SILVER SPRING – Silver Spring resident Casey Anderson, an attorney and community activist, was sworn in today as a commissioner on the five-member Montgomery County Planning Board. Anderson was appointed by the Montgomery County Council earlier this month to replace former Commissioner Joe Alfandre.
Norman Dreyfuss, a developer and affordable housing advocate, also was sworn in today. Dreyfuss was reappointed to a second term on the Planning Board.
A former newspaper reporter and congressional staffer, Anderson is a partner in a litigation consulting firm.
Before his appointment to the Planning Board, Anderson served on the boards of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the Citizens League of Montgomery County, and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Committee for Montgomery. He also is a former vice president of the Woodside Civic Association and executive vice chairman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board.
Anderson holds undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University and a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University.
As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the IDI Group Companies, Dreyfuss is a developer with decades of experience throughout the Washington, D.C., region. Dreyfuss has worked in all aspects of community development. Among other projects, Dreyfuss developed Leisure World of Maryland, the region’s largest retirement community, Leisure World has more than 8,000 residents.
A champion of affordable housing, Dreyfuss serves as a commissioner on the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission and co-chairs the county’s annual Affordable Housing Conference. He has served on the County Affordable Housing Task Force and numerous other commissions and task forces related to condominiums, affordable housing, and master planning.
Learn more about the Planning Board.
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SILVER SPRING, MD—The Montgomery County Planning Board awarded certificates of appreciation to 92 Capital Crescent Trail Coalition (CCTC) volunteers for collecting user data on the county’s popular Capital Crescent Trail. CCTC Chair Peter Gray and volunteers Wayne Phyillaier and Christopher Marston were present at last Thursday’s Planning Board meeting to accept the award on the group’s behalf.
“I want to thank the Capital Crescent Trail Coalition for their efforts,” said Montgomery County Department of Parks Director Mary Bradford during last Thursday’s Planning Board meeting, “and pledge our department’s continued commitment to working with the coalition to improve management, safety and future development of the trail.”
The 92 CCTC volunteers gathered data from thousands of Capital Crescent Trail users during the fall of 2006 to produce the May 2007 Capital Crescent Trail/Georgetown Branch Trail Survey Report for the Department of Parks. The Department of Parks will use these survey findings on the amount and type of use on the trail to make future management decisions about park trail planning and proposed development projects near the trail.
“The coalition’s survey analysis is a tremendously valuable resource for us,” said Department of Parks Park Planning Supervisor Tanya Schmieler. “This is the largest, single, park and trail planning volunteer effort to date and we are extremely appreciative of the coalition.”
The 140-hour CCTC volunteer project detailed user counts at 4 locations along the Capital Crescent Trail: Grubb Road, Elm Street Park, the Bethesda Trailhead and Brookeway Drive. The group first conduced a survey of trail users in 1996 and again in 2000. Survey findings from 2006 reveal that Capital Crescent Trail use is up significantly—over 50 percent—from 160 average users per hour in 1996 to over 240 hourly users in 2006. The group’s findings also substantiate the popularity of hard surface trails in the county, with more than 500 hourly users on the Capital Crescent Trail during peak periods. In addition, survey results document trends in the variety of trail use, finding bicyclists were the heaviest users at all survey sites except Bethesda Avenue where walkers predominated, and people using roller blades on the trail have consistently declined—from over 10 percent in 1996, down to only 1-2 percent in 2006.
During last Thursday’s meeting, CCTC Chair Peter Gray told the Planning Board that one of the most pressing issues along the trail was the safety of all of the trail users and avoiding conflicts and accidents among and between users, especially pedestrians and bikers.
The Department of Parks met with representatives from the CCTC earlier this month to discuss trail safety. During the meeting the group discussed current safety measures being employed along the Capital Crescent Trail, such as rule enforcement by Park Police, Park Rangers and Park Police volunteers and public education about sharing the trails; and identified possible safety improvements, such as progressive physical trail improvements and the redevelopment of the trail if required.
The Capital Crescent Trail is an 11 mile paved trail, which follows an abandoned railroad right of way which extends from Georgetown in the District of Columbia to Silver Spring in Montgomery County. It is the most popular trail in the county’s parks system, which includes nearly 200 miles of paved and natural surface trail.
For more on trails in the county’s parks system, visit www.MontgomeryTrails.org.
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INTERESTED MEDIA: Photo of certificate presentation available upon request.
Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks
SILVER SPRING, MD — This afternoon the Montgomery County Planning Board unanimously and enthusiastically approved a $1 million real estate contract to purchase the historic site and former home of Josiah Henson, a slave that served as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s model for her novel on slavery, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Originally a larger tobacco plantation, the one-acre property, including the 18th century main house with log kitchen wing, is located at 11420 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda.
