Council Authorizes Funds for Parks Development Project
At its November 10 meeting, the Town Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution authorizing the appropriation of up to $4 million, subject to certain conditions, for a parks creation project as part of the redevelopment of the Farm Women’s Market site. As of June 30, 2021, the Town had an unrestricted fund balance of over $10 million.
The parks project includes the cost of constructing an underground garage behind the current market and the creation of parks above that garage and on the lot between Leland and Walsh streets. It does not include the refurbishment and expansion of the Farm Women’s Market building or land, which is being financed separately by the developers and fees collected from other development in Bethesda. It is expected that the County will be the primary source of public funds for this project. The project also will receive a $7 million payment from the developers for the right to build a seven-story building on a portion of the lot behind the current market. The total cost of the park project has not been finalized, but it could be in the range of $20 - $25 million, which, after subtracting the contribution from the developers, would leave $13 - $18 million in public funds to come from the County and Town.
Council Approves ARPA Grant to Wonders Early Learning
At its November 10 meeting, the Town Council voted unanimously to approve a grant of $125,000 from the Town’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to Wonders Early Learning and Extended Day. Wonders is a nonprofit provider of accredited early childhood education, before/after school, and summer camps with eight locations in the metropolitan D.C. area. Wonders runs two programs in the Town of Chevy Chase -- one at CCES and the other at the Lawton Center -- and both programs are expected to realize a combined deficit in FY22 in the same amount as the approved grant.
Zimmerman Park Redevelopment Plan and Public Meetings
The Town Council recently approved a master concept plan for the redevelopment of Zimmerman Park. The Council believes this plan responds to what residents have asked for and is realistic, considering the significant utility infrastructure underneath the park that cannot be disturbed or built upon. The plan includes improved drainage, a small play area, exercise equipment, a bocce ball court, picnic tables, and a lawn area with a fence that can be fully connected as a complete oval when, on an occasional basis, the grounds will be used as a dog exercise area. Residents may review the following documents related to this project:
Zimmerman Park Concept Plan
Cost Estimate, Project Timeline, and Conceptual Images
The Town will hold two “Walkinars” in Zimmerman Park for Town residents to understand and discuss the extent and location of the proposed improvements. These in-person “Walkinars” will take place on Saturday, November 13 at 9:30 a.m. and Saturday, December 4 at 1 p.m. If you would like to attend one or both events, please RSVP to email@example.com.
In addition, the Town will hold a public forum on November 29 at 6 p.m. by Zoom video conference to answer residents’ questions and receive resident feedback about the planned improvements. Instructions to join this meeting are below. If you are unable to attend the forum, you may submit comments on the plan to firstname.lastname@example.org. Following these public meetings, the Council intends to hold a public hearing at its December 8 meeting before making a final decision about proceeding with the redevelopment plan.
Meeting ID: 301 654 7144
Join by Phone
Meeting ID: 301 654 7144
Public Forum on Lowering Town Voting Age
On December 8 at 5:30 p.m., the Town Council will hold a public forum to discuss and hear from residents about a proposal to lower the voting age to 16 for residents who wish to participate in Town elections. The Council held a public forum on this proposal on October 25 and discussed the proposal at its November 10 meeting.
County Council Redistricting Update
The County’s Commission on Redistricting has submitted its final report and boundary map to the County Council for the newly established 7 districts that will elect County Councilmembers in 2022, as compared to the current 5 districts. (The number of at-large Councilmembers remains unchanged at 4.) The boundary map reflects that the Town and other nearby Chevy Chase communities will remain in the same district that includes Bethesda and Friendship Heights, as was requested in a letter to the Commission from a coalition of Chevy Chase municipalities. The County Council will now consider the report and map and will hold public hearings on November 16 at 1:30 p.m. and on November 18 at 7:30 p.m. Residents should pre-register for the public hearings here. If you cannot attend the hearing, you may submit testimony here.
