Town Council News
Next meeting: Monday » 06.14.10 @ 7:30 p.m. & Monday » 06.28.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.
Actions at the May 17th Organizational Meeting included:
- appointment of Chris Kirtz to the Fire Board.
- appointment of Jane Seegal to the Planning Commission as the alternate.
Town Election Results
- Darrell Anderson – 128 votes
- Charlie Challstrom – 1 write-in
- Marida Hines – 80 votes
- Joli McCathran – 68 votes
- Bill Robertson – 96 votes
- Eric Gleason – 1 write-in
Many thanks to our Mayor and Council members for their willingness to serve! Also, thanks and appreciation to Councilor Charlie Challstrom for his years of service!
Council Areas of Responsibility 2010
- Joe Clark
Maintenance, Roads & Walkways
301-869-7944 » firstname.lastname@example.org
- Georgette Cole
Mayor Pro-Tem, Planning Commission, Forestry & Beautification
301-330-6740 » email@example.com
- Sylvie Favret
Historic Preservation Commission, Safety
301-987-0074 » firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marida Hines
Maple Lake, Recreation, Website
301-519-8730 » email@example.com
- Ted Kelly-Ventresca
Intergovernmental, Playgrounds, Memorials (Website)
301-963-8107 » firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bill Robertson
Contracts, McCathran Hall
240-912-6080 » email@example.com
Report from the May 8th Annual Town Meeting
The Town met on May 8 for the Annual Town Meeting, which is mandated by the Town Charter, to discuss and approve the annual budget and tax rate for Fiscal Year 2011 that begins on July 1. The budget process began in early March with the proposed budget developed through discussions with Committees (e.g., Lake, Forestry and Beautification, and Recreation Committees) on upcoming projects for FY 2011. The Town Council, with the input from Treasurer Mary Challstrom on budget needs for trash pickup and other Town contracts, utility bills for the coming year, and other expected costs, deliberated and set a draft budget. In April, the Town Council made revisions to the draft budget and set the tax rate, which were approved. Because of the loss of more than $57,000 from the State for the coming year, it was determined after much discussion that the Town would need to raise the tax rate by 2-cents per $100 of assessed value for property to cover some of the lost revenues, while continuing to provide funds for needed operations of the Town.
The draft budget and tax rate was presented to residents at the May 8 Annual Town Meeting and after much discussion, attendees voted to approve the budget and to raise the tax rate by 4-cents per $100 of assessed value on property. This translates into higher property taxes equivalent to approximately $200 on a property valued at $500,000. This was a very brave action to take in a time of economic decline nationally and locally, but illustrates the recognition by Town residents at the meeting that if the level of service for Town projects is to remain relatively the same, they were willing to pay this year to maintain them. Even with the 4-cent rise in property rates, the expected shortfall from the State cuts remains approximately $20,000. This will require the Town Council and Mayor to be extra vigilant in the use of Town funds this coming year, and where volunteers can fill the void, Washington Grove residents will step forward.
One serious concern expressed during the tax rate debate was the impact on Town residents on fixed incomes, those who have lost jobs in this recession, and those who struggle to get by even in the best of times. For many, an extra $200 per year is not too great a burden; for many, however, it likely is to be a greater burden. After discussions with some in Town who shared this concern, the appropriate Washington Grove response would be to make sure we can accommodate those unable to pay. The Mayor is calling for a group of residents to determine how to assist those residents (in a confidential manner and outside the structure of the Town’s government) that could benefit from some help. This should be a volunteer effort and details should be worked out as a resident-driven effort.
Also at the May 8 Annual Town Meeting, Craig English was announced as the “Volunteer of the Year” for his many years of service to the Town in organizing and overseeing the Labor Day activities. Let’s all let Craig know that we appreciate his efforts, and also that we can’t believe this year’s Labor Day events will be his 30th year in charge. It would probably have been more appropriate to give Craig an award for “Volunteer of the YearS.”
Maintenance Supervisor Update
For the past month, the Town has been processing applications and interviewing candidates to become the Town Maintenance Supervisor. With Jim Fletcher’s impending retirement on June 30, the Town is looking to fill the position and has been overwhelmed with more than 60 applications and resumes. Councilmember Joe Clark, with the able assistance of Councilmember Sylvie Favret and residents John Tomlin, Sandy Klingenberg, and Bud O’Connor, presented the Town Council with a sterling final report of the Maintenance Committee detailing what the Town needs regarding maintenance and the skills required in an individual to meet those needs. Interviews will continue for the first few weeks of June. The candidate selected by the June 14 Town Council meeting and the person will begin work on July 1. The Town has not had to go through this process for more than 20 years and this afforded an opportunity to understand the amount of work performed by Jim over the years, and how we approach the future.
