Potomac Hill’s Master Plan

The town of Potomac Hills’ town council has turned down any expansion of the master plan. The AD News covers part of the issue with their article, “Growth restrictions drive up Potomac Hills real estate prices.” I sat through the master plan meetings and it was clear what most of the town residents were requesting. Relief from the exponential rise in housing costs and the concern of the loss of the town character based on the demographic that could afford the price of homes. They are concerned that more working people will need to move further and further down valley. They were concerned about the environmental impact of cars being on the road longer as workers commute longer and longer distances through the valley. Sandy Lucas was much more diplomatic in the article than I would have been. The council had a number of different master plan options to work with.

I can certainly understand the desire to keep a town small. But at the end of the day, what is happening to the real estate market in Potomac Hills is a case study in basic supply and demand economics. The council could have made a different choice and provided solutions to many of the housing issues the town currently faces.

Below please find the AD News article from today.

AD News: The Potomac Hills Town Council’s conservative stance on development is having a marked impact on the midvalley market. Town planners are seeing an increase in applications for development within the town’s the urban growth boundary, according to Potomac Hills town planner Kevin Lidt.

“Our perspective is that (limits on growth) have increased the examination of properties and the speculation of properties by Realtors and developers. People have expressed more interest, and that’s kept us busier,” Lidt said on Wednesday.

Lidt, who spent seven years as a senior planner for the city of Anthony Lakes, does not expect a moratorium on development from City Council any time soon.

“As far as general land-use applications, we have different code requirements in Potomac Hills (than they do in Anthony Lakes),” said Lidt, who takes his direction from council and evaluates applications accordingly.

While acknowledging that Potomac Hills is experiencing a similar real estate frenzy to Anthony Lakes’ from a few years ago, Lidt was hesitant to draw exacting parallels.

“Potomac Hills doesn’t have the level of affordable housing that Anthony Lakes has, for example, and we might come up with different solutions, because we haven’t even hashed out our master plan yet.”

An ungainly gap between high-end properties and affordable housing units is at least one Anthony Lakes phenomenon now appearing in Potomac Hills. In addition, subdivision HOAs have been the cause for some controversy.

Mark Stephens, who runs Car Treatments from his home and is known for his “Ask a Mechanic” service, believes he was unfairly targeted by a nearby housing development. While he lives on 8 acres and is not part of the development, he has received complaints from other homeowners due to what they believe is a violation of the noise ordinance, a claim he strongly disputes.

Last week’s direction by Town Council to craft a master plan that does not allow development outside of the urban growth boundary should increase infill but might drive up prices, according to Potomac Hills real estate agent Sandy Lucas.

“The market is getting skewed as developers are forced to build and sell high-end property to recap losses from affordable housing mandates,” said Lucas, who also hosts a weekly radio talk show, “Real Estate Royalty,” on KNFO-FM.

Lucas sees a definite correlation between development restrictions and increases in prices.

“When you turn down projects or don’t give approvals for others, there’s a shortage of inventory. That creates a scurrying around for what is available,” Lucas said. “Now there’s a bidding war for what is available. Prices are going up, and they will continue to go up. There’s no question in my mind. I don’t see it slowing down.”

The increase in development applications in the town of Potomac Hills — if they materialize into new inventory — will hopefully stabilize prices somewhat, said Lucas.

Real estate sales in April seem to confirm Lucas’ opinion. In Potomac Hills and the midland area, April notched the highest total sales figure for any April on record — nearly $214 million from 208 transactions, with an average sale price of more than $1 million. Year to date, the total sales volume is up 27 percent compared with the same period in 2017.

“(The new) Stonebridge (development) is a step in the right direction for alleviating some of this pressure. We have to believe in (the Town Council). They know more than we do,” Lucas added. “But it would be nice if they allowed more development. Maybe there’d be an easing of the market that would allow more people to get in.”

Tankless Water Heaters are Here to Stay

The world is changing and new technology is taking over slowly with a promise to make life easier than ever. Convenience and faster gratification are what matters today when purchasing any product. As a homeowner, you deserve to be able to take a warm shower whenever you need it.

The tankless water heater is the latest water heating technology that you need to have in your home. Many people are used to traditional tank water heaters which have been used for decades but now tankless water heaters are gaining in popularity. Ask anyone who’s switched to a tankless model and they’ll confirm how effective and convenient they are, even more than the tank water heaters.

What are some benefits of the tankless water heater?

Sometimes it can be hard to convince people to adopt a new technology since they are used to the old one. The same applies to tankless water heaters. Some people are simply comfortable with their old tank water heater, but most who have tried tankless never want to go back to the old way.

