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Town of Chevy Chase
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2/5/2021 5:00:59 PM
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Weekly Town Updates -- February 5, 2021

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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.



Town Forum on Traffic Study to be Held on February 9

On February 9 at 6 p.m., the Town will host an online public forum to review and answer residents’ questions about the Town-wide traffic study, which was presented to the Council in January.  The study and a report from the Town’s Public Services Committee (PSC) with its alternate analysis and recommendations are available for review on the Town website.  The Council will hold a work session on February 16 at 6 p.m. to discuss the study’s findings, the PSC’s report, and residents’ questions and comments received as of that date.  No traffic mitigation strategies will be adopted before a public hearing.  Information on how to join the forum is posted on the Town website.



Significant Changes to Land-Use Rules Proposed

On Thursday, February 4, the Montgomery County Planning Board held a public hearing on  Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-07), a proposal that would allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and small apartment buildings to be built by right on R-60 residential properties within the Town and other communities surrounding Metro.  Mayor Baskir testified on behalf of the Town, and the Town was a signatory to a letter submitted to the Planning Board by a coalition of 20 communities.  After the hearing, the Planning Board voted to recommend to the County Council that the ZTA be considered in conjunction with Thrive Montgomery 2050.  They further recommended that the scope of the ZTA be expanded to include lots zoned R-60 (all lots in the Town are zoned R-60), R-40, and R-90 near Metrorail, Purple Line, BRT, and Marc stations.  They also suggested that the setback, height, lot coverage, and parking requirements in the ZTA were too restrictive and should be reconsidered.  Chair Anderson challenged opponents of the ZTA to tell him what housing changes they would be willing to see in their neighborhoods to help with the county's shortages of housing types and "affordable" housing.
 
The County Council will hold a public hearing on ZTA 20-07 on February 11, 2021.  Mayor Cecily Baskir will testify on behalf of the Town.  Please consider sending a letter to the County Council expressing your views about ZTA-20-07 (letters must be received no later than midnight on February 9, 2021, see below for details).

The Town Council discussed ZTA 20-07 at its January 13, 2021 Council meeting and at its February 5, 2021 meeting.  So far, the Town Council has agreed to undertake efforts to maintain its existing regulatory authority over all residential development within the Town, regardless of housing type, and the Town Council will further develop its position on ZTA 20-07 based on resident feedback and other information.  The Town Council has been meeting with County Councilmembers, Planning Department staff, and other communities to learn more about and discuss ZTA 20-07.  The Town’s Subcommittee on Regional Growth and Development and the Long-Range Planning Committee have reviewed the ZTA and submitted comments to the Town Council. 
 
Learn More About ZTA 20-07 

To learn more about ZTA 20-07 and/or provide your comments, you may:
  1. Listen to Town Councilmember Irene Lane’s two virtual community sessions on ZTA-20-07.  A recording of the first session is available here (access passcode: U2GCv$TB) and a recording of the second session is available here.
  2. View a Power point presentation about ZTA-20-07 that describes the zoning proposal and some of the Town's concerns about it.
  3. Read the Coalition letter to the Planning Board about ZTA-20-07.  The Town has been collaborating with other municipalities, neighborhood associations, and community groups (the Coalition) to coordinate a response to the ZTA.  This letter does not take a position about the ZTA's objective; rather, it objects to the process being followed.  At this time, the Town Council has not developed a position on the ZTA's objective but unanimously objects to the process being followed.  The letter includes a set of questions developed by the communities in the Coalition about the ZTA.
What Can You Do?
  1. Send questions and/or comments to:
  2. Sign up to testify at the County Council public hearing on February 11, 2021, 7:30 p.m.  All testimony spots have been filled, but there is a waitlist for those individuals who would like to try to testify.
  3. Stay tuned for more information.



New Gas-Powered Blower Regulations

In December, the Town Council 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 recently 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.



