Conservation Montgomery 

November 21, 2012

Community Updates  


In this newsletter

'Work Out for a Cause' at Rock Creek Sports Club and raise $$ for Conservation Montgomery on Dec. 10.  Details to follow or visit this site.    

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By Elizabeth Zinar



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Growers poised to create
wine country in the Ag Reserve    

By Agnes Blum  
Writer for Conservation Montgomery

Think globally; drink locally...Farmers in the Ag Reserve are beginning to diversify crops to include vineyards

Growing up on his dad's farm, Robert Butz was surrounded by Montgomery County's bounty. Peaches? Sure. Apples? You betcha. Corn, wheat, soy, Montgomery County had it. But nowhere in sight were grapes that might become a nice glass of Bordeaux or a crisp Chardonnay.


Now that Butz is farming the land, he hopes to change that.


Last spring he and his wife planted five acres of vines on their Windridge Farm in the hopes of selling them to local wineries. 


The farm, located on Sugarland Road, sits in the heart of the county's 93,000-acre agricultural reserve. The reserve was created by the the county council in 1980 in an effort to promote conservation of rural areas and farmland.  The reserve, which makes up almost a third of the county, runs along the county's northern, western, and eastern borders. Today there are more than 550 farms in the reserve, according to the county, and the majority are family-run.


The past 20 years have seen a boom in the wine industry in neighboring areas, especially in Virginia. Loudoun County has 27 wineries and Frederick County has seven, but Montgomery County is home to just one: Sugarloaf Mountain Winery.


That may be changing thanks to a new zoning amendment passed in July this year, which allows farmers such as Butz to grow grapes and sell them to someone else to make into wine. Previously, farmers could not sell their produce to be processed somewhere else, and not everyone who wants to grow grapes also wants to open a winery.


That change in zoning was much needed, said Jeremy Criss, manager of Montgomery County Agricultural Services. 

                                         Read the full story....  

M83 Still in the Study Stage 

County Council votes on transportation policy that may shape the future of M83  

By Elizabeth Zinar
Writer for Conservation Montgomery

Dayspring Creek
Dayspring Creek could be adversely affected by the extension of M83

A recent County Council vote may shape transportation patterns in the county from this time forward, including the contentious plans to extend the Midcounty Highway (M83).  The Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR) is a new ordinance that has been added as a revision to the county's 2012 Subdivision Staging Policy, originally called the Policy Element of the Annual Growth Policy.  


On November 13, the Council approved the policy with an 8-1 vote.

Reviewed by the Montgomery County Planning Board every four years, the Subdivision Staging Policy sets parameters for growth in the county's transportation and school systems with the aim to ensure that county infrastructure will be able to support new development projects. 


In order to determine whether projected development of a transportation system is adequate and meets capacity limits for land use, planners need to run tests on their transportation models.  TPAR sets the standards and methodologies for these transportation tests, determining adequacy of road and transit options separately.  If a projected model is assessed to be inadequate, the Planning Board may still allow the project to proceed if the developer pays a fee that will be used to implement improvements to help a proposed transportation system meet standards of adequacy. 


The Planning Board developed TPAR to replace the Policy Area Mobility Review (PAMR) in the Subdivision Staging Policy, which has been used since 2007.  Their stated goal was to make the methodology of transportation tests more "transparent" and accurate, and to ensure that transportation system deficiencies will be efficiently addressed through the improvements funded by developers' fees. 

                                                       Read the full story....  

From the Conservation Montgomery  
     Board of Directors 
board photo
We are thankful to live in a great county with all of you.  Left to right:  Mark Buscaino, Alan Bowser, Ginny Barnes, Arlene Bruhn, Caren Madsen, Barbara Hoover, Evan Glass.  Seated, L-R:  Diane Cameron, Jennifer Chambers  

Working together to enhance our quality of life.    


Conservation Montgomery is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit.  Donations and memberships are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of federal law.  Conservation Montgomery is also listed as on the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area list of accepted charities. Our number is 72945