13 October 2008 | Approved: 10 November 2008
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, and Kathie Evans. John Compton arrived after the approval of the agenda. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom and Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher. Ed Roberts (#6 The Circle) arrived at approximately 8:50 PM.
Approval of the Agenda
Joe Clark moved, Georgette Cole seconded that the Agenda for October 13, 2008 be approved. Georgette Cole asked to add a Film Society request, Mayor Anderson asked to add the PC and HPC relationship to the Mayor’s Announcements and Charlie Challstrom asked to add Master Plan Status as #9 and re-number from that point forward. The agenda was approved as amended. Vote: 4-0.
There were no public appearances.
Approval of Minutes
Georgette Cole moved, John Compton seconded that the Town Council minutes of September 9, 2008 be approved. Vote: 5-0. Georgette Cole asked about the garden plot discussion from a previous meeting. There was a brief discussion which clarified the role of the Forestry Committee in the process of dismantling the Town garden.
Charlie Challstrom moved, John Compton seconded that the Town Council minutes of September 22, 2008 be approved with a spelling correction. Vote: 4-0 (John Compton abstained).
Georgette Cole moved, John Compton seconded that the Treasurer’s report for September 2008 be accepted. Charlie Challstrom pointed out the overage in legal expenses. A discussion about budget transfers ensued. Mayor Anderson will write something for the Town Bulletin which explains the current status of the LOS legal expenses and the funds from which transfers may happen. He stated that we should plan for the maximum and not nickel and dime the budget to death.
Joe Clark moved to authorize the transfer of funds totaling $40,000, as needed. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0. The proposed transfers are as follows:
- $5,000 from Professional Land Planning; not need this year,
balance = 0.
- $5,000 from Property Acquisition Set-Aside; not needed this year,
balance = 0.
- $25,000 from McCathran Hall Improvements; electrical upgrades not needed, balance = $2K
- $2,000 from Mulch Alley Debris Removal; not needed this year;
balance = 0.
- $3,000 from Reforestation; adequate funds left for current needs;
balance = 0.
The Treasurer’s Report for September 2008 was accepted. Vote: 5-0.
Jim Fletcher reported that the removal of the hemlocks at 102 Grove Ave. was going according to plan. Mayor Anderson asked Jim about the failing telephone pole barrier along Johnson Alley behind 411 Grove Avenue. The barrier is entirely on the owner’s property but the Town erected the barrier. A discussion ensued. Jim Fletcher and Charlie Challstrom will explore the possibility of fixing the barrier using steel posts given to the Town by Bill Robertson. There was a brief discussion about liability.
Town Position Regarding the Sale of Piedmont Park to M-NCPPC
Mayor Anderson reported that he believed it was important for the Town to take an official position regarding the sale of Piedmont Park to M-NCPPC. Park & Planning would like support from the Town. The issue goes to the County Council in November. The Council discussed this sale being consistent with the current needs, preserving the tree line (the last visual barrier before the highway), continuous green space, access and sufficient parking. The Council supports this action and the Mayor will write a letter saying so. A statement of support will be given at the October 20th M-NCPPC Master Plan Roundtable Meeting. John Compton brought up a memo from Sue Edwards (M-NCPPC) where the Legacy Open Space field is referred to as being “subject to litigation”. John said that this verbiage is incorrect and that that Town should respond to it. Clarification of this and other problems will be made by Charlie Challstrom and John Compton at the October 20th meeting. There was a discussion about The City of Gaithersburg’s master plan and their proposed expansion limits include Oakmont, Roberts’ Oxygen and Piedmont Crossing. Charlie Challstrom suggested that a meeting with the Gaithersburg planning staff was in order.
Ordinance 2008-05: Declaring Certain Properties as Surplus to Public Use and Authorizing Sale of Said Properties to Designated Owners of Adjacent Properties – Continued Discussion
Mayor Anderson stated that the ordinance as presented at the public hearing was not very well received. A discussion included historic easements, the points made by Bob Booher at the public hearing, forming an official work group, making a “global” policy, asking the Maryland Municipal League for examples of easements and making an effort to deal with all encroachments at the same time. Joe Clark suggested that perhaps the HPC could be charge with some of this research.
Kathie Evans moved to close the public record. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
Charlie Challstrom moved to disapprove of Ordinance 2008-05. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Joe Clark said that an ordinance such as this should be very specific in what it is doing and why it is being done. More discussion… Mayor Anderson stated that this type of action should benefit both the Town and the residents. Vote: 5-0.
Master Plan Update
Charlie Challstrom reported that the Planning Commission has incorporated modifications and suggestions into the Town Master Plan. He also received suggested language about the maximum expansion limits for Legacy Open Space from Bill Roberts. Charlie will send this to PC members via e-mail for a “virtual blessing” so that it can be included in the October 20th Roundtable.
Deer Park Bridge: Mayor Anderson reported that he had talked the Mr. Huang from Montgomery County a couple of times and still no final report. The hearing is at the end of October. He is hoping that the report comes in time for the Town to review it and, therefore, comment intelligently at the hearing. Perhaps a structural engineer from Town could help. Mayor Anderson said that the bottom line is that there will be no bridge if it has to be on Washington Grove property.
L.O.S. Condemnation Update
M-NCPPC made a request to present new information to the Court of Special Appeals. Attorney Bill Roberts has sent a reply. The date for the last filing is October 15, 2008.
Intergovernmental Committee Update
Mayor Anderson reported that no one had officially volunteered to be on this new committee but that he had talked to a few people. It may be that members will have to be appointed. He would like to see one lead person per sub-committee.
PC & HPC Relationship & Procedures
Mayor Anderson stated that, in reference to the Shank property (302 Ridge Road), the process wasn’t followed correctly. There was a discussion about the 30-day waiting period, the advisory role of the HPC, the validity of the 30-day waiting period, preliminary reviews, consistency in procedures and clarification. Charlie asked for documents that approved the current process. Kathie suggested that the discussion had come full circle and it was clear that the process needed to be revisited, maybe at a work session.
Kathie Evans brought up the property at 104 Maple Road (Nagem) and wondered if there was any recourse with the County concerning the tall grass, the fact that the property has lots of solid waste in the yard and that it has been vacant for some time. The Town Clerk offered to direct Kathie to the County website where complaints can be made.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.