Volunteer organization dedicated to protecting the rural legacy and environmental health of Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve
Founded in 1973, the Sugarloaf Citizens’ Association (Sugarloaf) is a nonprofit organization of community volunteers with headquarters in the heart of Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve at the Linden Farm. As a dedicated network of citizens, we monitor and take action when zoning regulations in the Sugarloaf region are violated, the viability of farming is threatened or the environmental health of the area is compromised. As a result, Sugarloaf has established itself as a respected organization with considerable political clout. If you would like to know more about Sugarloaf or its current initiatives, please contact Beth Daly, President at [email protected]. Officers President -Beth Daly Vice President -Dick Hill and Ellen Gordon Secretary - Carrie Laurencot Treasurer - William Price e SCA 2014 Board Members Jim Brown Tina Brown Jim Choukas-Bradley Anne Cinque Jay Cinque Eric Cronquist Jaime Field Steve Findley Lauren Greenberger Jane Hunter Linda Pepe Gil Rocha Dan Savino John Thompson Election of Officers and Board Members by the Sugarloaf Membership takes place during the Annual Meeting.
Mission: Protecting our rural legacy
Another important event happening at the same time as the Climate Town Hall. If you're interested in hearing about what's happening on the Frederick County side of Sugarloaf country, mark your calendars for this meeting!
Come to the Climate Action Town Hall! Thursday, February 27 at 6 pm. Montgomery County has declared a climate emergency and set a goal of achieving 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2027, and 100% reduction by 2035.
At this town hall and open house, the five community-based climate planning workgroups will present their recommendations for Montgomery County to reduce GHG emissions, build resilience to climate impacts, and support more equitable communities now and in the future.
Members of the public will have an opportunity to review and provide feedback on the workgroup recommendations during the event.
Come learn about the climate workgroup recommendations to achieve zero emissions in Montgomery County by 2035. We want your input! Montgomery County has declared a climate emergency and set a goal of achieving 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2027, and 100% reduction by 2035. At this town hall and....
Whether you believe there's a role for solar in the Ag Reserve or not, we think we can all agree that it needs to be carefully considered. This ZTA rushes the process, and lacks protection for farmland and farmers, and ecosystems of all sorts (wetlands, forests). Our friends at MCA have made it easy to register your concerns, so please take a few minutes and follow up.
TAKE ACTION: MoCo paid experts/ enlisted stakeholders to develop Climate Change Plan. It is almost complete and is comprehensive. ZTA 20-01 sites solar arrays on 1800 acres of Ag Reserve w/ no safeguards for water/forests before the plan is finished. Yes it's a climate emergency but we have to get it right. https://conta.cc/2wzEtIx
Equine pasture help!
ANNOUNCEMENT: We're excited to tell you that this legislation has been tabled for this year! Representatives are calling for further research over the summer, to try to figure out how best to address deer damage of crops!! Your voice was heard!
There's still time to take action; please add your voice! This is about the safety of everyone who lives, works, enjoys being outdoors in the Ag Reserve.
Rifle shot can travel miles. New proposed law would allow rifles for deer culling 365 days a year in #Moco 's Ag Reserve on farms with deer management permits. (shotguns and bow hunting already allowed). Concerns? Take Action http://ow.ly/2N0L50y85yi
An important read: Washington Post’s Rebecca Tan covers Montgomery’s new MCA Land Link producers in this beautifully written piece.
This will be on the front page of the Metro section in the print edition tomorrow.￼ Take note of the landowner story... exceptional people.
“It just makes sense,” (MCA’s) Taylor said. “We have a million people in the county now. They aren’t all people who want to eat baked potatoes.”
If you have ever had any questions about how your septic system works--and how to make sure it keeps working--as well as how to ensure you've got clean well water, the Barnesville Green Team has the information session you've been waiting for! Thursday, January 23, 7 pm, Barnesville Town Hall. Parking at the Baptist Church. For more specifics, see the first "comment" on this post.
