Town Council News
Next meeting: Monday » 01.12.09 @ 7:30 p.m. & Monday » 01.26.09 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.
Actions at the December 8th Council meeting included:
- Acceptance of the FY2008 Audit Report.
- Introduction of Ordinance 2008-09; Ordinance Adopting Master Plan.
From Mayor Anderson: Update on LOS Condemnation Suit and Town Funding
The appeal hearing before the Maryland Court of Appeals in December is complete and now we must wait for a decision. The only issue before the Court was whether Maryland National Capital Park and Planning (M-NCPPC) should have been included in our condemnation of the Toll property, although M-NCPPC tried to inject their contention that the Town has no right to condemn the LOS field. A best guess as to the amount of time it will take for the Court to make a decision is 6?18 months. As in any Court proceeding, there are those who think our lawyers did a good job and those who think our lawyers did a bad job. You can watch an archived play-by-play on the computer by visiting http://www.courts.state.md.us/coappeals/webcastarchive.html. Once on that page, scroll down to Docket #55 (12-09-08) and click on that link.
The next step is to wait to see what the Court will do. As listed in the November Town bulletin, our lawyers believe there are 3 main possible outcomes. They are:
- The court rules in our favor and kicks M-NCPPC out of the condemnation lawsuit. We then go back with Toll only to the Circuit Court, set a trial date, and go to trial for the express purpose of setting the monetary terms of the condemnation (this is where we were in May/June of this year). We would take depositions, go to trial sometime in the next 6-12 months, and get the bill for condemnation.
- The court rules that M-NCPPC is correct that the Town has no right to condemn the property. The case is over and we have no right to appeal, except to the U.S. Supreme Court, but we really have no grounds for a Federal intervention.
- The court rules that the Circuit Court was wrong in their ruling on M-NCPPC’s “motion to intervene” as a third party to the Toll-WG condemnation or that the doctrine of lis pendis (a legal term applied to real estate transactions when a property that has a pending legal action cannot be sold or transferred until the legal action is determined) does not apply to this case. This would mean we go back to the Circuit Court to begin the process of condemnation with Toll and M-NCPCC being defendants. This would be the “unwieldy” solution because although we have a right to condemn, both the defendants would share in any outcome. That means that if we win the condemnation, the money would be split in some way between Toll and M-NCPPC (this is one scenario but many others could be conceivable). This should not increase our costs, although my thinking is that M-NCPPC could play “break the bank” with us to good effect (my opinion only).
There are other potential outcomes that would be favorable to the Town or unfavorable to the Town; Courts can do what they want, although it is important to remember that the Town’s position has been upheld in 2 lower court rulings and by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals?the highest Court in Maryland, similar to the Federal Supreme Court. These positive decisions have been the driving force for the Town in continuing to pursue the LOS condemnation. It also is critically important to note that the Maryland Municipal League, which represents all 157 municipalities in Maryland, has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Court in support of Washington Grove’s case. This was done after review of the Town’s legal brief and history?to the Town Council and me, this was confirmation that our legal strategy was/is solid in this case, although this still does not guarantee success. The case has taken almost 5 years to arbitrate, and has impacted Town funds. Special Town Meetings have been held in the past to affirm our intent to initiate the lawsuit and to approve continuation at key points. This has not been without an impact on Town funds. We are approaching (or may have passed) the $300,000 mark in legal fees, with eventual unknown costs to purchase the field should we be successful. It is likely that the Town Council will have to approve additional funds transfers at the next Council meeting (January 12) to have enough money in our legal fund to cover the cost of the December appeal hearing.
There are those who think the effort has been worthwhile for the long-term protection of our border; there are those who think it has been a monumental waste of money. As always, the Town will hold a Special Town Meeting to determine whether we actually purchase the field if we are successful, or how to proceed if we are unsuccessful. There has been extensive planning with our legal staff to assist us in either course. We need Town residents to stay engaged so when decisions must be made, everyone makes their decision in an informed manner.
