8 December 2003 | Approved: 12 January 2004
Mayor John Compton called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Betsy Klinger, Tom Land, Peggy Odick, David Stopak, and John Tomlin. Town residents Charlie Challstrom, Nancy Chapman, Ken and Joli McCathran, George Paine, and Ed Roberts also were present, as was Lieutenant Robert J. Corazza of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.
Approval of Minutes
David Stopak moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, that the Town Council minutes of November 10, 2003 be approved as corrected. Vote: 4-0. (Absent: Klinger, Odick)
John Tomlin moved, David Stopak seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for November be accepted. Vote: 6-0.
Approval of Audit Report
Darrell Anderson moved, Peggy Odick seconded, that the Audit Report for the year ended June 30, 2003, be accepted. Vote: 6-0.
Miller Drive Fire Lane
Mayor Compton reviewed the Council’s November decision regarding a barrier to permit emergency access from Miller Drive and stated his reason for delaying action until after the December meeting. He outlined two issues in the Miller Drive area: 1) to prohibit vehicles driven by those unfamiliar with the Grove from driving on the walkways, and 2) to limit an excessive number of vehicular trips and parking time elapsed on the walkways by those with permission to reach their landlocked dwellings. Lt. Bob Corazza said that either removable wooden posts or a cable would be acceptable to the County Fire and Rescue Service, though the posts would be preferable because a cable could present a tripping hazard. Lt. Corazza said that rescue services are familiar with overcoming these barriers to reach houses in an emergency. Ed Roberts read a statement on the importance of emergency access. Ken McCathran said that the number of trips and amount of time vehicles are parked on Second Avenue is excessive and he would like to see residents get permission from the Mayor to use a walkway for vehicular access.
Mayor Compton proposed and the Council agreed to the following: two short (4-foot) removable wooden posts in metal sleeves will be installed at the top of Miller Drive. These posts will inhibit vehicular traffic but will permit access by emergency vehicles to Grove Avenue and the Circle. Regulation signs on posts will say "Emergency Vehicles Only" and "No Parking Fire Lane". Ed Roberts agreed that he would, when necessary, access his property by entering Grove Avenue from Acorn Lane. Mayor Compton asked for cooperation from residents when using a walkway for vehicular access to their houses, to keep the number of trips to a minimum and time spent on the walkway as brief as possible.
- Cherry Avenue – The Council’s mandate to end the illegal vehicular use of Cherry Avenue by Scott Nagem is moving forward. The Town Attorney is preparing a criminal complaint for destruction of Town property (removing fence). Nagem’s truck has been towed by the Town for parking in the public right of way. The Mayor told Nancy Chapman that although prohibiting all vehicular access to Cherry Avenue has been discussed, such action would require the Chapmans’ approval.
- Shady Grove Master Plan – Copies of the Mayor’s testimony were distributed. . Three major issues of concern to Washington Grove remain 1) density of overall development 2) elementary school site on the Casey residential property, and 3) nature of development on the Casey industrial property. The Mayor has scheduled a meeting with the contract purchaser of the Casey industrial site for December 16. The County Planning Board will hold work sessions on the Shady Grove Master Plan in January with approval planned for April. It will then go to the County Council for approval.
- Use of McCathran Hall – A number of residents have volunteered to serve on a committee to review the McCathran Hall regulations. Barbara Hawk has agreed to chair the committee which plans to have an assessment completed by spring.
- WSSC to Replace Water Main – The Sanitary Commission will replace the water main along Brown Street in the near future.
- Slogan Contest Winner – Tom Land will work on a suitable prize for the contest winner as well as a way to display the 15 mph slogan. A "Burma Shave" type display was discussed.
- Holiday Decorating Policy for Parks – The Council agreed that individuals should receive permission from the Mayor prior to decorating Town parkland. The Ritters have asked to decorate Chapel Park and the Council agreed that a one-time secular display would be fine.
- Sale of Town Truck – Several bids were received for the 1989 Chevy pickup surplused by the Town. The Council accepted the highest offer of $1,000 made by Chris Kirtz.
- Washington Grove Park/Final Lot Sold – The fourth and final lot on the former WSSC property on Ridge Road has sold. When the Town reaches an agreement with the developer on Forest Conservation, a building permit will be granted. It was suggested that the public property (Forest Conservation Area) along Ridge Road be clearly identified to the adjacent homeowners.
Roads and Walkways
John Tomlin reported that bid packages for road repairs have been sent.
Darrell Anderson reported on the following: 8 Circle – Stop Work Order placed on addition project because building was not constructed according to approved plans. Cherry Avenue – Commission discussed prohibiting all vehicular access to Cherry Avenue. Tom Land suggested that current legal actions be given a chance to work before looking at other alternatives.
Potential Tenant for Commercial Corner
Received inquiry from consignment shop but use is not permitted because of number of different items for sale.
Town Hall Improvements
Betsy Klinger announced that a contract has been signed with Ed Mroczka to build storm sashes for the lower windows in McCathran Hall.
Betsy reported that some Brown Street houses had been hit with paintball guns. She noted that Chris Kirtz and Jim Fletcher will install Neighborhood Watch signs when they arrive. It has been suggested that the Neighborhood Watch coordinator maintain a list of residents with special needs so that in case of emergency, the Neighborhood Watch program could check in with those residents needing extra help.
Tom Land reported that the leaf removal contract is going well. John Tomlin asked if the snow removal contractor could be asked to angle the blade along lower Ridge Road so that accumulated snow is put on the field side.
Peggy Odick announced that Historic Preservation Commission minutes will be put on the website.
Historic Preservation Commission
Peggy reported that the Commission has been reviewing renovation plans for 301 First Avenue.
David Stopak reported that Jim Fletcher has been restoring the McCathran Hall sign, mulching leaves, and installing new 15 mph speed limit signs.
David reported that new playground equipment will be ordered by year’s end for installation in the spring.
Darrell Anderson identified significant changes proposed to the Town Ordinances including a prohibition on larger commercial vehicles intended to make it easier to prevent illegal home occupations. Also, a proposed maximum floor/area ratio is intended to keep dwellings more in proportion to one another. A public hearing on the proposed ordinances will likely be held in February.
Mayor Compton suggested that the Town have an informational meeting on the status of the Inter-County Connector in January. The Town’s Code of Ordinances is being violated with greater frequency in recent years. Mayor Compton recommended that the Town seek the help of a part-time code enforcement officer to aid Town volunteers. The Maryland Municipal League and other County municipalities are possible sources.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 p.m.