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7/30/2021 2:13:34 PM
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Weekly Town Updates -- July 30, 2021

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Town Council Continues to Formulate Position on Increased Density Called for in Thrive


Thrive Montgomery 2050 (or “Thrive” for short) is Montgomery County’s general plan update - the first major update since 1964.  At its essence, Thrive promotes compact growth or urbanism, which means increased residential housing in 32 designated “activity centers” and along designated “growth corridors.”  The Town is near both an "activity center" (Bethesda) and located along designated "growth corridors" (Connecticut & Wisconsin Avenues).  The County Council held public hearings on Thrive on June 17 and June 29.  You can review Mayor Rush's testimony here, Vice Mayor Lane's testimony here, and the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Neighborhood Coalition letter (signed by 29 communities representing over 213,000 residents across the county) here.

County Attainable Housing Strategies Initiative Also Under Discussion

At the same time that the PHED committee is discussing Thrive, the Planning Staff has delivered to the County Planning Board a set of recommendations for residential zoning changes (called the Attainable Housing Strategies Initiative).  These recommendations were requested by the County Council.  Even though Thrive and the housing recommendations are two initiatives, they are running in parallel and are closely interrelated.  Put simply, Thrive is the vision and residential zoning changes are the action.

The County Planning Staff recommendations, in their current form, call for allowing duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes to be built, by right, in the Town and even higher density along designated growth corridors on lots that face Connecticut Avenue as well as those located on 46th Street, West Avenue, and possibly those abutting the Purple Line.  County officials acknowledge that these new housing units will not be “affordable housing” but instead will sell or rent at prevailing market rates.  

Residents are encouraged to read Mayor Rush's testimony to the Planning Board on June 24 regarding the recommendations and view a July 15 webinar from Dan Parolek (who coined the term "missing middle housing"), which describes the top 5 implementation mistakes made by well-intentioned planning officials whose communities are facing housing shortages.  Dan calls out mistakes including allowing the building of multi-family housing types that are not attainable, disincentivizing the delivery of smaller units, and not ensuring "house-scale" units.

Residents Encouraged to Comment on Prospect of Building Multi-Family Housing By Right in the Town

Because both initiatives, Thrive and the housing recommendations, will be voted on by the County Council this fall, the Town Council will continue to formulate its position over the summer.  Residents are encouraged to email their questions, concerns, and suggestions to townoffice@townofchevychase.org.




Town of Chevy Chase Book Club

Sunday, August 15, 7 p.m. via Zoom


The Town of Chevy Chase Book Club is back!  This month we are reading Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny.  A short description of the book is available below.  Please RSVP to emily@townofchevychase.org to receive the Zoom information.  We hope to see you all there!

"A rueful, funny examination of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami. Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, this sensational debut will appeal to fans of David Nicholls, Nick Hornby, Nora Ephron and Lorrie Moore

Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labour and delivery, invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun but life with her can be exhausting.

In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger’s, his first wife, Elspeth, reenters Graham’s life. Former spouses are hard to categorize – are they friends, enemies, old flames, or just people who know you really, really well? Graham starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice?"




Volunteer for Town Committees & Boards


Each year in June, the Town Council begins the process of seeking volunteers for the Town’s committees and filling vacancies on the Town’s boards and commission.  We encourage you to consider volunteering for one of these bodies so we can involve as many residents as possible in Town affairs. 

  • Climate and Environment: Inspires and facilitates energy conservation and environmental stewardship by the Town and its residents. 
  • Community Relations: Encourages a strong sense of neighborliness through community activities and communications. 
  • Land Use: Guides building and redevelopment within the Town using available planning tools.
  • Long-Range Planning: Identifies emerging issues that require longer-term planning and analysis and monitors activities in county and state government likely to impact our Town.
  • Public Services: Advocates for high-quality Town services for our residents. 
  • Racial Justice Special Committee: Creates programs and initiatives to help residents understand and explore the Town’s history on racial justice issues and to guide the Town’s future role in addressing these issues.
  • Elections Board (one vacancy): Oversees all Town elections, including making appropriate provisions for nominations, printing ballots, appointing tellers and/or judges and supervising the polls. 
  • Ethics Commission (one vacancy): Receives, verifies, and maintains all financial disclosure forms required by the State of Maryland.
  • Water Board (one vacancy): Hears requests by property owners who have had a water drainage plan denied by the Town.

The Town also is seeking members for the Montgomery County Police Advisory Board.  The board is an informal group of area residents who meet periodically with 2nd District police officials to review and discuss crime trends and prevention; traffic issues; and any specific public safety issues.  The advisory board meets at the Bethesda Police Station approximately 6 to 8 times per year for an hour or less.  There is no regularly scheduled meeting.  There are occasional guest speakers at board meetings.  Board members may serve as long as they wish. 