Second Fire Board Member Needed
The Fire Board is an integral part of the Town’s safety program and will require that members meet with the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Fire Department Fire Board once a month to discuss issues related to fire safety and logistics. In Washington Grove, this is vitally important because it allows us to “train” the Fire Department response teams on directions to each resident address, as well as to keep our input into issues of concern to us.
If you want to volunteer for this position, please call the Town Office, 301-926-2256.
Be Responsible for Your Own Yard Waste
As has been the Town’s expectations in the past, residents are responsible for disposing of their own yard waste. This can be done in a variety of ways, among them:
- Bag them and place the bags at the “curb” on trash pick-up days.
- Compost it on your own property.
- Place it in a container (e.g., old trash can/plastic container) with the green “YARD TRIM” signs (available in the Town Office) on the can and place them at the “curb” on trash pick-up days.
- Take the yard waste to the Shady Grove recycling center yourself or with the help of a friend.
Putting your yard waste in piles next to the avenue or roadway is no longer an option-it will not be picked up.
For those residents who trim back the walkways and avenues, you must arrange this with the new maintenance person-they will assist you in trimming the walkways and will be responsible for taking the trimmings away-this is not considered yard waste.
In the past, the Town Maintenance Supervisor has been spending 20% of his time and approximately $12,000 a year to remove resident yard waste. This is wasted time and money for the Town because we already pay for this service in our Trash and Recycling Contract. We need to remove this burden from the person responsible for the many other things that need to be done to improve the Town that will be done if we can give him/her an extra 450 hours a year by taking this off their plate.
Planning Commission News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 06.02.10 @ 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. Please contact the Town Office (301-926-2256) or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Historic Preservation Commission will review most permit applications as well.
The following permit application was approved:
- 114 Ridge Rd. change to plan
The Planning Commission is pleased to welcome Jane Seegal as its new alternate member, replacing Missy Yachup.
The Commission reminds residents that we are requiring a boundary survey for most building permit applications. We are also employing a Code Inspector, among whose duties are to inspect any new structure to ascertain if the structure is being built in accordance with the plans. Please contact Chairman Bob Evans or Commissioner Eric Gleason with questions regarding the building permit application process, and please notify Commissioner Steve Werts when construction of a new structure has begun on your property so he can arrange for the Code Inspector to carry out his inspection at the appropriate times.
PC Contact Information
- PC Chair Bob Evans 301-869-7816
- Permits Eric Gleason 301-977-3135
- For Code Insp. Steve Werts 301-926-1668
- Fence Insp. Samantha Beres 301-330-8509
- Council Rep. Georgette Cole 301-330-6740
Town Forum on Mansionization
June 16, 7:30 pm, McCathran Hall
As detailed in last month’s Bulletin, the Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission have been working together for the last several months to (a) research what other municipalities have done to avoid the problem of the construction of large, out-of-scale for the neighborhood houses and (b) analyze what approaches might be suitable for our Town.
Now the two Commissions want your input on what you would like to see done in this regard. The two groups will discuss five approaches that they believe are promising ones for the Town’s consideration: tightened traditional zoning measurements such as setbacks and height limits; an absolute cap on the size of a home; a sliding scale of maximum floor area ratios, or FAR; a neighborhood averaging approach; and a “trigger” mechanism permitting some variation in the usual requirements where certain design conditions are met. The two commissions want your reactions to these approaches and any other ideas you may have for dealing with the mansionization problem. Please come and share your ideas.
Historic Preservation News
Next meeting: Tuesday » 06.15.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. Meetings are open to the public. The HPC encourages residents to come for an early consultation when planning a renovation.
Visitors from Montana Seek Their Roots in The Grove
On Sunday, May 16, Paul Whiting and his family visited the Grove to see the cottage at 411 Grove Ave. (we call it “Sarah Steel’s House”) that his grandfather Morrison Waite Perley had owned from 1909 to 1948. Paul Whiting is the son of Helen G. Perley and the Rev. Henry J. Whiting. Paul’s mother lived with her parents on Grove Ave. when she became engaged in the mid 1930’s. Paul’s father, the Rev. Henry J. Whiting, was the founder (in 1934) of what came to be Christ Lutheran Church on Old Georgetown Road.
Mr. Whiting was in Washington with his wife, Betty, their son, Allan, and their daughter, Maureen. They visited the Grove after previously contacting the Town Clerk and the Town Archivist.
Accompanied by David Neumann, the Whitings visited the Town Archives, where they hoped to find the Washington, DC, address of Paul’s grandfather. The house folders in the archives yielded a dozen or more letters to and from their grandfather. Paul was pleased to find that a 1922 letter from W. Morrison Perley bore his old address at 48 T Street, NW, DC.
