Newsletter of January 28, 1998


It is time again to update our neighborhood directory.  Many of
us find the directory valuable in reaching neighbors for reasons
ranging from "Who are the parents of little Andy whom we met at
the playground?" to "What is the phone number of that couple who
asked us to watch their house?"  The directory will not be used
for any commercial purpose.  Please cooperate with your block
captain, who is checking your data.  In particular, if you were
not here in 1996 or have changes since the last directory, be
sure you provide the right information.  If no one has updated
your entry by February 9, please call me.  


On January 27, the County Council took final action on the
Friendship Heights Sector Plan. Debate ended on a relatively
positive note.  The Plan calls for two open spaces on the GEICO
site, about 1.8 acres next to the existing Brookdale Park and
about 1.5 acres near Western Avenue.  "A ballfield for youths 12
and under, or other active recreational uses, may be appropriate
for one or both sites."  [Note the permissive "may." ]  The uses
and the "dedication" of the spaces ultimately will be decided by
the Planning Board.  Requiring the two spaces means, at this
point, roughly 35 fewer townhouses on the site.  The final
language also added this:  "The design, orientation, and height
of structures along the border with Brookdale should be sensitive
to views from that community.  The maximum building heights along
the border should be 35 feet to ensure compatibility."  The Plan
assures a "greenway" along the border, dedicated to the public. 
There is also wording to encourage a park-like atmosphere along
Western Avenue.
     Of course, we still might have 810,000 square feet of office
development in three buildings along Friendship Blvd.  Height
restrictions on those buildings are 9, 8, and 5 stories
respectively.  And they could house "ground floor street-front
retail" along Friendship (convenience retail such as sandwich
shops).   The total number of "dwelling units" (townhouses and
apartments) on the GEICO site could still be 500.
     The next step in the process is rezoning.  Many decisions
remain for the approval of site plans.


At the December meeting of the Brookdale Citizens Association, a
number of people expressed interest in acting jointly to affect
the County elections this fall.  There was support for action
based on unhappiness with the position certain officials took on
the Friendship Heights Sector Plan; e.g., Council members Potter
and Subin may run this year for "at-large" seats, and County
Executive Duncan will be up for re-election.
     At the same time, we are sensing concern county-wide over
excessive development.  Groups now exist in order to influence
the electoral process and to affect policy county-wide.  
     After considering alternatives for action, your Executive
Committee believes, fundamentally, that the most effective impact
Association members can make -- if they are so inclined -- is to
join forces with existing groups.  
     From all the possibilities, we can name a few groups, as
examples, that are unrelated to the political parties and would
welcome your participation.  Some groups are more "political"
than others, and some environmental groups have political wings;
e.g., the Sierra Club has a transportation committee (contact
Mike Stark 301-879-0644).  I have literature on the following
groups and describe them briefly here without any official
endorsement.  We will continue to watch for appropriate avenues
for your participation in the political process and community

     Citizens United for Responsible Building (CURB) - Formed
     originally to oppose the "Pay and Go" legislation, CURB has
     a large organization that will probably continue to work
     against "over-development" in Montgomery County.  More
     information:  Bill O'Neil (co-chair), 301-916-4823.

     CITPAC - A Political Action Committee that endorses
     candidates in the County who will represent the PAC's goals,
     including "responsible growth" and "vigorous defense of our
     environment."  Information and/or to make contributions to
     their operation: Jenny Sue Dunner, 301-657-3568.

     Maryland Public Assembly - Organized to endorse and support
     "public interest" candidates throughout the State, it
     creates its own platform separate from the parties.  (Web
     site -  More information and/or to
     make contributions: Lee Havis (chairperson), 301-589-0733.


With the cooperation of the County, the Chamber of Commerce hosts
"Bethesda Action Group Meetings" on the first Friday of each
month at 8:00 a.m. [Yes, the morning.]  These give "an
opportunity for citizens and community leaders to present public
works and transportation issues directly to senior department
staff."  Place: 
B-CC Chamber of Commerce, 7910 Woodmont Avenue.  More
information: Sandra Kaiser, 301-217-2170.


On January 31, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., a conference on "unblocking
gridlock" is scheduled for the hearing room of the County Council
Building in Rockville.  It is sponsored by the Montgomery County
Civic Federation.  Speakers include Council President Ike
Leggett, Planning Board Chairman Bill Hussman, planning
consultants, representatives of citizen groups, and many others.

Dave Montgomery

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