MCA along with many others have serious concerns that this plan does not meet the moment in terms of climate challenges, water protection, and notably addressing the missing middle housing without gentrifying vulnerable residents out of established neighborhoods. As part of the Stormwater Partners Network, and as MCA individually, we made our concerns known - among them:
-Generally the plan as approved has taken out portions related to Environmental protection and relegated them to an appendix section, a section that is non-binding and not part of the plan to be implemented. Across the board - the October 2020 version parts that were relegated to the appendix need to come back to the main, implementable document.
-Much effort went into developing the County's Climate Action Plan (CAP) - the Thrive 2050 plan needs to mirror these commitments in land use, transportation and environmental protection.
-The Thrive plan also needs to specifically state a "no net loss of forests" policy and adopt policies to increase forest canopy, particularly in underserved areas where studies are showing tree canopy is disproportionately lacking-with real impacts on public health.
You can take two minutes to send a letter to the Council (before 7/9) here.
The draft plan falls short in ways that significantly weaken its ability to guide our County toward resilience. Between December 2020 and March 2021 various revisions made to the public hearing draft erased content largely relegating environmental protection, climate change response and the role of the Agricultural Reserve to an appendix of suggested actions. The transmittal letter noted that the appendices are not part of the plan. We ask that that council review the previous draft and return to the plan those deleted sections that best help Montgomery County meet its goals, especially those related to climate change resilience.
Hear our plea for a necessary focus on the environment, with emphasis on water resources and forests, through the words of county resident Rachael Carson:
Of all our natural resources water has become the most precious. In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of indifference. Rachael Carson from Silent Spring
We applaud the plan’s focus on racial equity and social inclusion but caution that the focus on urbanism to the exclusion of or indifference to environmental stewardship, a robust local food system, and climate change response is deeply concerning. By what standard do we measure this plan’s success? If we employ only a short term focused economic lens… we fail and we agree with the Plan when it notes that there is “little room for error.”
- Audubon Naturalist Society
-Darnestown Civic Association
-The Agricultural Advisory Committee