Monday, July 21, 2014

Farm Tour and Harvest Sale This Weekend

Celebrate our agricultural heritage, visit local farms and indulge in seasonally fresh food at Montgomery County's Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale the weekend of July 26-27. Spend a day or two in the country petting farm animals or having lunch by a scenic pond. Purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants and more. It's an educational experience and a great family outing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apply Now to Planning Board

Now that current Planning Board member Casey Anderson has been selected as chair, we are looking to fill the vacancy he leaves. Get your resume in by September 3. Here's the full announcement:

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 15, 2014—The Montgomery County Council is re-advertising for applicants to fill a vacant position on the Montgomery County Planning Board.  Casey Anderson (Democrat), who has served on the Planning Board since June of 2011, was designated by the Council today to replace Fran├žoise Carrier as chair.  Since the Council designated a sitting board member, the current vacancy on the board remains. The term currently occupied by Ms. Carrier and soon to be vacant will expire on June 14, 2018.  

During the recruitment for board chair, the Council received 19 applications. The Council has decided to readvertise for the board member vacancy, but all previous applicants who were not appointed as chair will be considered for this vacancy if they remain interested in serving.

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3.

No more than three members of the Planning Board may be from the same political party, and each member must be a resident and registered voter of Montgomery County when appointed.  Members serve four-year terms and are limited to two full terms. The position can be filled by a Democrat, a Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party or a member of another party officially recognized by the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

In addition to Mr. Anderson (D), current board members are Norman Dreyfuss (R), Amy Presley (R) and Marye Wells-Harley (D). Annual compensation for board members is currently $30,000.  
The Planning Board serves as the Council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning.  Planning Board members also serve as commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The Planning Board’s responsibilities with regard to planning include preparation and amendment of the County General Plan; preparation and amendment of master plans and functional plans; formulation of subdivision regulations; preparation of or recommendations on text amendments to the County Zoning Code; implementation of the subdivision process by reviewing and approving all preliminary plans, site plans and other plans for development; advice on the planning implications of capital facilities and programs of the County government, Montgomery College, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission and Montgomery County Public Schools; commenting, under its mandatory referral authority, on plans for public facilities of local, state and federal agencies; and approval of the work program and the annual operating budget for the Planning Department and the Commission’s bi-county offices.

The Planning Board sits as the Park Commission and approves the annual Parks Department operating budget and Capital Improvements Program (CIP); land acquisition contracts and major development contracts for parks; development plans for individual park facilities; policies for park operations; and park user fees.  

The Planning Board meets all day every Thursday and often meets one other evening a week. The entire Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission meets the third Wednesday of every month.  On average, a Planning Board member can expect to spend at least two full days a week in scheduled and informal meetings.  Additionally, substantial time is required for preparatory work and other activities related to Planning Board responsibilities.

Letters of application expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, should be addressed to: Council President Craig Rice, County Council Office, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Applications can also be submitted via email to

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline. After the Sept. 3 closing date, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and select applicants for interviews to be held soon thereafter.

Letters of application and resumes are made public as part of the appointment process, and are available for public review. The interviews are conducted in public and may be televised. A resume of professional and civic experience should be included with each letter of application. A financial disclosure statement of assets, debts, income and family property interests will be required to be filed by each applicant.  Only the ultimate appointee will be required to make the financial disclosure statement available to the public.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Council Names New Planning Board Chair

Congratulations to new Planning Board Chair, Casey Anderson. Casey brings a very strong background to his new position and I look forward to working with him. Here's the press release:

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 15, 2014—The Montgomery County Council today named Casey Anderson as the new chair of the County Planning Board. He follows Chair Francoise Carrier, whose term expired on June 14. She did not apply for reappointment.

Mr. Anderson, who is currently a member of the Planning Board, was appointed by an 8-1 vote. Council President Craig Rice, Vice President George Leventhal and Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Roger Berliner, Cherri Branson, Nancy Floreen, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer voted in favor of his appointment. Councilmember Marc Elrich was opposed.

The Council received letters of interest from 18 applicants to fill the vacancy. Eight applied for chair only, two applied for board member only and eight applied for either chair or member. Council President Rice said today the Council will soon announce that it will be accepting applications to fill Mr. Anderson’s position on the Planning Board.

The Council today also set a salary of $200,000 for the position of chair.

Mr. Anderson is a Silver Spring resident. An attorney and community activist, he was appointed to the Planning Board in June 2011. Previously, Mr. 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.

