10 November 2003 | Approved: 8 December 2003
Mayor Compton called the meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:35 p.m.. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Betsy Klinger, Peggy Odick, David Stopak, John Tomlin and Treasurer Mary Challstrom. Also in attendance were Planning Commission Chairman John McClelland and resident Charlie Challstrom, Charles Horan, Sylvia Horan, Meredith Horan, George Paine, Ken McCathran, Joli McCathran, Jim Leng, Georgette Cole, Greg Silber, Candi Byrne, Joe Clark, Jerry Ruley, and Rico Sturniolo.
Meredith Horan asked if the Town was going to present an opinion about the proposed Inter-County Connector at the up-coming meeting in Gaithersburg on November 19, 2003. A discussion ensued the result of which was an agreement that the Town’s position was clearly stated in the 1995 Town Master Plan and nothing would indicate that it has changed. However, to get a true Town opinion, some sort of forum or Special Town Meeting would be the best way to re-open the issue. A January meeting was recommended.
John McClelland expresses concern about the Ordinance revisions. Jim Leng said that the Commercial Vehicles Ordinance was unclear. John McClelland said that he and Darrell Anderson would meet and straighten out any confusion with the revisions.
Candi Byrne expressed concern about the excessive vehicular use of 2nd Avenue and asked if better signs and barriers could be put up at Miller Drive and Grove Avenue and at 2nd Ave. and Grove Avenue. Nancy Haskett echoed Candi’s concerns and added that she often redirects trucks that have entered Grove Avenue by way of the Miller Drive fire lane. Jim Leng suggested that the Town put up posts and a removable cable similar to the one at Maple Ave. and Center Street. George Paine asked if more attention could be paid to all of the Walkway Only signs. Many are out of position and no longer in the center of the entrance to the walkways. A discussion ensued about cables, removable posts, bolt cutters and safety. Ken McCathran asked that the current Town Ordinance be enforced. The issue is Ed Roberts leaving his car on the walkway for long periods of time and the frequency of his trips. More discussion. George Paine noted that the Walkway Only sign was missing at 6th Avenue and asked that Jim Fletcher be given a priority list for the Walkway signs with Miller Drive and 2nd Avenue at the top. There was more discussion about signage, access and encroachments. Mayor Compton ended the discussion with a commitment to write a letter Mr. Roberts about his abuse of the walkways.
Jim Leng started the discussion of vehicular access to Cherry Avenue by stating that as of 6:15 p.m. tonight part of the fence was down again, more wood was delivered and that he watched Mr. Nagem throw a vertical post from the Town fence into his garage. Mayor Compton summarized the problem on Cherry Avenue. He saw the Town having three options. The destruction of the fence is a criminal offense which would require the State’s Attorney Office, the other offenses would require a legal injunction. All of this has the potential of costing the Town a lot of money. Mayor Compton would like to have the vehicles towed. It would cost Mr. Nagem some money to get his equipment back and that would hurt. Planning Commission Chair John McClelland wants the Town to put a lien on the property for Ordinance violations. No more letters, just do it! Jo Clark agreed that inflicting pain by way of fines would be a good way to go. Make the fine cover all the costs involved. Mayor Compton then started a discussion about municipal infractions, fining authority and a code enforcement officer. He also presented the third option of closing Cherry Avenue to everyone, including the Chapman’s who are the only residents still using the walkway for reasonable vehicular access per a 1976 Resolution. More discussion.
Darrell Anderson moved, Peggy Odick seconded, that the Treasurer’s report be accepted. Vote: 5-0. Treasurer Mary Challstrom reported that Federal Emergency Management Report for damages from Hurricane Isabel was completed and the Town will recover 75% of the $12,000.00 spent on tree removal and debris chipping. Mary also reported that the Town’s actual Income Tax Revenue would be $64,000.00 instead of the $75,000.00 stated in the budget. Adjustments will have to be made. Peggy Odick moved, Darrell Anderson seconded that the Treasurer be authorized to transfer funds if necessary. Vote: 5-0.
Approval of Minutes
John Tomlin moved, Darrell Anderson seconded that the Town Council minutes of 13 October 2003 be approved as corrected. Vote: 5-0.
David Stopak reported that maintenance was going along smoothly. Bruce and Jim have been mulching leaves in the park areas. In response to a letter from Jill Bloom, the Mayor and Council decided to ask Jim Fletcher to spread out some of the wood chips that the Town dumped in the East Woods in order to make the paths more navigable for walkers. They also asked the clerk to be sure to put an item in the Bulletin that would advertise "wood chips free for the taking" to all residents. The discussion then moved to pruning and private hedges that over-hang Town property. David suggested that Jim Fletcher travel the Town in a grid fashion and make a list of problem intersections. Playgrounds: David Stopak reported that the agreed upon piece of playground equipment was the "Town House" version. The cost has gone up another $1,000.00 since our last inquiry. Although installation will be supervised by the equipment company, the site preparation will need to be done by volunteers. David asked the clerk to put an item in the Bulletin that calls for volunteers to help with the new site.
