Preliminary Plan #120160040 "RCCG-Jesus House"

To: Casey Anderson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board

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Pease sign the petition to protect the character of Cloverly Community and to protect our environment. Protecting the rural, low-density character of our community is a concern to all of us who live in Cloverly.   In 1987 the residents of Cloverly rallied to defeat Lakemont, a proposed large office park, which made up the area that is now Hampshire Greens. During the 1980s and 1990s, the character was challenged by special exceptions. Now we are faced with a new challenge to the character of our community and environment by the proliferation of private institutional facilities. These organizations have been good for our community and in the past, we have welcomed them to be here. But now we are faced with private institutions that are three times larger than the largest ones here. They are requesting to develop on properties that are more environmentally sensitive, on 100-year old forests that protect the headwaters of the Northwest Branch. They threaten to change the low-density character our community. The first of these is coming up for approval by the Planning Board on March 30 is Preliminary Plan 120160040 (RCCG, Jesus House). The plan calls for the construction of a 1,600-seat place of weekly public assembly, a 350-student day school, office space and other meetings space, a multi-purpose facility and a gymnasium, a ballfield with bleacher seating for 300 people, 400 parking spaces, and a “future amphitheater”. A facility this large is not consistent with the character of the community as described in the Cloverly Master Plan and does not conform to Montgomery County Council Resolution 14-334 as originally intended.

The proposed development is twice as large and protects half as much forest than what the County Council considered acceptable two decades ago when another developer considered building on the property. To protect the character of Cloverly, the Master Plan clearly states that private institutional facilities are not to be allowed to connect to the sewer in the RE-2 zones to maintain a low-density, rural character, but in 1999 on this property another private institution with a 750 seat facility was approved by the Council for sewer service only. A condition of their approval was that 7 acres of forested land was protected from development. This applicant wants the same Council approval for its 1600 seat facility with 350 student school but is only proposing 4 acres of protected forest land!

The specific Master Plan guideline for the area in Cloverly where this project is located is that “the ultimate subwatershed imperviousness levels should remain in the 10 to 15 percent range which is within the generally acceptable limits for the protection of cold water stream systems in Maryland. Individual developments with high site-imperviousness should be discouraged.” This applicant proposes an impervious level of 27%.  The high density of this 2.5 acres of impervious surface will flood downstream properties, erode stream banks and degrade stream water quality.

Not to mention the traffic problems to New Hampshire Avenue, traffic congestion, parking and other problems associated with this dense development. The applicant’s proposal is not consistent with the Master Plan or the intent of Council. We urge you to support the petition to the Planning Board recommending denial of the RCCG-Jesus House Construction.

Please use the comments area to highlight or add your concerns.

Please sign the petition by Monday, March 27th. Thank you.


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To: To: Casey Anderson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board
From: [Your Name]

PETITION: Opposing the Project Known as RCCG Jesus House DC
at 15730 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905

We, the signers of this petition, strongly oppose the current sizing of Montgomery County Development Application Plan Number 120160040.

While the primary specific concerns vary among signers, we share the following general concern: A facility this large is not consistent with the character of the community as described in the Cloverly Master Plan and does not conform to Montgomery County Council Resolution 14-334 as originally intended.

To protect the character of Cloverly, the Master Plan clearly states that private institutional facilities are not to be allowed to connect to the sewer in the RE-2 zones to maintain a low-density, rural character, but in 1999 on this property another private institution with a 750 seat facility was approved by the Council for sewer service only. A condition of their approval was that 7 acres of forested land was protected from development. This applicant wants the same Council approval for its 1,600 seat facility with 350 student school but is only proposing 4 acres of protected forest land!

The specific Master Plan guideline for the area in Cloverly where this project is located is that “the ultimate subwatershed imperviousness levels should remain in the 10 to 15 percent range, which is within the generally acceptable limits for the protection of cold water stream systems in Maryland. Individual developments with high site-imperviousness should be discouraged.” This applicant proposes an impervious level of 27%, which is nearly double the Master Plan guidelines.

We urge the Montgomery County Planning Board to reject this plan, which does not meet the condition of the approved sewer category change that requires preserving the 7-acre mature forest. The plan is inconsistent with the Cloverly Master Plan requirement of not allowing sewer in the RE-2 zone. Also, the plan has an impervious level of 27% while the Master Plan discourages individual developments greater than 15%. In general, the plan is inconsistent with the Cloverly Master Plan that calls for a low density, rural character to protect the sensitive environment.