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 April Council meeting included:
- adoption of recommended FY2011 budget and tax rate to include a .02 cent increase in the real property tax rate.
- introduction of Ordinance No. 2010-04; regarding increase in fees for building permits.
Town Elections…Mark Your Calendars!
Town elections will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 4-7PM at McCathran Hall. The nominees are:
- Darrell Anderson Mayor
- Joli McCathran Town Council
- Bill Robertson Town Council
- Marida Hines Town Council
To vote in Town elections, you must be currently registered to vote with Montgomery County at an address in Washington Grove. To verify your registration with the county, please call County Voter Registration Information at 240-777-8683.
ANNUAL TOWN MEETING
Vote for the candidates of your choice on Saturday, May 8, 2010 between 4 and 7 pm. Come to the Annual Town Meeting, on May 8th beginning at 8:00 pm.
May 10th Meeting Announcement
The current Town Council will meet on May 10th to review the final report from the Town Maintenance Committee. The meeting is open to the public.
Town Council Organizational Meeting Set
The annual Organizational Meeting for the Mayor and Town Council is scheduled for May 17, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room.
Planning Commission Alternate and Fire Board Members Needed
The Town needs volunteers to fill 3 positions. The alternate on the Planning Commission is open and is a non-voting participant who becomes a voting member if another member of the Planning Commission is not in attendance. The alternate is expected to attend all PC meetings and participate fully in discussions and decisions.
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 any of these positions, please call the Town Office, 301-926-2256.
Planning Commission News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 05.05.10 @ 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. Please contact the Town Office (301-926-2256) firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. The Historic Preservation Commission will review most permit applications as well. The following permit applications were approved:
- 114 Ridge Rd. addition
The Commission continues to work with the Historic Preservation Committee to develop ideas for addressing the problem of “mansionization” in Town. Please read the one page update included.
Kudos & Thank-you…
to the departing alternate and former PC secretary, Missy Yachup for her years of service in both positions.
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
Historic Preservation Commission News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 05.18.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. Meetings are open to the public.
The HPC welcomes and encourages residents to come for an early consultation when planning a renovation. HPC can offer valuable advice early in the process and provide guidance with designs that are compatible with the character of the existing house and the Town.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website has a Weatherization Guide for Older and Historic Buildings that contains a wealth of information. “Not since the days of the oil crisis in the 1970’s have Americans been so focused on energy consumption, especially weatherization. Just as the cost of heating and cooling has risen, so has the awareness of just how much energy seeps out of an average home every day. Central to this discussion is the role of older and historic buildings – and making them more energy efficient without jeopardizing their unique character.” http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/weatherization/
Forestry Committee News
Many thanks to the hard-working volunteers on Arbor Day! Our East Woods trails are looking wonderful and McCathran Hall and the Circle are especially nice after their spruce-up. The grilled hot dogs organized by Alice Negin and friends were a welcome ending for hungry volunteers. And if you missed Darrell’s inspirational speech, you’ll still be happy to hear that the American Chestnut is destined to prosper again in Washington Grove.
Recreation Committee News
Next meeting: Wednesday » 07.21.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.
Adult & Junior Tennis in The Grove
Contact Linda Baim to sign up; 301-926-8767;
email@example.com; 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.
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.
Lake Committee News
Next meeting: Thursday » 05.20.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. This meeting we will plan for swim lessons, lifeguards and making the lake even better for this summer. New members are always welcome and encouraged!
…on the inner gate has changed. To get the new number, please call the town office or member of the Lake Committee.
Maple Lake Cleanup
Clean-up day had terrific turn-out and we accomplished many tasks, including raking, clean-up, clipping and cutting up and disposing of the tree that fell down inside the fence near the spring. **Thanks to Terry Cox for its removal.
- Gravel was delivered and spread in the Lake parking lot by John Lottes.
- Algae will be treated shortly (scheduled for Wednesday Apr. 28)
Geese (Currently, we have not seen many!)
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 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!
Woman’s Club News
The Woman’s Club hosts our Flower Show, “A Host of Golden Daffodils,” on May 9, Mother’s Day, in the Woman’s Club House. Brochures are being sent via the United States Post Office to each family. Entries may be submitted from 8:15-10:15 a.m. The show is open to the public from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served during the show and great door prizes will be awarded at 3:45 p.m. All are invited to attend.
Contact information: Joli McCathran: 301-869-5358 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance to all the volunteers who make this such a special event!
The Woman’s Club Yard Sale is scheduled for June 5 in the Woman’s Club House. Donations may be put on the Club House porch beginning May 16. Please donate items in good condition (no clothing, shoes or televisions will be accepted). Proceeds help fund community projects such as the Acorn Library, Summer in the Parks, Washington Grove Elementary School and more. Mark your calendars.
Contact information: Joan Mahaffey 240-631-8064 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
- Habitat for Humanity Build on May 8th — Thanks to the generosity of so many who participated in the Silent Auction or sent donations, this year’s Grove Relief team will be participating in a Habitat build from 8:30 am to about 3:30 pm on May 8th, as well as contributing to Habitat. Let us know soon if you want to participate and aren’t signed up yet. Contact Judy at 240 912 9895, or Emily Cavey at 240 632 9587. Thanks everyone!
