Thursday, August 20, 2015

Councilmember Elrich writes: "This is an expensive school with horrible access and the site work will cause irreparable environmental damage. ...this is absolutely the worst of all sites."

An email from Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich to the Montgomery County Board of Education:

From: marc elrich <>
Date: August 20, 2015 at 11:24:57 AM EDT
To: "Pat O'Neill (" <>
Cc: "" <>, "" <>, Phil Kauffman <>, Rebecca Smondrowski <>, <Patricia_O'>, <>, Jill Ortman-Fouse <>, <>, <>
Subject: The new Rock Creek Middle School

Dear Pat,

I just wanted to appeal to you and your colleagues on the Board to not got through with the planned BCC middle school in Rock Creek Park. There is no doubt that we need a school, but there are better sites than this one. You’ve received no doubt countless emails on this subject and I believe that the opponents are really right. This is an expensive school with horrible access and the site work will cause irreparable environmental damage. It is not being built on the site of the former middle school, it’s being built on half the site since the other half is occupied by apartments now. You have a far superior option off of Jones Mill Rd that Park and Planning will actually accept it. The fact that P&P is willing to work with you to identify a suitable site is not something that should be ignored. You could reclaim the site in Kensington where  HOC now resides. What you are doing here is expensive and unnecessary given that you have better options.

It’s not too late to hit the pause button and reassess the alternatives. I had a chance to follow the scoring of the sites and I thought at the time that it made no sense and that from issues of access, the environment, the lack of flexible siting a reasonable capacity for growth, this is absolutely the worst of all sites. You will overwhelm both the site and the neighborhood. I have spoken to you and other Board members about this. We do not have money to burn, nor should we building new schools on constrained sites.

I hope the Board can go back to the drawing board and come up with an alternative that is less costly and more respectful of the community and the environment.

Thanks for listening (again),


Friday, August 14, 2015

"...the process for the BCC Middle School didn't serve the public or our respective agencies very well and the final design is disappointing."

A letter from Craig Rice, Chair, Education Committee, Montgomery County Council, & Casey Anderson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board:

"MCPS’s application to use the General Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity for this project is clearly inappropriate, given the ... discharge of pollutants directly into Silver Creek, whose water quality is protected under ... the federal Clean Water Act."

"The high quality of the riparian habitat along Silver Creek is seen in the high quality wildlife it supports: yellow crowned night heron, little green heron, great blue heron, wood duck, mallard duck, kingfisher, goldfinch, blue-gray gnat catcher, grackle, pileated woodpecker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, great horned owl, barred owl, red tailed hawk, red shouldered hawk, sharp shinned hawk, red fox, coyote, deer, raccoon, water snakes (Natrix spp.), beaver, and even nesting snapping turtle."

-from the letter by Mr. James R. Chambers: