Audubon Naturalist Society calls for strengthened environmental protection and restoration in White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan

audubonThe Audubon Naturalist Society calls for the Montgomery County Council to strengthen language in the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan to preserve and restore waterways in the Anacostia River watershed.

ANS’ letter follows:

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Community concerns about White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan

5-20-14 (2)

White Oak Science Gateway

Civic leaders from Silver Spring, Four Corners and White Oak strongly support the creation of jobs in the White Oak area. However, they are concerned about the proposed elimination of staging from the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan. Staging assures specific infrastructure keeps pace with additional development. Because the White Oak area already has a glut of residential development, civic leaders are calling for commercial development (office and retail) requirements, versus current optional commercial growth. The White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan area is six miles from Metro, with most proposed development feeding into Route 29, one of the most congested roads in the region. The Montgomery County Council and Montgomery County Planning Board have voted not to tie future development to adequate transit infrastructure. Full Council vote on the WOSG Master Plan is on Tuesday, July 29.

The civic leaders’ letter to the County Council is copied below.

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Proposed gun range threatens serenity of Sugarloaf Mountain

Guest post by Beth Daly

The peace and tranquility of Sugarloaf Mountain is under threat by a proposed firearms training center and range on the Warfield property – an 1845 farm located in a Resource Conservation Zone that abuts Sugarloaf Mountain in Frederick County.

Map of Sugarloaf Mountain showing location of proposed gun range in Frederick County.

Map of Sugarloaf Mountain showing location of proposed gun range in Frederick County.

Old Line Arsenal LLC’s application proposes the following facility for the use of law enforcement, military personnel and others traveling from outside the area:

  • 60,000-square foot, 2-story building with indoor classrooms and firing range
  • 3-story shooting tower
  • Outdoor shooting ranges with 40 parking spaces
  • 144-vehicle parking lot
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Capacity: Up to 99 shooters

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Breaking: Casey Anderson new planning board chair

Planning Board member Casey Anderson has been chosen Montgomery County planning board chair in an 8-1 vote (Elrich opposed).  Anderson’s salary of $200,000 a year was approved by a 6-3 vote (Floreen, Elrich, Andrews opposed).  Anderson was chosen from a shortlist of five candidates chosen from 18 applicants to replace outgoing chair Francoise Carrier, who resigned earlier this year.  Carrier’s term ended June 14.  Carrier’s salary was $168,450 a year.

Council President Craig Rice also announced that because Anderson is a current commissioner, the council will re-advertise the planning board opening resulting from Anderson’s appointment.  Members of the planning board, a part time position, each earn an annual salary of $30,000.

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White Oak: County Council considering reclassifying Rt. 29 Colesville Road as a “freeway”

Urgent Action: Write the County Council about the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan

Guest post by Barry Wides 

We all have an interest in honest and transparent land use planning. Unfortunately, as the Montgomery County Council considers the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan, some are recommending questionable changes to the way traffic is analyzed to allow unsustainable levels of development.  One such recommendation would be to reclassify portions of US 29 a freeway – allowing traffic models to assume greater capacity than the road could support – to allow for greater development. Subverting traditional traffic analysis, in ways such as this, could set a terrible precedent that should have community advocates across the county concerned.  Continue reading

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Wheaton Coalition wants code enforcement, not community building, from tax dollars

Posted for the Wheaton Coalition

Dear County Executive Leggett, Here’s some food for thought …

The lack of code enforcement is a countywide issue and has developed into a matter of civil liberties and civil rights in our community. This issue is compounded by the fact that the Montgomery County Council continues to appropriate taxpayer dollars without input from the community.  Continue reading

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Citizens’ Coalition for Responsible Growth on Planning, land use and development issues facing Montgomery County

Guest Post by Citizens’ Coalition for Responsible Growth. Part 5 of a 5 part series

master plansIn Part 5 of the CCRG document, we raise the issues of ethical accountability for officials involved in land use and development decisions and of standards for candidates for and members of the Planning Board. We also  note the need for timely and accurate information about waivers, exemptions, complaints, investigations, and outcomes in development projects and cases, and we explain why all the issues in the full document are important.
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Citizens’ Coalition for Responsible Growth on Planning, land use and development issues facing Montgomery County

Guest Post by Citizens’ Coalition for Responsible Growth. Part 4 of a 5 part series

master plansIn Part 4 of the CCRG document, we look at the need for realistic parking standards, as well as how to better protect our environment and green spaces  especially, in developed areas.

Provision of parking in areas with commercial operations and/or transit centers is an increasingly contentious issue. Simply requiring fewer parking facilities in new developments presents problems for nearby residents, whether in single-family or multifamily communities, whose decisions on where to live were based in part on parking and traffic considerations. In addition, on the absence of other options, those who must drive to get to Metro stations will continue to need to park. Continue reading

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Citizens’ Coalition for Responsible Growth on Planning, land use and development issues facing Montgomery County

Guest Post by Citizens’ Coalition for Responsible Growth. Part 3 of a 5 part series

master plansIn Part 3 of the CCRG document, we discuss the growing trend toward using land use and development policies to spur behavioral and social changes, without regard to choices and investments already made by those in the County. We also note discrepancies and contradictions in current transportation policy in the County, and urge an incremental approach that focuses on actually improving transportation. Continue reading

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Citizens’ Coalition for Responsible Growth on Planning, land use and development issues facing Montgomery County

Guest Post by Citizens’ Coalition for Responsible Growth. Part 2 of a 5 part series

master plansIn Part 2 of the CCRG document, we note that for most homeowners, their property may be the largest portion of their net worth, while a single property may be only a small fraction of a developer’s investment, and therefore our government has a responsibility to effectively support the interests of homeowners. We also examine the disorganized, disconnected manner in which traffic tests are currently applied to development proposals.
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