13 July 2009 | Approved: 10 August 2009
Mayor Anderson called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:35 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Charlie Challstrom, Joe Clark, Georgette Cole, Sylvie Favret and Ted Kelly. Also in present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom and Town residents Bob Booher, Chris Brown, John Compton, Ernie Kawasaki, Joan Mahaffey, David Neumann, Paula Puglisi, Ed Roberts, Jane Seegal, David Stopak, Shelley Winkler and Judy Young.
Approval of the Agenda
Georgette Cole moved, Joe Clark seconded that the Agenda for July 13, 2009 be approved. Charlie Challstrom requested the addition of two things under New Business;
- A discussion about two new personnel policies drafted by Local Government Insurance Trust.
- A discussion about LED streetlights. The agenda was approved as amended. Vote: 5-0.
Mayor Anderson asked Charlie Challstrom if he would like to have the LED streetlight discussion during Public Appearances. Charlie gave handouts to the Council and brought up a D.O.E. pilot program in which the Town may be able to participate. A discussion ensued. The sense of the Council was yes, this should be explored. Mayor Anderson will call the County contact (Jeffrey Price) tomorrow.
Judy Young announced that the Variety Show at the WGUMC is scheduled for October 3rd and all are welcome to participate and/or attend.
Discussion of Proposed Development on Casey 6 & 7
Mayor Anderson started the discussion by saying that Montgomery County either has already purchased or will be purchasing the property and the original Town position of “no purchase” is moot. He went on to explain that the Town has to decide what would be acceptable there. He explained the location of both parcels and then stated that a third piece directly adjacent to the Town is up for consideration as well. The County proposal will use about one third of the current Roberts Oxygen parcel. There was a discussion about access roads, buffers, negotiations, rights of way, location of the access road, driveway access for Roberts Oxygen, the Ward agreement of 1980 and keeping the Roberts access in the current configuration if the County won’t agree to move access from Crabbs Branch Way farther away from Brown Street.
David Stopak stated that we have to say that we are completely opposed to this. The County is just going to say that they are going to do it anyway, whether we say no or not. This is how we should go to them.
Mayor Anderson stated that the Town can’t just say no, we don’t want it there and not tell them what we DO want there.
Shelley Winkler stated that once the County gets this land and builds the buildings, it doesn’t mean that the area will stay that way. New County Councils could easily make changes down the road and we are in for a long battle. Letters do nothing! We have to do meetings, call our representatives, call the County Executive and we need to be public about this. We should be screaming about what goes there. Shelley went on to say that she is pleading with the Town to be assertive politically and make noise.
Paula Puglisi asked if we all agreed on what we want on the property. Do the other communities around us agree? We need to know what we want.
Joe Clark stated that we have to convince the County that they have to moderate what goes in there. Casey 6 is negotiable. Maybe we should say Montgomery County we don’t trust you, maybe you should just leave it as is. The access road along Brown Street is appalling. If there is one feature that needs to go, the access along Brown Street is it.
Shelley Winkler stated that pushing Amity Drive away from Brown Street is a BIG thing. She listed wetlands, trees, noise and buffers as other important things.
Bob Booher stated that Amity has to be redesigned.
Joan Mahaffey stated that is they put the road and the trucks there we have to oppose it.
Jane Seegal stated that we have no leverage because we are so small.
Ed Roberts brought up the lights at Roberts Oxygen. He said that proper barriers must be done and they must be done in the right way. Industrial doesn’t have to be bad.
David Neumann stated that he agreed with Jane, we need leverage. Perhaps a group of small railroad communities could be formed to fight this battle. It could go out and do fund raising to raise money to contribute to the politicians.
Shelley Winkler said that we need to organize and go to meetings with signs.
Charlie Challstrom stated that now we have an immediate opportunity to meet with the design team. We need Phil Andrews and Ike Leggett to get in this.
Joe Clark said that he opposed the plan as presented because of the location of Amity Drive, and access road and the removal of so many trees.
