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Sustainability Audit Comments


Our current patchwork zoning rules do not reflect an overriding/comprehensive principle of tree protection. From the outset, the county has to decide (commit) if it is going to protect tree canopy ... or not. To talk green and act otherwise is frustrating. How the zoning code allows tree destruction: 1. Sideline setbacks are often narrow. Wider setbacks would help in preserving a neighbor's landscaping and in lessening the disturbance to the local ecosystem. Houses close to a sideline create darkness between properties and lack of air circulation. Flexibility to front setbacks would allow for greater tree save. Note: New construction practices involve roofs that are less sturdy than were used in the 20's and 30's. As a result a new house on fire often burns in such a way that the roof collapses and the house seemingly implodes. Wider sidelines would allow space for trees and also some protection for the neighbors. Let's not take the "it will never happen here" approach. 2. The current zoning code limits the percentage of lot coverage. In zones where lots are smaller, sideline setbacks are narrow. For example, in R-60 zones (many are found in Bethesda), the sideline setback is often a combined 15 feet (8 on one side and 7 on thet opposite side.). Window wells, chimneys, and porches are allowed greater proximity to the sidelines. Houses with huge footprints, plus large areas of impervious surface -- not included in the footprint -are allowed. There is little space for large trees as property owners and builders take full advantage of the limits of the permissible coverage. Here is a picture of a home with virtually all of the lot covered in pavement. The front yard consists of pavers set in concrete. The street trees (2) were killed and have since been removed. A neighbor removed two trees from the adjoining property to increase curb appeal for sale of her property. The result was and remains localized flooding.

3. What can we do to protect a neighbor's trees? Think about the measures that are necessary to retain trees during construction. Construction mpacts on the root zones of trees occurs in the limits of disturbance. There are no requirements that root zones of trees outside the limits be protected. There is no requirement to protect trees along the sidelines or perimeters where the tree roots often belong to the neighbors' trees. Nevertheless, the rule of self-help does not allow one to kill a neighbor's tree. In practice, what happens is that a builder kills the trees, and the neighbor is left deciding how much he can afford in legal fees to sue, etc. The process can become exceedingly expensive. 4. ROW rules. The revisions to the State Roadside Tree Law allow for more stringent measures to protect roadside trees. A year has passed since the State law was passed. The County has not yet moved forward to make changes to the local law. 5. Current practices allow permits to be obtained for driveways wherever a property owner wishes to place them along the perimeter of his property. There are no aesthetic prohibitions. Trees are removed for "aesthetic" reasons, i.e., whim of the property owner. What incentives can be offered for: a. requiring alternative designs where established trees (3-4" dbh) are located; b. bundling utilities along a driveway run or other area so as to create less disturbance to existing trees -- whether house side or street side c. working out drainage plans from the outset (including storm water/gutter outflow lines) so as to minimize destruction to tree roots wherever located d. requiring a plan before plans are approved 5. For years, construction workers have not been required to care for trees. As a result, they tend to remove tree protection barriers even when they are erected. The foremen look the other way. Here is an example:

6.. Super silt fence is a significant killer of trees along property perimeters. Super silt fence requires trenching for installation and such trenching usually traverses the shallow feeder roots of many trees. Advocating the use of such fence allows builders a fast and indirect, even covert way, of killing asymmetrical trees which many homeowners find unattractive. Within a year or two of the beginning of construction, the trees die and the homeowner can then call a landscaper to develop a plan for what he considers greater curb appeal. In the meantime, several old trees with large canopies may be lost. In the picture below, the maple tree was killed by change of grade and trenching through the roots. The tree usually dies two or three years later. The builder is long since gone. If not, the homeowner is told that the tree was diseased or even that the County failed to take care of the street trees. It's always point the finger at someone else.

7. Timing: Certain zoning regulations such as limits on storm water runoff only apply during construction. As soon as construction is completed, there are virtually no restrictions on the amount of impervious surface allowed on a built lot. The end result is a pave-over with no room left for planting large trees plus an increase in runoff.

