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The County Council has not yet scheduled any work sessions to deliberate on Thrive Montgomery 2050 (aka Thrive). However, County Council President Albornoz has organized a series of Thrive Listening Sessions during the month of January. Each of these sessions, hosted by a local County Regional Center Citizen Advisory Board, will provide an opportunity for residents to directly comment and question President Albornoz and County Council Staff on the principles of Thrive. The B-CC Regional Center Listening Session will be held virtually on Thursday, January 27 at 7 p.m. Residents are encouraged to participate and read a comprehensive response letter, which was submitted on December 14 by Mayor Rush to the County Council.
Thus far, no additional Planning Board work sessions have been scheduled to discuss the Attainable Housing Strategies Initiative (AHSI).
An additional way for residents to provide feedback is through a recent survey about parks from the Montgomery County Parks Department. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about Thrive, AHSI, or parks please contact Councilmember Ellen Cornelius Ericson at email@example.com.
In mid-December, Galerie Living and Community Three became the new owners of the 4-H property. Moving forward, and while a specific redevelopment plan is being prepared, we expect to engage with the new owners to seek accommodation of our Town objectives and concerns, which will be drawn from the May 2021 resident survey, resident comments received to date, and further consultations that will be held with residents during this period.
On September 30, the Town sent a letter to the buyers outlining the Town's primary interests to be considered as plans are developed and discussions proceed. And on October 5, the Town’s real estate advisors and Town staff met with the buyers to discuss process issues and the content of the Town’s letter in more detail. On December 9, the purchasers informed the Town that they have begun the concept stage of planning, considering the Town’s letter, and will be working most of January on refining that concept to be in presentable form. The purchasers anticipate having something to share with the Town in mid-February 2022.
The owners expect the planning and entitlement processes to take at least 30 months. In the interim, they have requested a variance from the Town to fence the property while it is vacant. The fence is proposed to be located in the front yards of the property along Connecticut Avenue, Thornapple Street and Woodside Place. The Town does not allow front yard fences; therefore, a variance is required. At the variance hearing on January 12, the Council asked the applicant to consider amendments to the fence plan as proposed by Councilmembers and residents. The hearing has been continued to January 19.
We encourage all residents to listen and participate as we learn more about the redevelopment plans for the 4-H property.
On January 4, the Town Council met with its consultant to review and discuss a revised concept plan for the redevelopment of Zimmerman Park. The Council agreed to several changes to the plan and asked its consultant to develop a final base concept plan and a concept plan with additional amenities. The Council also discussed a community survey to solicit resident feedback about possible amenities for the park. The Town expects to release the new plans and survey to the community soon.
In November and December, the Town Council held two in-person walking tours for Town residents to understand and discuss the extent and location of the proposed improvements. And on November 29, the Town held a public forum to answer residents’ questions and receive resident feedback about the planned improvements.
On January 12, following a public hearing, the Town Council voted 4-1, with Mayor Rush opposed, to lower the Town voting age to 16 for residents who wish to participate in Town elections. Mayor Rush opposed the change, stating his preference to permit voting by residents who turn 18 by the November election date used for state and federal elections. The charter amendment implementing this change will become effective 50 days after adoption (or March 3, 2022), barring any petition that would require a referendum.
At its January 12 meeting, following a public hearing, the Town Council discussed removing the entry restriction on northbound Maple Avenue at Aspen Street. The Council agreed to continue consideration of this signage change at a meeting on January 19. The proposed signage change would allow traffic to exit onto East West Highway via Maple Avenue instead of via Aspen Street, Chatham Road and Meadow Lane from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Removal of this entry restriction is recommended in the Town-wide traffic study because Maple Avenue has fewer confronting homes, has additional width (i.e., approximately 28’ versus an average of 22’), and offers better sight lines than the other routes used during afternoon rush hour.
On January 12, the Council discussed recent criminal activity in Bethesda and the police department’s response. Mayor Rush reported on a conversation among Councilmember Rubin, Town Manager Hoffman, and himself with Commander Gagen of the 2nd District of the Montgomery County Police Department. During this conversation, Town officials were informed that the department has increased patrols in the area. The Council agreed to send a letter to the owners of 6831 Wisconsin Avenue (Shops of Wisconsin) to request that they consult with the police department and undertake measures to improve security at the property. The Council also agreed to ask County Councilmember Friedson to encourage the police department to consult with the property owners regarding such improvements.
We would like to remind residents that the Council recently simplified the process for requesting traffic calming devices, including radar speed signs and speed humps.
