Friday, June 28, 2013

Holiday Schedule for the Fourth of July

Here’s our holiday schedule for Independence Day on Thursday, July 4:

~  County Offices – closed
~  Libraries – closed
~  County liquor stores – all retail stores open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
~  Recreation –     indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities will be open (Germantown Indoor Swim Center will close at 3 p.m., all others will close at 6 pm.) and aquatic classes will meet as scheduled. All other classes and programs, including summer camps and fun centers, are cancelled.  Administrative offices, senior centers and community centers are closed.
~  Montgomery Parks – for holiday operating schedule on Parks’ facilities, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit
~  Ride On – Saturday schedule
~  Metrobus – Saturday schedule
~  Metrorail – Special service for 4th of July
~  TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
~  Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
~  Transfer Station – closed
~  Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
~  MCPS Administrative Offices – closed
~  State offices & courts – closed
*Collection provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday). 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Zoning Code Rewrite Session 3

Tomorrow the PHED Committee will hold its third work session on the Zoning Code Rewrite. Our agenda: Commercial Residential (CR) zones.

To make sure you are able to follow along as we continue to work through the Zoning Code Rewrite, we now have a page dedicated to the rewrite where you can get all of the staff memoranda and watch recordings of earlier meetings. Best of all, there is now an FAQ section that answers the questions that have come up most often in testimony and communications from residents. If you are looking for even more background information, check out the overview or the interactive map where you can see how proposed changes would affect your property.

Where Should Early Voting Centers Go?

Where do you think the new Early Voting Centers should be? Let the Board of Elections know at a public hearing on July 27 10:00 a.m.

Due to the success of early voting in the 2012 presidential election and the need to accommodate more voters in the process, the Maryland General Assembly recently passed legislation, that the Governor signed into law, expanding the number of Early Voting Centers in Montgomery County from five to eight. Montgomery County, due to its size also has the option to seek a ninth site.

The Board of Elections staff with advice from Board Members has reviewed available facilities across the nearly 500 square mile county and is reviewing sites to make early voting more convenient. The sites under consideration have been chosen based on population centers, geographic balance, and access to public transportation, parking, and other important criteria such as accessibility for persons with disabilities, security of the facility and Maryland State Board of Elections’ regulations. The sites under review by the Board are attached in alphabetical order.

Public comments will be received by the Montgomery County Board of Elections through 5 p.m. on September 17, 2013.  A public hearing to discuss the Early Voting Sites is scheduled for July 27 at 10:00 a.m. at the Board of Elections.  In addition to the public hearing, the Board will meet on Monday, July 29 and Monday, September 16 at 2:30 p.m. to review comments and receive further public comments.  Comments should be submitted in writing to  You may also call the Board of Elections at 240-777-8525 for your name to be placed on a list of presenters at either of the Board meetings.  Comments do not need to be presented in person; you may mail comments to either the web address above or to the attention of Marjorie Roher at the Montgomery County Board of Elections, 18753 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 210, Gaithersburg, MD  20879.

Public participation guidelines are available online. More information on early voting and the proposed sites is available at

Monday, June 24, 2013

FAQs on Zoning Code Rewrite

Are you following the Zoning Code Rewrite? The Council now has a page dedicated to the rewrite where you can get all of the staff memoranda and watch recordings of earlier meetings. Best of all, there is now a FAQ section that answers the questions that have come up most often in testimony and communications from residents.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Zoning Code Rewrite Session 2

Tomorrow the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will hold its second meeting on the Zoning Code Rewrite. On the agenda: rural and residential zones. We also will summarize the decisions the committee has made to date.

Remember, you can get the staff memorandum on Wednesdays before each Friday meeting online. Our meetings are open to public and televised live on County Cable Montgomery. You can also watch recordings of the meeting on demand on our Web site.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fireworks on the Fourth in Germantown and Kensington

Montgomery County will again host two Independence Day fireworks displays on July 4 -- Germantown Glory at the SoccerPlex in the South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds and Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Road, Kensington. Both fireworks displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.

Germantown Glory will kick off at 7 p.m. with a concert by Bobby and the Believers. To reach the South Germantown Recreational Park from I-270, take exit 15B (Route 118 south) toward Germantown; go for 2.8 miles and turn right onto Richter Farm Road. Go one mile and turn left onto Schaeffer Road. The park entrance is 0.3 miles on the right. Ample, free parking is available.

Mid-County Sparkles activities begin at 7:30 p.m. with a concert by Quiet Fire Soul. Since there will be no on-site parking at the school or at adjacent properties, except for handicapped parking, shuttle buses will pick up passengers, beginning at 6:15 p.m., at Westfield Wheaton Metro Parking Garage adjacent to the JC Penney Department Store. Overflow parking will be available in the south parking lot by Penney’s.

