January 2018 Newsletter

Congratulations to Sara for being named as a 2017 “Washingtonian of the Year.” 



Cabin John Plan 9-14-17

Have a tree that has been planted by the County?

If you would like the county to inspect a tree that they have planted, please submit a request by calling 311 (MC-311 call center) so that there is a formal record of the request in the Country’s system.  Once they receive a request, an arborist will usually be out within 3-4 weeks or earlier to inspect the tree(s). Then, the arborist will leave a door-hanger specifying the result of the inspection (tree will be removed/tree will be pruned/no maintenance required at this time etc.). 

As for street tree care – during the winter it is not necessary to water newly planted trees. Once spring comes, the arborist recommends watering the trees at least twice a week during weeks where there is no rainfall.   The arborist mostly wants residents to water the trees during the hotter summer months, especially during July when we routinely have a drought.  The arborist recommends watering 10 gallons per session, or by leaving the hose on at a trickle overnight if able (to imitate slower rainfall).  Once the trees are established, all future maintenance is the county’s responsibility.

Sunday 10/15/17 2-4pm MSCA Block  Party

At the intersection of Smoketree Rd & Devilwood Dr

Airbrush Artist, World of Sports Inflatable, DJ w/dances & prizes, games & mini pumpkin decorating.
Free Pizza from Siena’s, drinks & cotton candy.   Feel free to invite guests
To help or if you have questions, contact MSCA organizer – Vasilia at granddesignsintl@gmail.com
This event is FREE  – Costs are covered by dues paid to MSCA
Feel free to bring folding chairs, blankets, etc.
No Rain Date Scheduled.

MSCA Board Meeting, September 18, 2017, Beverly Farms Elementary School
The Board Meeting was held as announced on the website and by email, and was called to order at 7:30 PM by Robert (“Bob”) Gross, President/CEO of MSCA, Inc.
There were approximately 14 individuals in attendance, the four officers (Bob Gross, President; Steve Schuck, Vice President; David Grossman, Treasurer; Jane Acri, Secretary), the Roads and Safety Chair, Meraj Rahimi, and 10 neighbors. The meeting began with introductions, and Bob provided an explanation of the structure and rules of the association, emphasizing that we are not a mandatory homeowners’ association (HOA) but rather a voluntary citizens’ association with a mission of promoting and improving our community, and that certain proposals require a majority vote by the Governing Board and in some cases ratification by MSCA’s membership.

2017 Block Party: The block party will be held at the intersection of Devilwood Drive and Smoketree Road on October 15 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. A permit was obtained from the county by Bob Gross, and Vasilia Contos has arranged for the entertainment from World of Sports to include an inflatable pavilion with DJ, music, dancing, and face painting. Cotton candy, pizza and drinks (from Siena’s) will be available free of charge. Vasilia is trying to arrange for a fire truck to visit the party as an added attraction. If you our willing to help, please contact Visilia. This promises to be another great event.

Tree Planting Program Update: Bob reported that several more flowering trees will be planted this year by the county in the front yards of the community. About 200 trees have been planted since the program began, with trees selected by the homeowners in conjunction with an arborist, and carefully situated to avoid contact with underground pipes and lines as well as overhead power lines. The county maintains the trees and will replace any that do not survive, but request that the homeowners remove sprouts from the base of the tree to improve its growth.

Treasurer’s report: David Grossman reported that as usual, approximately 220 of the 450 households have contributed $50.00 in dues, resulting in the collection of $11,000, with a surprise contribution of $150.00 from the Rockville Rotary Club in thanks for supporting their footrace through the neighborhood. There was approximately $4200 in the MSCA account at the beginning of 2017, resulting in a balance of about $15,350. Expenses included approximately $5500 for garden maintenance (Greenlink), $1300 for gas lamppost replacement, $1100 for insurance, and $165 for administrative costs. Upcoming expenses include approximately $2300 for the block party and winter garden maintenance charges by Greenlink for about $3000. The association budget is fairly consistent from year to year and expenses have been predictable.