Discussion & Desserts Featuring Murray Horwitz, Host of The Big Broadcast
Thursday, February 11, 7 p.m. Via Zoom

In the past the Community Relations Committee has sponsored Discussion and Desserts in the Town Hall.  We look forward to socializing again when it’s safe.  In the meantime, grab your dessert and join the Zoom discussion!

Have you tuned your radio to 88.5 FM on a Sunday night and heard an episode of 
Gunsmoke or Dragnet?  It’s The Big Broadcast, WAMU’s longest running program, hosted by Town resident Murray Horwitz.  Each week, Murray weaves together shows from the golden age of radio with historical tidbits and connections to entertainment today.  Join us for a moderated discussion on Zoom during which Murray will discuss why radio from the 30’s through the 50’s continues to draw listeners, how he curates each week’s program, and how he handles early radio’s limited approach to women and diversity.  Murray, a Tony-Award winning playwright, lyricist and broadcaster, has been affiliated with public broadcasting and National Public Radio for more than 30 years and was instrumental in starting Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!  Please RSVP to townoffice@townofchevychase.org
 to receive the Zoom link.



Green Town Series -- Healthy Lawns Webinar
Tuesday, February 16, 7-8 p.m. Via Zoom

This webinar will inform residents about how we can implement sustainable, organic practices to have healthy lawns without using synthetic chemical pesticides.  Mary Travaglini, the head of the County’s organic lawn care program, will tell us about the County’s pesticide law, which the Town is considering adopting, and give us a full set of practical “how to” suggestions on practicing organic lawn care, hiring an organic lawn care contractor, and more.  There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions and get expert advice.  To attend, you must preregister here and the Zoom meeting information will be sent to you. 



Sign Up for "Is Everyone Really Equal? Creation of Resistance" Workshop
Sunday, February 21, 3-5 p.m. Via Zoom

On Sunday, February 21, from 3-5 p.m., join a virtual workshop on racial equity and resistance to kick off a Racial Justice Speaker & Event Series hosted by the Town of Chevy Chase Racial Justice Special Committee.  The inaugural workshop will be facilitated by Mr. Troy Boddy, Director of Equity Initiatives for Montgomery County Public Schools, co-founder of the Student Equity Advocates and Building Our Network of Diversity (BOND) Project, and a board member of the Sandy Spring Slave Museum.  The workshop will provide a foundational understanding of how systems of oppression and racism impact opportunities in our communities.  In a conversation guided by Mr. Boddy, participants will learn about and reflect on the historical context of race in the United States, systems of oppression and how they operate, the degrees of racism, and how to interrupt racist systems, individually and in breakout rooms.  RSVP to townoffice@townofchevychase.org to receive the Zoom meeting information.



"Eat Chili Day"
Sunday, February 28

For many years, we have enjoyed the annual Town chili dinner in late February.  It was an occasion to mingle with neighbors and contribute to the Manna Food Center.  This year we are proclaiming February 28 as TOCC “Eat Chili Day.”  In conjunction with this special day, we want to put together a collection of chili recipes for online distribution.  We need YOU to send in your favorite recipe to townoffice@townofchevychase.org by Monday, February 22.  If you’ve copied or adapted a recipe, please note where it came from and whether you want to include your name or a recipe title.  Also, please consider a contribution to Manna, whose mission is “to end hunger through food distribution, education, and advocacy.”  See donation options here.



Winter Clothing Drive Continues Until February 28

The Town continues to donate winter clothing to Interfaith Works, which distributes it to 13,000 income-qualified residents, including nearly 6,000 children.  Please donate clean, gently used or never worn clothing, such as coats, gloves, hats, and socks, as well as waterproof winter wear.  The 24-hour donation box is on the front porch of Marjorie Shaw and Barney Rush at 6917 Maple Avenue.



Climate & Environment Committee
Climate & Savings Tip
 
Every President’s Day weekend, shoppers across Montgomery County can participate in the state’s Shop Maryland Energy Tax Free Weekend which gives residents a break on the six percent sales tax for qualifying ENERGY STAR products.  This year's tax free weekend is February 13 to 15.  Make your plans now.  



 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 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 townneighbors+owner@groups.io.  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


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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.


