First Memorial Bench Dedication

Amy Henchey cuts the ribbon at the dedication of the North Woodside Memorial Bench in honor of her late husband, Woody Brosnan. Photo by Ryland Owen

On May 1, 2022, the NWCA Board and Community Design Committee dedicated the first North Woodside Memorial Bench, in honor of longtime community volunteer, Woody Brosnan. The short ceremony, held in the “pocket park” at the intersection of Lanier Drive and 3rd Avenue, included a ribbon cutting by Mr. Brosnan’s wife, current North Woodside resident and NWCA Secretary Amy Henchey, plus memories of Mr. Brosnan’s dedication to local service by neighbor Gus Bauman.

If you would like to contribute to the cost of the bench you may make a donation to the NWCA’s new Neighborhood Beautification and Memorial Fund. To donate by check or PayPal, follow the directions on our NWCA Dues page.

NWCA President Genevieve McDowell Owen and NWCA Secretary and Woody Brosnan’s wife Amy Henchey sit on the first North Woodside Memorial Bench while other board members, Community Design Committee members, and neighbors pose behind. Photo by Anna White

Letter from the President

Genevieve McDowell Owen

By Genevieve McDowell Owen, NWCA President

Personally, I’m not a fan of change. Snider’s, under the new ownership, still feels a bit weird to me every time I go in; I miss our neighborhood Staples even though Aldi replaced it some time ago; and I’m still adjusting, almost eight months later, to being an empty nester. Plus I can’t quite believe houses in North Woodside are now selling for a million dollars, some for over a million dollars. Maybe your house is worth that already. Wow. Can I mention that my husband and I bought our house in 2000 for $217,500? I don’t think our modest bungalow is worth $1,000,000 quite yet, but it’s now worth so much more now than I ever imagined it would be.

So change has already come to North Woodside. We are at the center (okay, technically bottom center) of a growing, affluent county bursting with new folks bringing innovation and eagerness to succeed right to our doorstep. But this boon is creating a big problem — lack of housing. It is one of the reasons our houses have increased so rapidly in value. Everyone wants to live in North Woodside. (And why wouldn’t they? It’s lovely, and close to shopping, good schools, and transportation.)

According to a recent Washington Post article, “(t)he supply shortage has grown so severe across the D.C. area that, in 2019, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments issued a sweeping call for local leaders to aggressively ramp up housing production. The association advised governments to approve a total of 320,000 homes by 2030, with a focus on affordably priced housing near jobs and transit.”

So Montgomery County has decided to embrace this population growth — it’s already proved to be a boon to our area, economically and culturally — and even plan for it. Because without a plan growth can cause problems, of course. It can strain services, increase commute times, worsen environmental conditions, and exacerbate inequality.

The plan, created by our Montgomery County Planning Board, is called Thrive Montgomery 2050 (Thrive). Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s a 30-year blueprint for population growth in our county that also addresses environmental and climate concerns, transportation, open-land preservation, quality-of-life issues like walkability and public art, and the pressing need for racial equity and social justice. If you’re not familiar with it, check out the Thrive section on the montgomeryplanning.org website.

I was delighted to be part of the team of NWCA Board members that brought together lots of folks with different perspectives to discuss the housing and zoning aspects of Thrive, and what changes it might bring to our corner of the county, at a neighborhood forum back in March. After planners from the Planning Board presented a quick outline of Thrive, North Woodside residents asked excellent questions of the six panel members representing all sides of the issue.

I was even more delighted that the neighborhood survey on Thrive, sponsored by the NWCA Board, garnered a record-breaking response, with 111 neighbors representing 99 households participating (a nearly 40% increase in individual participation — and at least 25% by household — compared to the last survey we conducted in Fall 2019). The results of the survey, which are available on our website, showed that a majority of the neighbors who took the survey support the way the county proposes to plan for the future.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 is still under review, and won’t be voted on by the County Council for a few more months (so there’s still time to make your voice heard!), but even before a plan is put in place, I’m grateful to live in a county that is committed to creating a green, just, and inclusive way to deal with a future of growth and change. It makes thinking about the coming changes easier for me, including the addition of much-needed housing to our area. I hope it does for you, too.

The above letter ran in the Spring 2022 issue of the Beacon.

Poll: Childcare During Annual Meeting

In a neighborhood survey conducted a few years ago, one of the reasons some neighbors cited for not having attended a NWCA Annual Meeting was lack of childcare.  In the interest of making the meeting more family friendly, the board is looking into several possible childcare options for the upcoming Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 25.