If you are interested in volunteering to serve on a Town committee, board, or commission, please submit a brief note to the Town Office by July 31, 2021.  Your correspondence may be submitted by e-mail to townoffice@townofchevychase.org and should include your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and a few sentences about why you would like to serve on that particular body. 

The Town Council extends a special thanks to all of you who have served on one of these bodies over the past year.  The dedication of your time and talents provides an invaluable resource to the Town and continues to strengthen and improve our community.




Increased Permit Parking Enforcement Throughout the Town


Now that traffic is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels, and in response to increased parking-related complaints, the Town has asked police to step up enforcement and issue citations to vehicles not displaying a valid parking permit.  All vehicles within a permit parking area must display a purple permit parking decal or guest pass with an expiration date of September 30, 2020.  Any resident who lives in a permit parking area and acquires a new vehicle should contact the Town office to request a permit parking sticker and guest pass.  For more information, please contact the Town Office at 301-654-7144.




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 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.  More information about the program and an application form can be found here.




Host a Block Party

 

The Town has resumed support for community block parties that comply with all applicable public health regulations.  If residents wish to organize a party with their neighbors, the Town offers a subsidy to cover non-alcohol expenses.  More information and the block party application are available here.




Does Your Project Need a Permit?


As a reminder, in addition to permits for new houses and additions, the Town requires permits for new and replacement driveways, new and replacement fences, walls, pools, and other improvements.  The Land Use Committee created a helpful resource to assist residents in determining if a project requires a permit.  The Unofficial Land Use Handbook outlines the local rules that govern development activities in the Town of Chevy Chase.  It is intended to provide residents with an easy-to-use, non-technical manual explaining the basic Town requirements relevant to construction and landscaping activities on your property. 

Please note that this is an unofficial guide, which does not attempt to provide or substitute for the full legal detail contained in the Town code.  For the specific and full legal requirements governing development in the Town, please don’t hesitate to contact the Town Staff at townoffice@townofchevychase.org or at 301-654-7144.




Climate & Environment Tip of the Month: Be Cool!


Now that we’re into the hot & humid time of year, here’s some reminders about keeping your family and others cool and saving energy and money: 

  • Install and use a programmable thermostat to optimize your cooling and savings.  Set your default cooling temperature up several degrees.
  • Close blinds or shades when there is direct sunlight hitting your windows.  Open your windows when it cools off at night and close them when it heats up outside. 
  • Use fans – ceiling or household fans move air to keep you cooler and you can use bathroom or kitchen ceiling vent fans to exhaust hot air outside and reduce the AC load.  If you have a whole house fan, use it to pull in cool outside air. 
  • Use plants and foliage shade outside of your home to reduce radiant heat. 
  • Turn off lights & unplug devices – they generate heat and waste energy & money. 
  • Make sure your interior spaces have proper insulation to reduce interior heat seepage (e.g. hot air from your attic/eaves can seep into the home through interior openings).
  • Install a mini-split heat pump or window or portable air conditioner for room-specific cooling or for homes without ducts. 
  • Take advantage of PEPCO’s many programs for energy assessment and savings and switch to 100% renewable electricity supply for broader environmental impact. 
  • Have unused AC equipment (window units, fans, etc.)?  Donate unneeded equipment or money to Community Forklift or Habitat for Humanity to help others. 



  

Please Clean Up After Your Pet and Obey County Leash Laws

 

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.

The Town also has received calls from residents complaining dog owners do not observe the County's leash laws.  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.  This law also is applicable to cats. Please make sure your cat is confined to your property or on a leash.  Please observe this law so that everyone can enjoy walks through the Town with or without their dogs.




Stay Informed


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.




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.

Plain text message

Town Council Continues to Formulate Position on Increased Density Called for in Thrive

