Fall 2012 Newsletter

The RCHCA Fall meeting is Thursday, October 11, at 7:30 inĀ the in the all-purpose room of Grace Episcopal Day School, 9411 Connecticut Avenue

Dear Members,

Things seem to be quieting down after a year and a half of intense activity
by many of our RCHCA members and its board of directors. The Fall
meeting will be short and consist mostly of an information session. Thus
this newsletter leads off with . . . .

The Halloween Parade and Picnic, an important annual event for our
community, will be held on SUNDAY, October 28, beginning at 12:00 in Rock
Creek Hills Local Park. The parade will terminate at Ann and Sam Statland’s
at 3500 Saul Road. We look forward to seeing you there. Many thanks to
Marilyn Emery for her efforts in arranging this event and Sam Statland for
representing the RCHCA Board and the generous use of his lawn.

Litigation Update

RCHCA continues to pursue two challenges the Montgomery County Board of
Education’s selection of Rock Creek Hills Local Park as the proposed site
for the second BCC Cluster middle school.

The first is the administrative appeal to the State Board of Education. The
last pleadings were filed in July by RCHCA, the individual neighborhood
appellants and the County Education Board. The central issues before the
State Board is whether County Board adequately reviewed the two alternatives
developed during the Site Selection Advisory Committee in March 2012. There
is unlikely to be a formal hearing in this proceeding and the State Board
has no required time frame for issuing a decision. At this point the
administrative appeal to the State Board has cost less than $100 and we
anticipate minimal further expenses at this time.

The second challenge is an action filed in the Montgomery County Circuit
Court on August 16, 2012. RCHCA and the individual complainants assert
that the various local and state agencies did not comply with federal and
state statutes governing the proposed conversion of Rock Creek Hills Local
Park to a middle school site. The action is technically complex, but
asserts that under Federal and State open space law our local park may not
be converted before alternative local park facilities of the same size and
utility are provided by the appropriate Montgomery County governing body.
The action also asserts that the State Department of Natural Resources
failed its statutory obligations by requiring that the alternative
facilities be provided prior to any conversion. Finally, we are asserting
that Rock Creek Hills Local Park may not be transferred until the Maryland
National Capital Park and Planning Commission determines that is not needed
for park purposes. The various defendants were served on September 28 and
the first hearing is scheduled for November 16, 2012. We believe this
action will be determined on the pleadings since almost all issues are legal

The Montgomery County action has required about one third of the dedicated
funds raised to date and as mid-September we have $29,313.72 remaining.
While this is a good balance, additional contributions are most welcome.

Covenants Issue

The RCHCA Board has been informed that a lawn service and landscaping
business appears to be operating out of a house on East Bexhill Street.
This appears to be in violation of both County zoning regulations and of the
covenants precluded the operation of this type of business in our community.
The Board is investigating and hopes to resolve any violations of the County
zoning regulations and the land use covenants without litigation. An update
will be provided at our annual meeting in January or February.

Nomination of Officers

The terms of the current RCHCA officers will expire at our annual meeting.
John Robinson is willing to serve another term as president, as will Sam
Statland as Vice-President and Ken Sanford as Secretary. David Hall will
have provided yeoman service as Treasurer for over three years and is
stepping down. A nominating committee should be selected to develop a
full slate of officers.

Treasurer’s Report

This Treasurer’s report is divided into two sections to break out the
difference between the ordinary operations and the funds and expenses
related to the Montgomery Circuit Court action regarding the proposed
conversion of Rock Creek Hills Local Park to a middle school. Turning first
to the litigation fund, as stated the current balance in the dedicated
litigation fund is $29,313.72 and we have spent a total of $13,772.59 to
date or 32 percent of the funds raised so far.

Ordinary Income – Ordinary income for the period January 1 to September 6,
2012 was $7,857.47 consisting of 2013 dues of $35.00; $400 in donations;
2012 dues of $7420; and interest of $2.47.

Expenses – Totaled $8737.68 as follows:

  • Communications, $3288.52, consisting of newsletters, $2,204.90, websiteĀ maintenance, $119.76, and $963.86 for a one-time non-recurring flyer related to the Rock Creek Hills Local Park issues.
  • Meetings Expenses of $455.99, of which $35 was non-recurring.
  • Social Events of $417.93.
  • Triangle Maintenance of $786.03.
  • Miscellaneous Expense of $3789.24 – Of this miscellaneous expense, $2898Ā was a non-recurring payment for an engineering review of the County SchoolBoard’s estimated construction cost of the proposed middle school on theĀ Rock Creek Hills Local Park site.
  • Mutt-Mitts – $891.24 for mutt-mitts to help dog owners clear up after walksĀ in Rock Creek Hills Local Park, which is in excess of 10 percent of ourĀ revenue. Your Board has concluded that this obligation should be borne theĀ dog owners, not the community as a whole. The matter is open for furtherĀ discussion at the October 11 meeting.

The Board notes that of total operating expenses of $7,857.47 this year,
$3,986.86 were related to the difficult situation involving Rock Creek Hills
Local Park.

The RCHCA balance sheet exclusive of the litigation accounts is: Checking
account, $4517.86; Money market fund, $11,514.99; Total ordinary assets,

The RCHCA dues remain $35 for 2012 but will rise to $40 in 2013. As is
suggested in the discussion of covenants here, we need to maintain a healthy
balance if we are to protect the integrity of our community.

Respectfully submitted with my best wishes,

John M. Robinson