If you have comments or would like to discuss any aspect of the LOS condemnation lawsuit, please contact Mayor Darrell Anderson at 301-963-8555 or any of the Town Council members.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
The Town Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, January 26, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. to hear comments regarding Ordinance No. 2008-09; Ordinance Adopting Master Plan. This proposed ordinance is one of the last steps necessary for the adoption of the Town’s updated Master Plan.
Nominations for Mayor and Town Council must be sent to Mary Kay DuBois by March 12, 2009. So put on your thinking caps and call Mary Kay at 301-926-8941.
Planning Commission News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 01.07.09 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.
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. The Town zoning ordinance governs setbacks, lot coverage and height. Applications are available at the Town Office at 301-926-2256. The permit fee for a major building permit (addition/renovation) is $40.00. The fee for a minor building permit (fence/shed) is $10.00. Checks should be made payable to the Town of Washington Grove. Interior renovations, which involve electrical, plumbing, or load-bearing changes, generally require a County permit. A shed requires a County permit as well. The Town must first sign off all applications for County-required building permits. The Historic Preservation Commission will review most permit applications as well.
Historic Preservation News
Next meeting: WEDNESDAY » 01.21.09 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. Meetings are open to the public.
Due to the inauguration on Tuesday January 20, the HPC will meet on Wednesday January 21 in the Town Hall in the room near the kitchen at 7:30 pm. As always, the HPC encourages residents to come for an early consultation when planning a renovation. The HPC can offer valuable, free advice BEFORE you spend money on architectural drawings.
Bounce your ideas off the HPC – no charge!
Did You Know… Why is any particular Grove house considered to be a “contributing resource”? Generally, houses are identified as “contributing” if they were built between 1873 (when the Methodists purchased the 268-acre property to establish the camp meeting) and 1937 (Washington Grove’s incorporation as a Town), and the character and form of the original house remain clearly evident. But ALL Grove houses have a story to tell, and the HPC continues to solicit input for ALL houses in town (not just those classified as “contributing structures”). Do you have interesting comments to share about former owners, tenants or sojourners? Births, deaths, weddings? Renovations? Was your house featured in a film? Do you have a special interior or exterior photograph to share? Have you given a special name to your home? Please see “House Histories” under HPC News on the Town website. If you have a tidbit, or more, to share, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link for The HPC House History Updates & Anecdotes Form. Don’t be shy-the HPC would love to hear from you.
The Montgomery County History Volunteers Conference
is scheduled for January 24, 2009, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on the Montgomery College Germantown Campus. Among other things, oral history is on the agenda. See this url for more details about the conference: http://www.montgomeryhistory.org/documents/ConfBro.pdf.
Recreation Committee News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 01.21.09 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend. New members always welcome!
Inauguration Celebration Planned!
The Recreation Committee invites Town residents to come share a great moment in American History!
Come join your fellow Grovers for a Potluck Inaugural Brunch in McCathran Hall. Bring a dish to share at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday January 20th. Beverages, plates, cutlery and cups will be provided. We’ll have the movie screen set up to view the musical prelude, then watch ceremonies and the swearing in (scheduled for noon).
Come experience the great event in comfort. No driving! Warm bathrooms! (No porta-potties!)
Let’s make this an event we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives!
Film Society News
Brødre (Brothers) January 11, 2009
Directed by Susanne Bier, 2004, Denmark, subtitled, 117 minutes. Winner of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award for foreign drama. “Good” brother Michael and “bad” one Jannik find their expected roles have been transformed after Michael’s return from a traumatizing military tour in Afghanistan.
Neighborhood Watch News
Report Crimes & Suspicious Activity!
Mont. Co. Police non-emergency: 301-279-8000
Town Office: 301-926-2256
Joe Clark: 301-869-7944
Keith Gillis/Leigh Partington: 301-208-1437
- December 19: Vandalism. 100 block Center St – A side-view mirror was broken off of a friend’s car as it sat in front of the house.
- December 19-20: Vandalism. Soccer Field – Someone intentionally drove onto the soccer field spinning their car around leaving several sets of large ruts.
