Category

From the RCHCA Officers

FYI, sidewalk requests received by the County

By | From the RCHCA Officers, RCHCA Biz, Traffic & Safety | No Comments

Dear neighbors,

As George Knippen wrote yesterday, the County received several requests for sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety in our neighborhood, especially for students accessing the new school.

(Please note that individuals can submit multiple requests.)

At Mr. Knippen’s request, the County provided an “anonymized” (that is, with personally-identifying information obscured) copy of their file of those sidewalk requests.

As that anonymization was imperfect, we have further anonymized the document (that is, we’ve overlaid a few black boxes) before posting it for your information.

Please see: SidewalkRequests_Anonymized upd

Please find here the text of a letter that will be sent by first-class mail to all households in Rock Creek Hills.

By | From the RCHCA Officers | No Comments

September 5, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

What has your Board been up to since our March 2018 meeting? We have approved several applications for fence construction and home improvement projects, one application for solar panel installation, and have intervened with a developer whose neglect of a lot had caused concern among its neighbors. Additionally, we have received numerous communications regarding the County’s proposals for enhanced pedestrian safety. While these communications express disparate views – some call for more sidewalks, some fewer, some none – one thing they have in common is that many were sent by neighbors who have not paid their Association dues for the year 2018. Likewise, at this summer’s fun party held in Kensington Cabin Park, our Treasurer decided to stop asking guests whether they had paid their dues, because it became embarrassing to hear so many negative responses. Please note that your dues are the only support that your Association receives to support our valuable community building efforts, including two welcoming neighborhood parties per year, mailings to keep everyone informed, and other administrative costs. If you have not yet paid your dues, please do so..

At our October 2017 meeting, we reported that most of the Board – your President, Secretary, and Treasurer – wish to step down, and be replaced with new officers. However, the election of new officers was deferred from the January 2018 meeting to permit wrapping up a number of items under way at the time. Elections also did not take place at the March 2018 meeting, because no one volunteered to serve in these positions, in spite of the best efforts of our Nominating Committee. At this point, the members of your Board – who were first elected in the Winter of 2014, except for your Treasurer, who joined in 2013 – are serving out of goodwill, almost one year after we asked to be replaced.

While the current Board has the authority to address all business, we feel that it would be better for the matters now at hand – traffic calming, pedestrian safety, abandoned houses and unkempt yards – to be handled by officers with the added legitimacy that would come from not having been elected before these issues came to the fore. Accordingly, we look forward to scheduling the next general meeting of the Association after a slate of new officers has been assembled. (Mr. John Robinson has agreed to stand as Treasurer, and Mr. Hill Carter has agreed to stay on as Vice President, so just two people are needed, to serve as President and Secretary.) At that meeting, new officers would be elected by the membership, and then handle business at hand, especially review and discussion of the County’s proposals for intersection modifications, traffic calming, and enhanced pedestrian safety.

Sincerely yours,
James J. Pekar, Ph.D.
President, Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association

Enclosures:
• Letter of March 2018, reporting on settlement of litigation.
• Pre-addressed envelope in which you can mail your 2018 dues, which are $40 per household; please note these can also be paid online at rchca.org

Transportation Safety & Improvements in Rock Creek HIlls

By | From the RCHCA Officers, Traffic & Safety | No Comments

Dear neighbors,

Please find below the response we received today, from the Director of the
Montgomery County Department of Transportation, to our email of last month,
which you may read at
<http://rchca.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/RCHCA_MCDOT_20171109.pdf>

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Roshdieh, Al <Al.Roshdieh@montgomerycountymd.gov>
Date: Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 2:56 PM
Subject: RE: Transportation Safety & Improvements in Rock Creek HIlls
To: “jjpekar@gmail.com” <jjpekar@gmail.com>
Cc: “Johnston, Bruce” <Bruce.Johnston@montgomerycountymd.gov>, “Conklin,
Christopher” <Christopher.Conklin@montgomerycountymd.gov>, “Berliner’s
Office, Councilmember” <Councilmember.Berliner@montgomerycountymd.gov>,
“Bilgrami, Khursheed” <Khursheed.Bilgrami@montgomerycountymd.gov>,
“Kingsley, Frank” <Frank.Kingsley@montgomerycountymd.gov>, “Melvin, Janet” < Janet.Melvin@montgomerycountymd.gov>, “Traci_L_Townsend@mcpsmd.org” < Traci_L_Townsend@mcpsmd.org>

Dear Mr. Pekar:

Thank you for your email dated November 9, 2017, concerning Rock Creek
Hills community’s request to conduct an area transportation study including
sidewalk installation, implementing access restrictions, implementing
traffic calming and improving geometry at two intersections within your
community. Montgomery County has been at the forefront of a regional
effort to improve pedestrian and traffic safety and we are proud of the
significant improvements that have been made over the last few years. I
applaud your efforts to bring traffic and pedestrian safety issues to our
attention so that we can continue with our efforts to improve safety for
all road users in the County.

Our Division of Traffic Engineering and Operations (DTEO) will conduct a
comprehensive investigation to determine the possibility of installing
several improvements that were outlined in your email. After completing
the investigation, DTEO staff will get back to you with their findings and
recommendations.