Tankless water heaters can be powered by natural gas, electricity or even the solar power. There is a big difference when it comes to advantages of using a tankless water heater over the tank water heater. Below are some comparisons:

Image credit: Water Heater Hub

Energy saving

Tankless water heaters just like the name have no tank, meaning you will only heat the water when you need it. No water continues to heat when you don’t need it which is the case if you are using the tank water heater. In short, you save a lot of energy when using a tankless model unlike when using tank water heater where there is standby heat loss.

Instant Hot Water

Tankless water heaters will provide you with hot water when you need it, unlike a water tank heater where the water is always heated. Yes the hot water still has to travel the length of the pipes in either case, but with a tankless model, you’ll get hot water anytime versus having to wait for a tank model to heat up the water within if there’s not enough hot water.

  • Tank: sometimes you will have to fill the tank with water and reheat in case it runs out which can be time wasting.
  • Tankless: the only limitation you will experience here is the amount of appliances using the hot water at the same time.


There is a very big difference when it comes to sizes of the two products. Consider the space you have in your garage or home before making a decision on what water heater to purchase.

  • Tank: Usually 4 to 6 feet high with at least 40-70 gallon capacity, which means you will need to allocate enough space if you wish to install this water heater in your house.
  • Tankless: these models can be mounted to a wall and work effectively. You won’t even need a square foot space to install them.


Every product has a lifespan and tankless water heaters are not any different. However, you’ll generally get a few more years out of them versus tank models.

  • Tank: a good quality tank water heater will serve you for around 8 years and if you are lucky you can enjoy them for 12 years. After that, water heater leaks begin to get more common as the tank gets old.
  • Tankless: the amazing part of these water heaters is that they will typically serve you for over 20 years before they start developing any problems.

In summary, you have enough reason to shift today from tank to tankless water heaters. If you are building your house then you should most definitely consider a tankless model and enjoy the value for your money. Consult plumbing experts (or neighbors who have a tankless) to help you get the best tankless water heater for your home.

Home Design Trends for Modern Families

American family life is vastly different than it was in the 50s and 60s, when Dad went to work from 9 to 5 every day and Mom was a homemaker. Gone are the days when family sat down to eat together in a dining room every evening and retired to the living room afterward to gather around the television set. Also gone are the homes design principles that reflected this traditional way of life; kitchens are no longer just for cooking, living rooms now serve as multifunctional entertaining spaces, and many modern homes don’t even have dining rooms. Below are just a few home design trends that are designed to meet the needs of the modern American family.

Multi-Generational Homes

With more and more people providing care for elderly parents, living with their parents to save up for a down payment, or relying on grandparents to provide child care, multi-generational homes are fast becoming the norm. Many homes today now have separate in-law/nanny suites complete with ensure bathrooms, distinct sitting areas, and even private balconies. Also popular in modern homes are “flex spaces” – multifunctional rooms that can be used as anything from a second living room to a dormitory-style bedroom.

Home Offices

Most homes today have computer workspaces. These workspaces range from a basic computer desk that takes up a small corner of a kitchen to a fully-equipped office or workshop. The need for a dedicated workspace in the home has brought with it changes in traditional home design; new homes have supply closets, places to store office equipment, and even built-in “charging stations.” Whether they work exclusively from home or simply want a dedicated space in the home for sorting bills and other important documents, homebuyers are increasingly seeking out properties with distinctly separate working spaces.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Patios and decks have always been popular home features when it comes to outdoor entertaining. Modern homes take outdoor entertaining even further with covered patios, screened verandas, and even outdoor living rooms. Fire pits are also growing in popularity, as they are inexpensive and provide 360-degree seating – unlike traditional indoor fireplaces. When looking for your next home, consider how much time you spend entertaining outdoors. Covered patios make for versatile outdoor living spaces, but depending on the climate where you live, a screened-in porch can be even better.

Casual Entertaining Spaces

Whereas in the past, the kitchen was designed solely for cooking and the dining room designed specifically for serving and enjoying meals, today’s homes are designed to accommodate a more casual style of living and entertaining. The primary entertaining space in modern homes is the kitchen – not the drawing room or even the living room. And as kitchen islands and kitchen tables have replaced dining and living rooms, modern home design has changed to meet the needs of homeowners with relaxed lifestyles. No longer do the kitchen, living, and dining rooms need to be separate spaces; today’s open floor plans usually feature kitchens that seamlessly flow into living rooms, dining rooms, and outdoor entertaining spaces.