9 December 2013 | Approved: 13 January 2014
Mayor Cole called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Audrey Maskery, Joli McCathran, Carolyn Rapkievian, Bill Robertson, Greg Silber and David Young. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Planning Commission Chair Charlie Challstrom, residents Ann Briggs, David Stopak, Shelley Winkler and property owner Dennis Kane.
Approval of Agenda:
Carolyn Rapkievian moved, Bill Robertson seconded that the agenda be approved. Vote: 6-0.
Shelley Winkler and David Stopak came to comment on the condition of the property owned by Roberts Oxygen adjacent to the southern border of the Town. Shelley presented a handout which noted her concerns . Mayor Cole explained that she, Charlie Challstrom and Bill Robertson have discussed zoning and safety concerns about this property with Montgomery County. Roberts Oxygen has also been given a heads up about the Town’s contact with the County. The Montgomery County Fire Marshal found nothing in County code that would prohibit the parking of oxygen tankards adjacent to a residence and is checking with the State. County Zoning Investigator, Mark Moran, has also been consulted. Charlie Challstrom reported that the Town Planning Commission sent a letter to the County requesting adherence to setbacks for the current I-3 zone. However, because the property owner voluntarily agreed to the zoning change, it is grandfathered and the old I-1 zoning still applies to the property. There was a discussion about how the County could protect the single family homes from the uses allowed on an industrial property, the fact that there is no other place in Montgomery County where this conflict occurs, neighbors starting a protest by calling Roberts Oxygen daily, I-3 zoning requirements, landscaping buffer, being a good neighbor and the wisdom of parking large oxygen tankards next to single family dwellings.
Approval of Minutes:
Bill Robertson moved, David Young seconded that the meeting minutes for November 11, 2013 be approved. Changes were made to language about snow removal. Vote: 6-0; as amended.
- Carolyn Rapkievian moved, Bill Robertson seconded that the Treasurer’s Report for November 2013 be accepted. Treasurer Mary Challstrom fielded question about equipment purchases, McCathran Hall painting and Town reserves. Vote: 6-0.
- Joli McCathran moved, Audrey Maskery seconded the motion to transfer $10,000 from savings to checking in order to pay bills. Vote: 6-0.
- Treasurers Report 2013-12 pdf
Approval of FY2013 Audit Report:
Greg Silber moved, Bill Robertson seconded that the FY2013 Audit Report be approved. There was a brief Q & A session. Vote: 6-0. Carolyn Rapkievian moved, Audrey Maskery seconded that the FY2013 Audit Report be approved for posting on the Town website. Vote: 6-0.
Mary Challstrom directed the Mayor and Council to a recent article in the Municipal Maryland magazine ("Best Practices in Financial Management: Appropriate Unrestricted Fund Balance") and stated that it may help people understand the concept of an acceptable cash reserve balance.
Bridge Advisory Group Report:
Mayor Cole asked Ann Briggs to present/review the large packet of information presented to the Mayor and Council in their monthly Council packets. Ann gave a brief history of the activity during the past few years. The Bridge Advisory Group studies brought forth the following two (2) recommendations (see Exhibit B):
- Pursue an "Improvements Plan for the Railroad Street Corridor" and determine a process for its development.
- Follow up on issues raised at the October 2013 Special Town Meeting
The Group also advises the resurrection of the Property Acquisition Fund as a budget item to which funds are added every year. This money could allow the Town to purchase any property on our borders that may come up for sale. The Bridge Advisory Group is asking for approval of these recommendations by the Town Council. Mayor Cole suggested that the Council review everything again for further discussion at the January meeting.
Use of McCathran Hall – Discussion:
Mayor Cole explained that this discussion was prompted by two (2) things;
- the proposed use of McCathran Hall as the new polling place for District 39 and
- a proposed use of McCathran Hall as a place for a charity fund raiser.
She went on to say that Town residents will now vote at our Town Hall as well as some other residents of District 39. About 450 registered voters are now assigned to vote at the McCathran Hall. There was a brief discussion about the logistics of the polling place use and about volunteering help with elections. The proposed charity fund raiser use presents some challenges. The action sets a precedent which puts the Town in a position where it would have to permit use by any group that wanted to use the Hall for a charitable fundraiser. This opens up the possibility of over-use of the Hall and, consequently, having negative effects on the residents who live close to the building. Mayor Cole came to this view after consultation with the Town attorney. The Mayor and Council discussed how previous fund raising had been done with Women’s Club, not Town government, sponsorship. The discussion ended with the understanding that this could be an agenda item again if needed.
- David Young moved, Bill Robertson seconded that the November Council Reports be approved for posting on the website. Bill Robertson asked about the process by which WSSC will be doing their upgrades. He spoke about a process called "Insituform Lining" which was quite noisy and invasive. He suggested the Town be sure they understand how the upgrades to the sewer lines are being done. Vote: 6-0.
- Town Council Reports – December 2013 pdf
Roberts Oxygen Update -Because of the discussion about this earlier in the meeting, there was nothing more to report.
- Mayor Cole reported that the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation citation concerning the accident in the woods in August has been discussed with a representative of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation after which a formal written response was sent.
- The Town remedy, which covers all citations, is all future tree work and pruning will only be done by a Maryland licensed tree company.
- Joli McCathran reminded people of the Clay Court Committee meeting on Tuesday evening at 7:30PM in the Council Chambers.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.