Town Council News
Next meeting: Monday » 04.09.12 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.
Actions at the March 12th & 26th meetings included:
- approval of hiring the law firm Knopf & Brown to support the opposition to the proposed rezoning at the Towne Crest apartment complex.
- approval of the purchase of a new furnace for lower McCathran Hall.
- acceptance of the Planning Commission’s evaluation of the Towne Crest Apartment Complex Redevelopment Proposal.
- acceptance of the three (3) year refuse and recycling bid from Potomac Disposal, Inc.
Town elections are coming up on May 12. So far we have one nomination for Mayor (Georgette Cole) and two for Council (Greg Silber and David Young). Additional nominations can be submitted until April 9. If you wish to nominate someone, please send the nomination to Meredith Horan the Chair of the Board of Elections (PO Box 337 or at 127 Maple Ave). If you are interested in running and would like to know more about what is entailed, please feel free to talk to any Council member or the Mayor.
Annual Town Meeting is set for May 12, 2012 at 8:00p.m. with refreshments to follow the meeting.
New Refuse & Recycling Contractor Selected
The Council voted on the three (3) Trash/Recycling bids that were opened at the March 12 Council Meeting. The bids cover a three year contract period. Our current contractor, Montgomery County Sanitation & Recycling, bid $49,869 per year. Unity Disposal & Recycling bid $45,120 per year and Potomac Disposal Inc bid $21,600 per year. During the intervening two weeks the Town Clerk ascertained that the respective bids all covered the same services and that all the conditions a municipality requires from a contractor would be met. The references of the two new contractors were investigated thoroughly and both have strongly favorable ratings from their current customers. Although Montgomery Sanitation has done a highly satisfactory job for the Town, the Council felt we had a fiduciary responsibility to our residents to accept the lower bid from Potomac Disposal. The net result will be a reduction in the dwelling tax per household from $225 per year to just under $100 per year. Potomac Disposal will begin collecting in July. Look for the funny lookin’ green and yellow trucks!
Towne Crest Redevelopment Proposal
The owners of Towne Crest Apartments have submitted a proposal for a Local Map Amendment that would rezone the Towne Crest Apartment area, which borders both Daylily Lane and our West Woods, to a PD60 designation. Under this proposal the number of dwelling units would go from 107 to 469. Thanks to careful work by the Planning Commission the impact on the Town is now clear. The critical areas are:
- PD is a designation for a "planned development zone". These are designed "to produce a balanced mixture of residential and commercial uses in a pedestrian-friendly community" but existing and planned commercial and employment uses are all far off-site so the overwhelming majority of trips from Towne Crest will be by automobile. This is NOT what the PD zones are used for.
- It certainly doesn’t qualify as "transit oriented development"—That is supposed to be within walking distance of fixed transit like the Shady Grove Metro Station. And, ironically, the densest development proposed next to the Metro Station is only 34 units per acre, not the 60 units per acre in the Towne Crest proposal. That just doesn’t make sense.
- Towne Crest is currently R-30/RT-12.5 (12.5 units per acre) designed to be compatible with Washington Grove Daylily Lane and Saybrooke which are both 6 units per acre. A change to 60 units per acre is outrageous.
- The proposed buildings are taller than is compatible. Right in back of the 2-story single family Daylily Lane homes they propose a 3-story and a 4-story building. If you have driven into Old Town Gaithersburg recently you have an idea of what a 4-story apartment building looks like from the new Archstone complex on East Diamond Ave. Behind these two buildings and adjacent to our West Woods (and the Saybrooke community) they propose two FIVE Story, VERY large apartment buildings.
- In order to access the parking for these two 5-story buildings they propose an access road right next to the West Woods. To do this they want to put in a retaining wall next to the woods. Parking for the first two buildings and the retaining wall and road will damage over 35% of the critical root zone of NINE of OUR trees. These trees are marked for removal. All can and should be in the SAVE category if the development is pulled further back from the property line.
At our February 13 meeting the Council voted up to $5,000 to consult with legal counsel to support our opposition to the proposal. At our March 26 Council meeting I explained the Towne Crest proposal to interested residents. The Council formally accepted the Planning Commission’s Evaluation of Towne Crest Apartments Redevelopment Proposal. Material on the proposal and our response is being posted on the Town Web Site. You will find Towne Crest Issues Overview which includes a map of the existing buildings. There is also a map of the proposed new building arrangement. The lack of green space provided for recreation compared to the current plan is very notable. The Planning Commission Evaluation will also be posted.