- You’d rather walk for the hungry? Join us May 16th — on the local CROP walk. CROP is a charity raising funds to fight hunger both overseas and locally, and is supported by Church World Service and a wide variety of community groups and faith communities. It provides non-sectarian humanitarian aid. The walk is along the Matthew Henson Trail by Viers Mill; about 3 miles long, and takes maybe an hour, departing about 12:45 pm on May 16th. A great family activity, kids can collect pledges for walking, or anyone can pledge themselves and walk, or contribute by pledging one of the young folks who are walking, or sending a check made out to CROP to the church at box 115. We’ll meet at church at 12:45 to carpool–check with Judy for further info. or review the CROP website, http://www.churchworldservice.org/site/PageServer?pagename=crop_main
- June 12th 4 pm Walk and Celebration in the Grove — In honor of the 100th anniversary of WGUMC, and looking towards our next 100 years, we and friends from Emory Grove UMC will be walking and singing together from the WG train station to the Sacred Circle–a walk that in the past was not multi-cultural. Join in, sing some old camp meeting songs, as well as some freedom songs from 40 years ago, and then enjoy a pot-luck supper at and around the church. Save the date!
- Play Group on May 5th and May 19st — Meets downstairs in the church at 9:30 am on first and third Wednesdays, so children can play and parents and grandparents can talk! All families welcome.
Movement Class on May 12th-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.
- Soup kitchen on May 20th — 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.
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
- April 10: Disorderly conduct, reckless driving on walkways. unit block of The Circle – Resident reported seeing another resident driving recklessly on Grove and 2nd Avenues. A verbal altercation ensued after which a police report was filed.
Reminder: This time of year we often experience a rise in incidents, especially break-ins and theft. Please remember to lock your home doors and accessible windows when you are away even for a short time. Lock your car doors. Do not leave any valuables in your car. Small electronic devices are prime targets.
Streetlight Feedback Needed…Speak Now!!
There is a streetlight on Chestnut Road directly across from the Town Office. The regular 189 watt incandescent bulb has been replaced with a 35 watt induction light. According to PEPCO, this type of light lasts longer and is more efficient. Please take a moment to check this out and let Town government know what you think. Feedback is welcome by phone, 301-926-2256 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
PC-HPC Working Group on Mansionization
The Town Planning Commission (PC) and the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) have been holding joint monthly meetings to consider modifications to the zoning ordinances of the Town. Their goal is to improve the Town’s ability to regulate “mansionization” and “infill development.” “Infill development” is the construction of new, sometimes large residences, on existing lots or on combined or subdivided lots while “mansionization” consists of renovations which substantially enlarge existing buildings relative to the scale of the neighborhood.
The goal of PC-HPC Working Group is to (a) determine if there is a threat to the Town from mansionization and/or infill development, and if so, (b) what changes should be made to our Ordinances to regulate development and reduce the chances that renovations to existing houses will be built out-of-scale. The emphasis is to preserve the relative scale of buildings and encourage construction that preserves and enhances the unique and historic character of Washington Grove.
We face significant problems outside our boundaries as the surrounding area rapidly develops, but as the current economic downturn ends, we may also face a renewed pace of internal development. Residents have expressed concern that some construction and renovation in Town has already been out-of-scale. Similar concerns have arisen in other communities in the DC-Metro area. The Working Group is examining what other communities near here and throughout the country have done via zoning ordinances and education to protect neighbors from large or out-of-scale renovations. At the forthcoming Annual Town Meeting in May a short summary of the objectives and status of the Working Group will be given. A separate Town Meeting dedicated to this issue will be held later to present findings and solicit Town comments.
Discussion of this issue was heightened when on June 22, 2009 the Town Council enacted Ordinance 2008-07. That ordinance is an attempt to make Town Zoning Ordinances more equitable. The inequity the ordinance addressed was that lots in the RR-2 zone of the Town had a maximum ground coverage limit of 40% while lots in the RR-1 zone of similar size had a maximum ground coverage limit of 25%.
After long deliberations of the Planning Commission and the Council, the coverage limit was changed so that for lots in the RR-1 zone with an area of 7500 square feet or less the maximum ground covered by all buildings limit was set to 40% (the same as in the RR-2 zone). Lots larger than 7500 sq. ft. in the RR-1 zone were unaffected. They are still limited to a maximum ground covered of 25%. Thus, the ordinance did not address the size of structures that could be built on larger lots in any of the zones.
As a result of the deliberations, it was recognized that the existing lot coverage restrictions did little to control the scale of construction. In fact, an argument of some against Ordinance 2008 07 was that it encouraged mansionization by allowing larger houses to be built on smaller lots. The change in the ordinance did not affect a large number of homes. To counter the possible negative effect of the ordinance a last paragraph was added to the ordinance which cancels Ordinance 2008-07 unless a new ordinance is enacted which sets scale standards for infill development. A time limit of 18 months was set. The new ordinance regulating infill development must be enacted before Jan. 22, 2011.
The PC-HPC Working Group on Mansionization was created by the Mayor at the time Ordinance 2008-07 was enacted and is concerned with:
- Demolition of buildings and the resulting construction of significantly larger buildings,
- Construction of new buildings on vacant buildable lots, or
- Construction of additions whose bulk or mass greatly exceeds that of existing buildings where these actions cause or produce:
- a negative and injurious impact on the Town’s distinctive neighborhood character;
- a reduction in the open space between buildings, resulting in a reduced privacy, ambient sunlight, air circulation, tree cover, “green” space or the peaceful enjoyment and use of property;
- an increase in impervious surface area resulting in storm water management issues;
- a depletion of the desirable visual environment of the Town, to the detriment of the best interests and general welfare of the Town and its residents.