13 December 2004 | Approved: 10 January 2005
Mayor John Compton called the meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:38 p.m.. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Linda Baim, Betsy Klinger, Tom Land, John Tomlin, Treasurer Mary Challstrom and Maintenance Supervisor James Fletcher. Town residents Leigh Partington, Keith Gillis, and Bruce Rothrock were also present.
Keith Gillis and Leigh Partington expressed concerns about the closed entrance to the Town at Center Street and Washington Grove Lane. The current method doesn’t really close the road and the number of cars coming into Town using Center Street has increased. A resident put posts in the ground and placed timbers on the ground in this area out of frustration with the increased use. Keith and Leigh were concerned that emergency vehicles would not be able to use the emergency entrance if the "permanent structure" remained. Betsy Klinger agreed to call the fire department and ask for guidance about acceptable types of barriers. This same traffic problem seems to be occurring at the Oak Street and Washington Grove Lane emergency entrance as well. A discussion ensued. Jim Fletcher will do a short-term solution of posts and cables until we get information from the fire department. Leigh and Keith also suggested that we get new signs to replace the aged rusty faded ones.
Approval of Minutes
John Tomlin moved, Tom Land seconded, that the Town Council minutes of November 8, 2004 be approved. Vote: 5-0.
Jim Fletcher reported that the Stirling Van Beek tree house in the East Woods seems to be expanding. He gave a brief history and brought pictures. Jim feels that the biggest concern is fire and he has seen evidence of it in the area. John Tomlin expressed liability concerns. The general sense of the Mayor and Council was to keep an eye on the area and to write a letter to the Van Beeks about the fire & expansion concerns. Jim Fletcher also reported that the PEPCO tree cutting along Washington Grove Lane would begin on December 14, 2004. Jim & Bruce took care of a pine tree that came down in McCauley Park and also finished the protective netting project in the forest conservation area at Washington Grove Park (old WSSC property).
John Tomlin moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for November be accepted. Vote: 5-0.
Approval of Audit Report for FY 2004
Treasurer Mary Challstrom reported that the annual audit cost has risen because of the institution of new accounting methods. John Tomlin moved, Tom Land seconded, that the audit report for FY 2004 be approved. Vote: 5-0.
Darrell Anderson reported the following;
- Road Bond: Town attorney Bill Roberts has advised that the Town require a cash bond of $10,000 or less instead of an insurance bond for subdivisions, renovations or new construction. For bonds over $10,000, an insurance bond is still advised.
- Commercial Corner: The Planning Commission denied a request for an art studio in the Commercial Corner based on the current uses defined in Town ordinances. The applicant was encouraged to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals.
- Fence at 103 Grove Avenue: The Commission discussed the lattice fence and reviewed a letter from the Town attorney that determined the fence to be in violation of Town ordinances. No permit application was received. The Planning Commission passed a motion stating that the lattice-work fence was in violation and encouraged the Mayor to take the appropriate action to have it removed. Discussion… The Mayor and Council also discussed the issue of cutting down an alleged Town tree. Ownership must be determined and consultation with the Town attorney will be required.
- Non-Compliant Properties: A list of non-compliant properties was reviewed by John McClelland and forwarded to the Mayor and Council for review. The Commission needs a procedure for action on this and would like the Mayor and Council to establish one. A discussion about a Code Enforcement Officer ensued.
- Parking on Town Property: A change to the Town ordinances regarding parking will be forwarded to the Town Council for review.
- Annexation Issues: The Commission discussed the possibility of annexation of the Oakmont area (east of the RR tracks) into Washington Grove. The Planning Commission suggests that the Council appoint a committee to research this. A discussion ensued. The Mayor advised that this committee be appointed soon because of the Deer Park Bridge. Mayor Compton will talk with Ann Briggs about connecting this to her bridge study group. Mayor Compton brought up the Cator property (17050 Railroad Street) annexation issue. He gave a brief history and then showed the new proposed plan. The owners are still interested in annexation. Mayor Compton has asked Bob Booher to come up with a design that would suit the Town and the owners. Discussion… The Mayor believes that the Town should actively pursue this project.
Linda Baim reported that volunteer webmaster Bill Saar is making changes to the website. He would like to get feedback from the Mayor and Council before attending the meeting. He hopes to come in January.
Betsy Klinger reported that a resident brought up the idea of sending a deli platter or fruit basket to the Fire Department as a thank-you for the excellent response that we have received. A discussion ensued that resulted in an agreement to send a thank-you note but not sending anything else. Betsy also reported that she has received complaints about dogs at large again. She called the offending dog-owner. Betsy brought up the idea of Police enforcement of our Town speed limit again. Discussion…
Betsy Klinger reported that the Art Show was a big success and the winter programs went well. Washington Grove Singers director Kathy Lehman announced that she will step down after the December concert.
Tom Land reported that leaf pick-up by U.S. Lawns is going well. Tom also reported that a pile of bulk trash is still at Bud O’Connor’s house. Tom will call Waste Management again to get this picked up.
John Tomlin reported that the Maryland Municipal League Legislative Dinner would be on December 16, 2004 at the Golden Bull.
- Deer Park Bridge – Mayor Compton reported that several meetings about the bridge have already taken place. The County would like to hold a workshop and take public comment in January. The Town Deer Park Bridge Committee is evaluating the options and coming up with new ideas that will benefit all and have the least impact on Washington Grove. The idea of lowering the railroad tracks is being explored and, so far, turning out to be less expensive than expected. The Town will present this idea at the workshop.
- Casey Field Update – Mayor Compton reported that County Council members Silverman and Floreen have inserted themselves into the Planning Board process. They brought up the idea of using the designated Legacy Open Space field for the elementary school requirement in the Shady Grove Master Plan. Mayor Compton explained the entire issue and the current status. A discussion about solutions ensued. Mayor Compton believes that the Oxbridge plan will be approved with some conditions. However, we don’t know what the conditions are right now. The Mayor strongly believes that the Legacy Open Space field dedication should be connected to the Phase I approval. Mayor Compton will make his comments at the December 23rd public hearing.
- Re-schedule – Public Hearing for Zoning Text Amendment; Charitable, Religious & Educational uses within Residential Zones: January 24, 2005
- Fences – Mayor Compton will send letters concerning ordinance violations for fences at 103 Grove Avenue and 406 Grove Avenue. Letters will include language about corrective actions and fines.
Traffic Control within Washington Grove
Center Street and Oak Street Cut-Through Traffic: See Public Appearances Speeding on Maple Road: Police enforcement will be requested.
Mayor Compton led a brief discussion about getting information to new residents. There was talk about getting information to realtors as soon as the signs go up. The Town Clerk will re-do the Mayor’s letter for the Welcome Packets given out by the Woman’s Club.
Tom Land moved, John Tomlin seconded, that the meeting be adjourned.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:03 p.m.