Mr. Anderson is a former vice president of the Woodside Civic Association and executive vice chairman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University and a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Questions for Planning Board Applicants

Tomorrow we will interview Casey Anderson, Norman Dreyfuss, Mike Knapp, Rose Krasnow and Meredith Wellington for the position of Planning Board Chair. Here are the questions which have been provided to the applicants in advance:

  1. Why do you want to be chair of the Planning Board and what in your background qualifies you for this role?
  2. What do you feel are the most important issues facing the Planning Board, and what would be your top three priorities as chair?
  3. What is your understanding of the role of chair as it relates to other members of the Board and to the Council?
  4. How do you think we should deal with future development and redevelopment issues, and what is the Planning Board’s role in supporting existing communities?
  5. Many of the Council’s land use decisions require balancing the community’s desires for further economic development, neighborhood protection, and enhanced environmental protection. What factors would you look at in trying to achieve a reasonable balance in individual cases?
  6. What is your view of the Planning Board’s overall responsibility for our park system, and what do you see as the chair’s role?
  7. As you know, this position carries with it obligations for attending meetings, making appearances and other activities that include some nights and weekends.  Will you make the time commitments required to fulfill these elements of the role?  Have you engaged in community outreach activities?  If so, what were they?
  8. Are there any potential conflicts-of-interest of which we should be aware?
  9. Are there other points about your interest in the chair that you would like to call to the Council’s attention?
The interviews will be held in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The public is invited to attend the interviews, which will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed at:

The interviews will be rebroadcast on Friday, July 11, as part of a rebroadcast of the Council’s complete activities on July 8, including its morning general session. The rebroadcast will begin at 9 p.m. Friday and will be available before that time on demand.

The resume of each applicant to be interviewed is available as part of the information packet on the interview process. That information can be viewed at:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fireworks on the Fourth

Montgomery County will again host two fireworks displays on July 4--Germantown Glory at the SoccerPlex in the South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds and Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Road, Kensington. Both fireworks displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.

In addition to these two displays, several municipalities are hosting celebrations and fireworks. Check out the Conference and Visitors Bureau for a full list.

To find out what's open and what’s closed as well as parking and trash pick-up information for the County, see the holiday schedule for the Fourth of July on my blog.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Holiday Schedule for Independence Day

Here's our holiday schedule for Independence Day:

  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed (also closed on 5th and 6th)
  • County liquor stores – open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – all indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities will be open; Germantown Indoor Swim Center will close at 3 p.m., all other aquatic facilities will close at 6 p.m.; swim lessons will meet in morning – afternoon/evening lessons and classes cancelled; administrative offices, senior centers and community recreation centers will be closed
  • Montgomery Parks – for operating schedules, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit
  • Ride On – Saturday schedule
  • Metrobus – Saturday schedule
  • Metrorail – Holiday special service
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
  • Transfer Station – closed
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – closed
  • State offices & courts – closed
*Collection provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Heritage Days this Weekend

Enjoy Heritage Days this weekend, June 28 and 29! This unique, countywide festival, sponsored by Heritage Montgomery, offers visitors the opportunity to discover venues from Silver Spring to Poolesville, Bethesda to Clarksburg–and everywhere in between. Learn about the history of dairy farming, railroads and trolleys, African-American communities, astronomy, local arts and culture, and outdoor recreation including hikes and walking tours. Many venues offer musical entertainment, activities and crafts for children and refreshments.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Local Election Night Coverage

Get up-to-the-minute election coverage Tuesday night from our local cable stations. Here's the full press release:

Six stations that are members in the Montgomery County PEG (Public / Education / Government) organization of community cable stations are combining resources to be the main place to find up-to-date information on Tuesday, June 24, when County voters go to the polls for primary elections concerning County Government, the County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, Governor and other statewide races. The stations will broadcast live throughout the evening, immediately posting results made available by the County’s Board of Elections.

Primary Election Night 2014 coverage will be simulcast by:

  • County Cable Montgomery (CCM: Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon)
  • Montgomery Community Media (Channel 21 on Comcast, RCN and Verizon)
  • Montgomery County Public Schools Television (MCPS TV: Channel 34 on Comcast; Channel 89 on RCN; Channel 36 on Verizon)
  • Montgomery College TV (MCTV: Channel 10 on Comcast, RCN and Verizon)
  • Rockville 11 (Rockville 11: Channel 11 on Comcast, RCN and Verizon)
  • Takoma Park City TV (Takoma City TV: Channel 13 on Comcast; Channel 13 on RCN; Channel 28 on Verizon) 
Internet streaming video coverage of the broadcast will be available through the County Web site at

The polls are scheduled to close at 8 p.m. on June 24. Election night television coverage will begin at 8 p.m. and will continue through 11 p.m. Results of early voting—held from June 12-19—are expected to be available before 8:30 p.m. After the show ends at 11 p.m., results will continue to be updated and broadcast on CCM. Those results will run overnight and into the morning hours, with morning updates. 