FOREST CONSERVATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE Via Caren Madsen Hi, Thanks for including me on the email thread. I'm not an arborist, just a county tree-hugger. We would love to see a tree ordinance or something addressing urban trees or the urban forest addressed in anything related to zoning revisions. With the demand increasing for infill development and redevelopment in Montgomery County, I think this is a niche that needs to be addressed once and for all. Kathy Conlin at M-NCPPC told me years ago that when she was involved with writing the original FCL on the books now, it was intended to address stands of forests UpCounty and was not focused on the DownCounty or more urbanized areas. Also, you might want to think in terms of building flexibility in revised zoning codes as far as setback spaces and waivers for repositioning lots or buildings on a given site. I remember a story a developer told some years back about having to cut down mature trees on a site he was developing because he had to stick with the county's zoning codes for setback spaces around a house he was building. It seemed that if there was an update to zoning codes and possibly more flexibility offered if the goal is to preserve a mature tree here and there, re-thinking zoning in this way might be warranted. I hope this is helpful. Would you like for me to ask some developers if they can come up with case studies of similar cases?

GREEN ECONOMY TASK FORCE Via Corinne Rothblum, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development

It was a pleasure meeting you last week at the Zoning Code open house here in Rockville. As I mentioned, the Green Economy Task Force’s final report includes a few zoning-related recommendations, which I have excerpted below (the full report can be downloaded at: From a quick scan, it looks like these are generally reflected in the Zoning Montgomery: Approach and Annotated Outline Report.

I have added my name to the distribution list for updates on the Zoning Code Rewrite process, and look forward to participating further as the process moves forward. Regards, Corinne Rothblum Montgomery County Dept. of Economic Development

MONTGOMERY COUNTY’S GREEN ECONOMY TASK FORCE Via Rich Thometz Hi Ms. Villemaire, my name is Rich Thometz, I am a member of Montgomery County's Green Economy Task Force, and received an e-mail about providing comments on the Sustainability Audit relating to zoning code modifications. I am writing you this evening as a co-owner and investor in two Montgomery County based green energy/green economy businesses: 1. Efficient Home, LLC, an energy efficiency services/home performance contracting firm located in Burtonsville (now up to 16 employees), and 2. Dynatemp, Inc., an HVAC and geothermal systems design build firm located in Silver Spring. (Notice the emerging Rt. 29 green-energy services corridor we are helping to foster?) Both Efficient Home and Dynatemp work in both existing homes and new home settings. While the report correctly captures that ground source geothermal systems don't have the aesthetic implications that must be addressed in land use regulations for above ground renewable energy systems, practical design and implementation of geothermal systems (both horizontal and vertical loop/well systems) can face design constraints due to current zoning and land use regulatory constraints. Such as, how wells used for geothermal systems are classified, setbacks, etc.. I'd suggest consideration of an additional recommendation for zoning ordinance applicability, to allow deviation from setbacks and other otherwise applicable constraints in all residential zones, unless there is a fundamental health, safety or building code basis for applying the constraint to a geothermal design field and/or well system. This request would include allowing geothermal systems in buffer and open space areas so long as they do not adversely impact on environmentally sensitive wetlands, etc.. Otherwise, new developments with increasingly larger restricted areas (due to ever increasing forest preservation/aforestation, buffer, open space, and other environmental and/or green space requirements) will effectively push out any remaining area on which to locate geothermal fields. While stating that the use of geothermal systems should be "encouraged", that doesn't really address the fundamental zoning regulatory obstacle to encouraging broader use and installation of geothermal systems, which is the everincreasing maze of restricted land on each residential lot and open space parcels in existing and new residential communities. Also, in the report, I'd suggest that "District Energy" as a subtitle under the ENERGY section, be replaced by Geothermal energy, then have a sub-discussion of how geothermal systems can be provided on a district as well as individual basis. Ground source geothermal systems have a promising future, as the most cost-effective renewable energy system for residences in the Midatlantic region including Montgomery County. Please give consideration to more specific zoning/land use measures that would have the most positive impact in allowing geothermal systems on a broader basis in Montgomery County. Jeff Revis from Dynatemp would be available to meet or discuss geothermal systems and how the county could better encourage them through

the zoning ordinance, so I've included him on this e-mail as well. Thank you for your consideration of these suggestions. Sincerely, Rich Thometz