Rustic Martinsburg Rd in the snow, at SCA’s Linden Farm
Good morning Ag Reserve!
And please, if you need to text, pull over.
Rustic Roads are safe when drivers pay attention and do not speed. It is that simple.
Perdue, Vilsack and leading agricultural groups gathered in a Maryland barn to talk about the farm-country issue that dare not speak its name.
Besides supporting our neighbors, when we buy our food locally, we're also taking care of our own health. From the Organic Consumers Association:
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services Agency allows the use of the “Product of U.S.A.” label on any beef as long as the meat passed through a U.S.-based inspection plant, and/or was blended with meat from animals that were born and raised in the U.S.
Sales of grass-fed meat are nearly doubling annually. But about 80 percent of the grass-fed beef market is supplied by imports, compared with the total beef market where imports make up only 9 percent.
Those imports often carry a “Product of U.S.A.” label just because they passed through a U.S. processing plant, so U.S. grass-fed and grass-finished beef producers are hit hard by this policy.U.S. producers can’t differentiate their product in the grocery store from imported beef.
Happy World Soils Day!!
Today is World Soil Day, and though the radio stations and department stores have skipped ahead to festivities later in December, we at AFT want to pause and recognize the unsung heroes beneath our feet.
Good morning Ag Reserve! What we lose in hours of daylight at this time of year is somewhat alleviated by what we gain from the amazing way the winter sun illuminates our landscape!
A beautiful Ag Reserve sunset--looking toward the industrialized cluster in Dickerson, where within about 1 square mile we have: a coal-fired power plant, gas-fired power plant, county garbage incinerator, composting facility for county grass and leaves and a coal ash landfill that's leaking into ground and surface water. These human health and ecosystem threats are why SCA will never stop fighting against the siting of yet more undesirable land uses in the Reserve.
Monthly SCA Board Meeting tonight at Linden Farm, 7:30 pm. Members welcome to attend!
A well deserved recognition of an Ag Reserve ally!
Join us for Conservation Montgomery's Annual Meeting, Friday, November 8, 2019 in Bethesda. Our featured speaker is Serenella Linares of Audubon Naturalist Society. This year's recipient of the Joe Howard Environmental Award is Caroline Taylor of Montgomery Countryside Alliance. It's a party! and everyone is invited! We hope to see you there. At the Writers Center. RSVP at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=7ochkydab&oeidk=a07egjfevkdb711d444
A wonderful video about this place we call home, the Agriculture Reserve. Worth watching it all, but be sure not to miss the middle segment, about SCA & the history of Linden Farm!!!
Join "Ride for the Reserve" that celebrates the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve; tour Linden Farm in Boyds; learn about the Rustic Roads program; and ...
A recent state survey found that both Cecil and Harford counties have established populations of the invasive species. The state has attempted to reduce the lanternfly populations by treating about 2,700 trees in those two counties.
Maryland’s Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine in an effort to contain the invasive species the spotted lanternfly in Cecil and Harford counties.
Good morning Ag Reserve!
From the ridiculous (our last post being about relaxing coal ash disposal requirements) to the sublime!
This is an opportunity to hear some amazing music--and benefit an important cultural site in the Ag Reserve!!
Warren Historic Site Committee, Inc.
A Gospel Extravaganza Fundraiser
Sunday, October 13, 2019 ~ 3:30 PM
Warren Historic Site
22625 Whites Ferry Road
Dickerson, Maryland 20842
~~ Gospel Singing Groups ~~
Who So Ever Will
Tree of Life
Refreshments before service @ 2:30 PM!!
The Dickerson power plant can still burn coal, and we still have a huge coal ash landfill on Martinsburg Rd that's known to be contaminating our groundwater. Now the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a weakening of coal ash regulations that would eliminate nearly any control on how coal ash is handled! EPA's virtual hearing is on October 10. If you're concerned, register to speak by October 7!