A radar speed sign can be approved following a petition and public hearing, with no traffic analysis required. We have seen a substantial reduction in speeds on East Avenue since the Town installed its first radar speed sign there.
The Town's revised speed hump policy simplifies the petition process for new speed hump requests, reduces the speed threshold to support installation of new speed humps, and streamlines the engineering standards to be reviewed in evaluating requests for new speed humps. The Town's revised policies for speed humps and radar speed signs are available for review on the Town website.
Montgomery County residents can pick up free, rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits at 19 Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL). The iHealth COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis until supplies run out. Residents can receive a maximum of two test kits per person (each containing two tests) per visit.
More information is available on the County’s COVID-19 testing page at www.MoCoCOVIDtesting.org.
The Town Office will be closed on Monday, January 17. Yard waste and household trash will be collected as usual.
Our Town of Chevy Chase Book Club will meet via Zoom on January 24 at 7 p.m. to discuss Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, a tale of a companion robot chosen by a sick child. Save the date for our next meeting on March 14 when we will discuss Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini, a historical novel on the remarkable friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress Elizabeth Keckley, a freed slave.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the Zoom link.
Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft and online scams so that you can more safely use the internet from your smartphone, tablet, and computer. The Town is offering two sessions, led by our very own Town resident, Brian Geffert, Global Chief Information Security Officer at KPMG International. A session for parents will be held on Wednesday, January 26 at 7 p.m. via Zoom, and a session for seniors will be held on Thursday, January 27 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Please RSVP to 301-654-7144 or email@example.com.
Join us for a free kids winter scavenger hunt at the Lawton Center playground on Sunday, January 30 at 3:30 p.m. The scavenger hunt will be geared towards ages 1-6, but all ages are welcome. There will be snacks and prizes!
The Climate & Environment Committee is hosting a Zoom webinar to provide Town residents and other nearby communities and organizations with information about the Maryland Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice Act, a bill that has been pre-filed for the 2022 Maryland legislative session. Representatives from Climate XChange will update us on this important bill. The Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice Act plans for our already changing climate by placing an incrementally rising fee on fossil fuel to send a market signal to businesses; reduce pollution; create revenue for vulnerable populations, and build the infrastructure we need for a new green economy across the state including in our County and Town. If you or someone you know is interested, please use this link to register.
Please help the men, women and children who depend on Interfaith Works Clothing Center to keep them warm. They provide free clothing to 13,000 income-qualified residents each year, including nearly 6,000 children. Please donate clean, gently used or never used warm coats, gloves, mittens, scarves, hats, sweaters, pants, and socks to those in need. 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). This project is sponsored by the Community Relations Committee.
Whether 5 years old or 95 years old, the pandemic has affected us all in big and small ways. If you (or your child) created or wishes to create a painting, poem, sculpture, musical composition, or other artistic expression that reflects how you have shown resiliency or faced the pandemic, the Community Relations Committee would be interested in learning more about your creation. Depending on the interest, the Town may hold an exhibition. Please describe your creation or take a photo and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about Medicare Supplement Plans -- Tuesday, January 18, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.Join the Maryland Insurance Administration for an important presentation on Medicare Supplement Plans in Maryland. They will review the current available plans and explain how to use their Medicare Supplement rate guide. Hosted by the Maryland Insurance Administration. Registration in advance on Eventbrite is requested, but Zoom link is here: ow.ly/zprC50H4cEG.
"In America" by Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg -- Tuesday, January 18, 2 to 3 p.m.Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg is a visual artist who has demonstrated the power of art to touch lives. In Fall of 2020, images of Firstenberg's "In America: How Could This Happen" appeared in over 600 news articles on six continents, making visible the pandemic’s cost in American lives. In September 2021, she recreated this art installation on the National Mall. For 17 days, over 650,000 white flags fluttered near the Washington Monument. To ensure access for all, Firstenberg partnered with Esri, Inc, the global leader in geographic information systems, to present the art concurrently in the digital sphere. Firstenberg believes in times like ours, when words fall on unlistening ears, art is not an elective, but an imperative. Join in to view photos of her art and learn from her how she became an artist and is inspired. Hosted by Bethesda Metro Area Village and by Connie Morella library. No registration required, access on Zoom here. Or Dial In: 301 715 8592; Meeting ID: 839 6650 2920.
You've Got Style: Artists, Identity and Self-Expression -- Wednesday, January 19, 1 to 2 p.m.Have you ever thought about the idea that how we dress reflects a choice about how we want to appear to other people? Join Smithsonian American Art Museum docent Melissa Clark on January 19 at 1 p.m. for a look at artworks exploring that theme. We’ll talk about issues of appearance and identity as seen by artists from SAAM’s collections, ranging from the mid-1800’s to the present. J oin us for an engaging conversation – no fancy dress required! Sponsored by Chevy Chase At Home. Register in advance on Chevy Chase At Home's event page.