Thrive Montgomery 2050 [https://montgomeryplanning.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/THRIVE-Planning-Board-Draft-2021-Pages_web.pdf] (or “Thrive” for short) is Montgomery County’s general plan update - the first major update since 1964. At its essence, Thrive promotes compact growth or urbanism, which means increased residential housing in 32 designated “activity centers” and along designated “growth corridors.” The Town is near both an "activity center" (Bethesda) and located along designated "growth corridors" (Connecticut & Wisconsin Avenues). The County Council held public hearings on Thrive on June 17 and June 29. You can review Mayor Rush's testimony here [https://www.townofchevychase.org/DocumentCenter/View/3303/TOCC-Testimony-on-Thrive-Montgomery-2050-6-17-21-revised-6-18-21] , Vice Mayor Lane's testimony here [https://www.townofchevychase.org/DocumentCenter/View/3308/Councilmember-Lane-Thrive-Montgomery-2050-Testimony-] , and the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Neighborhood Coalition letter (signed by 29 communities representing over 213,000 residents across the county) here [https://www.townofchevychase.org/DocumentCenter/View/3309/Thrive-Montgomery-2050-Coalition-Letter-070621] .
County Attainable Housing Strategies Initiative Also Under Discussion
At the same time that the PHED committee is discussing Thrive, the Planning Staff has delivered to the County Planning Board a set of recommendations [https://montgomeryplanning.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/AHS-Community-Meeting-3-06.02.21_V02.pdf] for residential zoning changes (called the Attainable Housing Strategies Initiative). These recommendations were requested by the County Council. Even though Thrive and the housing recommendations are two initiatives, they are running in parallel and are closely interrelated. Put simply, Thrive is the vision and residential zoning changes are the action.
The County Planning Staff recommendations, in their current form, call for allowing duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes to be built, by right, in the Town and even higher density along designated growth corridors on lots that face Connecticut Avenue as well as those located on 46th Street, West Avenue, and possibly those abutting the Purple Line. County officials acknowledge that these new housing units will not be “affordable housing” but instead will sell or rent at prevailing market rates.
Residents are encouraged to read Mayor Rush's testimony [https://www.townofchevychase.org/DocumentCenter/View/3304/TOCC-Testimony-on-Attainable-Housing-Strategies-6-24-21] to the Planning Board on June 24 regarding the recommendations and view a July 15 webinar [https://smartgrowth.org/the-top-five-missing-middle-housing-implementation-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them/] from Dan Parolek (who coined the term "missing middle housing"), which describes the top 5 implementation mistakes made by well-intentioned planning officials whose communities are facing housing shortages. Dan calls out mistakes including allowing the building of multi-family housing types that are not attainable, disincentivizing the delivery of smaller units, and not ensuring "house-scale" units.
Residents Encouraged to Comment on Prospect of Building Multi-Family Housing By Right in the Town
Because both initiatives, Thrive and the housing recommendations, will be voted on by the County Council this fall, the Town Council will continue to formulate its position over the summer. Residents are encouraged to email their questions, concerns, and suggestions to townoffice@townofchevychase.org [mailto:townoffice@townofchevychase.org] .

Town of Chevy Chase Book Club
Sunday, August 15, 7 p.m. via Zoom

The Town of Chevy Chase Book Club is back! This month we are reading Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. A short description of the book is available below. Please RSVP to emily@townofchevychase.org [mailto:emily@townofchevychase.org] to receive the Zoom information. We hope to see you all there!
"A rueful, funny examination of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami. Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, this sensational debut will appeal to fans of David Nicholls, Nick Hornby, Nora Ephron and Lorrie Moore
Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labour and delivery, invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun but life with her can be exhausting.
In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger’s, his first wife, Elspeth, reenters Graham’s life. Former spouses are hard to categorize – are they friends, enemies, old flames, or just people who know you really, really well? Graham starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice?"


Volunteer for Town Committees & Boards

Each year in June, the Town Council begins the process of seeking volunteers for the Town’s committees and filling vacancies on the Town’s boards and commission. We encourage you to consider volunteering for one of these bodies so we can involve as many residents as possible in Town affairs.
Climate and Environment: Inspires and facilitates energy conservation and environmental stewardship by the Town and its residents.
Community Relations: Encourages a strong sense of neighborliness through community activities and communications.
Land Use: Guides building and redevelopment within the Town using available planning tools.
Long-Range Planning: Identifies emerging issues that require longer-term planning and analysis and monitors activities in county and state government likely to impact our Town.
Public Services: Advocates for high-quality Town services for our residents.
Racial Justice Special Committee: Creates programs and initiatives to help residents understand and explore the Town’s history on racial justice issues and to guide the Town’s future role in addressing these issues.
Elections Board (one vacancy): Oversees all Town elections, including making appropriate provisions for nominations, printing ballots, appointing tellers and/or judges and supervising the polls.
Ethics Commission (one vacancy): Receives, verifies, and maintains all financial disclosure forms required by the State of Maryland.
Water Board (one vacancy): Hears requests by property owners who have had a water drainage plan denied by the Town.
The Town also is seeking members for the Montgomery County Police Advisory Board. The board is an informal group of area residents who meet periodically with 2nd District police officials to review and discuss crime trends and prevention; traffic issues; and any specific public safety issues. The advisory board meets at the Bethesda Police Station approximately 6 to 8 times per year for an hour or less. There is no regularly scheduled meeting. There are occasional guest speakers at board meetings. Board members may serve as long as they wish.
If you are interested in volunteering to serve on a Town committee, board, or commission, please submit a brief note to the Town Office by July 31, 2021. Your correspondence may be submitted by e-mail to townoffice@townofchevychase.org [mailto:townoffice@townofchevychase.org] and should include your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and a few sentences about why you would like to serve on that particular body.
The Town Council extends a special thanks to all of you who have served on one of these bodies over the past year. The dedication of your time and talents provides an invaluable resource to the Town and continues to strengthen and improve our community.

