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SHCA and the Nairn/Blueridge Ave development

128 Dec 2003 update. From Ed Murtagh
On December 4th the Planning Board met to reconsider the development at the end of Channing and Blueridge. Although the Planning Board again approved the project, the members definitely had read the letter from the Civic Associations and were interested in the questions raised. There were seven speakers who expressed concern about the trees, the impact on Sligo Creek, and the number of problems with flooded basements of homes already built on similar low-lying marginal land.
View the complete report

28 Nov 2003 update. From Ed Murtagh Below is a letter Kathy Michels and I sent to Mr. Berlage's office at the Planning Board. The letter explains the environmental and practical problems that would occur if the Blueridge/Channing development were to be approved. With all the develop-able land disappearing in our watershed, developers are now trying to build on the marginal land along the creek/tributaries. Many families in our community suffered significant water damage to their homes in September because their homes were built on these marginal, but environmental sensitive lands. It looks like the Planning Board hearings for this development will be in the early afternoon of December 4th. If you are free that afternoon, come to the hearing and support your neighbors....
View the complete letter

Status, 26 Nov 2003 update. From Ed Murtagh
The latest Planning Board Agenda is out and December 4th is the new hearing date for the Blueridge/Channing (fromerly Nairn property) development. We are preparing written comments. See these e-mails on the importance of keeping up with the Planning Board Agendas.

14 Nov 2003. From Ed Murtagh
I just got back from this morning Planning Board meeting. The Planning Board voted to reconsider the development at the end of Blueridge/Channing. A new hearing on the proposed Blueridge/Channing development will soon be scheduled. Hopefully this time with proper notification!

Most likely it will be on December 4th. The next step is for the community to prepare a document explaining why we are opposed to this development and develop a unified/coordinated position to take at the new hearing. To be most effective, relevant documents should be submitted to the Planning Board about week before the hearing. This will become part of the packet the Planning Board will review before the hearing.

If you are interested in being involved with the community response, please contact either myself, Rob Harkins,, or Kathy Michels, Because time is short, we will need to get moving on this as soon as possible.

November 5, 2003 update from Edward Murtagh
It looks like we will get a new hearing! Below is the latest on the Nairn property. I got this interesting e-mail on this issue from Rob Harkins so I thought I would pass this on (see below). Note that we are not the only ones having notification problems. It appears that two other hearings are going to be re-done because of improper community notification. Also, we need to help our neighbors out by showing community support for them at the new hearing.

On Friday October 31 I dropped off the refiling of reconsideration request for the Blue Ridge-Channing Drive at the old Nairn property.

I had emailed this twice to, Mr. Tariq A. El-Baba, Associate General Counsel Office of the General Counsel Montgomery County Department of Park and Planning, and had also faxed the copy with the signatures.

When I meet with Mr. Tariq A. El-Baba he told me that the request will be heard. I was told that this should happen sometime in the next 2 weeks. No date has been given and I will follow up with him on Wednesday.

He told me that I or the Ro's or the Kurylas's from Blueridge did not have to actually be at the meeting with the Planning Board. I expressed my concern about that I told Mr. el-BaBa that I will be there and will try to get everybody there.

The only people who can speak at this time only are the Ro, Kurlas and Harkins family. But I think that this would be good if we could get as many people to come to this meeting to show even more of our support.

I was also told that the planning board will approve to move on to the next round. This is because the last two requests that have been submitted had also been passed to the next round. The reason for the other cases were because of the notification process. So it was just not "our" zoning issue.

Again as soon as I know the date I will be sure that notice is given. Maybe we can try to get volunteers NOW so we can be ready if we are not given a lot of time.

October 18, 2003 update from Edward Murtagh
Several people have asked about the latest news on the Nairn property development at corner of Blueridge and Channing. For those who do not know the history go to for further information. The following is the latest news:

A letter from a Park and Planning lawyer dated September 23, 2003 was sent in response to our Civic Association petition (which contained over 100 signatures from the neighborhood)). The lawyer's letter did not address any of our concerns and denied that we had a right to ask for a new hearing because

"Pursuant to the Board's Rules of Procedure, Section 11 (Reconsideration), in order toconsider a request for reconsideration in this case, the Planning Board must have received any such request by June 20, 2003 (within 10 days of the opinion mailing date)."
After reviewing the Park and Planning web site, brochures, and reviewing Section 11 of the Board's Rules of Procedure, we are finding that the 10 day limit is not published anywhere accessible to the public, including their brochure on community participation in the planning process. In addition no one has received the mailed Park & Planning opinion letter.

Recently, Mr. Rob Harkins (Channing St.) visited Park and Planning to review their files for the Nairn property development. While reviewing the files, he found that he was not on the list of individuals to be notified of the Planning Board's meeting of May 22, 2003, even though he was clearly a "person of interest" under their definition (he spoke at the first hearing in 2002).

In addition several individuals shown on the notification list did not receive a notification letter. The files contained no actual letters to individuals or evidence that letters were sent. Rob was advised that because he alone was not even on the notification list, he alone should go take legal action to get a re-hearing. A letter is now being prepared formally requesting a new hearing on behalf of those who were not notified but who should have been. This letter will also address the fact that several "people of interest" assert that they did not receive any notification even though they were on the official notification list.

Problems with the May 22, 2003 public hearing
A public hearing was held on May 22, 2003 without the notification mandated in the county code and the Planning Board's own printed guidelines. The Planning Board's Agenda for this public hearing was incorrect and only mentioned an existing home on Blueridge Ave. During the hearings the Planning Board approved a new single house that is to be built at the bottom of Blueridge Ave. within the forested area adjacent to Sligo Creek Park. The development will requiring clearing forested land and increased stormwater run off.

The Sligo Headwaters Civic Association and the Upper Sligo Civic Association have prepared a letter protesting the notification process and requesting a new hearing on this development.
The complete letter is here.