Currently the property is designated on the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation but has been in private ownership and not accessible to the public. When the settlement is completed, the property will become part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s 32,639-acre park system in Montgomery County, Maryland. To protect the property for future generations, the Board will explore options for restoring the building, interpreting its history and making it accessible to the public.
The heirs of Marcel and Hildegarde Mallet-Prevost who owned the property since the 1960s and the Planning Board hope to settle on the property by the end of next week. If all goes according to plan, it is the Board’s intention to hold a deed transfer ceremony on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Monday, January 16.
Josiah Henson, a slave who lived and worked on the property for more than 30 years, escaped to freedom in Canada in 1830, where he published his autobiography “The Life of Josiah Henson” in 1849. Harriet Beecher Stow based her 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” on his writings. Henson became prominent in the abolitionist movement and traveled in the United States and England to tell his life story. He lived to the age of 94 and is buried near his home in Dresden, Ontario, which has been preserved as a Canadian historic site.
Montgomery County will provide the initial funding to purchase the property and will apply for 100 percent grant assistance from Maryland’s Program Open Space over the coming months.
SILVER SPRING, MD — The Montgomery County Planning Board invites organizations and members of the community to comment on how to improve the Board’s public hearing process, at a special public hearing on Thursday, January 19, 2006, 7 p.m., in the M-NCPPC auditorium, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD.
“This hearing gives our residents a unique opportunity to share their ideas, comments and suggestions on ways to enhance our transparency and encourage greater community participation and public access to the land use and development decision-making process,” said Derick P. Berlage, Montgomery County Planning Board Chairman.
Information and advance signups are available from Community Outreach and Media Relations, 301-495-4600. Speakers may also sign up at the public hearing.
Written comments are also welcome and may be addressed to Derick P. Berlage, Chairman, Montgomery County Planning Board, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910, faxed to 301-495-1320 or e-mailed MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org.
SILVER SPRING, MD — The Montgomery County Planning Board encourages public testimony on the proposed park management plan for the new Serpentine Oaks Conservation Park, located on the north side of Piney Meeting House Road in Potomac, on Thursday, November 17, 7:30 p.m., 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring.
Plans proposed for the park include an interpretive trail network to provide low impact access to the park and outdoor educational opportunities. Montgomery County’s conservation parks are reserved for environmental protection and the enjoyment of nature.
Acquired beginning in 2002 through the Legacy Open Space program, the 300+ acre Serpentine Oaks Conservation Park harbors more than 20 threatened or endangered plants in a rare “serpentine” ecosystem. This unique ecosystem is profoundly influenced by the unique rock that underlies the area and supports a rare plant community that adapted to the thin soils and high concentrations of metals. Many rock outcroppings in the park expose this mottled greenish rock. Composed of a variety of oaks, the forest also includes hickory and pine trees, all of which have a short, stunted appearance even though most are mature trees.
“Our visionary Legacy Open Space program focuses on preserving the county’s best natural areas, historical resources and urban open spaces,” said Derick P. Berlage, Planning Board Chairman. “And this new park is an outstanding example of the program’s power to preserve unique natural features.” In North America, the largest remaining serpentine ecosystems are found in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
To sign up in advance to speak, call 301-495-4600. Organizations will have five minutes to speak, and individuals have three minutes. For more information, those interested may log on www.montgomeryparks.org.
SILVER SPRING, MD — The Montgomery County Planning Board seeks public comment, Thursday, November 3, 7 p.m., at 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, on two changes proposed for the county’s protected agricultural reserve.
The County Council has proposed legislation to limit the percentage of a lot that can be used for non-agricultural buildings, paved surfaces, driveways and others surfaces which do not permit rain water from directly soaking into the ground, in agricultural and other large lot zones (Zoning Text Amendment 05-15).
And the county executive has proposed to eliminate community water and sewer extensions for new private institutional facilities in the agricultural zone (Comprehensive Water Supply and Sewerage Plan Amendment).
The staff report for both items is now available on the Planning Board web site.
Public testimony will be strictly limited to three hours, followed by the Board’s deliberation and decisions on its recommendations to the County Council and the county executive.
To sign up in advance to testify in person, those interested may call 301-495-4600. Written testimony may be sent to the Planning Board Chairman Derick Berlage at 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20910, faxed to 301-495-1320 or emailed to MCP-Chairman@mncppc-mc.org.
SILVER SPRING, MD — The Montgomery County Department of Park and Planning announced today that technicians will remove four unreliable emergency trail phones over the coming weeks located on the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail in Aspen Hill. New solar-powered, wireless emergency call boxes that may be more reliable will replace the phones on a test basis.