COMMISSION ON PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES May 13, 2010 Ms. Lois Villemaire, Project Manager Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Via email: Re: Zoning Code Rewrite Project Dear Ms. Villemaire: On behalf of the Commission on People with Disabilities, we are writing to express our recommendations that we voted on unanimously at our May 12, 2010 meeting to you regarding the Zoning Code Rewrite Project. In reviewing the documents published to date, we find a singular glaring omission: Universal Design. We are about to create the best we can achieve in the design and livability for Montgomery County for the next 20 years, including public rights of way. But, as we look forward, the standards of Universal Design need to be incorporated as the “Best Practice” in design and planning and should be considered a “Public Benefit” and provide incentives for achieving it. The seven “Principles of Universal Design” taken from the Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University are: 1. Equitable Use – useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities, 2. Flexibility in Use – accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities, 3. Simple and Intuitive – easy to understand, regardless of user’s experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level, 4. Perceptible Information – communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities, 5. Tolerance for Error – Minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions, 6. Low Physical Effort – Can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue, and 7. Size and Space for Approach and Use – Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility. How can a community look forward to a meaningful future for its citizens and do less? Montgomery County is graying rapidly. Medical advances and technology provide for survival and longevity of accidents and illnesses unheard of even 5 years ago. Many veterans, who have given so much, are returning with injuries that limit their physical and cognitive abilities. The Supreme Court added motivation to these principles in its Olmstead decision, providing that persons with disabilities should be housed in the least restrictive environment of

their choice. It is the community’s obligation to create such an environment. The Zoning Rewrite creates a one time opportunity to create such a community. The American Planning Association in its “Zoning Practice” Series Issue #4 April 2006 makes the case well. We know that providing for the varied abilities of our residents at the time of design and construction is significantly less costly than redesigning, remodeling and retrofitting, all with more attractive effect and harmony. For these reasons and more, we recommend that Universal Design be added as a “Sustainability Objective” and that provision be made for incentives to those who achieve its goals. Universal design provides for good design, meaningful inclusion of all persons, and related cost effectiveness for the foreseeable future and beyond. A community that excludes even one of its members is no community at all. Montgomery County should exert its entire will to become an even stronger community. Please feel free to contact the Commission if you have any questions or need any assistance from us. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important project.


Mark Maxin, Chair

Jackie Simon, Commissioner Member, Zoning Code Rewrite Project

c: County Executive Isiah Leggett Nancy Floreen, President, County Council Royce Hanson, Chair, MNCPPC Rick Nelson, Director, Department of Housing and Community Affairs Uma Ahluwalia, Director, Department of Health and Human Services Jay Kenney, Chief, Aging and Disability Services


Environmental Planning Comments on Code Studio Report 1. Buildings and Neighborhoods: Pg. 57 what about using water efficient landscaping (natives)? Might we including something from or about the Sustainable Sites Initiative program? Again, most is covered but a few items not in the zoning audit are:      The use of non-invasive plant species Design rainwater/stormwater features to provide a landscape amenity Minimize soil disturbance in design and construction Promote the use of sealants, paints, and coatings with reduced VOC’s (not sure if this can be applied) Provide views of vegetation and quiet outdoor spaces for mental restoration

2. Healthy Trees: page 61.Great section with lots of good ways to get tree plantings. Yet tree plantings in urban areas were recommended for medians, parkways, and islands. There was no mention of planting trees in bioretention areas for urban/rural areas. 3. Add a new (c) that encourages the use of appropriate tree species and provides realistic environments to ensure their long-term survival. For example, require an area to match the critical root zone at maturity for each canopy tree planted or retained in infill development i.e. retain minimum 1/10-acre open space for a 10” Tulip-poplar to meet the tree’s CRZ requirements when it reaches 30” diameter. 4. In urban settings, increasing the volume of underground soil can provide adequate root space when surface square footage is limited. (b) should include the use of covered underground soil cells and constructed root paths. 5. Solar: Pg. 63 What about allowing solar panels on historic buildings? This should be allowed when approved by the Historic Preservation Board. 6. Page 64: Provide incentives for building designs that promote or accommodate food production by residents. 7. Waste Reduction: Page 66 This section mentions adding recycling centers and recycling construction waste. Can we include an allowance for compost collection? (Like San Francisco’s neighborhood composting collection program) 8. Page 62: Water Reuse and Irrigation: Because of the issues surrounding greywater and stormwater reuse in the County, this should be addressed in the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan.