Town Forum on Traffic Study to be Held on February 9

On February 9 at 6 p.m., the Town will host an online public forum to review and answer residents’ questions about the Town-wide traffic study, which was presented to the Council in January. The study and a report from the Town’s Public Services Committee (PSC) with its alternate analysis and recommendations are available for review on the Town website. The Council will hold a work session on February 16 at 6 p.m. to discuss the study’s findings, the PSC’s report, and residents’ questions and comments received as of that date. No traffic mitigation strategies will be adopted before a public hearing. Information on how to join the forum is posted on the Town website.


Significant Changes to Land-Use Rules Proposed

On Thursday, February 4, the Montgomery County Planning Board held a public hearing on Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-07), a proposal that would allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and small apartment buildings to be built by right on R-60 residential properties within the Town and other communities surrounding Metro. Mayor Baskir testified on behalf of the Town, and the Town was a signatory to a letter submitted to the Planning Board by a coalition of 20 communities. After the hearing, the Planning Board voted to recommend to the County Council that the ZTA be considered in conjunction with Thrive Montgomery 2050. They further recommended that the scope of the ZTA be expanded to include lots zoned R-60 (all lots in the Town are zoned R-60), R-40, and R-90 near Metrorail, Purple Line, BRT, and Marc stations. They also suggested that the setback, height, lot coverage, and parking requirements in the ZTA were too restrictive and should be reconsidered. Chair Anderson challenged opponents of the ZTA to tell him what housing changes they would be willing to see in their neighborhoods to help with the county's shortages of housing types and "affordable" housing.

The County Council will hold a public hearing on ZTA 20-07 on February 11, 2021. Mayor Cecily Baskir will testify on behalf of the Town. Please consider sending a letter to the County Council expressing your views about ZTA-20-07 (letters must be received no later than midnight on February 9, 2021, see below for details).

The Town Council discussed ZTA 20-07 at its January 13, 2021 Council meeting and at its February 5, 2021 meeting. So far, the Town Council has agreed to undertake efforts to maintain its existing regulatory authority over all residential development within the Town, regardless of housing type, and the Town Council will further develop its position on ZTA 20-07 based on resident feedback and other information. The Town Council has been meeting with County Councilmembers, Planning Department staff, and other communities to learn more about and discuss ZTA 20-07. The Town’s Subcommittee on Regional Growth and Development and the Long-Range Planning Committee have reviewed the ZTA and submitted comments to the Town Council.

Learn More About ZTA 20-07

To learn more about ZTA 20-07 and/or provide your comments, you may:
Listen to Town Councilmember Irene Lane’s two virtual community sessions on ZTA-20-07. A recording of the first session is available here (access passcode: U2GCv$TB) and a recording of the second session is available here.
View a Power point presentation about ZTA-20-07 that describes the zoning proposal and some of the Town's concerns about it.
Read the Coalition letter to the Planning Board about ZTA-20-07. The Town has been collaborating with other municipalities, neighborhood associations, and community groups (the Coalition) to coordinate a response to the ZTA. This letter does not take a position about the ZTA's objective; rather, it objects to the process being followed. At this time, the Town Council has not developed a position on the ZTA's objective but unanimously objects to the process being followed. The letter includes a set of questions developed by the communities in the Coalition about the ZTA.
What Can You Do?
Send questions and/or comments to:
The Town Council at townoffice@townofchevychase.org
The County Council at County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov
Our district's County Councilmember Andrew Friedson at Councilmember.Friedson@montomgerycountymd.gov
Sign up to testify at the County Council public hearing on February 11, 2021, 7:30 p.m. All testimony spots have been filled, but there is a waitlist for those individuals who would like to try to testify.
Stay tuned for more information.


New Gas-Powered Blower Regulations

In December, the Town Council 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 recently 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.


Discussion & Desserts Featuring Murray Horwitz, Host of The Big Broadcast
Thursday, February 11, 7 p.m. Via Zoom

In the past the Community Relations Committee has sponsored Discussion and Desserts in the Town Hall. We look forward to socializing again when it’s safe. In the meantime, grab your dessert and join the Zoom discussion!

