Lee Langstaff, Shepherd’s Hey farm
Lee was featured in our "Growing Legacy" film. See Lee (and her flock) in the trailer here.
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“It all started when I learned how to knit.”
Lee Langstaff, Shepherd’s Hey farm
In the early 1980s, Lee Langstaff took a casual knitting class with one of her friends, and little did she know how this knitting class would change her life. “I fell in love with the wool as soon as I touched it.” Over the next few years she started learning how to spin wool, and took advantage of her close proximity to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, the largest of its kind in the United States. Once her brother purchased a farm on the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, she really began to explore the the foundations of wool and fiber farming, and Shepherd’s Hey Farm was born. At first the family had a small starter group of a few rams and ewes, and little by little the farm began to grow. This year they birthed 43 new lambs!
Lee was featured in our "Growing Legacy" film. See Lee (and her flock) in the trailer here.
Shepherd’s Hey Farm sells high quality wool fleece and spun wool to at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and also to individuals by request online. Lee breeds the sheep for their natural color, uniformity of the fleece, and good quality crimp, which can influence the spinning process. I was surprised to learn that the sheep wear coats, shown in the picture below. This keeps the wool clean and prevents UV damage from the sun, which changes the color of the wool.
Shepherd’s Hey can’t keep all of the lambs born on the farm each spring. Some are sold to other fiber farms to improve the quality of their breeding stock. Those which are not appropriate for breeding or long term wool production are pasture fed for several months then brought to a local, USDA-approved butcher. Lee takes great pride in knowing where her food comes from, commenting that “it provides balance to the thought required of us in other worlds.” She takes care that the lambs on her farm are raised humanely.
“Other animals that end up in a grocery store don’t have a good life, and I don't feel comfortable about that.”
Lee and her brother David believe that the the Agricultural Reserve contributes to both the farming and larger communities in many ways. The zoning rules and limitations on development mean that farmers can afford to stay on their land, and the close proximity of farming to more developed areas exposes the greater community to the many wonderful things that farmers produce. According to the Farm Bureau Federation, there are 2.1 million farms in the U.S., with 99% being family-owned, but many people have never visited a working farm or have a clear understanding of how farm products are generated. Many Montgomery county residents don’t even realize that a large portion of the county has been reserved for agricultural purposes, but Lee feels that as soon as people see the view and the working farms that make up that view, they fall in love, and that is key to keeping the land safe. She believes the best way to advocate for the Agricultural Reserve is to keep it pristine, and let the view speak for itself. I’ll talk more about how we can all contribute to keeping the Agricultural Reserve clean and trash-free in a future post.
Shepherd’s Hey allows visits by appointment. If you would like to visit the farm, keep up to date with the new lambs, or purchase some wool, you can follow Shepherd’s Hey Farm on Facebook or stop by their booth at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
Photos: Annabel Kauffman and Shepherd's Hey Farm
Attention Gaithersburg and Rockville Residents! We need your quick action - Delegate Barve plans to vote against a "No Net Forest Loss" bill (HB 120) on the House floor in Annapolis (part of a package of forest bills). He needs to hear from his constituents. Please take a moment today to either call him 410-841-3990 or click "start writing" below to customize our letter template. Del. Barve was named Legislator of the Year in 2017 by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters - let him know we expect him to stand up for forests!
These bills need your help this week to protect Forests - we can't delay another year- thanks for your quick action!
What if there were a product that could provide clean water and air, cool our world, sequester carbon and provide habitat at the same time? If a tech giant were creating such a tool it would have major buzz- the next big thing. But this tool is not flashy or new and it is not of our making - it's trees.
While forests offer all these incredible benefits, we are not protecting them as we should at a time that we need their services more than ever. The Chesapeake Bay Program has found Maryland is losing a dozen acres per day. 3 bills in Annapolis aim to reverse this trend - and they need your support.
Press on these Bills
Time to Close the Loopholes in MD's Forest Conservation Laws (Balt Sun)
Spare MD's Trees (Balt Sun)
No Net Trees Lost is Good for MD's Forests (Cap. Gazette)
How do we make sure that we have enough affordable housing opportunities here in Montgomery County?