Increased Permit Parking Enforcement Throughout the Town

Now that traffic is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels, and in response to increased parking-related complaints, the Town has asked police to step up enforcement and issue citations to vehicles not displaying a valid parking permit. All vehicles within a permit parking area must display a purple permit parking decal or guest pass with an expiration date of September 30, 2020. Any resident who lives in a permit parking area and acquires a new vehicle should contact the Town office to request a permit parking sticker and guest pass. For more information, please contact the Town Office at 301-654-7144.

New Gas-Powered Blower Regulations

The Town Council has approved new regulations of gas-powered blowers [http://www.townofchevychase.org/128/Noise-Control] . 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 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. More information about the program and an application form can be found here [https://www.townofchevychase.org/FormCenter/BatteryPowered-Blower-Equipment-28/BatteryPowered-Blower-Equipment-Rebate-P-116] .

Host a Block Party

The Town has resumed support for community block parties that comply with all applicable public health regulations. If residents wish to organize a party with their neighbors, the Town offers a subsidy to cover non-alcohol expenses. More information and the block party application are available here [https://www.townofchevychase.org/FormCenter/Block-Party-21/Block-Party-Application-104] .

Does Your Project Need a Permit?

As a reminder, in addition to permits for new houses and additions, the Town requires permits for new and replacement driveways, new and replacement fences, walls, pools, and other improvements. The Land Use Committee created a helpful resource to assist residents in determining if a project requires a permit. The Unofficial Land Use Handbook [https://www.townofchevychase.org/DocumentCenter/View/203/Land-Use-Handbook?bidId=#page=3] outlines the local rules that govern development activities in the Town of Chevy Chase. It is intended to provide residents with an easy-to-use, non-technical manual explaining the basic Town requirements relevant to construction and landscaping activities on your property.
Please note that this is an unofficial guide, which does not attempt to provide or substitute for the full legal detail contained in the Town code. For the specific and full legal requirements governing development in the Town, please don’t hesitate to contact the Town Staff at townoffice@townofchevychase.org [mailto:townoffice@townofchevychase.org] or at 301-654-7144.

Climate & Environment Tip of the Month: Be Cool!

Now that we’re into the hot & humid time of year, here’s some reminders about keeping your family and others cool and saving energy and money:
Install and use a programmable thermostat to optimize your cooling and savings. Set your default cooling temperature up several degrees.
Close blinds or shades when there is direct sunlight hitting your windows. Open your windows when it cools off at night and close them when it heats up outside.
Use fans – ceiling or household fans move air to keep you cooler and you can use bathroom or kitchen ceiling vent fans to exhaust hot air outside and reduce the AC load. If you have a whole house fan, use it to pull in cool outside air.
Use plants and foliage shade outside of your home to reduce radiant heat.
Turn off lights & unplug devices – they generate heat and waste energy & money.
Make sure your interior spaces have proper insulation to reduce interior heat seepage (e.g. hot air from your attic/eaves can seep into the home through interior openings).
Install a mini-split heat pump or window or portable air conditioner for room-specific cooling or for homes without ducts.
Take advantage of PEPCO’s many programs for energy assessment and savings [https://www.pepco.com/WaysToSave/ForYourHome/Pages/Maryland.aspx] and switch to 100% renewable electricity supply for broader environmental impact.
Have unused AC equipment (window units, fans, etc.)? Donate unneeded equipment or money to Community Forklift [http://communityforklift.org] or Habitat for Humanity [https://habitatmm.org/restore/restore.html] to help others.



Please Clean Up After Your Pet and Obey County Leash Laws

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 [https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.109/e71.0fe.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/DogWasteStationsRev101519.pdf] . We appreciate your cooperation in addressing this issue.
The Town also has received calls from residents complaining dog owners do not observe the County's leash laws. 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. This law also is applicable to cats. Please make sure your cat is confined to your property or on a leash. Please observe this law so that everyone can enjoy walks through the Town with or without their dogs.

Stay Informed

Residents are encouraged to connect with the Town through the Town Crier email alert system [https://www.townofchevychase.org/list.aspx] 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 [mailto:townneighbors+owner@groups.io] . Both resources offer an important way to stay informed and in touch.

Important Phone Numbers

Click here [https://www.townofchevychase.org/432/Important-Phone-Numbers] for a list of important phone numbers. In case of emergencies, always call 911.

Upcoming Meetings & Events

Click here [https://www.townofchevychase.org/calendar.aspx?CID=14] to view the Town calendar.

SMS message

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