Shelley Winkler stated that we need to know what they plan to store there. Can we invite Mr. Leggett and the Council for a meeting and ask about the use of this property? We need to get them here to talk.
Ted Kelly stated that the media should be invited as well. Someone could follow folks around at the Wednesday meeting and chronicle that. Then it could be sent to The Post as an op-ed piece.
Paula Puglisi stated that the Town should join forces with the Shady Grove Alliance. They oppose the Casey 7 proposal. We must show this as an all around community concern. Otherwise we just look like a spoiled, white, rich, NIMBY community that some already think we are.
Shelley Winkler said that Phil Andrews has never responded to any of us. There are only a few and we can’t do this alone. We need you and I’m not feeling it here!
David Stopak said that the County is just “piling on”!
John Compton stated that the Town has to stay in the context of land use and the current zoning. The zoning was changed to I-3 quite a while ago. What’s appropriate there? Because of our history and our reasonable approach we may have large leverage from a small population. We should approach it with the idea of minimizing the effects that this plan will have on the Town. Pollution is not an issue because it’s already there. Noise, trees, visual screening and character are much better tools.
Shelley Winkler stated that she completely disagrees with John. Two hundred buses idling everyday won’t be an impact? No way!
Joan Mahaffey asked about the buses and for clarification about access to 370. Ted Kelly explained.
Ed Roberts stated that he looks at the property currently owned by Metro and Montgomery County as a poor use of the land. Their needs have to fit our needs as well. Why not use what you have and save the money.
Chris Brown said that she disagrees with John as well. Look what we got for our approval of the SHA yard. It simply gave tacit approval for another County facility.
Bob Booher stated that the meeting next week is step 2 in their plan. They are ready to design. We should tell the County that we need other assurances first.
John Compton stated that until Montgomery County decides what the use of this property will be then what’s the point? There are compatibility issues.
Paula Puglisi said that the Shady Grove Alliance should be called about the next meeting along with some real press and make this more of a greater community goal.
Mayor Anderson asked if we need to change what they are putting there. The answer was “yes”!
The rest of the discussion included approaching the press about Government waste, the proposed use being contrary to current zoning law and the master plan, compatibility issues, connecting Amity to Railroad Street, what appears to be minimal interest by Town residents, who owns Railroad Street and how busy residents seem to be.
Mayor Anderson summarized the discussion and stated that he will ask the County to come to the next meeting with a proposal for the actual use of the property. He will also ask for clarity about the issues with ingress & egress, connectivity (they are blocking the Town from the Metro), being pedestrian, as well as, Town friendly and about considering a completely different service use.
Approval of Minutes
Georgette Cole moved, Ted Kelly seconded that the Town Council minutes for June 8, 2009 be approved. Vote: 5-0.
Charlie Challstrom moved, Joe Clark seconded that the Town Council minutes for June 22, 2009 be approved. Vote: 5-0.
Approval of June 2009 Council Reports for Posting on the Website
Georgette Cole moved, Joe Clark seconded that the reports from the Town Council for June 22, 2009 be approved for posting on the Town website. Vote: 5-0.
Joe Clark moved, Charlie Challstrom seconded that the Treasurer’s report for June 2009 be accepted. Vote: 5-0.
Georgette Cole moved, Sylvie Favret seconded the motion to transfer funds to pay bills.
Charter Amendment Regarding Elections
Mayor Anderson said that the Town elections process and elections laws needed to be updated. He thought this could be done by an ordinance as opposed to a charter amendment. Joe Clark, Georgette Cole and Ted Kelly volunteered to help with this. Darrell will call the chair of the Board of Supervisors of Elections.
Mayor Anderson announced that the work on the Deer Park Bridge appeared to be going well and there was nothing to report on the LOS condemnation.
Charlie Challstrom presented two (2) draft personnel policies (Unlawful Harassment & Progressive Discipline) from Local Government Insurance Trust. He asked for guidance in integrating them into the current policy. Discussion…
The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.