A zoning text amendment is currently being considered by the MC County Council: (full text here)
While there is widespread support for better access to affordable housing, the ZTA as introduced has raised a number of questions/concerns, including but not limited to:
- no stated maximum size
- forest/tree loss
- stormwater mitigation - impervious surfaces
- enforcement mechanisms
We look forward to the continuing conversation and refinements to the amendment to ensure that it meets our shared goals without unintended consequences.
Planning Staff Report
A video from Landis Construction done Pro-Bono for the County to illustrate ADUs permissible under the proposed ZTA.
Below: County Executive staffer Claire Islei reads a statement from Executive Elrich's office on opposition to the ZTA as written.
See the full text of Claire Iseli's testimony from the County Executive's office. It references this Rental Housing Study and this report summary.
Subject: Good Intent- More Work Needed
Dear Council President Navarro and Councilmembers,
MCA echoes both the support for the intent of ZTA 19-01 and real concern with inattention, thus far, to important details. Specifically, and to be brief here, the ZTA is absent a maximum size of the detached units. We recommend limiting the size to 900 sq ft. as is effectively provided for in Portland. Keeping these units this size or less will better achieve several key stated goals, most notably ensuring that they may be reasonably affordable for the demographics that they intend to serve. Moreover, properly limiting maximum accessory unit size will help ensure that there will be less potential for significant violations in terms of the number of tenants etc.
I look forward to further collaborative conversation on how to advance the goals of the amendment while addressing broadly shared concerns.
Caroline Taylor, Executive Director Montgomery Countryside Alliance
Thanks to all that attended the February 2019 Regenerative Ag and Hemp Conference. Below we are sharing some resources from our presenters and other farmers. Have a resource we missed? Drop a line - email@example.com
Click infographic to enlarge
More on Regenerative Agriculture:
SARE offers an interactive Soil Health Diagram
Soil Becomes Fertile Ground for Climate Action
Video- Why Microbes in the soil are so important
Meet Del Fricke: Nebraska's Regenerative Ag Apostle
Regenerative Ag on a backyard garden scale
Regenerative Ag comes to 1 Million General Mills Acres
Rodale: Explaining Regenerative Organic Agriculture
Hemp Resources - Pete Walton
Contact Pete Walton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete's Power Point on Hemp Production
Link to MD Hemp Getting Started
Link to MD Grower Application
Link to MD Hemp FAQ's
In particular, I wanted to point out this section below. It is possible that this has already changed, but I just wanted to encourage people to be cautious when trying to acquire seed. Getting sued/arrested for a simple misunderstanding of the laws would be a major bummer.
(as of 1/28/2019)
Q: How can a participant obtain industrial hemp seed?
A: The department will not be involved or participate in any seed orders to be obtained from other states, including ordering, shipping, or approving such seed procurement. Seed sourced from another state shall be the sole responsibility of the person sourcing and/or procuring and shipping the seed and such person shall bear all legal liability and responsibility for such procurement and shipment. The permit holder must be aware that until the federal government reclassifies industrial hemp, it is still considered a Schedule 1 Drug. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has jurisdiction covering imports and interstate movement. Under current federal law and DEA regulations, industrial hemp seed is restricted from interstate shipment.
Small Scale REGENERATIVE Ag Nick Maravell
Contact Nick: email@example.com
Anne and Eric Nordell in PA are famous for their weed control, cover crop system, and vegetable rotations. They have (I think) six acres, and they use draft horses when they need them. They keep about half of their land in cover crops during the growing season, but they do not bring in a lot of off-farm inputs. I think they are now incorporating animals into their system, but in the old days they were all veggies and cut flowers. I would suggest studying their system which has evolved over the last 35 years for regenerative ag ideas that MoCo Producers might be able to use. I am attaching a few links that demonstrate how they started and how they farm now.
