President’s Letter – George Barnes
As our membership has learned over the years, some of the most troublesome, time consuming, and expensive battles we have fought in seeking to protect the residential character of our neighborhoods and our community have been over special exceptions. We find ourselves once again facing a major special exception proposal, this time a very large continuing care facility providing care ranging from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing. The proposal would be constructed on the 28 acre Tauber property located on Democracy Blvd. between the end of the Bullis School property and Stapleford Hall Rd. The plan calls for 36 independent living units, 244 assisted living units, and 80 beds in a skilled nursing facility housed in a number of separate buildings which are quite large. The property is traversed by two streams for which the applicant would be required to make extensive restoration efforts as they are currently in a very degraded state. Some perimeter screening would be provided. The plan is being presented to the Planning Board as a pre-preliminary plan because the property is actually one 18 acre residential lot and a 10 acre parcel which has never been subdivided, which means that it must go through the subdivision process before any use such as this could be built. The applicants do not wish to go forward with a Special Exception application until they are assured that they will be able to obtain subdivision approval. The designs are in a very early planning stage and we will have several opportunities for input.
This proposal would place a large special exception right next to another large and very active special exception, the Bullis School, and a short distance from the Bolger Center, another major institutional use which does not require a special exception only because it is a US Government facility. The Special Exception Policy guidelines in the new Potomac Master Plan calls for increased scrutiny in reviewing applications for highly visible sites, and avoiding an excessive concentration of special exceptions along major transportation corridors. Both these guidelines would seem to apply in this instance.
This is sure to be a long drawn out and contentious matter, so plan to join us on December 10 to hear about this major proposal, which, by the way, will be as new to Mr. Denis as it is to us.
Planning and Zoning – Chair, Susanne Lee, 301 738-7987
On another special exception matter, the Board of Appeals has denied a request for an administrative modification of the special exception for an antique shop at 9900 River Rd. (across from the water filtration plant). The requested modification would have significantly expanded the scope of operations and the impact on the community. We can probably expect to see a request for a modification via a public hearing in the near future.
Sewer Category Change: A category change request has been filed for an administrative approval for sewer service for five lots on the Fulk property on the northwest side of Lloyd Rd. This property is behind the houses on Lloyd Rd. sloping down to the Piney Branch and abutting the Piney Branch Sewer. It is because the property abuts the sewer that it qualifies for administrative approval. It is possible that if there is controversy involved or extensive environmental reasons the property should not be developed the proposal might be put back into the regular hearing process. The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3, 2003 at 1:30 p.m. at Suite 140, 255 Rockville Pike, Rockville. Call Alan Soukup at Department of Environmental Protection to request that it not be approved administratively.
St. Luke’s Church, River Road : Neighbors have successfully lobbied the County Council to condition an approval for a sewer hookup for the property on a covenant or other assurance that no access will be sought to Fox Hunt Lane which abuts the back of the property.
Hall Rd: The extension of Hall Road through to River continues to be a concern; WMCCA and the residents are continuing to work on the issue.
Environment – Chair, Ginny Barnes, 301 762-6423
Blockhouse Point Conservation Park Master Plan: The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the Blockhouse Point MP which will govern the future of and the uses which will be permitted in this beautiful and pristine conservation park. Our Environmental Chair, Ginny Barnes, as worked extensively on this plan and will testify for WMCCA . Copies of the Plan are available at the Potomac Library or at the Planning Board offices in Silver Spring where the hearing is to be held on December 18. Sign up in advance to testify. Greenbriar Park: A public meeting will be held to discuss the development of the 25 acre Greenbriar Park site on Glen Rd. This undeveloped property is proposed to have conservation areas along the portions abutting the Greenbriar Branch and recreational facilities, perhaps ballfields, in the upper portions along Glen Road. The meeting will be held on Thursday, December 11 from 7:00 to 9:30 pm in the all purpose room at Travilah Elementary School, 13801 Dufief Mill Rd.
Roads, Streets, and Bridges – Chair, Diana Conway, 301 983-6142
We will discuss with the membership another contribution to Solutions not Sprawl, the umbrella group, to which we belong, which continues to work to prevent a second crossing of the Potomac River and an interstate highway through the heart of Potomac. This issue has not diminished as a threat or gone away. Powerful pro bridge groups are continuing to work behind the scenes to further this idea.
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President, George Barnes
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.