The show will include a variety of political insiders looking at the chief issues voters had to consider and analyzing results as they come in. Guests scheduled include current County Councilmember Cherri Branson, who is not seeking re-election; former County Councilmembers Bruce Adams, Valerie Ervin and Mike Knapp; City of Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton; Town of Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin; Mayor of Kensington Peter Fosselman; Katja Bullock, vice chair of the Montgomery GOP; Casey Aiken, host of the 21 this Week political talk show on MCM; Charles Duffy, host of Political Pulse on the Montgomery Municipal Channel; long-time political insider Steve Simon; local blogger Dan Reed, author of Just Up the Pike; and Bethesda Magazine political reporter Louis Peck.

Sonya Burke and Susan Kenedy will anchor the three hours of studio coverage. Julie Little Rios, Valerie Bonk and Mike Bruen will provide live on-the-scene coverage from various locations around the County.

“The PEG organization stations have been working hard to redefine how they can best serve the residents of Montgomery County. Providing immediate election results is one way we can meet that mission,” said Merlyn Reineke, executive director of MCM and president of the PEG Governing Board. “From the feedback we had from our primary and general election coverage in 2010, we know that people turned to our PEG stations and viewed our broadcast via the Internet because we provided better and faster local election results than other news channels. Once again, our broadcast will be chiefly about Montgomery County results all night, but we also will be watching how the County voted in the statewide elections.”

The results will focus on election results in races for County Executive, the County Council and the County delegation to the State House of Delegates and the State Senate. Results also will be included in the primaries for Montgomery Board of Education, Governor, state attorney general and for the three Congressional districts that represent Montgomery County.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

White Oak Master Plan Overview Available On Demand

If you missed the Planning Board's overview of the Draft White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan yesterday, it is now available on demand on County Cable Montgomery (choose the June 17 Council session video). The Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee as well as the full Council will be looking at the plan next month. Here's the tentative schedule:

PHED Committee meetings:

July 1 – Discussion of transportation issues
July 3 – Transportation issues, continued
July 7 – Discussion of land use issues
July 10 – Land use issues, continued
July 16 – Land use issues, continued

Full Council meetings:

July 22 – Full Council worksession
July 29 – Final vote

To weigh in, e-mail

In Person Absentee Voting Still Available

Here's the press release from the Board of Elections:

Montgomery County voters who missed the deadlines to vote by mail or online for the Gubernatorial Primary Election may still pick up an absentee ballot in person.

If you are unable to vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day, or simply prefer to vote a paper ballot, you may visit the Board of Elections in Gaithersburg at any time up to or on Election Day. The office will be open on Saturday, June 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., on Monday, June 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Election Day, June 24, during the hours that polls are open from 7:00 a.m. TO 8:00 p.m. The elections office is located at 18753 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 210, Gaithersburg, which is about one and one-half miles north of Montgomery Village Avenue.

Voters who cannot come in person to the office may designate another person as their agent to obtain the application. For information on designating an agent, please contact the Absentee Office.  After June 17 voters may choose to download an application from our website,, or the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website,  

The Montgomery County Board of Elections wishes to remind voters that impersonating another voter or casting a ballot on behalf of another person is a crime.  If you see or hear of any attempted vote fraud, contact the State Attorney’s Office at 410-576-6300 or 1-888-743-0023 toll free in Maryland or via TDD at 410-576-6372.

For more information, call 240-777-VOTE, visit or follow the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Groundbreaking for North Potomac Community Recreation Center

On Saturday we celebrated the groundbreaking for the North Potomac Community Recreation Center located at 13860 Travilah Road, Rockville. This project has been a long time coming, so the shovels in the ground are great news for residents of the area.

This project provides for the design of a 48,084 square-foot community recreation center and associated site of approximately 17 acres. The building will include a full-size and auxiliary gymnasium, weight/exercise room, social hall, kitchen, senior/community lounge, arts/kiln room, game room and conference room. The outdoor features will include a playground, synthetic multiple play area, a rectangular multi-purpose field, and two multi-purpose courts. The facility will be designed to comply with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines for LEED Silver certification. The project is expected to be completed in winter 2016.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

County Roads That are Subject to Periodic Flooding

With heavy rain predicted for Montgomery County, please be careful when driving, and take extra care with these county roads that sometimes flood.