Recent podcast—audio only http://www.farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/nordell
Small Farm Journal—has about 20 articles here showing how Anne and Eric evolved their system https://smallfarmersjournal.com/writers/eric-nordell/
Good article in MOFGA Journal from 2001 (Eric and Anne look so young!) http://www.mofga.org/Publications/The-Maine-Organic-Farmer-Gardener/Spring-2001/Weeds
Excellent description of their system in the New Farm magazine http://www.newfarm.org/features/1204/nordell/
Regenerative and No-Till Videos
Farmer Gigi Going shared the following links on our Producers Listserve (want to join click here)
Regenerative farming is such a love and I can chit chat forever! Here are just some of the modern voices in the small, bio-intensive, no-till and regenerative farming arena.
I am happy to share about my experiences here on my website: https://www.farmergigi.com/
Here is a great start to Richard Perkins info, see parts 1 and 2:
Here is some of Conor Crickmore, of Neversink Farm:
Here is Curtis Stone, a lot of the new, urban farmers start out with his videos:
Here is my mentor, the maestro, Jean-Martin Fortier. His book, The Market Gardener is a model for successful small farming. He no longer does low till, he has moved to no till. Some of these are older videos.
Here is one of my mentors, Paul Gautschi. It took me 5 hours to watch this 90 minute film and I've watched several times since. Paul has been a gift to me, generous and consistent. This film is done by two film students who recognized his unique perspective. Video:
or on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/backtoedenofficialfilm/23623403
Farmers—Get Tax Credit When Donating Surplus Food to Charity
The Farm Food Donation Pilot Program, signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan, allows eligible farmers to take a tax credit for donating unsold surplus farm products to charitable organizations. This three-year pilot program that began in 2017 is available to farms located in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery county, Prince George’s County and St. Mary’s County. “This is a way for Maryland farmers to further help their communities and ensure their harvest does not go to waste,” said Governor Hogan.
To claim the credit, farmers donate products to non-profit charitable organizations that are Certified Tax Credit Administrators. Farmers fill out a simple MDA Food Donation Pilot Program Form for each food donation and submit it to the non-profit. Non-profit food providers become Certified Tax Credit Administrators by completing and submitting the Application for Tax Credit Administrator Form to the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). Both forms can be found on the Maryland Department of Agriculture website (scroll down right side of the page).
This is great opportunity to claim the tax credit during the pilot program. The program is due to expire December 31, 2019. State House Delegates Ebersole and Young recently introduced HB 403 to extend the Farmer Tax Credit to all Maryland Counties through 2022. Please share this tax credit opportunity with farmers and non-profit food providers. Contact Delegates Jay Walker firstname.lastname@example.org and Anne Kaiser email@example.com with the form below to support HB403. It is a win-win-win!
More info here
Thanks to all that were able to join us for the this session: see the wrap up here.
Meet our Speakers
Sophia Maravell grew up on a seed saving organic farm in Montgomery County, MD. She wrote her undergrad thesis on female farmers and ranchers, and started working on sustainable farms in Colorado, Maryland and abroad. She attended the Farm School's Practical Farm Training Program in Athol, MA and shortly thereafter co-founded Brickyard Educational Farm in Potomac, Maryland. She has her Permaculture Design Certificate from Forested and earned a Master's in Education from Goddard College in Community Education focusing land-based farming and craft communities. She worked as a farm-based educator and co-manager at Hawthorne Valley Farm's Place-based Learning Center. Currently she works at Potomac Vegetable Farms as a community educator and farmer. Sophia is committed to healing through our connection to land. She is committed remembering 'culture' back into 'agriculture' by cultivating beautiful food and community.
Nick Maravell has been farming organically for more than 40 years. Concerned about the soil, environment, energy conservation, and fresh, local, and healthy nutrient dense food, he began by selling vegetables to restaurants, local food and farmer co-ops and health food chains, and at farmers markets. Now the farm produces mainly row crops and livestock. The farm is located on 175 fertile acres in the Frederick Valley in Maryland. Nick’s Organic Farm uses a diversified grass based organic farming system with rotational grazing, cover crops, and an 8-12 year crop rotation to constantly build the soil. Nick served a five-year term on National Organic Standards Board and is involved in the newly formed Real Organic Project (ROP) which advocates for organic standards that adhere to the basic principles of an ecological soil and pasture.