Low lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome at both events. Food vendors will be on site. No alcoholic beverages are permitted. The rain date for fireworks only is July 5. No shuttle service will be available on the 5th.

For more information, call 240-777-6821 or go to


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Zoning Code Rewrite Session 1

Tomorrow the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will hold its first worksession on the Zoning Code Rewrite. Our agenda for this meeting:

Zoning Rewrite Overview
Preliminary Implementation
Agricultural Zone (AR)

If you would like to follow along, you can get the staff memorandum on Wednesdays before each Friday meeting online. Our meetings are open to public and televised live on County Cable Montgomery. You can also watch recordings of the meeting on demand on our Web site.

At the end of each worksession, staff will orally summarize the Committee's recommendations. Each subsequent staff memorandum will start with a written summary of the Committee's recommendations from the previous meeting.

I want to say thanks to the 50 speakers who came to the public hearing on June 11 as well as those who have written to us. This input helps us make the rewrite better.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Public Meetings on Bikeshare June 24, 25 and 26

Our Department of Transportation will host three public meetings in June on the extension of the Capital Bikeshare program into Montgomery County. Bikesharing allows travelers to rent a bike from on-street stations and drop it off at other stations within the bikeshare network. The meetings will focus on selected urban centers of Montgomery County where bikesharing stations will be installed in late summer 2013.

Information on bikesharing throughout the County will be available at each of the following meetings:

~  Bikeshare in Bethesda and Friendship Heights: June 24 -- 7 - 9 p.m.  Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., 2nd Floor, Bethesda;

~  Bikeshare in Silver Spring and Takoma Park: June 25 -- 7 - 9 p.m.  Fire Station 1, 8110 Georgia Avenue, 3rd Floor, Silver Spring; and

~  Bikeshare in Rockville, Shady Grove and the Life Sciences Center: June 26 -- 7 - 9 p.m.  Executive Office Building Lobby Auditorium, 101 Monroe St., Rockville.

At the meetings, residents or employees in the County can learn how the bikeshare system currently works in the District of Columbia, Arlington, and Alexandria and how it will operate in Montgomery County. They will be able to review proposed Bikeshare Station locations in the Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Rockville, Shady Grove and Life Sciences Center neighborhoods.

MCDOT staff will be available to explain how lower income people commuting, working or completing job training in the Rockville, Shady Grove and Life Sciences Center areas may qualify for free membership in Capital Bikeshare and free bicycle training and route planning. A Federal Grant provides the bulk of the funding for the portion of the Montgomery Bikeshare Network in the Rockville, Shady Grove and Life Sciences Center selected areas.  MCDOT will provide updates on the implementation schedule and answer questions about the new transportation option.

For information on the public meetings, contact Margie Boumel at 240-777-7170. For more information on bikeshare in Montgomery County, visit the new bikeshare website at

Friday, June 7, 2013

Flash Flood Safety Tips

Just a few days into Hurricane Season, Tropical Storm Andrea is expected to impact much of the Atlantic coast and bring heavy rains to our area over the next 24 hours. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for Montgomery County until Friday evening and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials are monitoring the weather and urging County residents to be alert to changing weather conditions and prepared for possible flash flooding as the storm system moves through the area.

When it rains heavily, there may be flash floods, flood warnings and flood watches issued. Flash floods more often occur in mountain streams, hilly areas or low-lying areas. But they do happen in urban and suburban areas like Montgomery County, as well. Flash floods can occur even though it's not raining where you are. It may be raining hard farther upstream and raining so hard that the water can not be absorbed into the ground.

Safety Tips:
If a flash flood warning is issued, act immediately. Don't wait for high water to dictate your course of action.
Know your location when you are driving. If you needed rescue, would you be able to direct emergency crews to your location?  Distracted driving can lead to a situation where you are stranded and unable to direct emergency crews to you.  Be alert!
Never drive through a flooded road or bridge. Back up and try a different route. In many cases, it takes far less than a foot of water to incapacitate a vehicle.  It may stall, leaving you stranded, and depending on the level of water, you may not be able to open a vehicle door.  Do not underestimate the power of moving water.
Stay on high ground. If your car is trapped, get out if you can safety do so. Move to higher ground. If you're driving through a hilly area or place that is subject to flooding along a stream and hear a flash flood warning, go to high ground – never try to outrun a flash flood.
Watch for flooding at bridges and dips in the road. Never drive where water is over bridges or roads. Turn around. The bridges or the road could suddenly be washed out.  If you're driving at night be especially careful. Often visibility is limited due to wind and rain. If you should drive into water, don't try to drive out of it. Get out of the car and safely return to higher ground.
Often what you can't see below the surface of the water is far more dangerous than the high levels of that water. Remember that rocks, tree limbs and other debris can be caught in moving water and can be dangerous if you are forced to walk, wade or swim through flood waters.
If you have to walk or wade through flood water, use a stick to poke the ground in front of you with each step. It can help you determine water levels, the bottom surface and the safest possible way to get to higher ground.
Remember that flash floods can come without warning, and sometimes without weather. Be alert and heed all warnings and recommendations from officials.