9. Page 71: Private Open Spaces: Recommended Changes: 1st sentence: I think we need to redefine
“green space” to separate the current conflation of public use space and vegetation. Clear requirements for amount of vegetated open space should be established. 10. Page 75: Stormwater: Top Row: The mapping should not be for a waiver, but instead for consideration of a more limited number of practices that would apply to urban areas. 11. PAGE 75-79: Stormwater: This should be coordinated with the revisions to Chapter 19 and the stormwater management regulations. 12. Page 76: Stormwater : Top Row: Recommended Changes: 1st sentence: Not sure we should “prohibit single use stormwater facilities” because ESD to the MEP in some situations may still not leave much choice. We probably need different language here such as “Use multiple-use stormwater facilities to the maximum extent practicable.” Again, DPS will probably have opinions here. 13. Page 78: Stormwater: Greywater Systems: I’m not sure this belongs in the Stormwater section. I’m not sure how they are defining greywater. Maybe they are including roof runoff with dishwater, etc. If so, they need to be separated because they are not the same thing and involve different levels of health and technical issues. 14. Page 78: Add the words Limit or mitigate impervious areas. Pervious paving mitigates imperviousness, but does not decrease impervious area. Move the permeable pavement section as second after parking lot pavement. 15. Page 79: Stormwater: Row 2: Recommended Changes: “Green Area” should be redefined. (see comment 2). 16. Page 83: Recommend adoption of a tree ordinance separate from forest conservation law. The tree ordinance should protect individual trees or require replacement of trees where loss is unavoidable. 17. Page 85: Tree Canopy and Heat Island: Healthy Trees: Recommended Changes: 1st Sentence: Delete “with impervious or semi-pervious materials”, add “and underground structures” to structural soil. Second sentence: Add “or soil volume” after width.

Additional Thoughts: 1. The concept of revising zoning code to permit higher density near transit is great. The following additions would be helpful a. Legislate “vehicle free zones” similar to “no smoking zones” at transit centers. In these areas provide housing ownership or rental incentives or make eligibility for housing at or near transit centers conditional on residents not owning a vehicle. In other words, provide incentives to have people get rid of their cars. b. Use TDRs or similar concept to increase density at transit centers. Provide density in relation to distance from transit centers and not zone e.g. higher density at the center than ¼ mile away etc. c. Use building design to complement building height in determining FAR at transit centers i.e. building design should trump building height 2. Include reduction of SOV use as a component of reducing VMT. 3. Provide incentives to encourage linking urban open space with greenways, stream valleys, parks and other green infrastructure. 4. Allow green roofs, onsite energy generation, and community gardens as a means of meeting FCP requirements in infill development.

5. Increase the efficiency of transit (especially bus service); RideOn and Metro buses are currently run apparently with little regard to scheduling, which discourages ridership. 6. (Walkable communities) In winter require businesses to clear sidewalks, bus shelters, and wheelchair ramps in road ROWs fronting the business, to promote truly walkable communities in all weather.

MARY DOLAN M-NCPPC, Environmental Planning Division

LoisI want to reinforce some ideas that have been raised earlier, but didn’t seem to find their way into this document:       The definition of “green area” needs to be examined more thoroughly to disentangle the issues related to “really green” space and public use space. I’m not sure simply limiting the imperviousness of “green areas” will solve the problem. Cutting or clearing of healthy trees should not be allowed for solar panel installation The audit does not address ground mounting of solar panels. Should that be allowed? What about mounting on brackets on buildings to achieve the desired angle? The shading options for high levels of glazing should include those integral to the glazing materials (specially treated glass that responds to lighting levels). While slaughtering should be prohibited as a matter of right, there should be some provisions for special exceptions in some zones to encourage local animal production. Multi-family and commercial buildings should have space required for recycling.

Thanks for reaching out. Mary

Montgomery County’s Energy and Air Quality Advisory Committee [“the Committee], an advisory committee to the Montgomery County, MD County Executive and County Council, is pleased to have the opportunity to submit comments on this Sustainability Audit. As a support group strongly oriented toward doing whatever we can to support a and sustainable future for Montgomery County, the Committee appreciates the opportunity to provide feedback on this valuable overview of how the County can use its zoning code to advance sustainable development. General Assessment The Committee finds this document to be well written, well organized, and an excellent conceptual framework for supporting sustainable development. Comments below are organized sequentially as they pertain to the document. Some comments may essentially appear twice, once as they would affect the summary text and again at the place in the detailed table to which they pertain. Page numbers referenced in the specific comments are the page numbers as shown in the pdf sidebar. Specific Comments   : “pointed officials” should be “appointed officials.” [DF] The overview page does not indicate who prepared the audit, nor its context (we understand that the zoning code is currently under review/modification, and that this audit is an effort to suggest changes that might steer the code toward sustainability.) Context of this type would be useful to readers who don’t realize the larger efforts that are underway. [MC, DF] : The page number on which the Full Sustainability Audit text starts is missing from the text. Currently that page is 13, but maybe it has been omitted until all changes have been made to the front-end text and a final page can be determined. [DF] : At the end of the last sentence, add “….. and allow for expedited permitting and/or increased densities as appropriate as incentives for sustainable initiatives such as district heating, renewable energy installations, car-free housing, and reflectivity improvements.” [NF, BB, DF] : To increase walkability in communities, we encourage the county to reexamine incentives to developers that encourage large

