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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.
Council Work Session on Traffic Study
At its February 16 work session, the Town Council discussed the findings and recommendations of the Town-wide traffic study, a report from the Public Services Committee with its alternate analysis and recommendations, and resident comments received as of that date. The Council asked the Town’s Public Services Committee and our consulting traffic engineer to consider some alternative traffic mitigation strategies that were discussed at the work session. The Council also agreed to introduce an ordinance at the March meeting to reduce the Town-wide speed to 20 MPH, as recommended by the traffic study. The Council will continue to discuss proposed traffic mitigation strategies, none of which will be adopted before a public hearing.
Zimmerman Park Redevelopment
At its February meeting, the Town Council discussed the proposed redevelopment of Zimmerman Park. The Council asked the Land Use Committee to organize and host community meetings to review and solicit feedback on the park design concept plans, proposed park amenities and preliminary cost estimates. These meetings, which will likely take place in May, will be advertised in the Forecast newsletter and via Town Crier email alerts.
Latest on Proposed Changes to County Land-Use Rules
On February 11, 2021, the County Council held a public hearing on Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-07, a proposal that would allow Missing Middle housing (i.e. duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and small apartment buildings) to be built by right on R-60 residential properties within a mile of Metro. The intent is to provide more housing choices in single-family neighborhoods. This legislation is significant because the Town is subject to County zoning laws. Mayor Cecily Baskir testified on behalf of the Town, and the Town signed a letter submitted by a coalition of 26 municipalities, neighborhood associations, and community groups.
At this time, we are waiting for Councilmember Hans Riemer, chair of the County’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee (PHED), to announce his intentions and next steps on ZTA 20-07, which could possibly include sending it back to the County Planning Staff for further analysis.
The Town Council has not yet developed a position on ZTA 20-07's objective or on Missing Middle housing, a major goal of Thrive Montgomery 2050 (the update of the County’s general plan). The Town’s Subcommittee on Regional Growth and Development is currently researching best practices in Missing Middle housing, and in March, the Town will hold a forum on Missing Middle housing, followed by a series of Listening Sessions to hear residents’ thoughts about Missing Middle housing in the Town. The Town will further develop its positions on ZTA 20-07, Thrive Montgomery 2050, and Missing Middle housing based on resident feedback and other information.
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. This letter does not take a position about the ZTA's objective; rather, it 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 firstname.lastname@example.org The County Council at County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov (The comment period has been extended to February 19)Our District 1 County Councilmember, Andrew Friedson at Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.govIf you know any experts on Missing Middle housing whom the Town could consult with or invite to the forum on Missing Middle housing, please contact the Town office at email@example.com.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.
Green Town Series -- Healthy Lawns Webinar Recording Available
On February 16, the Town's Climate and Environment Committee held its second webinar in the Green Town Series. Mary Travaglini, the head of the County’s organic lawn care program, gave an overview of Montgomery County's pesticide law. Mary Travaglini also shared a full set of practical suggestions for practicing organic lawn care, hiring an organic lawn care contractor and more. A recording of the event is available here.
Sign Up for Sunday's Racial Justice Workshop from 3 to 5 p.m.
The Town Council invites all residents to join a virtual workshop on racial equity on Sunday, February 21 from 3 to 5 p.m. This interactive workshop kicks off a Racial Justice Speaker & Event Series hosted by the Town's Racial Justice Special Committee. The inaugural event 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. Suitable for students and adults, this workshop will provide a foundational understanding of how systems of oppression and racism impact opportunities in our communities. 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. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5 p.m. on Friday, February 19 to receive the Zoom meeting information.
"Eat Chili Day" -- We Need Your Favorite Recipes!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 email@example.com 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.
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 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.