Cabin John Mall Development: There is a plan to further develop the Cabin John Center mall area at the intersection of Tuckerman Lane and Seven Locks Road that may include the addition of townhouses in the rear parking area and three new restaurants in what is now the parking area where the farmers’ market is held. The Regency Estates Citizens’ Association has voiced concern over anticipated increases in traffic. MSCA has not expressed an opinion.

Washington Post Profile of the Neighborhood: There was a story about Montgomery Square written by Harriet Edleson and published in the Washington Post real estate section on August 2, 2017. It was extremely positive and focused on the urban comforts and country appeal of our neighborhood. Several residents as well as President Bob Gross and Vice President Steve Schuck were interviewed for the story. The Post’s online version of the article included 15 photographs.

Washington Gas Line Project: This project originally began in 2016 but was suspended during merger/acquisition negotiations between Washington Gas and AltaGas, a large Canadian company. The project at that time was to replace the mainlines, the feeder lines, and to move the gas meters from indoors to outdoors. Notices have been received by some homeowners. There was discussion about the issues of quality and materials, and the need for replacement and quality workmanship. Bob Gross has discussed with Brian Earp, an Inspector with the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services, the need to re-pave the streets from curb to curb upon the project’s completion.

Other Projects:

The WSSC project to replace the water lines and meters in front yards of the north side of Montgomery Square is presently on hold. This work on the south side was completed several years ago, but has not yet begun on the north side, and it is not scheduled at the present time. This led to a brief discussion of exterior pipe insurance that some residents have obtained, and others have found that their homeowner’s insurance covers the exterior water pipes.

The proposed bikeway on Seven Locks Road has been on hold for years, although there is a Bicycle Master Plan that includes a bikeway on Seven Locks extending from Montrose Road to Democracy Road. Bob recently called David Anspacher, the county’s Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager, for an update and found out that if the project were to be resurrected, a new design would have to be created because the building/construction practices have changed. But there is still a reasonable chance it could come to fruition.

Street Names: In his capacity as President of the association, Bob Gross has been contacted by several individuals expressing concern about certain street names in Montgomery Square related to the Civil War (Jeb Stuart Way and Jubal Early Court). A national organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center has launched an effort to catalog schools, parks, streets, and other public works that are named for Confederate generals, and our area, Montgomery County has some of these. While there has been an established process for changing street names that can be initiated by residents, the process is currently being reviewed by the county, possibly in response to these current controversies. Bob Gross contacted the Montgomery County Planning Commission and discussed the issue with Meghan Flynn, who advised him that we should wait to see what the county decides to do and what the process is, before we offer any guidance to our residents. Residents in attendance expressed their opinions in a friendly discussion and there is no consensus in the community at this time.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30.

  • Block Party
  • Tree Planting Program Update
  • Treasury Update
  • Cabin John Mall Development Update
  • Washington Gas Line Update (South Side)
  • WSSC project update (North Side)
  • Discussion about Confederate street names in Montgomery Square – While the association doesn’t necessarily have a role in street name selections or street name changes, we have had inquiries from residents in and out of our neighborhood.

Montgomery Square was profiled by the Washington Post in August of 2017

Real Estate Section Profile

Minutes of the MSCA Annual Membership Meeting
May 23, 2017 7:30-8:30PM, Beverly Farms Elementary School

The meeting was called to order by Bob Gross, President and Chief Executive Officer of MSCA, Inc. Notices of the meeting were posted on the MSCA website, in The Tetragon, and in e-announcements.

The last issue of the newsletter, The Tetragon, was dedicated to former president and secretary of the MSCA, Tom Hall, who recently passed away. The tribute to Tom written by Bob Gross was very well received and appreciated. Bob received several positive comments from Montgomery Square residents.

Street Names
Some street names in the Montgomery Square community are named after confederate generals. Should Montgomery Square ask the County to change the street names of Jubal Early Court and Jeb Stuart Road, given trends in other parts of our region and the potential of such names to be misinterpreted as honoring those who defended slavery? There were no opinions expressed, but the board would be open to supporting name changes if it becomes an issue.