Homestead Credit Reminder
Most Town residents recently received their three year assessment for property tax. This is the time to file for the Homestead Tax Credit if you have not already done so. If you need to file, your assessment should have included the form you need to fill out otherwise it can be found on-line. If you have done this previously you do not need to do it again.
Attention Washington Grove Taxpayers
Every year the Town of Washington Grove receives a portion of the Maryland State tax paid by Town residents. Because our residents do not have mail delivered to street addresses, this presents a challenge for the State Comptroller’s office when attributing the taxes collected to Washington Grove. It is critical that all Washington Grove residents (including renters!) designate "Washington Grove." For Maryland IFile, under "Name of county and incorporated city, town, or special taxing area in which you were a resident on the last day of the taxable period", select "Montgomery, Washington Grove" from the drop down menu. This block is separate from the address blocks. Turbo Tax and H&R Block software also include drop down menus where you may select "Montgomery County" and then "Washington Grove." Please share this information with your renters and your tax preparer if appropriate. This DOES NOT increase your taxes, but DOES help ensure that the Town receives its proper share of local income tax revenue. Thanks for your help! Questions, call Treasurer Mary Challstrom at 301-926-4498.
We are still trying to encourage the use of the field as a "local park". Because of this I have asked Steve Werts not to mow the field until further notice. We are going to let the grass grow longer and try to give the field a bit of a resting period.
Street Light Conversion
The conversion of our streetlamps from incandescent to induction is finished or close to it. I’d like to clarify the process for applications to the Outdoor Lighting Advisory Committee. If you have a request for a new shield on a lamp shining into your home or if you have a suggestion for the addition of a new pole or subtraction of an existing one, you can submit this to Kathy Lehman at the Town Office. The Committee and Council liaison will review the applications and coordinate the installation of the new shields. The addition or removal of light poles will be reviewed by the Committee, but can only be decided by the Town Council. Since this is a matter of public safety there are multiple factors, including significant public input that will be needed. The Mayor and Council want to assure residents that such decisions will not be undertaken without due process.
Planning Commission News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 03.07.12 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. If you are going to erect a building or structure (including fences), make structural alterations to, or move any existing building or other structure, you must first obtain a building permit from the Washington Grove Planning Commission. All permit applications must be received in the Town Office fourteen (14) days prior to the Planning Commission meeting at which they will receive their initial review. The applicant must post a "Notice To Neighbors" sign within seven (7) days of receiving it from the Town Clerk. The Planning Commission will not act on an application unless the Notice To Neighbors sign was posted in a timely fashion as confirmed by the Commission. Please contact the Town Office (301-926-2256) or firstname.lastname@example.org, or see the Town website: www.washingtongrovemd.org for more details. The Historic Preservation Commission will review most permit applications as well.
Permits up for discussion on March 7:
- 201 Maple Rd. » enclose carport » denied
Permits up for discussion on April 4:
- 358 Ridge Rd. » fence
Historic Preservation News
Next meeting: Tuesday » 04.17.12 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. Meetings are open to the public.
Fourth in a Series
The Historic Preservation Commission Design Guidelines for Exterior Changes are being included in the Bulletin, over a series of months, in easy-to-digest segments. We hope this will deepen your appreciation of our Town’s unique physical characteristics. This month’s segment examines the contribution of our homes’ materials, siting, and orientation to the Town’s character.
Siting and Orientation
- The houses do not present a single façade in terms of materials or detailing. They are conceived to “blend into their surroundings” and ensure the “lots meld with the natural surroundings without boundaries.” They secondarily relate to several orientations (walkways, roads, alleys, and side yards) through the use of multiple porches and entrances.
- The relationship with the walkway should be reinforced as the primary symbolic entrance, best achieved with a porch, “from which the residents greet their strolling neighbors and enjoy the cool evening air.”
- Garages should be visually separated from the main house and/or garage doors should not share a principal face of the residence. The use of breezeways or enclosed halls to pull a house and an accessory structure together is not encouraged; instead maintenance of the original separation of the main building from the accessory structures is seen as a means of preservation of the original character of the Town.