setbacks and small public plazas in front of buildings. While they can be charming, such setbacks interfere with the appearance of contiguous streetfront and successful retail. Perhaps a more efficient use of the developer requirement to provide such open space would be to pool amenity requirements into larger pocket parks or other more widely used public spaces. [NF]  : In the detailed matrix is a suggestion that new parking facilities (mass parking areas) install infrastructure to eventually allow for the recharging of plug-in electric vehicles. If this initiative were to be included in the detailed matrix, would it be appropriate to add a summary comment about it on this page? [TS] : The initiatives regarding tree canopy can be very useful. Have the provisions here been coordinated in any way with the Forest Conservation Law (FCL) which has been in the process of being updated? Might the initiatives in this document inform or motivate changes in the FCL, or are there any FCL initiatives that might support or encourage initiatives in this effort? [MC] : The beginning of the last section should read “Reducing imperviousness and increasing reflectivity are central ……” [BB] : The Committee appreciates and supports the idea of expanding greywater recycling. [NF] : The Committee appreciates the emphasis on district energy/geothermal systems in the Energy section. However, a few points could be clarified. First, geothermal energy as commonly used in residential/commercial applications is not renewable energy such as energy taken from hot springs or reservoirs. As a method of using moderate-temperature subterranean energy exchange (in a medium commonly from 55 to 60 degrees F) for space heating and cooling, geothermal heat pumps require electricity to operate in the same way as air source heat pumps, though the process is vastly more efficient. Also, geothermal energy applications could be permitted/encouraged not just in district applications (where a separate central facility is responsible for extracting energy for heating and cooling and distributing it to end user facilities such as homes or commercial buildings) but also in non-district aggregated applications, where a series of separate geothermal systems might be installed in a cluster of end user facilities. Geothermal, solar, and other renewable energy systems are other applications where permitting and zoning incentives might be put to good use. [DF, NF, ???] : Loosening the restrictions on livestock and gardens seems like a good idea, though potential exists for some problems which might have to be addressed somewhere in other provisions [MC, DF]

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: In addition to developing lighting zones, which the Committee supports, attention should be paid to lighting orientation, so that lighting is consistently directed toward the ground, minimizing the amount of light projected into the sky. [NF] . : under recommended changes, consider allowing developers to pool open-space requirements to create larger, more usable “pocket parks” or other public spaces rather than pieces of large setback, small public plaza spaces that interfere with streetfront appearance and successful retail. [NF] Add a section called something like “Examination of energy efficiency and renewable energy options” to the matrix. In the recommended changes column, consider requiring developers to submit an analysis of energy efficiency and renewable energy options for a proposed project and providing developers with permitting/density incentives to encourage use of cost-effective or cost-competitive technologies. Also, developers should be required to anticipate the potential for future installation of energy efficiency or renewable energy technologies and provide an analysis of potential options for the project site, as part of the permitting or site review process. Reference for these suggestions is the Cape Cod Commission’s project review requirements. [NF/planners] : Should the recommended changes column be coordinated with provisions of the revised Forest Conservation Law? Are there any changes that could be suggested based on mutual needs? [MC] : Insert “impervious” before “driveways” in the first two entries under recommended changes, for emphasis. [DF] : The Committee supports the wide variety of recommended changes for parking requirements in this part of the audit. [NF] : Again, coordinate plans/recommended changes with the revision of the Forest Conservation Law as appropriate. [MC] : The recommended changes section does not suitably distinguish between low-slope and high-slope roofs. Low-slope roofs with SRI much larger than 29 are available. On the other hand, high-slope shingle roofs on homes would not be able to meet the standard reflectivity cutoff of 29. Anything above 26 would imply tiled roofs. Builders would have a real problem with such a requirement. Also, the notes column in this section should include a statement that the goals of roof reflectivity should be reviewed from time to time to reassess what is actually practical to implement. A reference for this review and decision process would be the Cool Roof Rating System. [BB]

