Category

Board Correspondence

The Road Ahead

By | Board Correspondence, From the RCHCA Officers

Dear neighbors,

There appear to be a lot of rumors floating around and suspicions
being voiced regarding traffic calming, stop signs, and sidewalks.

No final decisions have been made by RCHCA with respect to how to
proceed with any changes to the neighborhood based on currently
proposed projects in these areas, and–to our knowledge–no final
decisions have been made by County officials. Nor do any appear
imminent.

The shared goal of the current RCHCA Board and the nominees for the
new Board is to create and implement a process for working through
these issues. We look forward to the presentation from Mr. Bilgrami on
traffic calming and intersection modifications, scheduled for next
month’s RCHCA meeting, November 27th in the Silver Creek Middle School
cafeteria, beginning at 8 PM. Please note that presentation and
discussion of proposed plans for sidewalks will NOT take place at this
meeting, but has been deferred to a subsequent meeting.

Regarding proposals for sidewalks, we will strive to implement a
process that provides everyone in the community with notice and
opportunity to have input into all proposals for action that are ready
for full consideration by the neighborhood. After the warranted
processes of input and revision have been completed, all proposals
that are developed and ultimately considered for implementation will
be put in front of the RCHCA community for a vote.

All members of the community remain free to seek out information to
which they are legally entitled, from County sources or elsewhere. And
they have the right to express their views and to request others’
input. This is part of the democratic process, even when it is done by
those with views that we do not share.

We will host community-wide meetings to address these matters; seek
compromises where they appear reasonable and achievable; and vote on
whatever plans are ultimately put forth for final consideration.

Thanks,
Jim Pekar
President, RCHCA
on behalf of the current & nominated RCHCA Board members

Save the Date: Winter RCHCA meeting 7:30 PM Monday, 12 March, at Grace Episcopal Day School

By | Board Correspondence, Meetings

Dear neighbors,

The Winter 2018 meeting of the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association will be held at 7:30 PM on Monday, March 12th, at Grace Episcopal Day School, 9411 Connecticut Avenue.

Agenda items are:

• Pedestrian Safety and Streetscape Improvements.
An update will be provided on correspondence with the County Transportation Department regarding possible sidewalks, traffic calming, and intersection modifications.

• Permit Parking.
An update will be provided on requests for Permit Parking near the Middle School.

• Environmental Update.
An update will be provided on correspondence with the County Parks Department regarding enhancing stream bank protection for Silver Creek. Also, the Middle School plans to hold a Creek Cleanup event in the Spring.

• Neighborhood Signage Update.
An update will be provided on proposed neighborhood signage.

• Covenants Update.
An update will be provided on efforts to reach a settlement in the fence litigation.

• Nominating Committee Update.
Please note that the election of officers will be deferred until the Spring meeting of the RCHCA, in order to allow time for settlement of the fence litigation.

If you have any agenda items for the meeting, please inform any Board member.

A mailing announcing the meeting will go out to all homes in Rock Creek Hills. Please note that only dues-paid members will be able to vote at the meeting. Dues are $40 per household per calendar year and may be paid by check at the meeting, online at RCHCA.org, and by mail to Ms. Maria Marzullo, RCHCA Treasurer, 9801 East Bexhill Drive, Kensington MD 20895. Additional contributions are always welcome.

See you on the 12th of March!

Thank you.

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, RCHCA

Transportation Safety & Improvements in Rock Creek Hills

By | Board Correspondence, From the RCHCA Officers, Traffic & Safety

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:
<https://rchca.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/RCHCA_MCDOT_20171109.pdf>

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, RCHCA

RCHCA Meeting: Monday, October 17

By | Board Correspondence, From the RCHCA Officers, Meetings, RCHCA Biz

Please find below a draft agenda for our Fall RCHCA meeting, which will take place at 7:30 PM on Monday, October 17th, at Grace Episcopal Day School.

Please let any Board member know if you have additional agenda item(s). Thank you.

With best regards,
Jim P.

P.S. If you haven’t yet, please consider paying your RCHCA $40 dues for the year. You may pay them online (via <https://rchca.org>), in person at the meeting, or by sending a check payable to “RCHCA” to our Treasurer, Ms. Maria Marzullo, at 9801 East Bexhill Drive, Kensington, MD 20895. Your dues are the only source of support for the Association’s activities that seek to preserve and enhance your quality of life in our neighborhood.

