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.
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.
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
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:
Are you interested in helping to improve drinking water quality in the Potomac Subregion? Would you like to help protect the rural look and feel of the Agricultural Reserve? Want to volunteer on your own schedule from your home office? If you are a like minded individual and interested in offering your website development skills to help us create a new website, we are ready for you!
Our www.wmcca.org website was created using MS FrontPage back in 2003. It's written entirely in HTML and requires a programmer to enter content and resolve technical issues. Our goal is start with a clean slate. We need a more sustainable, template driven platform that will enable people to contribute content.
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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
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.