11 December 2000 | Approved: 8 January 2001
Mayor John Compton called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Paris Pacchione, Dodie Tippens, and Allen Winter. Councilor Dave Gumula joined the meeting later. Town residents Charlie Challstrom, Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher, and Carol Uhlendorf also were present.
Carol Uhlendorf, Town Council liaison to the Maryland Municipal League, announced that the annual Legislative Dinner would be held at the Golden Bull in Gaithersburg on Thursday, January 4. The dinner is $35 per person.
Approval of Minutes
Allen Winter moved, Dodie Tippens seconded, that the Town Council minutes of November 13, 2000 be approved. Vote: 4-0.
Allen Winter moved, Paris Pacchione seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for November is accepted. Vote: 4-0. Dodie Tippens moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, that the Treasurer be authorized to transfer funds, if necessary, to pay bills in December. Vote: 4-0.
Mayor Compton announced the following:
- Town Attorney Bill Roberts has provided a written opinion to validate Town collection of property taxes based on partial year assessments. This opinion applies to properties along Ridge Road in Washington Grove Hills that were annexed on July 20, 2000. State law says that real property added to municipal tax rolls between July 1 and September 30 may be assessed beginning October 1.
- Montgomery County has assured the Town that additional State highway user revenue funds for maintaining Ridge Road will be forthcoming.
- In addition to asking for County help to improve signs directing trucks away from Washington Grove Lane, modifications will likely be sought to the speed hump in front of 125 Washington Grove Lane. Residents will be given an opportunity to comment on speed hump modification prior to and at the January Council meeting.
- Because some lots along Ridge Road in Washington Grove Hills have been subdivided, more house numbers are required. The County has proposed a re-numbering scheme.
- Ward Corporation has asked to have the performance bond held by the Town to enforce terms of the public improvement agreement for the Brown Street Station project, returned by the Town. The Town will wait to see that the sand filter designed to handle storm water run-off at the end of Brown Street is functioning properly before releasing the bond.
Jim Fletcher presented sample street name signs he had made in different types of wood, with different lettering and paint finishes with varying levels of reflectivity. The search will continue for paint approaching the reflective quality of adhesive lettering. The following locations were suggested for signboards for posting public event notices: Grove Road and Brown Street, Grove Road and Center Street, and Ridge Road and Brown Street.
Paris Pacchione suggested that trimming bushes where walkways and roads intersect might improve safety for pedestrians and kids on bikes.
Forestry and Beautification
Darrell Anderson reported that the Town has applied for “Tree City U.S.A.” designation. The large stump on Acorn Lane across from 402 Grove Avenue has been targeted for removal. The State will soon report on the success of the gypsy moth spraying that they did last spring. Another candidate for Town arborist has been identified.
Town Hall Improvements
Darrell Anderson reported that the window refurbishment project for McCathran Hall continues, hampered somewhat by the weather.
Dodie Tippens reported that six additional parking spaces might be carved out of the lake parking lot. Dodie has spoken to EQR about bidding next summer for replacement of the dock. The next Lake Committee meeting will be held in February.
Dodie Tippens reported that Santa Claus visited the Grove again this year on a fire truck from the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department. Next year thought would be given to find a time when more people might be home. The Holiday Concert will be held on December 16, followed by the annual Carol Sing on December 23.
Dave Gumula reported that the Historic Preservation Study Group is working on a plan to develop public support for preservation and looking at acceptable methods of enforcing preservation. The goal is to have a proposal for Town Meeting in June.
Roads and Walkways
Dave Gumula reported that he and Paris Pacchione looked at possible locations for speed humps and are considering the following: two humps each on Maple Road, Grove Road and Chestnut Road, one on either side of each road’s intersection with Oak Street.
Allen Winter reported that the Commission recommends sign improvements directing truck traffic away from Washington Grove Lane and modification rather than removal of the speed hump in front of 125 Washington Grove Lane. The Commission also believes the Town should press for police enforcement of the prohibition on trucks over ¾ ton.
Nick Suzich, in a written report, said that the enclosure around the tall slide has been expanded and plans are final for enlarging the enclosure around the swings. Colored caulking material has been purchased to fill small cracks in the asphalt tennis court surface to mitigate negative effects of freeze/thaw cycle. Budgeted funds will be spent on replacing the fence around the asphalt tennis court. A backboard will not be installed. Plans for new playground equipment will be unveiled at the January Council meeting.
Mayor Compton gave a status report on the litigation between Joe and Mary Adams and the Town. The Adams are suing the Town for negligence and loss of consortium related to a branch which fell out of a Town tree behind the Adams house allegedly hitting Mary Ann Adams on the head. The incident happened on May 20, 1998. This Town tree had, prior to this date, been the subject of correspondence between the Town and Joe Adams. Mr. Adams maintained that the tree was diseased and posed a threat to his property. The Adams brought the State of Maryland into the suit because a State forest ranger had been called in by the Town to assess the health of the tree. A motion to have the suit against the State dropped was granted by the judge. The jury trial in this case has been scheduled for January 24, 2001.
The meeting was adjourned at 9.44 p.m.