Update on Thrive Montgomery 2050
On November 30, the County Council will hold a Listening Session to hear from residents about the Thrive Montgomery 2050 (Thrive) Draft Plan. Residents are encouraged to sign up for the Listening Session (scroll down to the last calendar item on the page), read the County Executive's letter to the County Council about Thrive, and read the County's Office of Management & Budget report on Thrive, which is required by law to be produced.
How the County's Attainable Housing Proposals Affect Town Lots
The County Planning Board is operating under the assumption that the principles of Thrive (i.e., compact growth or urbanism) will be passed by the County Council this fall. Therefore, the County Planning Department is currently preparing a Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) to change the zoning in single-family neighborhoods.
The Planning Staff released an interactive tool so that residents can better understand which lots could be impacted by the County Planning Board Attainable Housing Proposals (if adopted by the County Council). Residents are encouraged to zoom in on the map and select the layers that correspond to the current Planning Board recommendations (i.e. Red Line 1-mile Buffer, Purple Line 1-mile Buffer, Priority Housing District, AHOM Parcels: Abut Corridor).
Thus far, five decisions have been made by the County Planning Board that would impact residential buildings within the Town.
Establish "Priority Housing Districts" for larger multi-family housing types. The entire Town would be in a Priority Housing District, defined as an area within 1 mile "as the crow flies" of a Metro or Purple Line station and/or within 500 feet of major roads (which include Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues).
Allow "house-scaled" duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes to be built by-right on all lots in the Town (the County would also reduce parking requirements for quadplexes in Priority Housing Districts)
In order to obtain a permit from the County, builders would need to follow a Pattern Book for constructing a duplex, triplex, or quadplex.
Create a new optional method of development that would allow townhouses and small apartment buildings (containing up to 19 units) to be built on properties that abut Connecticut Avenue.
Maximum density of 13 units per acre.
The Planning Staff plans to present the Zoning Text Amendment to the Planning Board in mid-December for approval and transmittal to the County Council.
While the Town does not have the zoning authority to regulate the types of residential buildings that can be built within the Town or the subdivision of lots, it does have the authority to regulate setbacks (front, rear, and side), building height, mass, lot coverage, impervious surface, parking, water drainage, and tree canopy.
Residents Encouraged to Comment on Prospect of Building Multi-Family Housing By Right in the Town
Because both initiatives, Thrive and the Attainable Housing recommendations, are slated to be voted on by the County Council this fall, the Town Council wants to hear from you soon. Residents are encouraged to email their questions, concerns, and suggestions to email@example.com.
Leaf Collection Continues Through Mid-December
Leaf vacuuming will continue through mid-December. Please rake leaves to the edge of the curb -- not into the street -- for collection. Leaves must be free of debris such as sticks, bottles, and rocks. The leaf collection schedule is available here.
During the leaf collection season, the Town’s contractor will use battery-powered blowers whenever feasible. However, if the weight or volume of leaves becomes too great, the contractor will need to use one or more gas-powered blowers in order to maintain the collection schedule.
If you or your landscape company will be using gas-powered leaf blowers this fall, please follow the Town’s quiet hours schedule and refrain from using them before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on weekdays and before 12 p.m. or after 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Winter Clothing Drive Continues Through February
Every year from, November to February, the Community Relations Committee of the Town of Chevy Chase sponsors a Winter Clothing Drive for those in need. We donate to Interfaith Works who distribute to 13,000 income-qualified county residents, including nearly 6,000 children. Please donate clean, gently used, or never worn items: coats, gloves, mittens, scarves, hats, sweaters, pants, and socks. Also needed is waterproof warm winter wear for those who are outside in the cold rain or snow.
Since the Town Hall is still open only part time, the clothing box will be located on the front porch of Marjorie Shaw and Barney Rush, at 6917 Maple Avenue (between Stanford and Pine Place).
Holiday Gift Drive for Domestic Violence Victims
It’s time for the 9th annual Holiday Gift Card Drive! Town residents purchase gift cards to be given to Montgomery County families who are victims of domestic violence. The adult beneficiaries are clients of the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, and the children are clients of Chesapeake Counseling. There are two donation options: 1) gift cards in denominations from $10 to $50 for stores such as Target, Marshalls, Kohl's, Ross, and Giant or 2) checks made out to MCFJC Foundation. Please deliver your donation to the Town Office or mail it to 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. To receive an acknowledgment for tax purposes, be sure to include your name and e-mail address.) Gift cards and checks for the Holiday Gift Drive will be collected through Monday, December 20 but will be accepted gratefully at any time of year. If you have any questions, contact Cathy Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or Quynh Tran at email@example.com. As in past years, we ask you to be generous and extend a helping hand to these needy families. Thanks in advance!
Movies for Grown-Ups Is Back!
Friday, November 12, 7:30 P.M., Town Hall
Missed seeing the Academy Award winning movies of 2020? Here’s your chance to catch up! Join us on Friday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall to watch Minari, which follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. It received six Academy Award nominations and won for Best Supporting Actor. Seating is limited, so please RSVP soon to firstname.lastname@example.org. COVID protocols observed.
New Gas-Powered Blower Regulations
The Town Council has approved new regulations of gas-powered blowers. The regulations are in response to resident concerns about noise and other impacts of this type of landscaping equipment. Specifically, they 1) expand quiet hours during which the use of gas-powered blowers is prohibited (gas-powered leaf blowers may not be used before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on weekdays and before noon or after 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays) and 2) implement a ban on the use of gas-powered blowers from January 1 through October 14, effective in 2022. The regulations exempt gas-powered snow blowers and sprayers and do not include a total ban of gas-powered blowers. Montgomery County noise regulations also remain in effect in the Town.
Battery-Powered Blower Rebate Program
The Town offers a rebate program for battery-powered blowers and related equipment that is intended to reduce the noise from landscaping activities. Residents may request a rebate for half the cost of the purchase of a battery-powered blower, batteries, and chargers, up to a maximum rebate of $200 per household. The equipment may be purchased by a resident or by a contractor for use in landscaping activities on the resident’s property. The Council approved $30,000 to fund the program in this fiscal year. More information about the program and an application form can be found here.
Climate & Environment Tip of the Month
Renewable Electricity Options
Reducing unnecessary electricity use is one of the best ways to reduce your home's environmental footprint. For example, at our Fall 2021 Trash & Treasures, Montgomery County hosted a “Lighten Up” booth to encourage the use of energy-efficient LED bulbs. Next on your list could be switching your household to renewable electricity supply. This will reduce harmful emissions, support the conversion away from fossil fuel-produced electricity and help the County achieve its goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2027 and 100% by 2035. Here are some quick tips for making the change:
Easiest Option: Switching to a Renewable Electricity supplier is a fairly simple paperwork transaction. Use our Renewable Electricity Guide for step-by-step instructions to replace your PEPCO-supplied electricity with 100% wind- and/or solar-generated electricity.
This State of Maryland website allows you to easily compare renewable energy supplier options available in our Town. (Hint: AEP and Groundswell are County-recommended suppliers because they are Green-E certified.)
For more impact: Our Renewable Electricity Guide also discusses Solar Panels, Solar Co-ops, and Geothermal Energy for reducing fossil fuel-generated electricity use.
This Montgomery County website provides options for residential energy switching and related clean energy topics.
Town Office Hours
Through the end of the year, staff will be available in the office on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Town office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There may be a staff member to assist you on other days, but please contact the Town office in advance to schedule a time. Residents can contact the Town office at 301-654-7144 or at email@example.com.
Residents are encouraged to connect with the Town through the Town Crier email alert system and with fellow residents through the private Town Neighbors listserv. For information on how to join the Town Neighbors listserv, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Both resources offer an important way to stay informed and in touch.
Upcoming Meetings & Events
Click here to view the Town calendar.