TOWN COUNCIL NEWS
Next meeting: Monday, April 9, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend. Actions at the March meeting include:
- approval of the Local Map Amendment for the East Woods.
- acceptance of Potomac Disposal’s bid for refuse and recycling collection. This is a three-year contract.
Town Elections Will Be Here Soon
Town elections will be held on Saturday, May 12, from 4:00-7:00 PM. Any Town resident registered to vote in Montgomery County is qualified. Any qualified voter who has lived in Town for two years immediately preceding the election is eligible to run for a one-year term as Mayor. Any qualified voter who has lived in Town for at least one year immediately preceding the election is eligible to run for Town Council.
This year there are four Council seats open: two three-year terms, one two-year term and one one-year term.
Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Chair, Meredith Horan, at PO Box 337, 127 Maple Ave., on or before Monday, April 9. Nominations require signature by two residents as nominators as well as acceptance by the nominee. Council nominations must be to a specific term length.
The nominees so far: John Compton, Mayor; Joli McCathran, Mayor; Charlie Challstrom, Council, three-year term; Marida Hines, Council, three-year term; Joan Mahaffey, Council, three-year term; Robert Gilmore, Council, two-year term; Darrell Anderson, Council, one-year term; Joseph Craig English, Council, one-year term.
NOMINATIONS CLOSE April 9
VOTING HELD May 12, 4-7PM
Absentee balloting is allowed according to our Charter, “The Board must supply an absentee ballot to any qualified voter of the Town requesting one who certifies in writing that he or she will not be able to be present to vote during the time designated for the polls to be open. Such absentee ballots, if delivered to the Board prior to the end of the time designated for the polls to be closed, must be counted as though cast at the polls.” Please send requests for an absentee ballot, including the applicant’s signature as the voter in a hard copy to Board of Supervisors of Elections Chair Meredith Horan at address previously stated. For questions contact Meredith Horan at 301-926-1054 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone voting as an absentee must return the ballot including their signature via hard copy.
Annual Town Meeting
This year’s Annual Town Meeting is set for May 12, 2018 in McCathran Hall at 8:00 p.m.
Important Message for Washington Grove Taxpayers
Every year the Town of Washington Grove receives a portion of the Maryland State income 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.
From The Mayor…
Bike Path: The Maryland National Park & Planning Commission (MNCPPC) has changed their recommendation for the Shady Grove Metro connection with Washington Grove and Gaithersburg from Tier 3, meaning construction between 15 and 25 years in to the future, to Tier 1 which, according to staff, is “as soon as possible, 5 years or so to construction.” This is good news for the Town. The Town continues to work with the MNCPPC, Montgomery County and Gaithersburg on this plan. To date only one half of the bike path plans throughout Montgomery County are now dedicated to any tier levels. This is a positive step for the sector of the bike path plan involving Washington Grove.
Signs: As signs appear in yards around town, please remember our charter requires all signs by residents to be located on private property. Keep in mind that signs should not be placed near the road in the public right-of-way (alongside the road).
Highway User Revenues (HUR): Both the Senate and House passed an HUR bill which is awaiting the Governor’s signature. This bill permanently restores municipal Highway User Revenues, not only to meet current road maintenance needs, but more importantly, to provide a long-term, stable funding source for municipal transportation projects. The financial restoration will occur over a period of years.
Public Information Act (PIA): MML’s priority PIA bill requiring the denial of a distribution list containing physical addresses, e-mail addresses, or telephone numbers of individuals that are used for routine or emergency notifications passed the full House of Delegates. Now that both the Senate Bill and a House Bill have passed their respective chambers, they will be heard by the opposite body. This is to protect personal information municipalities have for emergency notifications.
Cell Tower Siting: Due to the complexity of this legislation, it was pulled out of consideration. This issue is anticipated to be discussed over the summer. The idea is to protect the authority of a municipality to assert local control over the siting and installation of small cellular towers and antennas and to impose a fee for permit review and rental of space in a municipal right-of-way. The Town may want to consider an ordinance to prevent cell tower siting within Washington Grove.
As a member of the Maryland Municipal League’s Legislative Committee again this year, it is refreshing to see these pieces of legislation coming to fruition.