***

Agenda for RCHCA meeting on 17 October 2016

1. Crime & safety
– recent incidents
– tips from the police

2. Traffic & pedestrian safety
– recent incidents
– how to get the County to trim branches to reveal hidden signage
– sidewalk update
– adding crosswalks(s)?
– a walkable route to Forest Glen Metro via Capitol View / Metropolitan Avenue?
– permit parking?

3. Middle School construction update
– stormwater management
– noise concerns
– lighting concerns
– concrete spill into Silver Creek

4. Silver Creek update

5. Gas/Sewer/Water updates

6. Salt Barn update.

7. Update on Rock Creek Hills Covenants

8. RCHCA party on October 30th!
– starting 3:30 PM
– costume parade, burgers, etc.
– volunteers needed

9. Other business.

fyi: a letter from MCPS, addressing stormwater concerns

By | B-CC Middle School / RCH Park, Board Correspondence, From the RCHCA Officers

Dear neighbors,

Monthly onsite meetings continue between representatives of your RCHCA Board, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), & Dustin Construction, to provide a forum for communication during construction of the new middle school.

At this month’s meeting, we received a letter from MCPS regarding last month’s stormwater concerns. You can see the letter (as the 3rd & 4th pages of the document) posted at dropbox at <goo.gl/mCPM7j>.

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, RCHCA

RCHCA Fall Meeting (& beavers!)

By | Board Correspondence, Meetings

Dear neighbors,

In spite of today’s heat and humidity, it’s September and we’re looking back at Labor Day, so the Summer must be over. We’re working with Grace Episcopal Day School (our usual meeting venue) to find a date in late October for a meeting of the RCHCA. Here is a draft agenda for that meeting (please let me or any Board member know if you have other items we should cover):

1. Park update & outlook;
2. Potential incorporation of Rock Creek Hills;
3. Halloween parade & party;
4. Update on Villages of Kensington <http://villagesofkensingtonmd.org>;
5. Treasurer’s report.

If you have not done so, please may I ask you to pay your RCHCA dues of $40? You can do this by sending a check to your Treasurer, Ms. Maria Marzullo, at 9801 East Bexhill Drive, Kensington, MD 20895, or per the “Instructions for Online Dues Payments” at
<https://rchca.org/communications/online-directory/>

Election of officers would take place at our January meeting; as of this writing it appears that all members of your Board are willing to serve another term.

And finally, speaking of Labor Day, each morning of the three-day weekend I walked to the Kensington Parkway bridge over Rock Creek, and I can report that the beavers are back! You can see them at <http://goo.gl/rwE3Zx>.

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

RCHCA Response to Accessory Apartment Application

By | Board Correspondence, From the RCHCA Officers

Dear neighbors,

Please find below the complete text of a letter, submitted today (May 5, 2014), regarding the pending accessory apartment application that we will consider at our upcoming meeting on May 29th.

With best regards,
Jim Pekar
President, RCHCA

***

Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association
9723 Kingston Road
Kensington MD 20895
301-962-9230
email: jjpekar@gmail.com
May 5, 2014

Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings
100 Maryland Avenue
Room 200
Rockville, MD 20850

Attn: Ms. Ellen Forbes
Office Services Coordinator

Re: Application for Accessory Apartment: 9641 E. Bexhill Drive / Application No. 84414.

Short Comment on Covenants Issues, Objection Regarding Parking Issues, and Request for Hearing Postponement of the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association

To the Hearing Examiner:

The Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association (RCHCA) is filing this comment and opposition to the proposed accessory apartment at 9641 East Bexhill Drive, Kensington, MD. RCHCA is also requesting that any hearing be held until after May 29, 2014. On that date the RCHCA will hold a community-wide meeting to help determine whether this proposed Class III accessory apartment at issue would violate a covenant governing the lot in question that limits the use of the lot in question, as we believe it, to single family residences. The specific language is provided below. We are also concerned that the parking is inadequate and are protesting the application on that ground without regard to the covenants issue. We have had an initial exchange of correspondence and several telephone conversations with the applicants, Steven and Erica Weiss. From those exchanges it is clear the applicants appreciate that a community-wide decision is involved and RCHCA can take no action earlier than the general meeting we have scheduled for May 29.