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: Could there be a separate section for non-district generation facilities (i.e., aggregated end user facilities that use generation or other renewable energy systems as a coordinated set of consumers rather than relying on a central generation facility? Such aggregated sets of users would be allowed everywhere, and might be provided incentives such as expedited permitting or increased density allowances in exchange for use of such systems. [DF] : Could an additional section, entitled “Parking Facilities” be added after the building section, to propose a recommended change requiring developers of new parking facilities to plan and install infrastructure as appropriate (conduit, necessary space for charging equipment, etc.) suitable for recharging plug-in electric vehicles in a certain fixed percentage of the vehicle spaces in the facility? There is no existing code on this, and applicable context and priority level are to be fixed as appropriate. [TS]

MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Via Bill Goodwin, Planning, Accountability, and Customer Service Thank you for providing the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with the opportunity to comment on the subject draft dated February 15, 2010. We are pleased to note that one of the Key Policy Issues arising from the Zoning Discovery process was the need for “designing for people.” As the primary tool for implementing Master Plan visions, we anticipate that the new zoning code will adhere to this principle. Our review focused on the Sustainability Audit (Section 5) of the draft. Of particular interest to DHHS are the discussions on Buildings & Neighborhoods and Food Production.

Buildings and Neighborhoods - The key themes of appropriate density, walkability, and housing diversity resonate well with DHHS. These concepts are interrelated from a “designing for people” perspective. Particularly as it relates to walkability, we are concerned that the needs of the “lowest common denominator” in the form of mobility-challenged persons (due to age and/or disability) be routinely considered in walkability enhancement requirements and prohibitions.  Food Production – The Department shares the emphasis found in the report on allowances for community gardens and farmers’ markets. The importance to health of having access to fresh food cannot be overstated. In recent months, we have been educating ourselves on the ways in which decisions about land use and the built environment affect people’s well-being. We are sharing our knowledge of these determinants of health with Montgomery Planning Vision Division leadership, and are learning how we can best contribute to and collaborate on local planning activities. We understand that there will be further opportunities to comment on the code itself as the process moves through the drafting phase later this year and into 2011. However, our Public Health Service has a comment on the Food Licenses row of the Sustainability Audit matrix on page 92:  The statement on the document regarding existing code for food licenses leads us to believe the author is not familiar with L&R licensing and fees or is working from outdated information. Farmers who produce and sell their raw, uncut fresh vegetables and produce from a stand on their farm, at a farmers market in the county or from a mobile unit are not required to pay a fee or to be licensed.  Maryland State Food Service Regulations COMAR 10.15.03 requires that vendors selling potentially hazardous foods, e.g., meats, cheese, milk and cut melons, comply with the requirements of the regulation. Licensure and Regulatory Services are required to inspect these vendors during the season. The license fee for these vendors is $50 annually.

 DHHS’ Licensure and Regulatory Services has had a strong working partnership with the Montgomery County Farmers Market Association for the last two years and has eliminated the fee for selling fresh, uncut produce, simplified regulations, and assists market organizers and vendors with the application process and compliance. The recommended changes have been implemented now for two years.
Bill Goodwin Program Manager, Montgomery County DHHS Planning, Accountability and Customer Service

240-777-1892; 240-777-3099 (fax)

ALYCE ORTUZAR Hello Lois, Thank you again for your time yesterday. I tried to condense my suggestions, and I did re-read earlier documents from the SWG, so I also might have gone beyond the zoning audit. The authors are not correct about the storm water management codes/regs in the state. It is my understanding the MDE weakened water quality standards in 2008, which should be reviewed and strengthened. And local yard and lawn codes still do not encourage watershed friendly practices versus the emphasis on turf grass, chemicals, and mowing. I regard these as public health issues, and I ran out of time, so I have not included all that I wanted to stress. Thank you again. Alyce Ortuzar

