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Public Meeting Review

Northwest Branch Recreational Park Master Plan

Notes from Northwest Branch Recreational Park Master Plan Public Meeting
7:00 P.M. Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - Stonegate Elementary School, 14811 Notley Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905 - Draft Plan Map (2MB PDF)

The meeting was well attended and primarily consisted of nearby residents.


  • Trolley Museum Relocation – Construction is going well may be completed by end of January.
  • Planning Work – Has included: Environmental analysis, review of survey responses, and meeting with community residents. Survey responses indicated that many people wanted nature areas, family activities, and trails.  Festival and skateboard areas were not wanted.
  • Development of Preliminary Park Concepts

Proposed plans were guided by:

  • Need to stay out of environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Community desire for buffering existing homes.
  • Need to provide family picnic/playground areas to complement trolley museum activities.
  • Keeping noisier activities nearer the ICC and away from the neighborhood.
  • Results of public survey.

Meeting broke into the following 3 groups to look at preliminary concept ideas.

  • Proposed Recreation and Trolley Areas
  • Proposed Trails and Bicycle Activities
  • Proposed Environmental Interpretation

Meeting Notes

Comments were made by public in each group and included the following:

Recreation and Trolley Areas

Group Comments
  1. Community access concerns/protection of private property - Along boundary of house lots / Where trail is near homes
  2. Community Gardens - Deer might be a concern – not in survey – environmental damage problem – prefer more buffer. Did not want.
  3. Prefer wooded buffer to an open play area – Keep natural area.
  4. Buffer needs evergreens and should be wider extended north all the way to wooded area.
  5. Question regarding landfill interpretation
  6. Buffer playground from tracks – Possibly move playground farther from community.
  7. Increase neighborhood buffer.
  8. Playground will generate more traffic close to the neighborhood.
  9. Move access road farther away from neighborhood.
  10. Rear wall of trolley museum will be screened.
  11. Move informal play area above playground.

Trail and Bicycle Activities

Group Comments
  • Consider paving of small portion of Rachel Carson trail to allow community access on hard surface trail.
  • Bonifant Rd NOT suited for walking or biking.
  • Possibly have educational/interpretive signage along trails and throughout park.
  • Desire to remove hard surface loop within park interior- Promotes erosion.
  • Allow bicycle access to Matthew Henson Trail.

Environmental Interpretation

Group Comments
  • Use deer resistant plantings
  • Methane use/exhibit demo for kids could be done at landfill.
  • Keep parking off neighborhood streets by providing enough inside parking.
  • Buffer should include evergreens and extend past landfill (Make thicker)
  • OMIT (in orange) hard surface trail.  (Counter comment to keep trail)
  • Continue deer management. It is working but need to continue.
  • Use permeable pavement, rain gardens and other “green” storm water management techniques.

Next steps

  • Sergeant Lauryn McNeill asked everyone to enter Park Police number (301)949-3010 on their cell phones.
  • Notes from the public meeting will be put on the web.
  • Comments made will be considered during development of staff Draft Plan which may go to the Planning Board in late winter.
  • Revised plans will be available on the web before Planning Board Meeting.
  • Meetings will be held with Stonegate Committee and other interest groups.

Tanya Schmieler, Project Leader Email:, Phone: 301.650.4392

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Last updated: July 8, 2009