From FEMA's website, some further information about driving through flooded roadways:

  Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.

  A foot of water will float many vehicles.

  Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV's) and pick-ups
Roads in Montgomery County subject to periodic flooding:
Down-County areas:

MD 29 (Columbia Pike) at Paint Branch - N. of White Oak
MD 185 (Conn. Ave) at Rock Creek - S. of Kensington
MD 190 (River Road) at Cabin John Creek - Potomac
MD 193 (Univ. Blvd) at Sligo Creek - Wheaton
MD 586 (Viers Mill Rd) at Rock Creek - S. of Twinbrook Pkwy.
Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park - Kensington-Chevy Chase
Sligo Creek Pkwy - Silver Spring-Takoma Park
Up-County areas

MD 97 (Georgia Ave) at Reddy Branch - N. of Brookeville
MD 124 (Woodfield Rd) at Goshen Branch and at Gr. Seneca Creek - N. of Brink Rd.
MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Gr. Seneca Creek - W. of Gaithersburg
MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Little Seneca Creek  - E. of Boyds
MD 355 (Frederick Rd) at Little Seneca Creek - W. of Brink
MD 121 (Clarksburg Rd) near Little Seneca Lake - N. of Boyds
MD 118 (Germantown Rd) at Great Seneca Creek - S. of Germantown
River Rd and Berryville Rd at Seneca Creek
Blunt Road at Great Seneca Creek - S. of Brink Rd.
Davis Mill Rd at Great Seneca Creek - N. of Gaithersburg
Brighton Dam Rd at Hawlings River - NE of Brookeville
Goldmine Rd at Hawlings River - E of Olney
Zion Rd at Hawlings River - E. of Laytonsville
Hoyles Mill Rd at ford of Little Seneca Creek - Germantown, west of the soccer complex
Loghouse Rd at Magruder Branch - S. of Damascus
Elton Farm Rd at Haights Branch - N. of Sunshine
Howard Chapel Rd at Haights Branch - N. of Sunshine
White’s Ferry Road and River Road - White’s Ferry

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pool Safety Tips

Our fire and rescue officials tell us drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages one to four and the third leading cause of death among children. That’s why they are urging us to take proper precautions around the water and to diligently supervise children when they are around any water sources. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and the Department of Recreation are joining forces to promote these important safety tips:

~ Be attentive.  Research from the National Safe Kid Campaign shows that nearly 9 out of 10 children between the ages of 1 and 14 who drowned were under supervision when they died. How is this possible? Distractions – cell phones, ipads, reading materials, chores and socializing needs to be resisted when you are on “lifeguard duty” watching your child. Be engaged and committed to watching them constantly. The study defined supervision as being in someone’s care, not necessarily in direct line of sight.

~ Learn to swim and never swim alone. One of the best things you can do to stay safe around the water is to learn to swim and to always swim with a buddy. Make sure they know how to tread water, float on their backs and get to the edge of the pool and hang on. Even the most experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps which might make it difficult to get out of the water safely.

~ Teaching your child how to swim does not mean that your child is “drown-proof.” If you have a pool or are visiting a pool, protect your children by supervising them at all times and being prepared in case of an emergency. Consider designating a adult “water watcher” when children are participating in water activities.

~ Seconds count when it comes to water emergencies. Keep a phone (cell or cordless) by the pool or nearby when engaged in recreational water activities so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

~ Learn life-saving skills. Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies. In the time it might take paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could make a difference in saving someone’s life.

~ Avoid relying on inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties” and “noodles” to keep your child safe. These toys are not designed to keep your child safe, can deflate or shift quickly and should never be used as a substitute for supervision. Use only Coast Guard approved flotation devices that your swimmer properly.

~ Lifeguards are an important safety feature but are NOT intended to replace the close supervision of parents or caregivers. Remember, lifeguards are not babysitters.

~ Maintain constant supervision of children around water (bathtubs, pools, ornamental backyard ponds, etc.). Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area. Don't be distracted by phone calls, chores or conversations. If you leave the pool area, take the child with you. Remember: swim lessons are no substitute for the supervision of children. Formal swimming lessons can help protect young swimmers around the water however constant adult supervision is critical.

~ Diving dangers. Diving injuries can cause permanent spinal damage, injuries and even death. Protect yourself by diving only in designated areas that are known to be safe, such as the deep end, of a supervised pool.

~ Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.

~ Know Your Limits. Watch for the “dangerous too’s” . . . too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.

~ Water and alcohol don’t mix. Each year, up to half of all adult drownings are linked to alcohol use.