- Surfaces of natural materials including wood siding, cedar shingles, stucco, etc. that are part of “that non-tangible element which makes the Grove houses unique, that of integrating the houses into the forest. This “Town within a forest” is also a town of the forest for the height of the houses, their narrow peaked roofs reaching for the sky and the fact that the majority are of wood make them blend into their surroundings so well that it is often difficult to know precisely what the extent of the house really is.”
Next month’s topic will be the contribution of Elements and Detailing to the Town’s character.
Recreation Committee News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 06.20.12@ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend. New members always welcome!
Barry the Magician
Sunday, April 15
Come see magic up close! Magician Barry Taylor has been amazing audiences for over 30 years. Invite your family and friends to witness this fast-paced show, full of surprises and laughter. McCathran Hall, 2 pm, no charge
Polka Dance with The Continentals
Fri., June 15
McCathran Hall, 7:30-10:30 p.m., no charge
Get out your dancing shoes and get ready for Washington’s premiere polka band. Kicking off Music Weekend, this versatile group of musicians will play a wide variety of dance music. Check out their website at www.mikesurratt.com.
King Soul will return on Saturday, June 16 at the Gazebo and Homewood Brass will perform at the Baroque Breakfast on Sun., June 17.
More details to follow in upcoming Town Bulletins.
All events sponsored by the Washington Grove Recreation Committee
MOUSETRAP Concert Five
Sunday, April 22, 2012 – 3:00 p.m.
Dina Kuznetsova, soprano
Lidia Frumkin, piano
Music from Czechoslovakia & Russia
Call Alice Negin (301-926-2858) for tickets. This is the final concert for the season. Don’t miss it!!
Zumba comes to Washington Grove!
Wednesday nights 7:30-8:30 in McCathran Hall, April 11th – May 30th.
Join us for an energizing hour of zumba! Our class will be "low-impact" but aerobic. We’ll dance salsa, hip hop, flamenco, merengue, and other fun styles to high-energy Latin and international songs. No dance experience needed and all fitness levels are welcome at this drop-in class – come for one class or come for all eight! Cost is $5.00/class payable to Washington Grove. Our instructor, Ingeborg McCright has danced in her youth (jazz and hip hop) but her passion for zumba ignited recently in 2009. She teaches to a variety of fitness levels – classes are adapted to the participants to ensure that everyone is having fun while working out. Come get in-shape with us and discover that your energy levels will soar! Contact Carolyn Rapkievian for more information. Sponsored by the Recreation Committee.
- Easter Week Events: April 5th–At 6:30 pm join us for a Soup and Bread Lenten supper, and at 7:30 pm for the Maundy Thursday service with communion;
- April 8th–Easter Sunrise service will take place at 6:40 am in the field on Ridge Road, followed by breakfast at church, then at 11 am come to the celebratory Easter service at church, when Summer Leng Fiala’s daughter, will be baptized!
- April 14th: Celebrate Spring with food, pony rides, craft fair, face painting, bake sale, cookie decorating, and a silent auction! The WGUMC Spring Festival will be held on the church grounds from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday, April 14th. Pony rides from 11 am to 1 pm. All are welcome!
- Grove Relief Rebuilding Project: Would you like to help this year? Let Judy know email@example.com that you are interested. Through Rebuilding Together of Montgomery County, we are in the process of arranging the building of a ramp for a handicapped person in Poolesville. Stay tuned, the project will take place on the May 19th weekend.
Woman’s Club News
Annual Egg Hunt!
This year’s Egg Hunt will be on Saturday, April 14th from 1-3 p.m. Wouldn’t you love to be in on the fun? If you don’t see yourself as an egg-seeker, you can be an egg filler or an egg hider! You could help with the crafts party in the Hall, bring cookies or brownies as treats, help clean up, or simply rally round making sure everyone is having a great time. Empty eggs, labeled by age group, will be available starting April 5 at the homes of Mandy Roberts, 123 Grove Ave. and Joan Mahaffey 102 Ridge Road. You can pick up as many as you like and return the filled eggs by April 11. Please contact Barbara Engle (301-424-8847 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Margo Cavenagh (email@example.com) about volunteering to help out.