Turning first to the covenants issue, the Applicants and RCHCA agree that the material language governing the lot in question is fairly stated as follows, based in part on the Applicants submission to RCHCA on this matter. The specific set of covenants for the Weiss’s house (Block 26, Lot 4) at 9614 E. Bexhill Drive were recorded on May 14, 1952 under recordation 1663-321 (Liber 1663 Folio 321). Of these the relevant provision provides “no apartment house, or houses in rows, or semi attached houses, or houses for the occupancy of more than one family (servants and the owner excepted) shall be erected or maintained upon said lots, or either of them.” The Applicants are of the view that having a Class III permitted accessory apartment with one single adult tenant under the new County provisions for Class III accessory apartments would be in spirit of this covenant. This interpretation is disputed by several adjoining and confronting neighbors, who argue that this language precludes a Class III accessory apartment, and that allowing such units in Rock Creek Hills would change the character of the neighborhood. For its part, the RCHCA board has met to discuss this issue, and has concluded that it should not determine if the proposed apartment violates the RCHCA covenants without consulting RCHCA’s general membership, which includes all homeowners having lots within the Rock Creek Hills community. It is clear this will be a precedent-setting case affecting the rights and concerns of almost 600 houses within our community, as most houses are subject to covenants that have the same language, or somewhat different language that reads in terms of a house’s architecture, namely, that houses shall be only of single family design. I also note that counsel has advised RCHCA that regardless of the how the County code may be applied to the Weiss’s pending application, RCHCA has independent status under the covenants to enforce its interpretation of the covenants, and if necessary to enjoin the proposed apartment under the RCHCA covenants. Therefore, in our opinion, the Hearing Examiner’s authority is limited to determining whether the proposed apartment conforms to the County’s code and regulations regarding accessory apartments.

As such, there is some danger that your office and the Association may reach different conclusions regarding the conformity of the Weiss’s application to the RCHCA covenant at issue, and whether accessory apartments are permitted under the various other covenants regarding the nature of residences that may be maintained in the community. While some of our residents will be filing objections to the Weiss’s application, it is not clear whether the general membership will accept or oppose the application. Specifically, if the membership finds the application acceptable, then this would eliminate any conflict if your office should thereafter decide to approve the application. If the membership and the RCHCA covenants community decide to oppose the application, this implies that the community will seek to enforce the opposition, through litigation if necessary, and the Weiss’s might then choose to withdraw their application, which would make a hearing even on the parking issues unnecessary. It would be helpful if any conclusions by the Hearing Examiner and RCHCA were consistent, and for this reason, we believe the hearing should be not be scheduled before May 30, to allow time for the meeting and for the RCHCA to inform the Hearing Examiner and interested parties of the Association’s decision.

In any case, any delay would be quite limited. Assuming the protests are filed on May 5, the hearing would have to be scheduled in five business days, or May 12. As we understand it, the hearing itself would be normally be within 20 business days thereafter, or no later than June 10. In any event, RCHCA will have prepared the necessary materials on the parking issue in advance of the scheduled May 29 general membership meeting, and the hearing Examiner will have almost certainly received arguments pro and con on the interpretation of the cited covenants. The Applicants have long understood that RCHCA could not resolve this matter before its May 29 meeting and should have no problem with such a short delay of the hearing until after May 29. Your office will hear from RCHCA, which is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the covenants, promptly after the May 29 meeting, and the case would be able to move to a hearing shortly thereafter.

In addition, we believe that regardless of whether the proposed accessory apartment is permitted under the RCHCA covenants, a finding by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs dated April 25, 2014, that the parking would be adequate under the subject lot’s current configuration, is erroneous. The requirements are for a SEPARATE parking space for such an apartment. While the driveway in question may have sufficient square feet, RCHCA believes that the cars would have to be stacked one behind the other given the existing driveway’s narrow configuration. This will result in the extra vehicle(s) being parked on the street because there is no separate parking space within the lot’s existing configuration. Therefore the tenant or owners will park on the street, as this is easier that switching cars around in the driveway. In this regard, the lot in question is also subject to a covenant that requires most physical changes to the lot or the construction or modification of any structures to be approved by the RCHCA covenants committee. Thus, regardless of whether the proposed accessory apartment conforms to the land use portions of the covenants, RCHCA opposes this application unless the parking arrangement is satisfactory to RCHCA and RCHCA approves its configuration.

Please let me know when the hearing will be held, the final date for submission of exhibits, and any additional information that may be required. In any event, we wish to be as helpful as possible because it is in all parties’ interest to have the matter wrapped up in the near future.

Sincerely yours,

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

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