Pete Walton is a farmer and entrepreneur from Northern Virginia, with a passion for soil, trees, and livestock. He has worked on projects ranging from small urban farms, to large scale regenerative grazing systems, and cannabis production on the west coast.
Our Education Committee has been busy scheduling outreach events with local high school students. In January, Poolesville High School's Global Ecology program got a homecoming visit from retired faculty member Joyce Bailey- now chairing MCA's education committee. Joyce was joined by Gene Kingsbury of Kingsbury Orchard, Amanda Cather of Plow and Stars Farm, Doug Tregoning of the County Extension Office. Gene and Doug also visited a horticulture class at Sherwood High School.
As in past years, the committee is planning visits to farms in the spring, including Shepherd's Hey, Rocklands Farm and Kingsbury's Orchard. Along with trips to Ten Mile Creek. We are working with stellar MCA volunteer and elementary school teacher Kirsten Novo to adapt Ag Reserve lessons for our younger residents in line with the Ute Aminzadeh Educational Project.
Bread, Milk, Paper Towels and Flowers For Your Beloved? Really?
If you are buying your flowers at the supermarket, you are missing out on an opportunity to show you care about not just your Valentine but also the community you share. Of course local blooms are not in season in the frozen tundra our county has become of late. Your love may not have a season but flowers sure do. But here is an idea- secure your spring and summer blooms today from one of the Reserve's flower CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) - like a subscription for a weekly bouquet. It works just like a produce CSA with a weekly pickup options. (Is your Valentine more moved by food than flowers? Find our CSA list here.)
CSA options include Gypsy Flower Farm, Grateful Gardeners and Hidden Ridge Flower Farm. Until February 15 Gypsy Flower Farm (Farmer Sid pictured above) is offering 5% the total CSA price and a free Mother's Day Bouquet More info here.
If things happen to be getting serious with your Valentine, you may also want to consider using these local farms or Sungold Flower Co. who focuses solely on foraging and harvesting uniquely seasonal flowers for your event.
We are pleased to introduce the first in a series of reflections from Annabel Kauffman, an MCA volunteer, high school student and Ag Reserve resident. Learn more about her on our Staff and Volunteer Page. We are always looking for reflections for our site - drop us a line - firstname.lastname@example.org
“It is a rewarding experience to work on my orchard, knowing that I am continuing a family legacy that started almost 100 years ago.” Gene Kingsbury
Kingsbury’s farm keeps Gene busy as there is work to do for every month, commenting that “orchard work is a year round job.” Pruning goes on throughout the winter months, followed by the planting, fertilizing and thinning seasons. Harvest begins in mid-June starting with sweet cherries, followed by apricots and peaches, and the first peaches ripen in late June and last through September 15th. The apples begin in early August and end in early November. Finally pears begin to ripen in mid-August and last through the end of September. Kingsbury's Orchard uses a specialized integrated pest management plan that has targeted pesticides which reduces the chemicals used on the farm.
During the past year weather has been a challenging factor for the farm. “Our record rainfall last year made it extremely difficult to grow and harvest good quality fruit.” This record rainfall is likely a result of the continuing climate change which also creates other difficulties such as spring frost damage, hail, drought, and fruit sunburn from excessive heat. Despite those obstacles Kingsbury Orchard still finds a way to produce, selling 75% of their crops through a retail market on site and the other 25% through local stores such as Giant and Whole Foods.
Gene is very appreciative of the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, stating that “Kingsbury’s Orchard would not be in business without the help of the Agricultural Reserve, it keeps the land safe and benefits the county's urban areas.” To view harvest schedules, and when to visit the farm please check out the the Kingsbury’s Orchard.
New Program to accelerate afforestation and reforestation in support of Montgomery's County's Climate Change Response Plan
Announcing a new MCA Program that will help reach the county's climate change goals and enhance stream buffers for better water quality.
