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The BCC Middle School#2 Site Selection Advisory Committee met for the second time on Wednesday, January 25th. The meeting began with an overview of MCPS’s site selection criteria for evaluating potential school sites. Criteria include location, size (20 acres is preferred, 10 is the minimum), topography, access, utility service, physical condition, site availability and timing, and cost.
Next, MCPS reviewed a letter from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (NDR) explaining any encumbrances that apply to future use of land developed with funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the State of Maryland’s Program Open Space (POS). This issue was raised concerning the Rock Creek Hills Local Park site. The letter from DNR states that $171,988.65 from POS was used to help develop Rock Creek Hills. According to DNR, no LWCF funds were used. The letter explains that POS restrictions on future land use expire after 20 years. In the case of Rock Creek Hills, the 20-year period ends on February 5th, 2012. During the meeting, the representative from the Rock Creek Hills community questioned DNR’s finding that no federal dollars were used for RCHLP. She also referenced correspondence from three members of Congress inquiring about potential use of federal funds. This correspondence has not yet been shared with the committee.
The committee then heard from a representative of the Planning Board. He outlined the Board’s request that MCPS refer any recommended site to the Planning Board. Such mandatory referral is generally not binding on MCPS. However, if forest conservation issues apply to a particular site, the Planning Board must follow specific binding requirements to mitigate forest impacts. These requirements can be complex.
Rollingwood Elementary School and Meadowbrook Park/Candy Cane City were on the original list of public sites. Rollingwood Elementary was eliminated at the January 11 meeting. Meadowbrook remains under consideration. Although the committee had planned to discuss the remaining public sites, there was not sufficient time at the Wednesday meeting. Some additional information was provided about the public sites. In particular, it was mentioned that all of Meadowbrook Park is situated within a floodplain. The committe will review the public sites again at the February 8 meeting.
This table summarizes the current status of the public candidate sites:
|Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2 – Public Candidate Sites|
|Committee Action||Committee Action|
|Number||Site||Acreage||Jan. 11, 2012||Jan. 25, 2012 *|
|1||Rock Creek Hills LP||13.30|
|2||North Chevy Chase LP||31.03|
|4||Leland LP||3.71||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|5||Rollingwood ES||4.07||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|6||Rosemary Hills/Lyttonsville LP||17.10|
|8||Former Mont. Hills JHS||8.67||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|9||Grace Episcopal School||10.94|
|11||Bethesda ES||8.42||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|12||Chevy Chase ES||3.78||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|13||North Chevy Chase ES||7.94||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|14||Radnor Center||9.03||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|15||Rock Creek Forest ES||7.95||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|16||Rosemary Hills ES||6.07||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|17||Somerset ES||3.71||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|18||Tilden MS||28.06||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|19||Westbrook ES||12.46||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|21||Former Kensington ES||4.54||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|22||Rays Meadow LP||11.09||Eliminated||Eliminated Jan. 11th|
|24||Montgomery County Bus Lot||17.47|
|25||SHA Property/I495 Intersection||7.60|
|* Public sites were not reviewed again at the January 25, 2012 meeting. The remaining public sites will be reviewed again at the next meeting on February 8, 2012.|
Finally, the committee went into closed session to consider 13 privately-owned sites. Given their private status, these proceedings are confidential.
More infomation and a complete set of documents are posted on the MCPS website.
The committee meeting included thorough and often spirited discussions. Although the meeting long and sometimes challenging, I remain hopeful that this process will result in an outcome that best serves the needs of our children.
The next committee meeting will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, February 8th, at BCC High School. Meetings are open to the public. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
–Fritz Hirst, RCA Representative to the SSAC