There should be no clearcutting, and no more denuding of hillsides. There are examples of developments that are built around large trees and other important vegetation, which preserve and possibly even enhance the environment around the structure(s). The portion of the forest next to Montgomery College in Germantown should be preserved, not sacrificed for the Gaithersburg West project, which is an inappropriate development on what should still be farmland. We have no resources to spare. Choose other buildings in the county for this project; they are available near existing transit in Rockville. Tree canopy that provides shade and habitat should be included in what constitutes a walkable community. Make it pleasant and accessible and people will be there. Work with the medical community to promote exercise (walking and biking); that, too, is cost free. There should be mandated countywide hearings before utility companies, DPS, SHA, and P&P remove trees anywhere. Planning staff needs to reread the 1980 master plan for preserving agriculture and rural open spaces and natural resources. Stop off-site mitigation trade-offs. Preserving trees and vegetation is a public health issue, not a property rights issue. DPS has a terrible track record, as does P&P, for preserving important natural resources such as trees, including hillside trees. MDA efforts to use toxic chemicals and inefficient aerial spraying ignore lessons from states such as Rhode Island, where such spraying stopped in 1975 after evidence emerged that the chemicals were killing their crustaceans (lobsters). So what about our? Rhode Island has not developed any super gypsy moths nor has a widespread Gypsy Moth problem despite no spraying. The situation stabilized. We need to follow that model and save lives, resources, and $1.5 million.

Projections of population increases are just that—these numbers are not mandatory, and should be questioned in the context of appropriate land use plans and the ability of the county to provide not just infrastructure, but services, including fire and rescue and education. Reductions of greenhouse gas emissions should be targeted to 2020, not 2050. Current coal and natural gas extraction practices are destroying water sources and other resources and should not be promoted. We need to promote plug-in vehicles, including school buses (and the use of biofuels such as used vegetable oil), that use clean energy sources, including geothermal, small-scale wind turbines that fit on the roofs and can generate power in winds as low as 5 mph, and passive and PV solar. For an excellent blueprint, see Living Off the Grid by Montana architect Lori Rykers. We need to work statewide to reinvigorate our manufacturing base by using empty factories to manufacture all renewables that the state uses, including LED bulbs, turbines, solar panels, etc. For training, Fleming College is a wonderful model that spends $4500 per student for an intensive 5-month course where the students build a completely renewable/sustainable building and leave with marketable skills for implementing these sustainable options. County agencies have to pay more attention to presentations in DC at the National Building Museum ( and on the Hill sponsored by the Energy Environment Study Institute ( County agencies are too insulated and even arrogant about looking outside of their narrow box not just to other U.S. municipalities, but other countries. No LEED standard will meet the recently enacted German code for buildings. Too much money is proposed for administration and marketing/outreach efforts. Did METRO really spend any money promoting the new Glenmont station, or were news reports and press releases enough to fill that parking garage by 7:30 am within three months of its opening. Make it convenient and accessible is the lesson, and use cost-free news reports and press releases. Build those sidewalks and create bike lanes in roads as they are repaved or constructed, separate cyclists and pedestrians with vegetation, and be sure to use adequate vegetation to separate pedestrians from splashing cars during inclement weather. Work with builderswithout to learn about cob and straw bale buildings and insulation for new and retrofitted building. For parking lot models, see Dan Burden’s Walkable Communities. These documents fail to specify the exorbitant costs of parking spaces. Limit school parking spaces to teachers/employers; students should be able to rely on an efficient bus system. These stated costs are excessive: “Including additional costs for website development, promotional materials, mailings, etc., we estimate Program L’s total annual costs at $200,000 per year.” These efforts are not necessary and of questionable effectiveness.

Restrictions on non-agricultural uses in the Ag Reserve need to be strengthened. Too many non-ag uses are permitted in the legislation creating the reserve. All agriculture in the county should be under the Maryland Department of Ag, not health departments. P&P needs to see when and why rules governing structures for farm animals changed in the county, and consider returning to what existed before these changes, which I am told took place around the 1980s. DEP sounds like the appropriate agency to be in charge, but its track record is dismal. The rainscapes slides I have seen appear to have paid for turf grass. Northern Virginia has a very innovative, flexible, less costly, more resident friendly watershed friendly yard and lawn campaign aimed at reducing and eliminating turf grass, toxic chemicals, and mowing. DEP claims to have a similar campaign, but I have seen no evidence of it, and most homeowners still mow low and often to maintain chemical-dependent turf grass that captures no rainwater and leaves no pollinator behind. I was forced to mow my watershed friendly yard by the county office of lawn and yard code in the Dept of Housing, and DEP refused to intervene. Nothing has changed. I wanted to move the jurisdiction of the code to DEP, and found the county council amenable, but Bob Hoyt was not amenable to that effort. Smart Growth has been used in the county to destroy wonderful affordable garden apartments and other housing. We need to stop rezone older homes from residential to commercial and nonprofit. We need to stop giving developers permission to destroy small houses and replace them with mansions. We need to look abroad to models that are not high-density yet still provide train stations and small-scale villages of services. There is a train station in the Loire Valley of France surrounded by farm land, with no inclination to pave over and develop the farm land just because a train station is there. Communities such as Ashton fear public transportation because of the questionable paradigm that there must always be high-density everywhere along a transit/bus route. We need to look at smaller buses and even vans/jitneys used in other countries. All buses can run on used vegetable oil high school students can be taught to produce. Reducing lighting countywide needs to be extended throughout the migration and summer months. Alyce Ortuzar 301.774.6617


