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& CAPITALCONNECTION A cappella group blends voices for BlackRock show. B-5 The Gazette POTOMAC | NORTH POTOMAC DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, December 11, 2013 25 cents Citizens group opposes zoning changes to tennis club site The icing on the sidewalk West Montgomery association wants current use to continue n BY PEGGY MCEWAN STAFF WRITER DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Kent Dirckx and his 8-year-old son Henry Dirckx clear ice from the sidewalk in front of their home on Victory Lane in Potomac on Monday morning. Henry and thousands of Montgomery County children got an early Christmas present this week: two snow days, as wintry weather prompted school closings on Monday and Tuesday. According to National Weather Service spotters, 2 or 3 inches of snow fell around the county Tuesday morning. The board of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association has gone on the record against proposed zoning changes to the property now occupied by the Potomac Tennis Club. The land is just off Falls Road, near the Falls Road Golf Course in Potomac. “We would like to see the property continue as a tennis club ...” WMCCA President Ginny Barnes wrote in a letter to Francoise Carrier, chairwoman of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The letter was published in the association’s December newsletter. Representatives from the Rockville-based public relations and marketing firm Maier & Warner attended WMCCA’s meeting Nov. 13 on behalf of the property owner, Helen Marshall, to discuss the idea of changing the property’s zoning from RE-2 to RT. RE-2 zoning on the 4-acre site allows for two residential estates of 2 acres each. RT would allow four townhouses per acre. “It is probably more valuable as land to a developer than as a tennis club,” said Jeff Wilke, Potomac Tennis Club’s manager. “But it’s not for sale. It’s going to be years.” Barnes and Kris Warner, of Maier & Warner, noted in November that there has been no official action on the zoning change. “There really isn’t a lot of information. It’s just a cour- See ZONING, Page A-12 More townhouses to dot Seven Locks Road Community to include four moderately priced dwelling units n BY PEGGY MCEWAN STAFF WRITER A new townhouse community got the nod from county planners Thursday for property off Seven Locks Road in Potomac. The Montgomery County Planning Department approved plans for a development of 23 townhouses on a 5.42-acre tract of land on Seven Locks Road in Potomac. The community will include 19 market-rate homes and four moderately priced dwelling units. Winchester Homes Inc., with offices in Bethesda, submitted plans for Potomac Highlands, a community that will back onto Cabin John Regional Park between the Inverness North and Turning Creek townhome developments. The property is zoned R-90, which calls for moderate density residential use. Townhouses on the property are in keeping with that zoning, Callum Murray, planning supervisor with Montgomery County Planning Department said. “Townhouse are appropriate for the site,” Murray said. “They are compatible with the developments adjacent, they meet the forest conservation threshold and stormwater management requirements.” Christopher Anderson from Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs said Montgomery County was the first in the nation to pass a zoning law including affordable housing, in its development plans. The program enables those who meet income Councilwoman taking position with New York nonprofit BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER Calling it one of the most difficult decisions she’s ever had to make, Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin will leave her seat in early January to take over a New York-based nonprofit that advocates for working families. Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring said Tues- day that she would resign her seat on Jan. 3 to become executive director of the Center for Working Families. “I want to continue to make a difference, in a new way,” Ervin said. No one has been a stronger voice against inequality than Ervin has, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said Tuesday at a press conference at the Council Office Building in Rockville. Along with several other speakers, Leggett referenced Ervin’s direct way of dealing with issues. Ervin has been a friend and political sup- Utility seeks $4.80 per month increase from its average customer BY KATE S. ALEXANDER STAFF WRITER porter, but also one of his most vocal critics when they disagreed, he said. State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring said he’s also been on both sides of conflicts with Ervin. But he praised her Tuesday for her passion, as well as her dedication to justice and solidarity. “Valerie Ervin is a justice politician,” Raskin said. Council President Craig Rice (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown said Ervin has been like a mother to him since he joined the council in See ERVIN, Page A-12 See PEPCO, Page A-12 NEWS SPORTS Looming state regulations could prove to be cost-prohibitive. Northwest’s indoor track and field teams expect big seasons. A-4 B-1 DICKERSON PLANT TO NIX COAL n Just months after it was given higher rates and granted Maryland’s first upfront surcharge, Pepco is asking yet again for more from ratepayers. Pepco filed a case with the Maryland Public Service Commission on Dec. 4 for $43.3 million more in base distribution rates, a hike of $4.80 a month on the average customer bill. This is the company’s third rate increase request since 2011. Pepco is seeking the increase to recover the cost of providing service and to give a fair rate of return on capital to its investors. The monopoly utility, which serves 540,000 customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, is asking to increase its allowed rate of return for investors from 9.36 percent to 10.25 percent. Pepco’s request comes less than five months after the Public Service Commission raised the utility’s base rates and broke with precedent to grant it the first tracker, or upfront surcharge, in the state. In July, the PSC granted Pepco $27.9 million of a $60.8 million rate increase request as well as $24 million of a $192 million request for a surcharge. Together, the decision tacked $2.47 a month on the average customer bill See TOWNHOUSES, Page A-12 Ervin to vacate county council seat in January n Pepco continues push for rate hikes JAGUARS RETURN TOP TALENT Automotive Business Calendar Classified Community News Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please B-15 A-13 A-2 B-11 A-4 B-5 A-16 A-14 B-1 RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906206

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