TOWN COUNCIL NEWS
Next meeting: Monday, December 11, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend. Actions at the November meeting include:
- approval of Ordinance 2017-05; Zoning Text Amendment Adopting Amendments to the Washington Grove Zoning Ordinance Article VII, Section 13.263 Regarding the Vicinity Map Required with an Application for a Local Map Amendment.
- authorization of the Sign Restoration Group to proceed with the proposal as designed.
- approval of the purchase of two (2) speed bumps for installation on Chestnut Road.
From the Mayor…
A Special Meeting of the Town Council was held on November 27, 2017 to address the petition requesting the Mayor and Town Council “to declare as surplus parcels and sell the parcels according to the Town ‘Policy for Sale of Surplus Parcels’ the newly discovered Town property under main buildings constructed prior to September 27, 2017.” After a lengthy discussion, the Town Council agreed to continue this Special Meeting of the Town Council on Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in McCathran Hall.
During the Special Meeting of the Town Council on November 27, the historic integrity of the Town of Washington Grove was cited as the rationale in offering easements to homeowners whose homes encroach onto Town land. Compatibility of the current and future use of the encroachment area with neighboring homes is considered vital as well. All the land being considered in the petition is currently dedicated to public use, none is considered a surplus land parcel. The Town has no ordinances (laws) to guarantee preservation of the historic architecture in Washington Grove. The responsibility for preservation advice falls to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) as an important but advisory Commission. As part of the easement process, the HPC prepares descriptions of the historic integrity features (Exhibit Cs) for the requested easements. These Exhibit Cs and all the other documents regarding easements are publicly available through the Town office. The Town Council is continuing to work towards a favorable response to the petition, hence the continuation of this meeting on Thursday, January 4, 2018.
The elected officials in Town are here to serve the Town residents. Your ideas and views are important and highly valued. Please do call or contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I welcome input on any concerns and ideas. My phone number is 301-869-5358 and my e-mail is JMcCathranWGMD@gmail.com. I also am willing to meet with anyone who wishes to have a personal dialogue. This is your government working for you and your voice is important!
Thanks to County Council Member Sidney Katz for assisting in the clearing of illegally parked used vehicles from 16950 Oakmont Avenue, which is directly across from Aitchison Railroad Crossing. Councilor Katz was extremely helpful in getting proper enforcement and follow through on this concern. The trucks on the property are allowed in this zone.
Wishing all many happy returns on the holiday season. Have a warm and safe holiday season.
Joli A. McCathran, Mayor
Planning Commission News…
Next meeting: Wed, December 6, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
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. The procedures are available from the Town Clerk or from the Town’s website. Both the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission are here to help with your renovation/building project.
Permits up for approval in December:
106 Pine Avenue Fence
Historic Preservation Commission News…
Next meeting: Tuesday, December 19, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Forestry & Beautification News…
Next Meeting: March 14, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
F & B meetings are on winter hiatus until March.
Woods Committee News…
Next Meeting: TUESDAY, January 2, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. Meetings are open to the public. Please join us!
NOTE: we have changed our meeting because of the New Year Holiday. There will be no meeting in December. We wish all a happy holiday season and hope you have time for a quiet walk in our woods.
The Woods Committee has planted five new trees on the Saybrooke boundary with the West Woods. A swamp oak, red maple, American holly, and two fringe trees were planted in an area reclaimed from encroachment.
One of the Woods Committee’s accomplishments for 2017 was developing “Criteria for Decision-making for Proposed Uses of the East and West Woods.” Before there is any change in land use in our woods, we should ask questions, such as:
- Does the proposed use support the Forestry Stewardship Plan or current Master Plan Forest Policy to protect and preserve our woods?
- Does this use increase soil compaction at the site or on the approach to it?
- Will these effects interfere with current uses and habitats such as nesting or other life cycle needs of critters, movement of small mammals and reptiles, enjoyment of the woods by walkers, birdwatchers, wild flower observers?
- Does the proposed use hold the possibility of diminishing the characteristic woodland quiet?
You can access the complete document at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxpieuqruxB6RElyRHRIVUNHUGs
Recreation Committee News…
Next Meeting: Wed., January 10, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. This meeting is open to the public.
2017 Holiday Show
Dec. 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Plan on joining us at McCathran Hall for this year’s Holiday Show…As the Grove Turns. As always, your neighbors and friends will make up our all-star cast. Laughs will abound, we’ll have lots of music, and there will be lots of audience participation. You won’t want to miss it!
Film Society News…
There is no film in December.
Hometown Habitat Film Screening
Many, many thanks to Kathi Carey-Fletcher for her thoughtful idea and hard work in coordinating the Hometown Habitat film screening and question/answer session in Town Hall. Also thanks to Freda and Gary Temple, the Woods Committee co-sponsor, and the other volunteers that helped make it happen. The event was VERY well attended and folks came away more knowledgeable about the problem of invasive plant species and ideas of what they might do to help promote native plants and animals in their own back yards. There was also information and advice on the effectiveness and potential negative impacts of herbicide use on native plant and animal life.
Woman’s Club News…
The Washington Grove Woman’s Club looks back on 2017 and forward to 2018…..
December is a quiet month for us. As we close the Clubhouse for the winter, we look back over a fun and busy year.
The winter highlights were the January White Elephant Auction and the February Chili Supper.