Before we proceed further, it would be helpful to get a sense of how many families would appreciate childcare being offered, the ages of their children, and if there is any preference between the various childcare options we are considering. Towards that end, we invite all parents of younger children (12 and under) to respond to a short poll by this Wednesday, May 11.

Based on the responses we will determine whether or not there is an interest in our providing childcare, and if so, which option/s makes most sense, based on the number and ages of the children, families’ preferences, relative cost, etc

Related, if there are any teens in the neighborhood who babysit and would be interested in assisting with childcare during the annual meeting, please contact the NWCA Communications Coordinator.

Memorial Bench Ceremony Invitation

Please join the NWCA’s Community Design Committee and the NWCA Board for the dedication of the first North Woodside Memorial Bench on Sunday, May 1st, at 11am. The new bench honors longtime community volunteer, Woody Brosnan, and will be located at the “pocket park” at the intersection of Lanier Drive and 3rd Avenue.

The short ceremony will include a ribbon cutting by Mr. Brosnan’s wife, current North Woodside resident and NWCA Secretary Amy Henchey, plus memories of Mr. Brosnan’s dedication to local service by neighbor Gus Bauman.

Donations of light refreshments for the event, such as cookies and drinks, would be greatly appreciated.

If you would like to contribute to the cost of the bench you may make a donation to the NWCA’s new Neighborhood Beautification and Memorial Fund. To donate by check or PayPal, follow the directions on our NWCA Dues page.

NWCA Annual Meeting 2022

Join us in person for the NWCA Annual Meeting!

The North Woodside Citizens Association annual meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 25th, 2022, at Grace Episcopal Church from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. The church is located at 1607 Grace Church Road, just across Georgia Avenue from North Woodside. We are excited to hold this year’s meeting in person again and to provide dinner and a chance to get together with neighbors. 

Pizza and beverages will be served starting at 6:30 pm, and the meeting will begin at 7:00 pm. If you plan to join us for dinner, please RSVP here by May 23rd, so we know how much pizza to order.

In addition to neighborhood updates and voting, the meeting will include a forum with the candidates running for our new County Council District 4: Al Carr, Amy Ginsburg, Troy Murtha, Kate Stewart, and John Zittrauer. Bring your questions for the candidates!

All North Woodside residents are encouraged to attend, however only NWCA member households will be allowed to vote on neighborhood issues and the slate of officers for the upcoming year. Residents can pay membership dues at the meeting by check or online.

UPDATE: *Free* childcare will be offered in a separate room during the meeting, to enable more families with younger children to attend.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 Neighborhood Survey Results

Last month the NWCA board hosted a neighborhood survey on the proposed Thrive Montgomery 2050 framework. The survey was open to all neighborhood residents (18+) from February 4-12, 2022 and promoted via the neighborhood listserv and printed flyers delivered to every neighborhood home. A total of 111 neighbors representing 99 households participated.

Overall, 55% of neighbors were either very or somewhat in favor of Thrive Montgomery 2050, while 19% were neutral, and 26% were somewhat or very opposed. View the full summary of survey results and a compilation of all comments submitted.

The NWCA board would like to thank all the neighbors who participated in the survey, as well as those who helped with its promotion.

Neighborhood Forum on County Housing Issues

By Genevieve McDowell Owen, President

Have you ever wondered “so what, exactly, is a ‘zoning text amendment’ and how might it affect me?” Or maybe you saw some posts on the neighborhood listserv about Thrive Montgomery 2050 and would like a better understanding of what it means for our community. These and other questions will be answered at a Zoom forum on February 6 at 7 pm. The NWCA Board invites all neighbors to join us for this informative 90-minute virtual neighborhood meeting.

The meeting will start with a brief, factual presentation on current county housing issues and initiatives, tailored to address specific questions submitted by you and your neighbors,* by Montgomery County Planning Board Project Manager Khalid Afzal. Then the meeting will move on to a balanced panel discussion featuring knowledgeable local folks with different perspective on the issue who will answer more neighborhood questions. Scheduled to participate are local real estate expert Liz Brent, founder of Go Brent Realty; President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation Alan Bowser; the Maryland Advocacy Manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth Jane Lyons; and longtime North Woodside resident Gus Bauman.

The link to the meeting will be posted on the listserv. Any neighborhood residents who wish to attend but don’t have access to the listserv, please contact the board’s President or Programs Coordinator.

NWCA Board Meetings

NWCA Board Meetings have been virtual for the past year. See you on zoom!


The first meeting of the year had record attendance and a full agenda. Stay tuned to this website for information about future meetings. All neighbors are welcome to attend. To request the zoom link and/or minutes of the last meeting, contact the NWCA Secretary. Minutes will also be posted in a folder in the neighborhood listserv’s file section.

