COVID-19 Information Resources
Find COVID-19 information from the Maryland Department of Health and read the proclamations and orders issued by Governor Larry Hogan related to COVID-19 here.
Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Information Portal provides the latest news and updates on the number of COVID cases reported in Maryland communities, COVID-19 testing, vaccine distribution, and executive orders and guidance to address the pandemic.
News on Missing Middle Housing and ZTA 20-07
For the last three months, the Town Council has been closely following the progress of the County’s proposed Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-07, which would allow Missing Middle Housing to be built by right in single-family neighborhoods within one mile of Metro. Missing Middle Housing is a range of housing with multiple units that could include duplexes, triplexes, townhouses, and small apartment buildings built on aggregated lots. County and planning board documents state that these units are meant to be compatible in scale and form with single-family homes located in walkable neighborhoods, but people have differing views as to whether all these structural forms can be considered compatible within residential neighborhoods.
The County Council has recently clarified the process it intends to follow regarding ZTA 20-07 and Missing Middle Housing. On March 4, 2021, the County Council sent a letter to the County Planning Board and Planning Department that urges the Planning Board to develop a new ZTA that considers the concepts currently included in ZTA 20-07 and in a separate draft ZTA that would allow the Planning Board to approve Missing Middle Housing on certain residential lots within one-quarter mile of Bus-Rapid-Transit corridors. The County Council hopes to consider the Planning Board’s zoning reform recommendations around the same time that it considers Thrive Montgomery 2050, the proposed County general plan update. We anticipate that the Planning Board will transmit its Thrive Montgomery 2050 draft to the County Council in April 2021.
Meanwhile, based on a recent opinion from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, the Town Council believes that our municipal building regulations will continue to apply to all residential structures within the Town, including any Missing Middle Housing that the County may authorize in the future.
To enable the Town’s continued advocacy with the Planning Board and the County Council, the Town Council hopes to develop a position on Missing Middle Housing based on resident feedback and other information. In particular, the Town Council would like to hear residents’ opinions about three different scenarios for the Town (or other variations that residents would like to see):
Construction of duplexes and triplexes only on single lots within the current Town building code envelope (i.e. using the same height and setback requirements that apply to a single-family house);
Construction of townhouses on combined lots; or
No Missing Middle Housing development within the Town.
The Town Council is planning a public forum and an educational session on April 8, 2021 from 7 to 9 p.m. to discuss feasible types of Missing Middle Housing and listen to resident opinions. Following the forum, Councilmember Irene Lane will hold a series of recorded listening sessions for residents to provide feedback. The listening sessions are currently scheduled for Tuesday, April 13 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, April 18 at 4 p.m.; Wednesday, April 21 at 1 p.m.; and Monday, April 26 at 7 p.m. Stay tuned for more details, and please send comments, questions, and RSVPs for the listening sessions to the Town Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County Planning Event on Missing Middle Housing and Opportunities for Public Feedback
You can find out more about the different types of Missing Middle Housing and best practices for implementing it in neighborhoods by signing up for a presentation sponsored by the County Planning Department as part of its Silver Spring Master Plan and Missing Middle Housing Market Study update:
WHEN: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 7-9 p.m.
WHERE: Virtual Meeting (register here)
This event will feature Tony Perez from Opticos Design who is a Missing Middle Housing expert and works with communities to translate policy into implementable development standards. Mr. Perez is also a leader in “Form-Based Coding,” which is often used to ensure that Missing Middle Housing is compatible in form and scale with single-family houses.
Residents also can send comments directly to County Councilmembers:
2021 Town Council Election
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Town will continue a universal vote-by mail system for the 2021 Town election. More information on the 2021 Town Council election is available here.
FY22 Budget Work Session
The Council will hold a work session on March 17 to review the proposed budget that the staff and Treasurer have prepared. There will be a public hearing on, and adoption of, the final proposed budget at the Annual Meeting on May 4. Throughout the budget development process, the Town Council will consider suggestions from residents about what programs they would like to see funded in next year’s budget. Please email your comments or suggestions to email@example.com.