The treasurer, David Grossman reported in absentia through Bob Gross that we have about $10,000.00 in the treasury, consistent with our finances in previous years. One of our principal expenses is the landscaping contract, which includes mowing, weeding, pruning, summer and fall flower-bed plantings, and leaf removal. Additional landscaping costs include the use of a water truck when needed in the hotter months. A little more than half of the households in Montgomery Square have made a voluntary dues payment of $50.00 for 2017. If there were more participation, the Board could consider additional improvements to the neighborhood. The Board is very grateful to those families that have supported the community association by paying dues and participating in board meetings, social events, county hearings on issues affecting our community, and other functions.

Tree Planting
MSCA’s free tree-planting initiative is going well. Since its inception a few years ago, the County Arborist has planted approximately 185 flowering trees in Montgomery Square with more plantings in the works for the fall of this year. The tree die-off and replacement in another neighborhood may reduce the number of trees available to us this year. It was mentioned that the arborists are very careful to map out the location of pipes before planting so concern over pipes is not a reason to forego getting a tree. The trees are looking great and those homeowners who have yet to fill out the tree request form found on the MSCA Website at http://montgomerysquare.org//trees are highly encouraged to do so to fill in the gaps along their streets.
Gas Line and Water Line Projects
The gas line and meter replacement project of Washington Gas on the south side of Montgomery Square has not resumed following the acquisition of Washington Gas by Canadian firm, AltaGas in January 2017. We do not know when and if the project will be completed. Likewise, the water meter replacement project of WSSC on the north side of Montgomery Square has not yet begun. Some of the streets on the south side are unsightly from the “temporary” repairs that were done when the gas project was put on hold. County Permitting Inspector Brian Earp was in the neighborhood inspecting a driveway, and discussed with Bob Gross the repair of streets following the gas and water improvement projects. Mr. Earp indicated that on the south side, the location of the work in the middle of the street will necessitate complete repaving of the street when the gas project is over. Mr. Earp also mentioned how hard is for the County to coordinate the work of the water and gas companies so that newly repaved streets don’t get torn up again.

The community yard sale is scheduled for June 3 and 4, and will be coordinated with adjoining neighborhoods of Regency Park and Potomac Woods. The MSCA, RECA, and PWCA will advertise the event and provide signage. There will be no ice cream social this year. The annual block party has not been scheduled and we need to pick an October date. Vasilia Contos will investigate the possibility of getting community service credit hours to kids who want to volunteer to help with the block party.

We need to find a new webmaster to keep our website up to date. Steve Schuck agreed to upload any items that we may have in PDF format. Bob Gross is hoping to post some of the materials from the boxes of “memory lane” materials he received from Lisa Hall.

Tax Breaks for Seniors
Rudy Oswald, who participated in the Annual Meeting, reported that Bill 42-16 was passed to grant veterans and seniors breaks on property tax. At Rudy’s urging, MSCA had submitted a letter to the County in support of the proposed legislation, which has now become law. Military retirees over age 65 with homes valued by the County at $500,000 or less are eligible, and seniors 65 and older with homes valued by the County at $650,000 or less and have lived in their home for at least 40 years can apply for a 20% reduction in county property taxes for five years. Application information is located at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Finance/bill-42-16.html

Yard Waste Pickup
The county is having issues with the contractor that collects yard waste, and for several weeks, collections have been delayed in Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Potomac. A new contractor will begin the week of Memorial Day. Residents should call 311 when there is a collection problem.

Elections of Officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer)
Our MSCA constitution specifies that officers of the Association shall serve a term of one year or until a successor is elected. The current officers volunteered to remain on the Governing Board since no MSCA resident expressed an interest in becoming an officer. A motion was made to keep the current officers and the motion was seconded.
Speaker for Next General Meeting
Suggestions of future speakers in addition to Brian Feldman were suggested, including Aruna Miller, an arborist, and an urban wildlife/deer specialist.

The meeting adjourned about 8:30 pm.