If you have any questions regarding traffic and operations, please feel
free to contact Mr. Khursheed Bilgrami, in our Division of Traffic
Engineering and Operation, at Khursheed.Bilgrami@montgomerycountymd.gov or
at 240-777-2190 <(240)%20777-2190>.

The Division of Transportation Engineering (DTE) manages the Annual
Sidewalk Program for MCDOT. The main goal of the Annual Sidewalk Program
is to provide safer access for pedestrians and handicap citizens to schools
and nearby public transportation and/or facilities.

DTE is currently in the process of conducting on-site investigations along
the roadways requested in your letter to determine whether or not
installing new sidewalks are feasible. If the investigations reveal
sidewalk construction is feasible (available public right-of-way, no
significant obstructions to prevent construction, etc.), DTE will notify
you and the adjacent property owners with details of the project and the
construction impacts associated with the proposed sidewalk. Details will
be made available after all investigations are complete.

As part of the entire sidewalk construction process, a public hearing will
be required. The public hearing allows citizens an opportunity to present
oral and/or written testimony to support or oppose a proposed sidewalk
project. The entire process can require six months or more to complete.
If you have any questions regarding the status of your request or for
information to install new sidewalks, please contact Frank Kingsley, Annual
Sidewalk Program Manager, by e-mail at frank.kingsley@montgomerycountymd.gov
or call 240-777-7213 <(240)%20777-7213>. For information concerning the
public hearing, process you can contact Jan Melvin by e-mail at
jan.melvin@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-7271 <(240)%20777-7271>.

Sincerely,

*Al R. Roshdieh, Director*

*Department of Transportation*

*Montgomery County, MD*

*al.roshdieh@montgomerycountymd.gov <al.roshdieh@montgomerycountymd.gov>*

Tel: 240-777-7175 <(240)%20777-7175>

Notice of planned subdivision nearby

By | From the RCHCA Officers | No Comments

Dear neighbors,

We’ve received a letter from a developer who is planning a subdivision on Saul Road, on the other side of Connecticut Avenue, near Holy Redeemer Catholic School.

You can read the letter here:
<http://rchca.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Norton-Land-Design-Public-Meeting-Notice.pdf>

Per the letter, the developer is inviting the public to a meeting at 7 PM on November 30th, at Christ Episcopal Church, at Franklin & Connecticut.

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, RCHCA

P.S. In case you needed another reason to support the Rock Creek Hills covenants, please note that they prevent the subdivision of lots in our community.

Transportation Safety & Improvements in Rock Creek Hills

By | Board Correspondence, From the RCHCA Officers, Traffic & Safety | No Comments

Dear neighbors,

In accordance with votes of the membership at the October 24th general meeting of the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association, we have written to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation regarding transportation safety and improvements in Rock Creek Hills. Our letter may be found at:
<http://rchca.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/RCHCA_MCDOT_20171109.pdf>

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, RCHCA

Please Save The Date! RCHCA Autumn meeting Tuesday, October 24th

By | From the RCHCA Officers, Meetings | No Comments

Dear neighbors,

Please save the date for the Autumn meeting of the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association, in the Multipurpose Room at Grace Episcopal Day School, 9411 Connecticut Avenue, at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, October 24th.

As of this writing, anticipated agenda items are:

• School safety
With the new school open, concerns have arisen about the safety of students walking to school in roadways that are increasingly trafficked with vehicles. These concerns will intensify as the school reaches capacity. We will provide an update on possible approaches to enhancing pedestrian safety.

• Permit parking
With the new school open, concerns have arisen about the availability of street parking in front of homes close to the school. These concerns will intensify as the school reaches capacity. As discussed, the County provides a mechanism whereby residents can request permit parking; see notes on remarks by RCHCA Vice President Hill Carter at <https://goo.gl/TFgBZa>. An update will be provided at the meeting.

• Environmental update
With school construction (almost) finished, we have asked the Planning Board and Parks Department to restore and stabilize the Silver Creek stream valley, and to improve pedestrian routes on Parks Department land. An update will be provided at the meeting.

• Covenants update
Shirley and Carlos Domenech reside at 9608 Kensington Parkway. The covenants pertaining to that lot state that “No line fences or walls of any kind shall be erected …. except … such fences … as may be approved by the Continental Life Insurance Company, Inc.” and “No … structure of any kind … shall be constructed… unless, and until, complete plans and specifications… shall first be submitted to and approved by the Continental Life Insurance Company, Inc.” (Note that Rock Creek Hills Covenants, Inc., inherited the covenant enforcement authority of the Continental Life Insurance Company.) However, in August 2016, Shirley and Carlos Domenech built a fence, including a (partial) front-yard fence, without submitting the required request for authorization. The absence of front yard fences is a positive aesthetic characteristic of our community. Furthermore, an unauthorized front yard fence could serve as a “slippery slope” precedent leading to the proliferation of many more front yard fences and other violations of the covenants, harming property values. Accordingly, Shirley and Carlos Domenech were repeatedly asked to reconfigure their fence, in order to eliminate the front yard portion. These requests were not productive. Shirley and Carlos Domenech, per their request, were then invited to make a presentation regarding this matter at the most recent (March 2017) general meeting of the RCHCA. Following that meeting, the RCHCA Board, in their capacity as the officers of Rock Creek Covenants, Inc., and consistent with the vote of the membership at the previous (October 2016) general meeting of the RCHCA, referred the matter to counsel. We have asked the court of appropriate jurisdiction to order Shirley and Carlos Domenech to remove their unauthorized fence. An update will be provided at the meeting.