Paul Whiting and his family have returned to their home in Billings, Montana. They kindly left a copy of a photo from 1928 of a group of young girls posed in two rows in front of a cottage, which can be seen on the Town web site. Helen Perley, Paul’s mother, is on the left in the front. We can only speculate whose house is in the background. Based on the partial view of the columns on the porch, it likely is 411 Grove Ave. (before the kitchen wing was appended).
Additional information on the cottage called “Moonflower” at 411 Grove Ave. would be appreciated. We are constantly trying to improve and computerize the Town Archives. If you have information about your house, your family, a photo or two, please let us know. We gladly accept donations of photos or documents, and we would be pleased to make copies for you if they are relevant to the history of the Town of Washington Grove.
Lake Committee News
Swim Lesson sign-up:
- Dates are from July 7 through July 29
- The swim instructor is Casey Stalker
- Sign-up forms were in the May Bulletin, and available on the Washington Grove Web site.
- Send them to Tom Land (as of Thursday 5/20, there were only 2 applicants)
- Thanks to Tom Land for all his good work to organize the Swim Lessons!
Lake Gate Combo:
- Please call the town office or a Lake Committee member for the number.
- Please do not give out the number or we will have to change it more frequently.
- Please get in the habit of “rolling the tumblers” so the combo lock numbers are not able to be seen by passers by.
- Please do not give the number to your kids, because they like to share it with their buddies on the school buses, many of whom do not live in the Grove.
Dogs: They are not allowed at the lake during normal swimming hours. There have been many incidents recently where dog droppings and bags containing them have been left at the lake. Please pick up after your dog (and other dogs.)
Party Permits: They are required if you want to have a group at the lake. Please call Sally Mansfield (301-977-3189) for a Party permit.
Recreation Committee News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 07.21.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend. New members always welcome!
Retirement Party for Jim Fletcher
Please come to McCathran Hall on Saturday, June 5, to help celebrate Jim Fletcher’s 24 years of service to the Town. Friends and neighbors have special tributes planned so come join the fun! A potluck will begin at 6 p.m.
Music Weekend 2010 – June 18-20th
- Swing Time Big Band
- Pizza and beer at McCathran Hall, 7:30 p.m.
- Children’s Recital
- 10 a.m. in McCathran Hall
- Bobby Lewis Band
- Gazebo, 7 to 11 p.m.
- Homewood Brass
- Baroque Breakfast at the Gazebo, 10:30 a.m.
In the event of rain, all events will be in McCathran Hall.
The Muskrat Band Needs You
Get out those band instruments and make the Muskrat Band your Fourth of July tradition. No audition required! Both young and old are welcome! Please contact Eric Selby; email@example.com or 301-963-7073.
Come to the picnic, get into the Game… (Tippens)
Join the Town July 4 revival of the 4pm ballgame! Men, Women, former residents and guests are urged to be part of this fine old tradition! Call 301-926-6347 for details.
Town potluck picnic follows in the Park at 6 pm.
Adult & Junior Tennis in The Grove
Contact Linda Baim to sign up; 301-926-8767;
firstname.lastname@example.org; 240-997-1701 (cell)
$35.00 (to The Town of Washington Grove)
Mondays 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
May 10, 17 & June 7, 14, 21
Never played? Come on out!
It’s been "years"? Come on out!
Tune up the basics? Come on out!
Meet other players to hit with? Come on out!
Learn all the strokes!!!
Adult Tennis Camp
$40.00 (to The Town of Washington Grove)
Mon., June 28th – Fri. July 2nd
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, July 2nd – Potluck snacks, as usual!
Review & upgrade the basic strokes
Singles & doubles tactics
Junior Tennis in The Grove
Please use same contact info. as above.
$30.00 (to The Town of Washington Grove)
Dates: Thurs. July 8th, Tues. July 13th, Thurs. July 15th, Mon. July 19th, Tues. July 20th & Thurs. July 22nd. Mornings, with specific time TBA. Older juniors will meet on these dates in the afternoon.
Woman’s Club News
The Woman’s Club Annual Yard Sale is Saturday, June 5 from 8-2 p.m. Come find your special treasure and help support the Club which raises money for community events and projects.
Also for sale will be our green and white attractive “WG” Washington Grove car magnets. They are $6 each or 2 for $10.
Donations will be accepted through Friday, June 4th. Please leave them on the Club House porch. Clothing and televisions are not accepted. Contact Joan Mahaffey at 240-631-8064 or Georgette Cole at 301-330-6740 for more information.