Would you be willing to take a minute of your time to tell EPA weakening coal ash regulations is a really bad idea? I testified last week at the public hearing held by the Environmental Protection Agency on its incredibly ill-founded new proposed regulations concerning disposal of coal combustion re
Opinion | Montgomery’s Agricultural Reserve has a dark side
For decades, the county has neglected the western part of the county.
More good news, just over the border in Frederick County!
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling Thursday that nullified a 2014 agreement between Frederick County and developers of the proposed Monrovia Town Center.
Maryland denies permit, blocking Georgetown-sponsored solar farm that would clear Charles County forest
Solar belongs on rooftops, brownfields, parking lots, highway medians and maybe on campus lawns—not destroying forests or farmland.
Maryland environmental officials have denied a permit for a Georgetown University solar project proposed on hundreds of acres of forest in Charles County.
Happy to have a Council member learning more about the Ag Reserve!
On Thursday, I spent the afternoon visiting the Montgomery Ag Reserve with the Montgomery Countryside Alliance and Sugarloaf Citizens Association. Thank you to Kingsbury's Orchard, Rocklands Farm Winery, Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary and to Gwen Reese and Gene Kingsbury of the Historic St. Paul’s Community Church where the Sugarland Ethno History Project is housed for wonderful discussions. I look forward to bringing my family back out to visit.
Mark your calendars for August 22nd!
📍This meeting notice just in. The original Pulte plan would have put nearly 1000 homes in this environmentally sensitive area. Great collaborative effort was made to provide science based limit to the density in the Ten Mile Creek watershed. Pulte sued to regain their maximum development potential. They lost. But here they are again... less homes at 312 but still significant disturbance to forest, field and watershed... and in an area busting at the seams with sprawl (not transit centered) development.
Pristine Ten Mile Creek flows into Seneca Lake which serves as a drinking water reservoir for over 4.3 million area residents. Both deserve full protection. The area is also above the fragile sole source drinking water aquifer that is the only source of water for much of rural MC.
Have you driven through Clarksburg lately? 😳How do you feel about more development there?
On behalf of Pulte Home Corporation (the “Applicant”), we cordially invite you to attend a meeting to review plans for the development of the property located along Clarksburg Road MD Route 121, across from the Cabin Branch community. The Property consists of approximately 400.1 acres of land. The Property is zoned Rural Neighborhood Cluster (RNC) within the Clarksburg West Environmental Overlay.
The Applicant will be filing an application for a Preliminary Plan with the Montgomery County Planning Board in the near future. The Property will be developed with 312 residential units including 197 single family houses, 114 townhouses, and the existing Cephas house, and will include a major dedication of parkland along Ten Mile Creek.
The meeting will be held beginning at 7:00 PM on Thursday August 22, 2019 at the Clarksburg Cottage, 23201 Stringtown Road, Clarksburg, MD 20871.
Sugarloaf Citizens Association's cover photo
Something interesting to think about while we enjoy today’s cooler interlude!
Millions of acres of corn pushing moisture into the air make summers stickier in the U.S.
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
Reads in part:
Foulger-Pratt CEO Cameron Pratt also lamented the county's weak job growth numbers, but he said the critical issue that needs to be addressed is transportation. He said the county should look to build a new bridge crossing the Potomac River to the Reston and Dulles area, an idea that has been put forward for decades but hasn't moved forward. "Drive out to the Toll Road and look at the number of jobs being created just a few miles away on the other side of the river," Pratt said. "We've got this Great Wall of China, which is the Potomac River, that nobody can cross because there's one access point down at the American Legion Bridge. If we could connect to all of the economic activity in Northern Virginia and the Dulles Toll Road by building a bridge, all of a sudden Gaithersburg and Germantown become connected instantly." A lack of political will to take on the thorny project has been cited as the reason it hasn't gotten off the ground. It would likely cut through an agricultural reserve on Maryland's side of the Potomac and parkland or the Trump National Golf Course on Virginia's, according to Bethesda Magazine. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe once said he wouldn't help fund the river because it's Maryland's jurisdiction. Riemer said he agreed with Pratt's idea of creating better connections with Northern Virginia. He did not explicitly endorse a new bridge, instead promoting an expansion of the existing bridge's capacity.