Joli A. McCathran, Mayor
Planning Commission News…
Next meeting: Wed, April 4, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Modification to Building Permit Process
The Planning Commission is changing the building permit application deadline to the 2nd Wednesday of the month prior to the PC meeting at which the permit will be reviewed (this will be in the following month). This timing ensures the HPC will be able to complete a formal review before the PC meeting as this review is required for the PC to approve the permit in a timely fashion.
If you are considering any renovation or building project at your house, be sure to get a copy of the procedures to apply for a Town Building Permit which will help you through the Town’s process.
Master Plan Work Session
The Planning Commission will hold a work session for the Town Master Plan revisions on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Old Council Room. The meeting is open to the public.
Permits approved in March:
- 123 Washington Grove Lane Addition
Joint Meeting at Recommended Dog Park Site
At 7:00 PM on April 4, 2018, before the regular PC meeting, there will be a joint meeting of the TC, PC and HPC at the Dog Park site in the West Woods. This is an open meeting. Meet in the parking lot at Maple Lake.
Historic Preservation Commission News…
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 (moved forward) Wednesday, April 11, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Maple Lake News…
Next meeting: Thursday, April 19, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Summer is coming fast! Free swimming lessons at Maple Lake will be held every weekday in July from 12-3pm! If you’re interested, please email our instructor, Lainey Selby; she will help place your child in the appropriate level. Feel free to email Lainey with questions about the program! DianeEselby@gmail.com.
Lake Committee Meetings
3rd Thursday of each month starting April 19th at 7:30 at the Town Hall. We need to plan for swimming lessons, life guards, and making the lake even better this summer. New members welcome and encouraged! Call John Hutchinson if you have any questions or suggestions.
Lifeguards Needed This Summer
We have a couple of applicants, but need one or two more lifeguards. Hours are from 12-6, seven days a week. Lifeguards must be certified in Lifesaving, CPR, and First Aid. (We can help you pay for the training.) Pay is $11 to $12 per hour. Call John Hutchinson at 301-926-8767, for details.
Maple Lake Cleanup
The Lake Committee’s annual cleanup will be on Saturday, April 21st at 10 AM. It will be a joint project with the Woods Committee which is also having a West Woods clean-up. Please join in and bring your leaf rake, shovel, and wheelbarrow if you have one. Rain date is Sunday, April 22nd at Noon. Call John Hutchinson at 240-997-5820 for details or questions.
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!
Forestry & Beautification News…
Next Meeting: April 11, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Spring is just around the corner and Forestry and Beautification (F&B) is making plans for planting new trees. We’d love to hear your suggestions, just call or email Georgette Cole or Audrey Maskery (we’re in your Directory)! We’ll be talking about our plans at the next F&B meeting.
F&B is also having a work session from 10-12 on Saturday April 28 to celebrate Arbor Day. We’ll be putting in new plants in The Circle and if you’re interested just grab your gloves and a trowel and join us there!
What to do about old and new plants in Washington Grove?
Our Grove ecosystem involves a complex web of life between our plants and the insects, birds and other animals and organisms. Non-native invasive (NNI) plants take over and degrade natural ecosystems by competing for limited natural resources including soil, water, light, nutrients and space. They displace native plants, and replace wildlife food sources with exotic plants that are inedible, toxic, or otherwise harmful. They draw pollinators away from native plants, push rare species closer to extinction and cause an overall reduction in native biodiversity.
For all of these reasons the Washington Grove Forestry and Beautification Committee is aligned with National Park Service and Montgomery County policy in trying, wherever possible, to remove non-native invasive plants from our Town land. We aim to replace the non-native plants we remove with species native to our mid-Atlantic region. We hope to gradually improve our Grove ecosystem while fulfilling our core mission of Washington Grove Beautification.
A question has been raised concerning the availability of firewood resulting from Town trees that have been removed due to age, or storm damage.
The Town policy is “Town residents have first ‘pick’ of the wood for their own use.”
The large pieces of wood will be removed by the contractor, leaving the more manageable pieces for the use of Town residents. The wood will be left in place for no more than two weeks, allowing Town residents to collect – conveying the wood to their own property for splitting and stacking. Leaving the wood for longer periods than two weeks makes it very difficult for Maintenance to cut the grass in the area and leaves an unsightly area. Please don’t take any wood from the Maintenance shed area, without asking Steve Werts.