Annual Woman’s Club Yard Sale
For those hunting for treasures of a different sort, the clubhouse is the place to be on Saturday, June 2 from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please start collecting clean, usable items (no clothing) to donate to the YARD SALE. The drop-off schedule will be in next month’s bulletin. Kitty Vogan (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Meredith Horan (email@example.com) have volunteered to chair the sale this year and need many helping hands. Contact them to offer yours today!
Flowers are Love’s Truest Language
Mark your calendars! The Woman’s Club Flower Show will be held on Sunday, May 20, in the Clubhouse. Our theme this year is “Love’s Truest Language.” For more information, call or email Joli McCathran: 301-869-5358 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact her, too, to tell her you’d like to volunteer for this delightful event!
Please note that students can earn volunteer service credit for helping out with Woman’s Club community events. Please inquire ahead if you are interested.
Next meeting: Wednesday » 04.26.12@ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. Gardeners and aspiring gardeners welcome!
April 28, 2012; 9:30 a.m.!
All welcome to the traditional Washington Grove Arbor Day, this year we will be concentrating our efforts to beautify our Town Hall. Town Maintenance has set the foundation to the garden facing Center Street with rocks placed last year, and additional soil to replace all lost over the years. We will be planting a selection of annual plants plus new shrubs (deer resistant). The Town Hall represents the heart of Washington Grove and deserves our joint effort. Please join us and help with the planting plus enjoy the company of your neighbors for a morning in (hopefully) bright sunshine. The rain day will be on the 29th.
Lake Committee News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 04.18.12@ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room.
Geese Arriving at the Lake
We are using the Humane Society’s protocol again to humanely prevent eggs from hatching this spring. In the past several years a pair of geese has nested in an area easily accessible to our egg-oiling team. They drive away the other geese during nesting season and then leave when their eggs do not hatch. Please do not feed or harass the nesting pair or disturb the nest. If you see a nest built, please call Ann Philips or John Hutchinson. We encourage visitors to the lake to take along a plastic bag and scoop droppings. THANKS!
Lake Clean-up Day Scheduled
The annual Maple Lake clean up will take place on Sat. April 21st at 10:00 a.m.. Please join in and bring your leaf rake, shovel, clippers and wheelbarrows if you have one. Rain date is Sunday the 22nd at Noon. Call John Hutchinson for more info. 301-926-8767.
We have six (6) applicants but could consider more until late April. The season runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day and the hours are 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. daily.
Swimming Instructor Needed
Applications are being accepted for a Swimming Instructor to teach at Maple Lake this summer. The dates are July 3 – 26 (no lessons on July 4th). The hours are weekday afternoons for about 4-5 hours. Instructor will teach children ages 3 – 14 years and the pay is GREAT!! Please Contact Tom Land at (301)-869-4334, or (202) 577-7093
EAST WOODS TRAIL DAY
Saturday, April 14 9:30 to noon
Help rejuvenate our wonderful walking trails. We need wheelbarrows, rakes, pitchforks and volunteer muscle.
Meet at the gazebo at 9:30 am.
Hot Dog Feast follows at noon!!
The Town calendar is on the website too! This is convenient for residents who are trying to schedule a meeting or rent McCathran Hall or just remember an event. Check it out!
Firewood – We Need Your Help!
Please stop stacking your personal firewood on Town property. Wood stacked along the roadway and/or walkway presents a hazard to motorists and pedestrians.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!
April 4, 2012 » Planning Commission Meeting » 7:30 p.m. Council Room
April 9, 2012 » Town Council Meeting » 7:30 p.m. Council Room
April 14, 2012 » East Woods Trail Day » 9:30 p.m. Gazebo
April 14, 2012 » Egg Hunt » 1:00 p.m. McCathran Hall
April 15, 2012 » Barry The Magician » 2:00 p.m. McCathran Hall
April 17, 2012 » Historic Preservation Committee » 7:30 p.m. Council Room
April 18, 2012 » Lake Committee Meeting » 7:30 p.m. Council Room
April 21, 2012 » Lake Clean-up » 10:00 a.m. Maple Lake
April 22, 2012 » Mousetrap Concert #5 » 3:00 p.m. McCathran Hall
April 26, 2012 » Forestry Committee Meeting » 7:30 p.m. Council Room
May 12, 2012 » ELECTIONS » 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. COUNCIL ROOM
May 12, 2012 » ANNUAL TOWN MEETING » 8:00 p.m. TOWN HALL