Mindfulness: Should We Believe The Hype? -- Thursday, January 20, 2022, 1 to 2 p.m.Start the new year right with a discussion about mindfulness with Claire Kelly of the University of Oxford Mindfulness Center and Paloma Costa, a Foggy Bottom West End Village volunteer. Claire will cover the origins of mindfulness, evidence-based research about mindfulness, and its current applications. She will debunk some common mindfulness myths and talk about what mindfulness really is. Participants will even have an opportunity to engage in mindfulness practice during this interactive program! Hosted by Foggy Bottom West End Village. Register in advance on Foggy Bottom West End Village's website. Zoom link will be sent out the morning of the program to registrants.
CC@H Guest Speaker: Peter Ross Range, Author of "The Unfathomable Ascent: How Hitler Came to Power" -- Friday, January 28, 2022, 1 to 2 p.m. (Registration is required - No Fee)CC@H member Peter Ross Range will speak on his book, "The Unfathomable Ascent: How Hitler Came to Power." Range is a journalist who has covered war, politics, and international affairs. A specialist in Germany, he has written for Time, the New York Times, National Geographic, the London Sunday Times Magazine, Playboy, and U.S. News & World Report, where he was a White House correspondent.
Ch/Art, a Chevy Chase community arts organization, is pleased to present WOW! (Windows on Wisconsin) featuring art by Nancy Arbuthnot, Sara Bardin, Ruth Becker, Judith Goodman, Ronni Jolles, Trinka Roeckelein, and Xiaowei Song.
Exhibit December 9, 2021 – March 10, 2022
WOW! will command the attention of passing pedestrians and cars who will be drawn to 5510 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland to view this dynamic display of the creativity of neighborhood artists. This novel approach to viewing an exhibit in windows at any time day or night, provides a new way to enjoy art without restrictions.
WOW! brings the work of local artists, who are members of Ch/Art, an arts nonprofit, to the attention of the community. This display will run for a full year through December 2022. The curated shows will present the work of several artists at a time for a three-month period. New shows will be selected for the spring, summer, and fall of 2022.
Ch/Art (chevychaseart.org) was founded in 2018 and has a membership of 110 artists who work in painting, sculpture, glass, photography, jewelry, fiber art, ceramics and other media. It offers the community opportunities to access art and engage in art making through educational and hands-on experiences. WOW! Is curated by Kirsty Little, Ch/Art board chair.
For additional information, please contact Kathleen Zeifang at email@example.com or 703-447-8758.
Residents are reminded that, effective January 1, 2022, the use of gas-powered blowers is prohibited from January 1 through October 14. The Town Council approved this ban in response to resident concerns about noise and other impacts of this type of landscaping equipment. The regulations exempt gas-powered snow blowers and sprayers. Montgomery County noise regulations also remain in effect in the Town.
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.
When snow and ice melt, the salt on roads, driveways and sidewalks gets dissolved with it, washing into adjacent storm drains, and making its way to our local waterways. Once in the water there is no way to remove the sodium chloride, and at high concentrations salt can harm fish and plant life. Salt is also a pet paw irritant, and it can seep into soil in your own yard, which can harm plants, and kill off microbes important to soil health and fertility. Here are some winter salt best practices:
-- Avoid using salt if at all possible. Sand, ashes, or kitty litter are good alternatives if traction is the issue. Sand is definitely a better bet below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, when salt will be ineffective. Avoid using salt if the temperature is forecast to get above freezing for several hours of the day -- the ice will melt naturally, or enough so that you can easily scrape or shovel it away.
-- Try de-icing products that are less harmful than sodium chloride. Alternative chemicals that are better for the environment are calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), calcium chloride or magnesium chloride. Strosniders in Bethesda carries several alternatives.
-- If you must use salt for safety purposes, shovel or scrape first. The less snow and ice, the less salt you’ll need to use. Use the smallest amount possible, then wait. It can take time for the salt to have its intended melting effect.
-- After the snow and ice have melted, if you have leftover dry salt and/or sand, sweep it up for reuse, or proper disposal. If you just leave it where it sits, it will eventually wash off into the watershed or your yard.
-- For reinforcement of these points, here is the County salt website.
Town staff is 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 visit. Residents can contact the Town office at 301-654-7144 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. Both resources offer an important way to stay informed and in touch.
Click here to view the Town calendar.