Recreation Committee News…
Next Meeting: Wed., April 18, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. This meeting is open to the public.
Summer In The Parks
Enroll in camp this summer and make friends and life long memories! This year camp will be held from July 3rd through the 26th, and we would love to have every child in the Grove with us! Enrollment forms are due by April 30, 2018 and can be found on the Town website.
They’re Coming, They’re Coming!
SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2018; 2:00 PM
Colorful and exotic live animals presented by fun and friendly wildlife educators
Woods Committee News…
Next meeting: Monday, April 2, 2018 at 7:30 PM in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public. The May meeting will take place on the 7th.
The Woods Committee and Lake Committee are planning a joint Arbor Day workday on Saturday morning, April 21. Please meet at 10:00 a.m. in the Lake parking lot to join a work team. We will do clean-up and maintenance at Maple Lake and clean up and non-chemical invasive plant control in the West Woods. Student Service Learning hours may be earned. Please bring rakes, shovels, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Wear work gloves and sturdy shoes. Trash bags and bottled water will be provided. Donuts and other beverages will be available. We hope to see volunteers, young and old, between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon on Saturday, April 21. Rain date will be Sunday, April 22 at 1:00.
The Woods Committee plans to continue our three pronged approach to forest management. We have met with Invasive Plant Control to assess last year’s work and to plan for Phase 2 of our five-year treatment plan for eliminating the non-native invasive plant threat in the East Woods. We are investigating the Town’s options for deer management. We look ahead to plans for reforestation of trees, shrubs, and groundcover in the East Woods, as we see sufficient success with invasive plant control and deer management. As you visit the woods and observe signs of spring splendor, please share your discoveries with your neighbors. Post photos or descriptions online or send them to Woods Committee Co-chairs Joan Mahaffey and Pat Klein for distribution. Our woods are a treasure for all to enjoy!
Woman’s Club News…
Please Help Us Help Needy Children
It’s time for the Woman’s Club’s annual Birthday Bags and Treasure Chest Rewards Outreach Program. Once again, we’re asking for donations to fill Birthday Bags and supply the Treasure Chest with Rewards. These Birthday Bags and Treasure Chest Rewards will be distributed through Interfaith Works, so that the County’s neediest children can have something for their birthdays, and so their parents can have a little something to give as a reward for things well done, or just to make their day a little brighter.
Birthday Gifts should be for boys or girls ages 1 to 9, and the values should be about $5. Treasure Chest Rewards can be pencils, erasers or small, party-favor type things, and should have a value of about $1. As always with our Outreach Programs, you can drop items off in the plastic bins on the Clubhouse porch or leave them in the decorated cans on Wendy Weisbard’s porch (119 Grove Ave.). If you’re not sure what to get, we’ll happily take donations and do the shopping for you ??.
We will be collecting gifts and rewards until Thursday, April 19th, when you’re all invited to join us at the Clubhouse at 7:00 PM, for an evening of filling Bags and sorting Rewards, so we can help make life a little better for these children.
The Woman’s Club Flower Show
Will take place on Sunday May 20, 2018. The theme this year is: Victorian Spring. Please mark your calendars and look for additional information in your mailbox and the May Town Bulletin.
Washington Grove Methodist Church News
Our joyful family worship services are Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM, at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church, 303 Chestnut Road, Washington Grove, MD 20880 (301-947-0532).
Emergency Preparedness Committee
Next Meeting: Thursday, April 26, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All are welcome to attend.
We are also looking for new committee members. If you are interested in helping the Town be prepared for emergencies, please join us! Contact the Town Office if interested; 301-926-2256.
Meet the Candidates and Town Leaders
On Sunday, May 6, six days before the Town elections, we hope to have a lively candidates forum in McCathran Hall at 3:00 P.M. Please join us! This is your chance to meet the candidates as well as officeholders not currently up for re-election. Come with your questions, get a feel for Town government, put a face to a name and enjoy light refreshments.
This event is sponsored by Town residents.
Washington Grove Cares
Volunteer or request Assistance
IS IT SPRING YET?