Change Is Coming
President’s Letter – by Carol Van Dam Falk
The New York Times, Pro-Publica, and other media organizations have seen a surge in subscriptions in this post-election period. We hope that in that same vein, our members will recognize the importance of actively taking part in environmental watchdog organizations like WMCCA, to speak up when possible zoning violations occur in their neighborhood, and to notify their neighbors and question authority when it means protecting the character of a neighborhood or the health of a local stream, river, or piece of land. These are things that can be done and will be done if a community works together.
At the November WMCCA General Meeting, we heard from Barry Fuss, Chief of Bridges and Structures for Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation, on various bridge improvements underway.
Mr. Fuss identified and described four bridges on rustic roads currently being evaluated for future rehabilitation. While the four described are safe, all bridges receive a Bridge Sufficiency Rating (BSR), ranging from Poor (0) to Very Good (100). Structurally deficient means an element of the bridge will soon need to be replaced and is eligible for federal matching funds. Functionally obsolete means an element of the bridge does not meet today’s standards. The beautiful Montevidio Road Bridge and the Mouth of Monocacy Road Bridge have been identified as “structurally deficient.” The Glen Road Bridge M-015 and a second Glen Road Bridge M-148 have been identified as “functionally obsolete.” Mr. Fuss is committed to repairing all four of these bridges while keeping their rustic character in place. That is a far cry from what happened with the Esworthy Road Bridge project some 20 years ago, which serves as a cautionary tale of horrendous results when local transportation officials ignore the pleas of the local community and refuse to listen to the advice of their own bridge structural engineers.
Oral Argument in Brandywine Senior Living at Potomac, LLC by Susanne Lee: On November 4, 2016, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge David Boynton conducted oral argument in WMCCA’s appeal of the Montgomery County Board of Appeals (BOA) decision granting Brandywine Senior Living a conditional use (special exception) to construct a 140 bed assisted living facility in a residential (RE-2) zone. WMCCA joined with the Brickyard Coalition to appeal the decision citing violations of key provisions of the Potomac Subregion Master Plan and the Montgomery County Zoning Code regarding placement of such intensive elderly housing developments and the conduct of hearings under the new Code. Abutting property owners Ronald and Toni Paul also appealed the BOA decision. Attorney David Brown represented WMCCA in what was a lively, thoughtful debate of the critical issues. We are now awaiting a decision by Judge Boynton.
Glen Hills Sewer Policy Implementation by Susanne Lee: Following the Montgomery County Council’s adoption of a new sewer policy for Glen Hills, WMCCA has been following the actions of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Council regarding its implementation. Based on recent actions, it appears the County is doing a very good job. Recent approvals and denials of requests for new sewer service have been following the new policy, including the abutting mains policy. Under this policy, a homeowner whose lot abuts an existing sewer line may request to be hooked up to that sewer line, however this hookup is limited to that one house and cannot be used for subdivision or to provide hookups to other houses. Furthermore, requests for broader sanitary surveys have been correctly denied on the basis of what appear to be thoughtful, fact-based analyses of conditions on the sites confirming their appropriateness for long term use of septic systems and the enormous costs of extensions (between $920,000 and $1,150,000 for one homeowner).
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: http://www.wmcca.org
West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter
P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President – Ginny Barnes 301 762-6423
Newsletter – Lois Williams
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.