Traffic and Safety Committee Updates

The new Talbot Avenue Bridge in September 2020, before construction halted.

Seminary Road Intersection

The bulk of the road construction work on this project will be completed in early November. Sometime within the next six months, trees and plants will be planted.

The portion of Seminary Road between Seminary Road and Seminary Place, which is now physically a continuation of 2nd Avenue, will be officially renamed 2nd Avenue.

The new traffic lights will be operational in early November and the county will then recalibrate the timing. Also, at that time the new streetlights will begin to work.

Talbot Avenue Bridge

As of Oct. 16, 2020, all construction stopped on the bridge. Due to the inconvenience and the eyesore of the partially built structure, Lyttonsville and Rosemary Hills neighborhood associations sent a letter to Gov. Hogan and other public officials requesting that Talbot Avenue Bridge construction be prioritized in Purple Line activities. After consultation with the members of the Traffic and Safety Committee, the NWCA Board sent a letter of support that also stated the following:

“As we foresee a greatly increased volume of traffic once the Talbot Bridge is opened, the North Woodside Association also wants to take this opportunity to remind Montgomery County, specifically the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, of its commitment, made to us last January and February in a public meeting and follow up emails, that once the Bridge is reopened the County will work with all three of our neighborhoods to mitigate any traffic disruptions.”

We believe that with the support of Lyttonsville and Rosemary Hills, we will obtain the traffic mitigations we’ll request in the future.

The approval of almost all types of mitigation requests is based on traffic-volume studies. So it would be wise to wait for the bridge to be open a few months and for the pandemic to have passed before requesting such a study.

2nd Avenue

Residents on 2nd Avenue have concerns about traffic speed and volume, particularly regarding pedestrian safety. The Traffic and Safety Committee will follow up with the county to request a review of all options for better traffic control and pedestrian protection.

— by Merrie Blocker and Julie Lees, Co-chairs, Traffic and Safety Committee

In Memoriam: Woody Brosnan

Woody Brosnan, a North Woodside resident for more than 30 years, died at home on April 15, 2020. Self-described as a “civic busybody” and called the Mayor of North Woodside by others, Woody was an active community volunteer and organizer, who served on the board of the North Woodside Citizens Association.

The news of his death spurred an outpouring of tributes, with neighbors describing him as a great neighbor; a kind and principled human being; a leader in our community; a decent, kind soul; a mainstay of the neighborhood; an anchor of the community and so many good causes; a tireless activist; and his death as a huge loss for our neighborhood and the larger community.

Woody, you will be missed. May we honor your memory by continuing your example of civic involvement. Memorial contributions can be made to Sligo Creek Golf Association, Safe Silver Spring, or Montgomery Hospice. For more information see his obituary.

Neighbor Tribute to Woody

Woody and family moved here at a period when I was president of our citizens association and then chairman of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC). It was during what the press called the Silver Spring War, between 1984 and 1996. As Woody became engaged with the issues (Purple Line was a part of the overarching struggles), we would talk. In time, he came to work for an At-Large County Councilmember who lived in the Bethesda area. In those years, he importantly brought to her office a perspective about Silver Spring’s unique character and attributes that she otherwise would not have had. She grasped the significance of a new Blair High School and Purple Line and revitalized downtown Silver Spring. As chairman of MNCPPC and thereafter, Woody would remind me of the value of our modest Sligo Golf Course, “Even though you’re no golfer, Gus.” I always valued Woody’s quiet voice.

—Gus Bauman

Resolution Honoring James “Woody” Brosnan

December 15, 2019

The North Woodside Citizens Association hereby resolves to honor the contributions of James “Woody” Brosnan to the neighborhood of North Woodside and the greater Silver Spring community.

As a longtime resident of North Woodside, and former president of the Citizens Association, Woody spent many years working to improve the quality of life of those who live here. His capacity to see all sides of an issue and pragmatic approach to problem solving have helped to shape the neighborhood’s approach to many issues.

His dedication to bettering the lives around him goes beyond his immediate neighborhood. In addition to serving on the Association’s executive board, Woody has also been a longtime member of the Presidents’ Council of Silver Spring Civic Associations (Prezco), co-founder of Safe Silver Spring, president of the Sligo Creek Golf Association, and staffer for former Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg. His leadership across a range of organizations has served to inspire others to get involved in efforts to improve the community.

Besides his community service, Woody is also well known as a loving husband and father and for his distinguished career as a journalist.

Those who live in North Woodside are lucky to have Woody Brosnan as a neighbor, friend and community leader. We take great honor in recognizing Woody’s contributions to our neighborhood and thanking him for his service and friendship.