- December 28, 2008: Vandalism. 100 block Chestnut Ave – Resident’s car was broken into around 10:30 p.m.. Window was smashed even though the doors were unlocked. Car was ransacked but nothing taken. Police report was filed.
Please report criminal or suspicious activity to your Neighborhood Watch Block Captain or Coordinators. Filing a police report, too, helps the police department keep track of criminal incidents and is necessary for police to take action. Of course, for emergency situations call 911.
Woman’s Club News
Next meeting: Thursday » 01.15.09 @ 7:30 p.m. at home of Judy Mroczka (107 Grove Ave.). At the January 15 meeting, the Woman’s Club will hold its annual White Elephant Auction. Bring a gift or treasure that might fit better in someone else’s life than in yours. Enjoy the warm company of neighbors and friends. Members will have an opportunity to pay dues of $15 for 2009.
We will install our new officers at this meeting.
All are welcome to our January Contemporary Issues Sermon Series: (Services are at 11 am on Sunday mornings)
- Jan 4th–“A Plan B Kind of God”
- Jan 11th–“Plan B–Codependence or Freedom?”
- Jan 18th–“Plan B–Blindness or Justice?”
- Jan 25th–“Plan B–Being Right or Being Loving?”
Thursday, January 8th, 9:30 to 10:30 am–Welcome, parents and kids, to a playgroup downstairs in the church. This is a chance for parents to socialize while their children play…
February Silent Auction–Mark your calendars!
The tentative date for our late February Silent Auction is Feb. 20th, as we raise funds for “Rebuilding Together,” a Montgomery County charity that helps to repair the homes of needy seniors and others in our county. The church/Town repair group, “Grove Relief,” will participate in a project with this group. We are also working towards a new roof for Gustavo, the handicapped member of the neighboring UM church “Camino de Vida,” for whom members of Grove Relief built a ramp last summer. Some funds will also go to our church. Willing to help out again with a donation or entertainment this year? Great! Let Judy (240-912-9895) or Barb Leng (301-670-9443) know.
Leaves, Leaves, Leaves
The fall leaf collection will be completed during the first few days of January. Our contractor will return in early April for a spring clean-up. Watch future Town Bulletins for a more specific reminder.
One More Time
The Town of Washington Grove adopted Montgomery County’s animal control legislation some time ago. The phone number for reporting stray dogs or cats is 240-773-5960. Here’s what the County code says about animals at large.
- Any dog is at large if it is outside the owner’s premises and not leashed, unless it is a service dog, is in a dog exercise area designated by the Maryland National Capital park and Planning Commission, or is participating in an approved activity.
- Any other animal (i.e., cat or livestock animal) is at large if it is outside the owner’s premises and not leashed or immediately responsive to verbal or non-verbal direction.
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 metals.
Welcome Grove Hikers/Bikers/Canoers ….of all paces!
The newly formed group of Grove outdoors enthusiasts will be hiking a stretch of the Seneca Creek Greenway for their fifth outing on January 17th. Outings are scheduled on 1st and 3rd weekends of each month. Mark your family calendar for the dates below. We usually meet at McCathran Hall at a designated time and carpool to the location from there. If you’d like to suggest an outing – either hiking, canoeing, biking or even unimproved caving, choose a 1st or 3rd weekend (March 21 or later), a time to meet and a destination and contact Betsy Klinger, who is presently maintaining the calendar.
- Saturday, January 17: Seneca Creek Greenway Section Meet at McCathran Hall at noon. (Rain date same time on Sunday) Contact Tom Land for details.
- Saturday, February 7: South Mountain Meet at McCathran Hall at 11 a.m.. (Rain date same time Sun) Contact Tom Land for details. Tom describes this as “a slightly bigger” hike up South Mountain (near Harper’s Ferry).
- Sunday, February 22: Black Hills Regional Park The contact for this hike will be Leigh Partington.
- Saturday, March 7: Harper’s Ferry The contact for this hike will be Nancy Helme.
It is illegal to turn right from McCauley Street on to Washington Grove Lane and to turn left on to McCauley Street from W.G. Lane…even if you are a resident….even in 2009!