Where does (or did last year)Councilmember Riemer really stand on the outer beltway... see last question from MCA’s formal candidate’s survey:
Smart growth? More pavement and lack of addressing climate change? Anything but...
We don't need dirty coal at the Dickerson power plant, but imagine if that facility instead was generating power onsite with solar--maybe even some wind. In a victory for Sugarloaf country, maybe we've taken the first step that direction!
A court ruled against the company (GenOn Energy) that owns the Dickerson power plant in GenOn's attempt to challenge its permit under provisions of the Clean Water Act.
The Maryland Department of the Environment in 2018 issued updated Clean Water Act permits for three of Maryland's six coal-fired power plants. The permits incorporate new federal limits on several toxic pollutants including arsenic, mercury, selenium, and nitrogen.
GenOn challenged the permits for its Dickerson, Morgantown (Charles County), and Chalk Point (Prince George's County) coal-fired power plants.
On June 7, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge denying all relief sought by GenOn.
Said Phillip Musegaas, vice president of litigation for the Potomac Riverkeeper Network: "This ruling is a win for the Potomac River and Marylanders....it's high time Dickerson and other coal plants are held to the strictest standards to keep toxic pollution out of our rivers."
A Maryland first!!
Check back for future posts on our efforts to promote regenerative agriculture on Linden Farm!
Site visit with Sugarloaf Citizens Association (SCA) and Greg Glenn Jr. of Rocklands Farm at Linden Farm. This is acreage that is available through MCA’s Land Link program. SCA’s goal is to utilize the site to promote regenerative practices to produce food and educate. Hella good soil at this site...
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
📢Barnesville Oaks... quick update!
Summary: Board did not grant the applicant’s Request... they did not deny it either.
Read More here and on our website with link to hearing - warning complex:
First, a huge thanks to the over 385 folks that wrote in on this issue. Truly a remarkable response and an indication of how much people care about the Reserve and the integrity of our prime farmland and public trust in local government. Bravo!
Second big thanks to Peter Gimbrere, Kerri Cook on behalf of the town of Poolesville, Dolores Milmoe, Marie Shepard, The League of Women Voters, and Ginny Barnes for their strong in person testimony.
Hooray for Barnesville and Poolesville (both wrote in)- the municipalities that treasure the Reserve!
The hearing can best be described as a waay down county board and staff wrestling, largely ineffectively, (and/or disinterested) with up county/Reserve issues. Board and some staff folks seemed confused over key points. Some Staff had key facts incorrect.
But both Chair Anderson and board member Patterson voiced strong concern about approving this request wo knowing what the applicant is proposing to do.... “it’s a wild card,” said Tina Patterson.
In the end the Board asked the applicant, clearly now stated as Duffy builders, to bring their pre-preliminary plan for subdivision and at that time the board will review the particulars. Be clear: the board stated that the provision of Zoning Text Amendment 17-06 which allows for farm labor housing in the Reserve wo needing a development right (TDR) would be applied uniformly and therefore to this property. So the applicant frees up 2 TDRs. Would these be buildable on the farm parcel, effectively undermining the protection of the prime farm remainders? Or would the Duffy folks be able to benefit from the sale of the TDR’s for development elsewhere ? That would be the subject of future debate.
Chair Anderson and Planning Director Gwen Wright indicated that staff will address the important issues we raised with the developer and land seller placed covenants that limit farming on all 3 of the subdivided parcels as well as non- conformance with hard fought condition requiring public access/maintenance of the public use trail.
20900 Martinsburg Rd
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