In the County, developers chopping trees must either replant the same number on the site or pay into a "fee in lieu" fund that will re-forest other areas. The Planning Department has used some of this now million dollar fund to re-forest 32 acres of stream buffers in county parks.
But we think we can do more, much more.
The Reserve is ripe for reforestation on lands that are not suitable for crops. MCA will be matching private landowners with the Planning Department to plan tree plantings.
An acre of trees can absorb 68 tons of carbon - the same as taking 17 cars off the road for a year. In rural locations, one acre of forest can produce between $12,000-$77,000 in environmental benefits each year. See more on the impact of reforestation from Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Our global climate challenge needs all the solutions we can throw at it. However, along with promotion of Regenerative Agriculture, another project we are taking on this year, reforestation represents huge carbon cutting potential with lower costs than transportation or retrofitting projects.
To learn more - Visit our ReLeaf Information Page
A recent Civil Eats Article about mentoring, land linking and other services to farmers drove home to us that as the average age of farmers hits 70, not only do these elder farmers have an important role in mentoring the next generation, but the new generation can't farm without it.
They also can't farm without land - that is where programs like Land Link Montgomery - based on successful programs across the country, comes in. As the article pointed out, these programs need investment to help them better connect landowners with land seekers.
Those lessons can be boiled down to a few key points: While listing land owners and seekers is important, it’s adding boots-on-the-ground work to that service that really makes the magic happen. That kind of connection requires significant funding, however, which is usually lacking.
This year, we are going to invest more time in adding more landowners to Land Link and making more matches happen. If you have been considering offering a land lease, contact us to get started -email@example.com
We thank our supporters for all we were able to accomplish in 2018. A recent trip back through the year shows that we often had to play defence this year- particularly against a a raft of proposed zoning changes - many of them problematic. The most troubling was 18-04 - a measure that would allow non-compliant (i.e- not farms) uses in the Reserve to expand - in direct opposition to the master plan. Through testimony and working with the County we were able to amend the bill so that it allows expansion only for safety reasons. At the time we wrote:
"As is always the case, the crafting of these types of bills in isolation of full impact analysis and stakeholder discussion does not yield good result and certainly requires needless expenditure of our collective energy. That said, if there is a single use with demonstrable public purpose and minimal impact that seeks a remedy, let's work collaboratively to that end. This ZTA as written, however, will do harm."
The Reserve is nearly 40 years old but the balancing act of farms on metro's edge remains fragile. Changes are part of managing a vibrant landscape, but we are the boots on the ground calling for careful respect of the ecosystem of farms, open space and rural communities that make the Reserve a place worth protecting in perpetuity.
Though we spent the year defending the Reserve, we also spent the year educating hundreds of local high schools students with farmer visits to classrooms and student field trips to farms. We educated voters with our 2018 Candidate's Survey to help them navigate a wide field of potential county leaders.
We spent the year collaborating on reducing the county's waste and carbon footprint. We successfully advocated for a strengthened Water Sewer Plan and were victorious in a developer's suit on Ten Mile Creek.
We put on the "Best Festival of 2018" according to Montgomery Magazine - the Field and Fiddle Festival and celebrated the Rustic Roads with hundreds of bikers and volunteers on the 11th Annual Ride for the Reserve.
It has been a great 2018 and we have bold plans for 2019. Our ability to Defend, Educate and Celebrate in Montgomery County relies on local support. When considering your end of year giving, please give where you live and support MCA with your tax-deductible donation. And Thanks!
A bit of fun from your friends at MCA. Peace of the Season to you and yours. We will just have to wait until MoCo's orchards open again in the spring. In the meantime take our quiz to find out what variety of apple you are. We'd love to hear the results on our Facebook page.
It is nothing less than the global challenge of our time. A slow motion disaster, caused and perpetuated each day by all of us - leaving each of us either feeling powerless in the face of its enormity or in denial of an inconvenient scientifically proved truth. Our world is warming.
Recently predictions have gotten more dire, more certain. There is now a timeline for serious impacts to be felt. Much like the adage about planting trees, the time to act was either 20 years ago - or now.