Have you tuned your radio to 88.5 FM on a Sunday night and heard an episode of Gunsmoke or Dragnet? It’s The Big Broadcast, WAMU’s longest running program, hosted by Town resident Murray Horwitz. Each week, Murray weaves together shows from the golden age of radio with historical tidbits and connections to entertainment today. Join us for a moderated discussion on Zoom during which Murray will discuss why radio from the 30’s through the 50’s continues to draw listeners, how he curates each week’s program, and how he handles early radio’s limited approach to women and diversity. Murray, a Tony-Award winning playwright, lyricist and broadcaster, has been affiliated with public broadcasting and National Public Radio for more than 30 years and was instrumental in starting Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Please RSVP to townoffice@townofchevychase.org to receive the Zoom link.


Green Town Series -- Healthy Lawns Webinar
Tuesday, February 16, 7-8 p.m. Via Zoom

This webinar will inform residents about how we can implement sustainable, organic practices to have healthy lawns without using synthetic chemical pesticides. Mary Travaglini, the head of the County’s organic lawn care program, will tell us about the County’s pesticide law, which the Town is considering adopting, and give us a full set of practical “how to” suggestions on practicing organic lawn care, hiring an organic lawn care contractor, and more. There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions and get expert advice. To attend, you must preregister here and the Zoom meeting information will be sent to you.


Sign Up for "Is Everyone Really Equal? Creation of Resistance" Workshop
Sunday, February 21, 3-5 p.m. Via Zoom

On Sunday, February 21, from 3-5 p.m., join a virtual workshop on racial equity and resistance to kick off a Racial Justice Speaker & Event Series hosted by the Town of Chevy Chase Racial Justice Special Committee. The inaugural workshop will be facilitated by Mr. Troy Boddy, Director of Equity Initiatives for Montgomery County Public Schools, co-founder of the Student Equity Advocates and Building Our Network of Diversity (BOND) Project, and a board member of the Sandy Spring Slave Museum. The workshop will provide a foundational understanding of how systems of oppression and racism impact opportunities in our communities. In a conversation guided by Mr. Boddy, participants will learn about and reflect on the historical context of race in the United States, systems of oppression and how they operate, the degrees of racism, and how to interrupt racist systems, individually and in breakout rooms. RSVP to townoffice@townofchevychase.org to receive the Zoom meeting information.


"Eat Chili Day"
Sunday, February 28

For many years, we have enjoyed the annual Town chili dinner in late February. It was an occasion to mingle with neighbors and contribute to the Manna Food Center. This year we are proclaiming February 28 as TOCC “Eat Chili Day.” In conjunction with this special day, we want to put together a collection of chili recipes for online distribution. We need YOU to send in your favorite recipe to townoffice@townofchevychase.org by Monday, February 22. If you’ve copied or adapted a recipe, please note where it came from and whether you want to include your name or a recipe title. Also, please consider a contribution to Manna, whose mission is “to end hunger through food distribution, education, and advocacy.” See donation options here.


Winter Clothing Drive Continues Until February 28

The Town continues to donate winter clothing to Interfaith Works, which distributes it to 13,000 income-qualified residents, including nearly 6,000 children. Please donate clean, gently used or never worn clothing, such as coats, gloves, hats, and socks, as well as waterproof winter wear. The 24-hour donation box is on the front porch of Marjorie Shaw and Barney Rush at 6917 Maple Avenue.


Climate & Environment Committee
Climate & Savings Tip

Every President’s Day weekend, shoppers across Montgomery County can participate in the state’s Shop Maryland Energy Tax Free Weekend which gives residents a break on the six percent sales tax for qualifying ENERGY STAR products. This year's tax free weekend is February 13 to 15. Make your plans now.


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 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 townneighbors+owner@groups.io. 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.

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Weekly Town Updates are now available. Contact the Town Office at 301 -654-7144 or townoffice@townofchevychase.org for more information.