WMCCA Newsletter


An Archive of past newsletters, back to the January 2003 issue, is now available on this website.

November 2017

Potomac Master Plan Threatened - Again!

President's Letter - by Ginny Barnes

Montgomery County is fortunate to have grown on the foundation of visionary planning. We have a General Plan and individual area Master Plans. One of the functions of a civic organization like WMCCA is to keep watch over the planning documents. Our Potomac Subregion Master Plan is based on protecting natural resources that contribute to the public drinking water supply. This accounts for our low density zoning, our numerous stream valley parks, even how our roads are configured. Key to maintaining all of these assets and protecting drinking water is limiting the expansion of sewer. This restraint on sewer applies to the "green wedge" residential zone in the eastern county and especially to the Agricultural Reserve. The County is now proposing changes to the Ten Year Comprehensive Water Supply and Sewerage Systems Plan that would weaken support for low density areas which serve as buffers to water quality protection. They would establish a new pro-sewer policy called "special sewer service area" that changes the basis for recommending a category change from septic to public sewer.

For the most part, sewers require gravity to function and so drain to the lowest land possible -alongside streams. These pipes require massive disturbance to forested stream valleys and allow increased development. When they leak or break (which happens more than we realize), thousands of gallons of effluent pollution are released directly into our creeks. Properly maintained septic systems are safe and do not constitute the sweeping public health hazard created by broken sewer pipes. Most of us give little thought to what happens when we flush our toilets or pour something down our drains. Yet where that effluent goes and how it gets there is the very basis of our zoning, planning, and community character. We are blessed with abundant open space, a greener community, and clean drinking water because we limit sewer expansion. Please attend our meeting and find out why changes to long held sewer policy apply to every resident of our community.

Old Angler's Cove Development Plan       by Ginny Barnes:

Plan # 020170290 proposed 4 lot subdivision on 1.87 acres - R-200 Zone. This land adjoins the C&O National Historic Park (NHP). The current proposal shows no easements to buffer the National Parkland. While easements appear on maps generated during a previous ownership, this proposed subdivision indicates no easements have yet been required. Virtually all properties adjoining the narrow corridor of the NHP require easements to buffer parkland, WMCCA will request they be a condition of the subdivision.

Lawn Pesticides and Chemical Drift       by Ken Bawer:

In October 2015, the County Council enacted Bill 52-14, Pesticides - Notice Requirements - Cosmetic Pesticide Use Restrictions, which would have prohibited the use of certain registered pesticides on private property starting on January 1, 2018. The County is one of the few local jurisdictions to have such restrictions. The Council enacted this legislation with a focus on pesticides that included chemicals linked to the risk of developing cancer. Complete Lawn Care, Inc., et al. v. Montgomery County invalidated certain provisions of Bill 52-14 because the Circuit Court found that County regulation of the use of pesticides on private property is preempted by state law.

On August 16, 2017, the Montgomery County Council directed the Office of the County Attorney to appeal the Montgomery County Circuit Court ruling that overturned the County’s cosmetic pesticides ban. In the meantime, if you are subjected to chemical drift from pesticides applied to a lawn you can file a complaint with the Maryland Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Regulation Department.

Go to the web site: http://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Pages/professional_forms.aspx, and find the form on the right hand side called "File a Complaint against a Pest Control Firm or Applicator" (5th document from the bottom) or, go directly to the form at http://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Documents/complain.pdf. The completed form can be emailed to: rob.hofstetter@maryland.gov.

All pesticides have restrictions on usage during windy days and/or rain, so you should indicate the approximate wind speed (you can use weather.com for Rockville, for example). You can ask to be informed exactly which chemical compounds were applied. For extra impact, copy: info@safegrowmontgomery.org, this group is instrumental in the lawn pesticide ban effort.

WMCCA is actively looking for volunteers for:

Website Assistance Needed      by Peter Poggi:

WMCCA is looking for someone to help modernize and share long term responsibility for updating our website and posting the monthly online newsletter.

While the current 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.

Help support our efforts in defending the Master Plan. Renew or become a new member of WMCCA. Look for your renewal notice in the mail or go to our website to download a membership form or join using PayPal: www.wmcca.org

West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President - Ginny Barnes: 301-762-6423
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.