Montgomery County's 93,000 acre Ag Reserve was envisioned at its creation in 1980 as a way to keep farms on the landscape and it has been successful, but it has also served as a "green lung" and water filter for the region, its forests sucking in Co2, its pervious surfaces allowing re-absorption of large rainfall events. But the County, the Reserve and MCA as its steward can (and must) do more to combat our climate challenge and mitigate the coming impacts.
The county has made a climate change pledge for the county of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. The county is also working toward Executive Leggett's goal of being a zero waste county - starting with recycling/composting 70% of materials by 2023. MCA is proud to serve on the county's Zero Waste Task Force.
We are proud to have collaborated with the 38 other organizations making up the Stormwater Partners Network on the Clean Water Blueprint - to be addressed by the Elrich administration. The document lays out how we protect water across the country going forward and provides metrics for gauging success. Among the recommendations are several Ag Reserve specific provisions that MCA will help to implement including:
~Educational outreach for well and septic owners
~Establishing science based impervious limits in the Reserve to protect the Sole Source Aquifer and stream quality
~Advance programs for regenerative agriculture
Land and Farms
At MCA, our mission is to protect the farms and open spaces of the Ag Reserve but we all have a role to play in the challenges ahead. We can choose grim disaffection, denial or action. Help us position the Ag Reserve as a climate change mitigation tool for our county and region. We would be honored by your tax-deductible end of year gift. Thank You!
Having just joined the family in the annual It's a Wonderful Life viewing, I thought, once again, about how truly remarkable and unique the Reserve is... and how fragile. Remember the film's gripping scene when there is a run on the local bank and George Bailey spots a crowd of frightened shareholders descending on the family's savings and loan? George Bailey's earnest explanation of the benefits that the Savings and Loan provided, both individually and collectively, brought all but one, who still demanded his entire $242, to understand that there was a imperative to sustain the institution. They each took what they needed without crushing the savings and loan.
So it is, as I see it, with the Ag Reserve. We could easily wring every last dime out of the land for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many... sure we could.
And we could do so after expending millions of public and private dollars on preservation easements and countless hours establishing, supporting and defending land for farming and open space preservation. We could
deplete the Reserve by turning a blind eye to important preservation goals for open space and natural and historic resources. But much like the community service provided by Bailey Bros. Savings and Loan, the Reserve pays dividends in clean air, water quality, open space, food and fiber - the list goes on. The survival of farming and the Reserve is a commonly shared goal and we have all invested so much in it.
How do we arrive at a consensus as to the best means to keeping the land in farming and protecting open space and natural resources in the face of myriad challenges and pressures? Meeting this challenge is precisely what we do each day.
Since 2001, we have been the organization on the ground protecting the quality of our farms, open space and water supply. Our collaborative and tenacious approach has lead us to be called "one of the best" nonprofits in the region. Your tax deductible investment in our community stays here but goes far to ensure a future for local farms.
Peace of the Season to you and yours,
Caroline Taylor, Executive Director
Increasing the reduce, reuse and recycling of our waste is going to take some re-thinking about how we live currently. We found some interesting tidbits to share:
-Terracycle partners with large international brands to offer reusable containers called LOOP.
-Why do toothpaste tubes come in outer boxes?
-Cities that have cut 80% of their waste
-Waste to Fuel with a new waste digester in Utah
- The all second hand and upcycled shopping mall in Sweden
MCA has been an active member in the County's Zero Waste Task Force. While the recycling rate is at 50% currently, the County is aiming to recycle 70% of its waste by 2023. Zero Waste is a really big goal and we are proud to work on it with other local stakeholders. The first step in the undertaking has been gathering data- that is why both MCA and the County have undertaken surveys to find out what is working at the household level. Thanks to all those that took the time to participate. The results are below.
A few takeaways:
- Food Scraps make up 21% of total landfill-bound waste in the County. While much of that food would biodegrade to make soil in the right conditions, this does not happen in a landfill. Many respondents want to see curbside composting.
- Residents also want to be able to recycle more of their waste (specifically plastics, styrofoam and bulk items such as mattresses).