- Movement Class on June 9th — Kim Thompson’s Gentle Movement for chronic pain sufferers class meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, from 2 to 3 pm upstairs in the church. The class is free, sponsored by the County, and open to all.
- June 12th 4pm Walk and 100th anniversary Celebration in the Grove –In honor of the 100th anniversary of WGUMC, and looking towards our next 100 years, all are invited to join church and community in walking and singing together, from the WG train station to the Sacred Circle, at 4pm. The rain date is the same time on the following day, Sunday the 13th. Join our diverse group for a historic–and now inclusive–walk, and then enjoy a unity and community pot-luck supper at and around the church. Parking will be available in the church parking lot. Those who would like to meet in the Sacred Circle instead, are welcome to just walk over to The Circle, then join in the pot-luck at the church. See you there!
- Soup kitchen June 17th — On the third Thursday of every month we help at the St. Martin’s soup kitchen, at the intersection of Summit Ave. and Rte. 355, from about 12:30 until 4pm (or some segment of that time). This ministry is deeply appreciated, and sorely needed! For further info. call Jean Clark at 301 948 8758. The Soup kitchen takes a break for the summer months of July and August.
- Play Group outing Wednesday, June 23rd, Young Families Berry-picking — The play group will not meet during the summer, but we invite young families and all who are interested to go blue-berry picking at Butler’s Orchard on Wednesday, June 23rd. We’ll car-pool from the church parking lot at 9 am, and at the orchard kids get to enjoy a trolley or hay wagon ride to the berry fields. After half an hour or so–depending on the attention span of the little ones–we’ll adjourn to the nearby park which has pavilions and a playground for a picnic lunch! Friday June 25th will be the rain date. For more info. call Butler’s, Emily Cavey, or Judy Young.
- July 3rd– Yard Sale at the parsonage, 101 Center Street–Save the date for our Sunday school’s fund-raiser yard sale, to be held on Saturday, July 3rd at the parsonage.
- 100th Anniversary Worship on November 14th, 2010 — Save the date for next fall also… We are planning a wonderful worship service on Sunday, November 14th, 2010
Join Our Neighbors for a Picnic
Our Town is a green oasis in an urbanized area and most of us are very grateful to have the good fortune to live here. Sometimes people in our surrounding communities are unaware that Washington Grove is a welcoming community. Our past history has shown that within the context of those times, the Town was not welcoming to all people.
In an effort to reach out to other communities in the area, our Mayor appointed Councilor Joe Clark to explore ways in which all the neighborhoods could support each other. Joe called together Town residents and some neighboring community leaders to discuss how to find participants and to define our mission.
A person from Impact in Silver Spring became involved to help with an expansion to Gaithersburg. One initiative at Impact is called Neighbor Corps. The organization teaches people how to organize communities. The focus is to connect people to resources (food, jobs, healthcare, etc.) and to build community trust.
While the Gaithersburg program wanted to continue to connect people to resources, the organizers also envisioned a broader mission that would allow the community to define the focus as the group evolved.
The original Washington Grove group realized that there was already a structure for reaching out to other communities so we decided to become part of that group. Kathie Evans, Judy Young, and Paula Puglisi committed to a series of trainings over 10 weeks with residents of surrounding communities and some Gaithersburg service providers. They learned a lot about our community at large. Now the group meets every Thursday at the Neighborhood Service Center at 602 East Diamond Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877. It is a drop-in group, the atmosphere is casual, and we begin at 6:00. Dinner is provided by local restaurants.
Four working groups have just been established to organize events and activities dealing with affordable housing, health care, employment, and a community garden. Other groups can be established to include whatever we decide. We can go beyond basic needs as we evolve. We invite you to drop in and check it out. Take a look at the blog to see what’s been happening. http://neighborscampaign.wordpress.com In our continued efforts to bring together communities, we are having a Neighbor Corps picnic. People who have participated in Neighbor Corps from our surrounding communities and all Washington Grove residents are invited to a pot luck picnic on Saturday, June 26 at 4:00 p.m. at the Women’s Club. Come meet our neighbors!
If you have any questions, contact Kathie Evans (301-869-7816), Judy Young (240-912-9895), or Paula Puglisi (301-963-8555).
Mowers before Noon on Sundays, a NO, NO!
Per Article I, Section 7: It is unlawful for any person to operate a power mower, chain saw, or other power equipment on Sundays before the hour of 12:00 Noon, except that electrically powered tools may be operated within a building with doors and windows closed.
Your Dog = Your Dog Waste
Please pick up when your dog does his/her “business” in an area where an unsuspecting pedestrian may step in it. Also, your dog’s waste in a plastic bag is still your dog’s waste. Please do not deposit it in someone else’s trash can that happens to be on your route. Thanks!