone 301-495-2107, Domenic.Bello@montgomeryplanning.org.
We are grateful for the County’s rapid response. They told us, “We determined that the amount of clearing performed does not yet exceed the 5,000 square foot threshold. We instructed the owner’s representative to halt any further clearing on the lot until there is a plan in place. We allowed for the disposal of the downed woody debris, as well as the spreading of wood chips. No further trees are to be removed at this time. There is some discrepancy as to the size of the lot in question. One source measures the lot at 0.93 acres (over 40,000 square feet), with others recording the lot at 0.89 acres (under 40,000 square feet). If the lot does fall under 40,000 square feet, the owner would not be subject to Montgomery County Forest Conservation Law. We instructed the owners representative to have the lot surveyed in order to determine an accurate area. Regardless of the lot size, the owner will need an approved plan of some sort to continue any clearing on the property. The question now is whether they will just need a sediment control permit, or whether they will need a forest conservation plan as well.”
To give another recent example, one of our Board members, Ginny Barnes, noticed that the Watts Branch stream was unusually muddy near the one-lane bridges in The Glen. She alerted the Board and Ken Bawer was able to look at various locations upstream and traced the source of the problem – road construction near Wootton High School within the Rockville city limits. He contacted the Rockville Department of Environment and Sustainability for investigation.
REMINDER IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY RENEWED: IT’S TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2022-2023!
Please renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Download a membership form from www.wmcca.org or join using PayPal: Individual: $25 / Family: $50. We encourage donations to our Legal Fund. While we strive for positive 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. Thank you for your support !!
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P.O. Box 59335, Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President – Barbara Brown: President@WMCCA.org
Website: WMCCA.org – Thomas Fahey, Newsletter Editor – Nancy Madden