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2018 Weather Re-Cap

And so the flood was upon the Earth for forty days and forty nights ... or so it seemed in 2018. Record rainfalls were the norm up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest. For perspective, BWI saw a record 71.82 inches of rainfall. That was well above the average of 39.74 inches and 9 inches more than the previous record. Reagan National reported a mere 66.28 inches. The record rainfall in 2018 impacted surveying, excavation, painting, roofing, septic testing, landscaping, etc.

We obviously took note of the impacts on stormwater management systems. Many clients observed their SWM systems “were always full” and “never seemed to drain.” For the most part these observations were accurate. Stormwater systems are typically designed to treat 1.5 to 2.0 inches of runoff, and to de-water after a rainfall event over the course of 48-72 hours. Older systems were only designed to treat about 0.5 inches of runoff. Consequently, most systems spent 2018 inundated with water. We are all looking forward to a drier 2019!

Montgomery County Zoning Nuances

Staying on top of the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance can be challenging. The first zoning ordinance was passed in 1928, since then there have been major re-writes in 1930, 1941, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1958, and 2014, as well as countless interpretations, amendments, policy changes, and court decisions. We take pride in knowing the current ordinance, as well as retaining valuable nuggets of knowledge from the days of yore.

For instance, the current minimum Rear Building Restriction Line in the R-60 zone is 20-feet. However, depending on the year in which a lot was recorded, rules from previous ordinances can be used to an owner’s advantage. The 1941 Zoning Ordinance included the following language, "There shall be a rear yard, having a minimum average depth of twenty feet but in no case less than fifteen feet in depth at any one point." We recently took advantage of this provision on several projects, including a small Bethesda corner lot with an angled rear lot line. As illustrated below, this interpretation gained valuable square footage and allowed for greater design flexibility.

Beer Here!

Last fall, the Montgomery County Council passed Zoning Text Amendment No. 18-03 unanimously, establishing and clarifying standards for Farm Alcohol Production in the Agricultural and Rural Residential Zones. The new regulations cover breweries, wineries, and cideries, and provide rules for alcohol production, tasting rooms, special events, etc. They also establish requirements for the on-site cultivation of ingredients (hops, grapes, apples, etc.).

Elder Pine Brewing & Blending

To see the ZTA in full effect be sure to visit [Elder Pine Brewing & Blending] this summer as they open their tasting room doors as the first “ground-up” farm brewery and tasting room in Montgomery County. Including Elder Pine Brewing and Blending, CAS Engineering counts two farm breweries, one urban craft brewery, and one winery among our Montgomery County clients.

We expect to see an increase in new venues as the Montgomery County farming community steps up to compete with the booming winery and brewery industry across the river in Loudon County, VA.

Mid-Century Modern

Over the years, we’ve worked on several Charles Goodman [Uncommon Architect] homes in the DC area. Most recently, we joined the team lead by KUBE Architects on an addition/renovation to a 1950 mid-century Goodman home in Silver Spring. The addition is a re-interpretation of the original home's mid-century design, nestled into the natural contours of the site and the challenging lot geometry. Our role was to balance stormwater management requirements while preserving the site’s natural topography and existing mature trees. This required close collaboration with KUBE, and Campion-Hruby Landscape Architects, ArborCare Tree Specialists and the use of several different types of SWM devices including gravel drywells and a green roof. This project was a featured [CRAN event], with presentations by KUBE, Campion-Hruby, CAS Engineering, and others.

A Beautiful Addition to the CAS Family

Congratulations go out to CAS Project Engineer Stephanie Fisher and her husband Harrison. Their first child, Isabella Anne was born on February 4th. Both Stephanie and Isabella are doing well. Stay tuned for more 2019 birth announcements!

Speaking of the Growing CAS Family...

CAS Engineering is looking for Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors in our Frederick, MD and Washington, DC offices. We offer 100% free health insurance, along with a bevy of benefits too numerous to list here. If you, or someone you know, would make a great addition to the CAS Team, click [here] to send us a resumé.

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