By December, one solar-powered wireless emergency call box will be placed along the trail. The call boxes boast a weather-proof and vandal-resistant design. Like the old emergency phones, the new call box will be set up to ring directly into the park police dispatch center.
If the technology proves successful, department officials may request funding from the County Council to place additional call boxes on other trails within the county. The department currently maintains more than 200 miles of trails in Montgomery County.
New York’s Central Park and Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge are among other locations that already have installed the call box technology.
The original emergency phones were installed following the 2001 murder of a jogger on the trail.
The department partnered with the Montgomery County Road Runners Club, the Parks Foundation and local law enforcement agencies to raise money to install the phones. However, their reliability has been questionable due to vandalism, weather problems, wiring issues and difficulties with the locations of the phones.
Since their installation in 2002, the Commission has spent upwards of $20,000 on repairing and replacing the phones and addressing problems with wiring. No emergency calls have ever been received by the dispatch center from the emergency phones.
“We certainly don’t want to give our trail users a false sense of security,” said Montgomery County Planning Board Chairman Derick Berlage. “We want to try again with better technology, but we always encourage trail users to bring cell phones with them in case there is an emergency.”
SILVER SPRING, MD — The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s (M-NCPPC) and the City of Gaithersburg will host a lecture series for homeowners interested in building or renovating their properties using energy efficient and environmentally friendly techniques and materials.
For more information on the lectures at M-NCPPC locations, call 301-495-4540. For more information on the lectures in Gaithersburg, call 301-258-6310 or go to www.goinggreenathome.org.
LECTURE TOPIC: Increasing Home Energy Efficiency and Comfort
Tuesday, October 18 – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring
Thursday, October 20 – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm Activities Center
506 South Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg
LECTURE TOPIC: Alternative Energy Systems
Tuesday, November 15 – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring
Thursday, November 17 – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Bohrer Park at the Summit Hall Farm
506 South Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg
LECTURE TOPIC: Green Home Workshop
Saturday, February 4, 2006 – 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton
LECTURE TOPIC: Managing Water in the Landscape
Friday, February 24, 2006 – 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton
SILVER SPRING, MD — The Montgomery County Planning Board announced today the
important dates and hearing schedule for the Clarksburg case.
In a memo to community members and developers, Acting Deputy Director Bill Mooney requested
all written material from the Clarksburg Town Center Advisory Committee to be sent to the Board
detailing the alleged violations by the close of business on Tuesday, October 18.
Mooney said the information would be shared with developers – and the rest of the public — to
ensure the developers and builders have enough time to respond to the allegations from the citizens.
On Thursday, October 20, the Commission will release a preliminary staff report detailing the
alleged violations. The report will be available on the agency’s website at
The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 25 and
will set aside six hours to allow the Clarksburg citizens to present their case to the Board for its
The Board will hold another public hearing on Thursday, November 3 and will set aside six hours
to allow the developers to respond to allegations brought by the citizens.
The public record on the issue will remain open until Friday, November 18. Staff will continue to
investigate the allegations and review all testimony and evidence submitted to the Planning Board.
Staff will then prepare a final report on the allegations. The Planning Board will review the final
staff report and schedule a public hearing to issue rulings on the alleged violations.
Should new allegations of site plan violations be made, the Planning Board will schedule additional
hearings to consider those matters as well.
The Planning Board will also schedule future public hearings and work sessions to determine
possible sanctions for site plan violations. The hearings on sanctions have not yet been scheduled.
SILVER SPRING, MD — The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission invites the public to review and provide feedback on a proposal to extend the Magruder Branch Hiker/Biker Trail from Valley Park Drive to the Damascus Town Center.
The current Magruder Branch Trail, opened in 1993, is a 3.1 mile paved path that begins in Damascus Recreational Park on Kings Valley Road and travels north to Valley Park Drive. The proposed extension will travel another 1.1 miles to the Damascus Town Center.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, October 27, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Damascus Public Library, 9701 Main Street in Damascus.
During the meeting, the public will have an opportunity to offer thoughts and ideas about preliminary trail alignment options, based on existing environmental constraints and site conditions. Input from this meeting will be used to refine and finalize the trail plan.
The public will have another opportunity to comment on the project when the proposal and cost estimate are presented to the Montgomery County Planning Board for its consideration. If approved, the project will then be entered into the future Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget for design and construction in future years.
To submit written comments or receive additional information, please contact:
Peter Noursi, Project Manager
M-NCPPC, Parkside Headquarters
9500 Brunett Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20901