New Gas-Powered Blower Regulations
The Town Council has approved new regulations of gas-powered blowers. The new 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 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 Council has approved 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, and these funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis until May 31, 2021. More information about the program and an application form can be found here.
Town Book Club Meeting
Sunday, March 21, 5-6 p.m. Via Zoom
Mark your calendar, start reading and join fellow book lovers to discuss Calypso by David Sedaris at the inaugural meeting of the Town book club! Nancy Lemann, our neighbor, has generously agreed to moderate the session. Nancy is the author of five books and has written for numerous publications. Politics & Prose is offering a 10% discount for online purchases of the paperback edition of the book. The discount code is “SPECIAL10” and the site is politics-prose.com. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-654-7144 to receive the Zoom link. This event is limited to 25 participants.
Yard Birds of Chevy Chase
Thursday, March 25, 7 p.m. Via Zoom
Join your neighbors for a talk by Town resident Chris Wright on “The Yard Birds of Chevy Chase: Thirty Birds You Can See Without Leaving Home.” Chris has birded throughout the United States and is a long-time participant in local and national bird clubs. Chris noticed that being cloistered in our Town due to COVID gave us time to appreciate nature around us. In this program, he hopes to take this appreciation to a new level by showing the beauty of birds we see every day. Please RSVP to email@example.com or 301-654-7144 to receive the Zoom link.
Green Town Series: Creek Critters Webinar
Tuesday, March 30, 7 to 8 p.m. Via Zoom
The next sponsored event in our Green Town Series will be hosted by Gregg Trilling of the Audubon Naturalist Society on March 30, 7 to 8 p.m. Did you know that most of the Town's stormwater drains to Coquelin Run (our local stream)? What lives in our local stream and how healthy is it? Gregg Trilling, ANS Conservation Outreach Manager, will introduce you to several fascinating aquatic macroinvertebrates. He’ll show you how to use ANS’s Creek Critters® app to identify them in your local stream and discover what they mean for stream health. You might even be inspired to join ANS’s volunteer-driven water quality monitoring program! Great for adults and kids. Sign up here (small fee applies).
Bulk Trash Collection Scheduled for Monday, April 19
Given the ongoing pandemic, and in the interest of not hosting an event that would conflict with County or State reopening guidelines, the Town will offer curbside bulk trash collection on April 19 and will continue to direct residents to local companies and organizations for recycling/repurposing opportunities. More information is available here.
The Cicadas are Coming, The Cicadas are Coming
The periodical cicada in this area, Brood X, will emerge this year and is one of many broods that reappear every 17 years. Town Arborist Dr. Tolbert Feather has complied information for residents on the return of these cicadas and how you can protect small trees on your property. The document is available here.
Please Clean Up After Your Pet
The Town office has received complaints about the improper disposal of dog waste. The Town has installed numerous dog waste stations in Town. A map can be found here. We appreciate your cooperation in addressing this issue.
Please Obey County Leash Laws
The Town office has received calls from residents complaining that dog owners do not observe the County's leash law. Please remember that your dog should always be on a leash being held by a person when not in a fenced portion of your yard. Even generally well-behaved dogs off leash can be threatening to pedestrians and other dogs on leash. Please observe this law so that everyone can enjoy walks through the Town with or without their dogs.
Town Office Schedule and Updates Related to COVID-19
Town staff continues on a telework schedule. Residents who need to drop off materials to the Town office may use the mailbox located outside the front door to the Town Hall. We will try to process all permits and other applications in a timely manner. Phone calls and email are being monitored and answered as usual. In addition, the Jane Lawton Recreation Center remains closed until further notice. For current Montgomery County closures, please check here.
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.
The Town website provides links to official resources for more information on coronavirus preparedness and response.
Important Phone Numbers
Click here for a list of important phone numbers. In case of emergencies, always call 911.
Upcoming Meetings & Events
Click here to view the Town calendar.