Spring brought the annual Egg Hunt and our outreach program of collecting birthday presents and treasure chest items for the needy children of our County. This was followed by our May Carnival of Flowers Show.
Summer started with our Progressive Porch Party, which was followed by a great talk by Patty Klein, our own Wildlife Veterinarian.
We greeted fall with our annual Pot Luck Supper, and this year we again collected and distributed socks and toiletries to the residents of the Gude Men’s Shelter. We also delivered hats, coats, scarves and gloves to the neediest children of Washington Grove Elementary School.
During the year, we made contributions to The Acorn Library, Summer In The Parks and the Holiday Show.
This January we will begin our new year with our 2018 Membership Drive. Our annual dues are a real bargain at $15. These dues allow us to share our ever-popular events with the Town. Please think about joining! You can make your check payable to The Woman’s Club of Washington Grove and either bring it to the White Elephant Auction or mail it to The Woman’s Club at P.O. Box 354, Washington Grove, MD 20880.
Speaking of 2018, be sure to mark your calendars for some favorite upcoming events:
Saturday January 20, 2018 – White Elephant Auction – 7:00 PM at the home of Chris & Terry Kirtz
Saturday February 17, 2017 – Chili Supper – 6:00 PM at McCathran Hall
Saturday March 31, 2017 – Egg Hunt for the kids – 12:30 PM at McCathran Hall.
Washington Grove Church News…
Washington Grove United Methodist Church Invites You to Join Us On Christmas Eve…
You are cordially invited to join us for our traditional Special Family Christmas Eve Service on December 24th at 7:00 PM, at the Church. Once again, many of our friends and neighbors will be joining in the evening’s songs.
Dog Park Work Group
The next scheduled meeting of the Dog Park Work Group will take place on December 2nd at 3:30 pm in McCathran Hall. Mark your calendars for the following 2018 meetings; Jan. 6th, Jan. 27th, Feb. 17th, and March 3rd. All meetings begin at 3:30 p.m. and are open to the public.
Leaves Are Falling
New and long-time residents alike are reminded of the Town contract for bulk leaf removal each autumn. The contractor, Green Earth, Inc., will make regular but unscheduled pickups of leaves raked or blown into windrows within 6 feet of any roadway or walkway, excluding Railroad Street, 2nd Ave., 3rd Ave., 4th Ave., 5th Ave., and Boundary Street. This service began October 31, 2017 and ends January 4, 2018, or as soon thereafter as we agree the work is complete. This is the only time to have leaves removed without bagging for recycling.
What is a Windrow?
“A long line of raked hay or sheaves of grain laid out to dry in the wind.” In our case, it’s a long line of raked leaves laid out to be collected by our contractor Green Earth, Inc. It is far easier and more efficient to vacuum leaves from a windrow than from a large pile. Large piles of leaves deposited in the middle of the walkway by you or your landscaper make it very difficult to collect. A windrow allows for the truck, the vacuum and crew to work in concert to remove leaves. Leaves deposited in the roadway pose a traffic/safety problem. Please keep this in mind when raking your leaves. Also, don’t forget to tell your landscapers about the rules for collection.
ONE MORE THING…
Green Earth will not remove leaf piles that contain branches, brush, pruned limbs, and cut ornamental grasses. Please do not add these to leaf piles. They foul the vacuum and sometimes cripple the collection process.
Christmas Tree Disposal
Beginning in late December, Christmas trees will be picked up roadside by Town Maintenance staff. When you place your tree out for collection, please remove all tinsel, ornaments, the stand and any other metal.
Recyclable Yard Waste Collection Ends
Please note that December 28, 2017 will be the last date for collection of recyclable yard waste by Potomac Disposal this year. This service will resume in early March.
Washington Grove Cares (WGC)
December holidays are coming with all their traditions, warmth and good fellowship. The holidays also bring many extra tasks—cooking and baking, decorating, shopping, etc. If you feel overwhelmed by these chores, you can look to WGC to ask for help from your neighbors, and share some of your holiday customs. Get help with Christmas tree pickup and decorating, outdoor lights stringing, gift wrapping, cookie baking, and Hanukah menorah lighting. Alongside these special activities, your neighbors still need rides to the Metro and visits to doctors, as well as help with regular grocery shopping. So, add your requests to the WGC calendar (washingtongrovecares.org), and check the calendar regularly so that you can respond to these needs. WGC wishes everyone a happy, caring holiday season.
Emergency Preparedness Committee
Next Meeting: Thursday, December 28, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All are welcome to attend.
Following a serious fire on The Circle in 2014, action reports of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue revealed shortcomings of the Town’s signage system. To address this issue, the EPC has been working with the Historic Preservation Commission and the Town Council to improve visibility of the street signage. However, house signage on individual houses is another serious issue. Among the recommendations of the Fire and Rescue was that residents should: “affix address numbers and street names to individual homes.” The house signage needs to be visible both during the day and night. For those houses with vehicle access on a street different from the house address, street and number signs front and back. Tonight, not next week, go outside, look at the front and (where appropriate) back of your house and your neighbors’ houses and ask yourself if you were an ambulance driver searching for these addresses can you find it? Is the sign clearly visible during the day, free of shades? Is it reflective at night? A few dollars spent making your house readily identifiable can save precious minutes in an emergency.