MD 29 (Columbia Pike) at Paint Branch – N. of White Oak
MD 185 (Conn. Ave) at Rock Creek – S. of Kensington
MD 190 (River Road) at Cabin John Creek – Potomac
MD 193 (Univ. Blvd) at Sligo Creek – Wheaton
MD 586 (Viers Mill Rd) at Rock Creek – S. of Twinbrook Pkwy.
Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park – Kensington-Chevy Chase
Sligo Creek Pkwy – Silver Spring-Takoma Park

MD 97 (Georgia Ave) at Reddy Branch – N. of Brookeville
MD 124 (Woodfield Rd) at Goshen Branch and at Gr. Seneca Creek – N. of Brink Rd.
MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Gr. Seneca Creek – W. of Gaithersburg
MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Little Seneca Creek – E. of Boyds
MD 355 (Frederick Rd) at Little Seneca Creek – W. of Brink
MD 121 (Clarksburg Rd) near Little Seneca Lake – N. of Boyds
MD 118 (Germantown Rd) at Great Seneca Creek – S. of Germantown
River Rd and Berryville Rd at Seneca Creek – Seneca
Blunt Road at Great Seneca Creek – S. of Brink Rd.
Davis Mill Rd at Great Seneca Creek – N. of Gaithersburg
Brighton Dam Rd at Hawlings River – NE of Brookeville
Goldmine Rd at Hawlings River – E of Olney
Zion Rd at Hawlings River – E. of Laytonsville
Hoyles Mill Rd at ford of Little Seneca Creek – Germantown, west of soccer complex
Loghouse Rd at Magruder Branch – S. of Damascus
Elton Farm Rd at Haights Branch – N. of Sunshine
Howard Chapel Rd at Haights Branch – N. of Sunshine
White’s Ferry Road and River Road – White’s Ferry

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lottery for Farmers' Market Coupons

Here's the press release about a great program to provide fresh food to low-income seniors:

A limited number of free farmer’s market coupon books worth $30 will be distributed by lottery to low-income seniors in Montgomery County on Wednesday, July 2 at 10:30 a.m. The coupon books are available to Montgomery County residents age 60 years and older whose income is less than $21,590 (family of one).

The coupons may be used at farmer’s markets in Montgomery County and participating markets in the District of Columbia until November 30, 2014.

Each eligible senior can register for the lottery between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. at six sites throughout the county. Selection for the lottery will begin at 10:30 a.m. at each site.

The lottery for the coupon books will be held at the following locations:

Elizabeth House                                                                        Gaithersburg Senior Center
1400 Fenwick Lane                                                                  80A Bureau Drive
Silver Spring, MD  20910                                                         Gaithersburg, MD  20878

Holiday Park Senior Center                                                      Long Branch Community Center
3950 Ferrara Drive                                                                  8700 Piney Branch Road
Wheaton, MD  20901                                                               Silver Spring, MD  20901

Rockville Senior Center                                                            Waverly House
1150 Carnation Drive                                                              4521 East West Highway
Rockville, MD  20850                                                              Bethesda, MD  20814

For more information, call 240-777-3810.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Groundbreaking for Georgia Avenue/Randolph Road Intersection Replacement

What a great day to celebrate the groundbreaking for the long-anticipated interchange project to replace the existing MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) at Randolph Road signalized intersection in Glenmont. Transportation remains the top priority for Montgomery County residents who are tired of being stuck in traffic. That’s why I am so pleased the County is working with our federal and state partners on this project. Residents stand to benefit not only from congestion relief but also improved traffic safety and enhanced economic development.

This project involves constructing a new interchange to replace the existing MD 97 (Georgia Avenue)/Randolph Road signalized intersection by lowering Randolph Road nearly 25 feet to allow through traffic to go under Georgia Avenue. New turn lanes and ramps will provide turning movements. The project also includes adding one additional through lane along Georgia Avenue for a total of three through lanes in each direction. Additional improvements include extending the Glenmont Greenway Trail on the west side of Georgia Avenue an additional 900 feet past Randolph Road to Mason Street and adding new sidewalks.

The project will reduce congestion and improve traffic safety by separating through traffic by lowering Randolph Road nearly 25 feet under Georgia Avenue, which will remove traffic conflict points and provide free-flow traffic on Randolph Road through the interchange. The additional through lane on Georgia Avenue also will reduce traffic congestion and improve traffic operations for commuters, pedestrians and cyclists. Extending the Glenmont Greenway Trail will enhance access to the Glenmont Metro Station, helping to increase transit ridership. Learn more.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Properly Retire Your American Flag

Here's your chance to properly retire your American flag. The County is co-sponsoring the efforts of Chapter 641 of the Vietnam Veterans of America to collect American flags which are no longer usable. Just deposit your flag in the large wooden box in the EOB Lobby (101 Monroe Street, Rockville), and the Chapter will conduct a ceremonial American flag disposal on Flag Day, June 14, from 11am-3pm at Battery Cycles, 7830 Airpark Road, Gaithersburg. The ceremony is open to the public, so feel free to stop by.