Dear Lois, Please accept this email letter as the comments of the Audubon Naturalist Society on the Montgomery County's Zoning Code "Sustainability Audit." Your email requested specific comments on "the priority pieces of the audit that should be incorporated into the new zoning code." You had set today, June 1, as the deadline for your receipt of comments that will be presented to the Zoning Advisory Panel at its June 16 meeting. Regarding the Sustainability Audit, (attached), we support the provisions of the Stormwater matrix, pp. 19 through 22, with the exception of the item concerning the proposed inclusion of green roofs for the "green area" requirement. As ANS has previously testified, we support green roofs for several reasons, but they do not serve as ground-level green areas. We support the amendments to the definition of green area contained in ZTA 08-01 proposed by Councilmember Elrich, and we see this definition as being conducive to our stormwater/ESD, Smart Growth, walkability, green street, and other County sustainability goals. As I requested during our May 24, 2010 meeting at the Planning office, we ask that you incorporate all of the attached Biohabitats and Horsley-Witten Group consultants' comments into the Zoning Code revisions. These consultants' comments are aimed at helping the County to fulfill its stormwater permit mandates for: * elimination of barriers to use of ESD practices; * identifying specific opportunities to promote use of ESD; and * correction of gaps in the code where ESD could be better enabled. For instance, page 6 of the attached Biohabitats memo states, "All zone widths and setback codes should be reconsidered if they could potentially discourage ESD designs such as rain gardens, bioretention, swales, expanded tree pits, or others...As ESD areas could be considered “Green Area” and “Landscape”, terms mentioned extensively in Article C as well as D and E, the minimum required area could be expanded to minimize impervious surfaces and allow for more ESD area." We support these and all other proposed revisions to the Zoning Code/Chapter 59 in the Biohabitats memo and Excel matrix (both are attached here). The thrust of the narrative on stormwater on page 5 of the Sustainability Audit is problematic, in that, in promoting a significantly weaker volume standard for urban redevelopment projects, it is out of step with longstanding, and continuing, policy and law here in Montgomery County. Montgomery has long required both new development and redevelopment projects to adhere to the same stormwater management standards, while affording greater flexibility for urban redevelopment projects. This tradition has served us well, and it will be even more important as we strive to implement ESD measures

to meet our permit requirements; Anacostia and other urban water restoration objectives; and drinking water protection goals. The state's equivalent half-inch stormwater volume standard for redevelopment projects is well below Montgomery's 1"/2.6" standard that applies to all development projects, including redevelopments. The narrative on page 5 also suggests that urban projects should generally be assumed to need waivers to enable them to escape on-site practices. This suggestion is out of line with current (and proposed) County law and policy, and runs counter to the Stormwater Management Act of 2007, which expressly includes redevelopment projects in its ESD requirements. As you know, there are numerous ultra-urban ESD practices already available, and more, like green walls, are emerging on the market, as evidenced by the Washington Regional Green Roofs and Walls conference in D.C. running today and tomorrow. ( The new stormwater norm assumes that all projects are able to apply ESD, and the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that they have exhausted all feasible ESD practices before turning to any other option. We ask that this narrative be revised to reflect this norm and Montgomery's ESD requirements. In addition to the substantive ESD zoning code changes that we are requesting, we also request that the planning and zoning staff work with DPS and DEP staff to institute changes in public notification and plan review abilities, related to the new ESD approaches and mandates. Specifically, we ask that the Montgomery County development approval process be revised to ensure that the public is given adequate, timely and reasonable notification of; access to; and meaningful comment opportunities on, all proposed projects' ESD Concept Plans. Thank you for considering our comments. Yours for clean water, Diane M. Cameron Conservation Program Director Audubon Naturalist Society Consultant to the Natural Resources Defense Council