Roads & Walkways
John Tomlin reported that the bid packages prepared by the clerk looked fine. Discussion. Mayor Compton had a few changes. John Compton suggested that when the time for the work to be done came closer, that we mark the areas to be fixed with blue spray paint.
Darrell Anderson reported that at their meeting on November 4, 2003 the Planning Commission discussed the Commercial Corner, Avenue Access, an application for a building permit to build a shed at 115 Chestnut Avenue, plans for an addition at 301 1st Avenue and comments submitted by Town Attorney Bill Roberts concerning a revision of Town Ordinances. The Planning Commission discussed the request by a nail salon establish themselves at the Commercial Corner. The Commission agreed that the nail salon falls within our zoning ordinances and will contact the business owner with that information. The Commission discussed the continuing concern of regular use of walkways for vehicular traffic. The Avenues of concern are Cherry, Pine, 2nd, and 6th. The Commission suggests that this issue should also be a topic of discussion for the Parking Committee that has yet to form. The Commission discussed the application for a building permit to construct a shed by Carolyn Luxford (115 Chestnut Ave.) and determined that, although she would not be allowed to build a residential structure on the recently acquired strip of Town property, nothing in the agreement prevents her from constructing a shed and the permit will be approved. The Commission reviewed plans for a renovation at 301 1st Avenue and concluded that there does not appear to be any violation of Town Ordinances regarding increasing non-compliance of this property however, they would like to review the final plans as a group before approving the permit application.
There was no meeting of the Forestry and Beautification Committee this month however, Darrell Anderson reported that Town Forester Dan Landry visited the Town to assess storm damage and other resident concerns on various Town-owned land. Of particular concern are two trees on The Circle. One will be taken down and the other either trimmed or removed if it cannot be saved.
Betsy Klinger reported that she attended the meeting on November 5, 2003 where a presentation was made by a gentleman from an Irish Dance group who was interested in renting McCathran Hall on an on-going basis (once a month). The Recreation Committee, the Town Clerk and the Hall Scheduler have reported a marked increase in the number of requests to use McCathran Hall under the Recreation Committee sponsorship. The Committee would like further guidance from the Town Council and would like to form a committee to study the sponsorship issue. Based on these concerns, the Town Council agreed that another on-going use, especially the size of the Irish Dance Group, would be out of the question right now. They also supported the establishment of a committee to look at the use of McCathran Hall.
Betsy Klinger showed the Town Council the sample Neighborhood Watch signs and asked for a decision on which one to purchase. The Council decided on the blue, 12"x12" sign.
Betsy Klinger reported that a contract for storm windows on the lower part of the Town Hall that included completion dates has been done by Ed Mroczka.
Peggy Odick reported that the HPC continues to work on design guidelines. They are also working on summaries of their reviews in order to have them published in the Town Bulletin. The HPC is having difficulty understanding the Town Ordinance revisions.
Peggy Odick reported that improved communication between the Clerk and Website Coordinator has resulted in timely posting of information.
- Road Repairs: Mayor Compton announced that Bailey-Thompson, L.L.C., the developer of the old WSSC property, signed-off on the Ridge Road repair agreement in the amount of $9,000.00.
- Railroad Park Lease: Town attorney Bill Roberts will draft an agreement for the use of the land behind Railroad Park by Action Hauling. Action Hauling will pay $1,200.00 per year to store a shed on the property and also continue to mow and take care of the Parkland.
- Casey Field Update: Mayor Compton reported that storm water management and a bike trail are still issues with County Planners. A discussion ensued about a land swap with DPWT, M-NCPPC and the I-1 Casey Property.
- Business at 413 Washington Grove Lane Update: A letter was written by Town attorney Bill Roberts concerning Ordinance requirements for home occupations.
Darrell Anderson will incorporate Bill Roberts’ changes to the Town Ordinance revisions.
Wood Business & Vehicular Access on Cherry Avenue
Most of this discussion happened during Public Appearances. However, there was more discussion about calling the Montgomery County Police if Mr. Nagem removes the fence again, then having Bill Roberts write a letter explaining that the next move would be a court injunction. There was additional discussion about calling a towing company.
Mayor Compton reported that the Shady Grove Master Plan would go before the Planning Board on Dec. 5, 2003. A Town position is necessary and should be further defined with density limits and a cap of 4 stories on the Casey I-3 property. The Town should support the position of the Shady Grove Civic Alliance where possible.
Peggy Odick moved, Betsy Klinger seconded the motion to adjourn. Vote: 5-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:02 p.m.