On Wednesday, January 25, the second SSAC meeting was held. The meeting was split in two parts; the first part discussed items pending research that were “parked” by the committee members, for further information and/or clarification. It also allowed experts to share additional information regarding parked items and/or outstanding questions; the second part was a closed session for discussions of private sites.
- MCPS & Reclaim Right on RCHLP – There was an outstanding question relating to MCPS’ re-claim right and a possible encumbrance placed on that right due to federal and/or funds used to develop RCHLP. MCPS concluded that its reclaim right to the park was not hindered based on a policy outlined by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). RCHCA indicated that the issue was still pending since there’s an updated communication from DNR demonstrating their intent to follow up our request for specific documentation, and to address our position that DNR’s policy is not based on statutory reliance.
- Montgomery County Department of Parks – Representative from the Park’s department reiterated the position taken early on by the department’s Chair Francois Carrier, firmly voicing the need to preserve green space in the area and expressing the point that “parks don’t come free.” He also provided information to the committee regarding the permitting process that MCPS will be subject, namely Forest Conservation Plan (FCP) and Mandatory Referral.
- Montgomery County Department of Planning- Representative went through an elaborate explanation of both permitting processes, FCP and Mandatory Referral. Although the Board’s decision during the Mandatory Referral is “advisory” it is binding through the Forest Conservation Plan process. RCHLP has estimated 5.1 acres of forestation requirements that would need to get approval from the Natural Resources Inventory/Forest Stand Delineation. Additionally any specimen trees impacted would require a variance from the County Arborist.
- Montgomery County Department of Transportation/Bethesda Depo – There was clarification on the road with requirement for bus routes – 36 feet total including with 2 travel lanes (10 feet ea), with parking lanes of 8 feet each; school bus is 10 feet wide, mirror to mirror.
Community Input – This Wednesday, February 8th will be the third SSAC meeting, at 7:00 p.m. at the BCC cafeteria. The first half will be opened to the public for participation. The second half will be closed for private site discussions.
Community Feedback- I have received some feed back from items posted on the SSAC web site (see bellow), primarily addressing the pros and cons listed for each site, and the limited access in the process to allow for true analysis of the 8 criteria for each site. Community feed back will be sent to the SSAC prior to next meeting for discussion.
If you have any comments and/or concerns please send them to me so that I can forward them to the committee BEFORE Wednesday, February 8th.
Sandra Van Bochove
Old Spring Road