-Better education on what can be recycled and why recycling is important was seen by many respondents as a good first step toward waste reduction.
Update - New Windsor in Carroll County has tried a "Pay as you Throw" approach to trash and it seems to be working.
A win for the backup water supply for 4.3 Million in our region
A small resident of Ten Mile Creek meets a Poolesville High School Student
Breaking news! Federal 4th Circuit Court affirms dismissal of Pulte Homes lawsuit that challenged Montgomery County's stage 4 Clarksburg development plan. Pulte sought to construct over 1000 homes in the creek's fragile headwaters and atop the sole source groundwater aquifer. The land use plan rightly set science based impervious surface caps in the important Ten Mile Creek watershed, providing a level of protection for the creek and Seneca Reservoir which serves as a back up drinking water supply for 4.3 million regional residents. MCA, Audubon and other partners labored for several years to ensure protection for high quality Ten Mile Creek and the back up drinking water supply.
Long story short - The court has found Pulte had no constitutional property interest in developing its land as it had contemplated, and local authorities had a plausible, rational basis for their actions in denying this development project.
In 2004-2006, Pulte purchased 540 acres of Clarksburg land, then governed by the 1994 Master Plan, which divided development into four stages. In the fourth stage, the area containing Pulte’s land was to be developed into residential communities. Pulte’s land was designated as a receiving property for Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) and was zoned for one-acre lots. Pulte could increase the allowable density to two units per acre by purchasing TDRs from agricultural properties in other Montgomery County areas, which would restrict future development of the agricultural property. Pulte invested 12 million dollars in TDRs. Under the Plan, there were prerequisites to Stage 4 development. All had occurred by 2009. The Plan stated that Stage 4 developments can proceed once public agencies and the developer have complied with all “implementing mechanisms,” which included Water and Sewer Plan amendments. Pulte submitted its Water and Sewer Request to the County and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 2009, with a $10,000 filing fee. The County never acted on Pulte’s application. In 2012, Pulte submitted a Pre-Application Concept Plan to the Commission, which rejected the plan. The agencies refused to meet and stopped responding to Pulte’s communications but reopened the Plan to study the watershed in which Pulte’s land is located and ultimately imposed regulatory changes that severely reduced the number of dwellings Pulte could build and imposed additional costly burdens. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Pulte’s due process, equal protection, and regulatory taking claims, stating that federal courts are not the appropriate forum to challenge local land use determinations
Lets face it, the holidays come with a lot of stress. You start with the best of intentions- your heart swells with the first light display or card from a friend- but somewhere in there, you've just had too much pie, or paid too much for expedited shipping, you've just lost that peace on earth, goodwill toward all part.
Fear Not! Over the past few years 3 new days on the calendar have emerged as a counterweight to the frantic shopping and schlepping that the holidays can become.
Opt Outside is a campaign by outdoor retailer REI to urge families to spend their holiday time outside instead of at the mall on Black Friday. As they did for the first time in 2015, their website will go dark, their fulfillment center will go silent as their employees spend the day outside. Visit Montgomery County's amazing parks this weekend.
Small Business Saturday is November 24 this year- skip the mall and enjoy your local retailers that keep your money close to home and enrich your community. Farmers are the oldest small business there is. You might want to check out a year round farm and artisan market. Or visit an on-farm brewery or winery.
Wishing you a meaningful holiday- whatever that means to you- your friends at MCA
Local Food Connection
Community Supported Agriculture
Restaurants & Retail
Artists of the Reserve
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
P.O Box 24, Poolesville, MD 20837
301-461-9831 • firstname.lastname@example.org
MCA is proud to announce that we have been once again recognized as one of the best small charities in the D.C. region by Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. A panel of 110 expert reviewers from area foundations, corporate giving programs, and peer non-profit organizations evaluated 270 applications.
MCA is known as an effective and innovative non-profit whose efforts to preserve and promote Montgomery County’s nationally recognized 93,000 acre Ag Reserve have brought increased public and governmental support of local food production and farmland and open space preservation. Most importantly, MCA’s efforts are putting more farmers on the ground and keeping them there.