The meeting was called to order at 7:35 p.m. by Bailey Condrey, President.
After introductions Bailey answered two questions that had previously been raised by members: 1. In response to the question of how much of a traffic lane bikers are entitled to-- Answer: one whole lane. 2. In response to requests to improve the biking/walking trail in nearby Rock Creek Park-- Parks and Planning have not budgeted for any improvements. A front-end loader will occasionally scrape mud and debris from the trail.
Zoning Code Rewrite Discussion
Association members were pleased to welcome Council Member at Large, Marc Elrich, who presented follow-up information regarding Zoning Text Rewrite developments.
He shared his concerns about the proposed changes. The zoning code rewrite process drew up a new master plan and then a map that proposes new zones for every property in Montgomery County. C- 1 zones (neighborhood retail zones) can have added height as well as residential housing. The change in approved FAR (floor area ratio) could result in developers converting a neighborhood shopping center to high-density housing, causing some neighborhoods to lose their neighborhood shopping centers. In R-60 residential zones, commercial interests will no longer need a special exception for general non-residential buildings. The overall result will be increased density. School crowding as a result of increased density is an additional concern that has not been adequately addressed in the plans.
In Mr. Elrich’s opinion, the planners seemed much more interested in giving incentives to developers than in supporting established residential areas Montgomery County.
Mr. Elrich was asked to comment on the five points that were e-mailed to the Parkwood List Serve prior to tonight’s PRA meeting: He agreed with and elaborated on each of the points:
The Public Hearings are Nov. 12 & 14, 7:30 p.m. at the Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave. Rockville.
More information can be found at http://montgomeryplanning.org/development/zoning and on the PRA list serve.
Gail Condrey suggested that residents take the points that were e-mailed and write their own e-mails to council members. The PRA leadership will provide a template and links for information on the Parkwood list serve. Council e-mail addresses were included in the Fall newsletter. Gail also suggested that after sending an e-mail to council members, the writer could post it on the list serve.
There was a suggestion for a letter-writing party; interested individuals may want to organize this.
Mr. Elrich stressed that individual e-mails and letters are most effective.
Beautification Update—Tree Planting
Gail gave the report for the tree committee. Trees will be planted in January and February. A florescent dot on your curb indicates that a tree will be planted in front of your lot. In response to a question regarding the type of tree to expect, Gail said that the Parkwood Residents web site has a list delineating what type of tree will be planted by location. If a resident in unhappy with the type of tree proposed, they can call the number given.
The gardens beautifying Parkwood, such as the one at Wildwood and Saul are lovely and a real enhancement for our community. Fall work consists mainly of adding mulch where needed. There is some discussion of working with the county for a rain garden at Wildwood and Parkwood near the drains.
A question was raised about getting rid of tree stumps left by Pepco. Bailey said that he had learned that Pepco is not required to take care of stumps. After some discussion, Bob Waters made a motion that the Parkwood Residents Association request the county council that stumps be ground within a year of tree removal by the county. The motion was seconded and passed.
On October 27, The Cedar Land Unitarian Universalist Church will sponsor a Rock Creek Clean-up Day. All are invited to participate.
Discussion of Whether Parkwood Should Formally Request that Montgomery County Divest from Holdings in Fossil Fuel Companies
The rational for this petition was prepared by the Divest Montgomery County chapter of the Fossil Free Campaign (a nationwide fossil fuels divestment campaign) and printed in the PRA newsletter for members to read prior to the meeting. PRA member Craig Milhauser opened the discussion by stating his opinion that the petition was poorly written, not factually correct, would not achieve the desired effect , and could have the consequence of raising taxes. A lively discussion followed. Some members stated that it is a quality of life issue, and although the petition to the council may not be effective, it would at least have value in raising the issue. Some members stated that the divestment petition was too narrow an approach; other green issues such as solar roofs, pollution-lowering lawn mowers, etc. should be considered. We also need a fuller understanding of what the county is already committed to do. The formation of a Parkwood environmental committee was also suggested. The discussion was cut short due to the fact that the clock was approaching the time when the meeting was scheduled to close. Jeff Griffith moved that the discussion be tabled until we have more information. The motion was seconded and passed.
Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Councilmember, District 1, will be at Garrett Park Elementary School, Media Center, Thursday, Nov. 7, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m., to meet Montgomery County residents for an event called “Conversations with Councilmember Berliner.” This is an excellent opportunity to engage our council member in discussions of questions and concerns.
On November 10, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church will host a symposium on energy choices for our area. Details will be posted on the list serve.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.
Judith Dighe, secretary
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