• Nominating committee
RCHCA Past President John Robinson has agreed to chair a Nominating Committee, whose purpose is to nominate members to stand for election as officers at the Winter meeting (to be held in January or February). RCHCA members Winnie Holbrook, Fern Shepard, and Gary Ditto have volunteered to serve on this committee. We are soliciting additional volunteers to serve on this committee; if you are interested, please inform any Board member. Your Association’s President, Secretary, and Treasurer do not wish to stand for re-election.

If you have any additional agenda items, please bring them to the attention of any Board member.

A full announcement of the meeting will be emailed on this listserv, posted at rchca.org, and sent to all homes via first class mail.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting! We’ve got more “we’re glad you’re our neighbor” signs (see <https://goo.gl/MMfFks>) and will bring them to the meeting in case you’d like to bring one home. The cost to the Association was $9.99; if you’d like a sign, then please bring a check.

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, RCHCA

P.S. We inquired about holding the meeting in Silver Creek Middle School, but were told that ongoing after-hours construction will keep us from being able to hold meetings there until the next (2018-2019) school year.

This Friday (7/21): Student-Welcoming Yard-Sign Pick-Up Back-Porch Happy-Hour!

By | From the RCHCA Officers, Neighborhood Notices, Silver Creek Middle School, Social Events | No Comments

Dear neighbors,

If yours is one of the 22 homes that directly face Silver Creek Middle School, then we’ll drop off a “we’re glad you’re our neighbor” yard sign for you this week. If your home does not directly face the school, then you are welcome to come over this Friday (7/21/17) to pick up a sign, drop off a check, and maybe stay for a cold drink. There are only enough signs for the first 28 people; everyone else can buy ’em online (see [previous post]).

With best regards,
Jim P.
9723 Kingston Road (corner of Saul)
See you on the back porch (over the garage) from 5–7 PM.

P.S. A recent Washington Post story speaks to the importance of providing a welcoming environment for students: <https://goo.gl/8G5ZZa>

“We’re Glad You’re our Neighbor” signs…to Welcome Silver Creek Middle School Students & Staff

By | B-CC Middle School / RCH Park, From the RCHCA Officers | No Comments

Dear neighbors,

To welcome Silver Creek Middle School students (& staff) with “we’re glad you’re our neighbor” yard signs:

1. Homes directly facing the school will receive a yard sign, with a letter explaining that the sign was purchased by the RCHCA at a cost of $9.99, and an envelope addressed to your Association Treasurer. We hope that residents will display the sign, and we would be delighted if you would send a check to your Association.

2. If your home does not directly face the school, then you are hereby invited to stop by our back porch on Friday, July 21st, to pick up a sign and drop off a check for RCHCA. There will only be enough signs for the first 28 people. (Twenty-two homes face the school, and we had to order 50 signs to get that price). We are at 9723 Kingston Road, at the corner of Saul Road. Unless the weather is awful, or until the signs run out, we’ll plan to be out on the porch (over the garage) from 5–7 PM.

(Contributions over and above the cost of the signs are very welcome! Your dues & contributions are the only source of support for your Association, which works to preserve and enhance your quality of life.)

3. Everyone else can order signs online:
• Signs from https://www.welcomeyourneighbors.org/ are $21.95 each or $73.95 for five, so you can save $7 apiece by partnering with four neighbors.
• Single signs are $17.99 from Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XDVZD6J/ (as of this writing).

4. Residents who are not on this email listserv will receive information about the signs, and how to order them, via first class mail; it will be included in a mailing announcing the Autumn meeting of your Association, which will be scheduled soon.

I’m sorry if this sounds complicated. The proposal to welcome students with these signs was met with a lot of enthusiasm, but no volunteers (to run a more-centralized “Girl Scout cookie” ordering/distribution system).

The first day of school will be Tuesday, September 2nd (the day after Labor Day); teachers will be on site the week before (starting Monday August 28th).

Thank you, and hope to see some of you on the 21st of July.

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, Rock Creek Hills Citizens Association

Welcoming the students of Silver Creek Middle School

By | From the RCHCA Officers, Neighborhood Notices, Silver Creek Middle School | No Comments

Dear neighbors,

What can we do to welcome Silver Creek students?

We could put up “we’re glad you’re our neighbor” yard signs
<https://www.welcomeyourneighbors.org/download-pdf>
especially in yards facing the school and along bus and walking routes.

Wouldn’t that make a nice sight, on opening day?

Please, what do you think? (If there’s enough interest we could to try to get costs down below $15 per household by arranging for bulk purchase or printing.)

Thank you.

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association