Park Hills Civic Association General Meeting
Joint meeting with Seven Oaks-Evanswood Citizens Association
2/19/15 7:30 pm
Park Hills Civic Association General Meeting
February 19, 2015
The Park Hills Civic Association and the Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association met jointly on February 19, 2015 at the Silver Spring International Middle School. More than 50 residents attended the joint meeting.
The featured speaker of the joint meeting was Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker (D5), a member of the County Council’s Public Safety and Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committees.
In his opening remarks, Councilmember Hucker highlighted three issues: the Purple Line, the County Executive’s proposal for an Independent Transit Authority, and issues related to the State stormwater management fee.
With regard to the Purple Line, he said that it was the No. 1 economic investment project for Montgomery County. He expressed strong support for the project and noted that the Governor has not yet made it clear what his plans are for the project. Tom believes modifications of the project’s scope might be considered to keep costs down. The two transportation priorities for Montgomery County right now are the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT). He is aware of the many concerns about the effect of the infrastructure on the neighborhoods in our area.
With regard to the ITA proposal, he said its rollout was terrible and he was glad that it was withdrawn. Noting that the current climate in Annapolis regarding spending was not good, he said that the ITA represented a plan to get transportation funding for Montgomery County.
With regard to stormwater management fees, he said that there was confusion and misrepresentation about the fee, which Governor Hogan had called a “rain tax.” He noted that he had been the principal author of the state stormwater management fee which supported State efforts to reduce pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. Hopefully, the General Assembly will prevent the Governor from repealing the fee.
QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE.
Funding Bus Rapid Transit. CM Hucker discussed issues related to transportation funding. He expressed the view that BRT issues might be well managed in the existing Department of Transportation which should change its emphasis to new transit issues.
Bus Rapid Transit. CM Hucker said that light rail was the preferred mode for the Purple Line, and that a BRT alternative was not likely to be reconsidered. He said that light rail provided more capacity than BRT. He said that Ride-On and WMATA bus service needed to be improved.
Working with MTA. CM Hucker said that MTA’s community engagement needed improvement. He noted the engagement of the County Executive’s office and said that he would be an advocate for neighborhoods. He added that there seemed to be inequities in the treatment of communities east and west of Rock Creek. He discussed several impacts on Wayne Avenue.
Silver Spring Transit Center. CM Hucker said that transit center would be open after the repairs had been completed and WMATA had accepted the project. Responsibility for the project’s delay and defective construction would be decided in courts after the project was completed.
Private Ownership of Public Parks. CM Hucker said that there was a lot of confusion about the recent survey distributed by the Park Department and that there were no policy proposals to consider by the Council and the community.
Silver Spring Village. CM Hucker expressed support for converting the old Silver Spring into an intergenerational recreation center.
Longer Terms for Planning Board Chair. CM Hucker discussed the proposal to permit longer terms for the Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board.
Permitting Services. CM Hucker said that, in response to a comment about difficulties working with the Department of Permitting Services, he would work with the neighbors.
Old Blair Auditorium. CM Hucker said that he had and would continue to support the renovation of the Elizabeth Stickley Auditorium in the International Middle School.
MCPS Superintendent. CM Hucker discussed the process for choosing a new superintendent. He said it might take some time to select a new superintendent since there were many vacancies throughout the country.
Puppy Mill Legislation. CM Hucker discussed legislation to prohibit the sale of animals from puppy mills.
New Silver Spring Library. CM Hucker responded to a concern that birds might collide with the large glass windows of the new library.
Property Taxes. CM Hucker noted that the County Executive had discussed increasing County property taxes to deal with budget shortfalls and increased demand for County services. He said that it was not likely that property taxes would be increased beyond the Charter limit.
White Oak Development. CM Hucker said that the next step in White Oak development was the drafting of a General Development Agreement by the County Executive’s office. He said that Councilmembers did not have much new information on the project.
Purple Line and Wayne Avenue. In response to a question about how residential properties on Wayne Avenue would be affected by the Purple Line and how best to negotiate with MTA, he said that his office would be willing to work with any affected residents.
PHCA and SOECA ASSOCIATION BUSINESS.
Jean Cavanaugh and Anne Edwards provided an update on the Purple Line.
Jean Cavanaugh provided an update on plans for the reuse of the old Silver Spring Library.
Jean Cavanaugh discussed developments related to the Ellsworth Communty Park. She noted that the County had agreed to install pathway lights and a new water fountain.
Don Slater discussed plans to increase pedestrian safety at the Dale Drive and Mansfield Road.
PHCA Treasurer’s Report. Elsie Heyrman Klumpner reported that there was $624.89 in Association’s bank account. She noted that the use of Paypal for dues payment had been very successful and asked residents to pay their 2015 dues.
Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.
Minutes drafted by Elsie Heyrman Klumpner, Acting Secretary.