13 October 2014 | Approved: 10 November 2014
Mayor Joli McCathran called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Georgette Cole, Audrey Maskery, Carolyn Rapkievian, Bill Robertson and Greg Silber. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Planning Commission Chair Charlie Challstrom, HPC member David Stopak and residents Donna Edwards, Allison Faupel, Jenn Hix and Kristin Perry. John McClelland arrived at 7:45 p.m. and Emily Brown arrived at 7:50 p.m.
Approval of Agenda
Mayor McCathran asked for approval of the agenda by general consensus. Vote: 5-0.
Members of the new Traffic Calming Committee (Edwards, Faupel, Perry) presented recommendations (Exhibits A&B) to the Mayor and Council. Donna Edwards & Allison Faupel reviewed the recommendations. The Committee believes that traffic problems in Town seem to stem from a few issues; inadequate pedestrian access for crossing Washington Grove Lane (pedestrian safety), lack of enforcement of the gross vehicle weight restrictions on Washington Grove Lane and speeding in general. There was a discussion about showing more ownership of Maple Lake by installing "Private Property" and "Town Of Washington Grove" signs, a sidewalk on the west side of W.G. Lane, rights of way, the lack of any plat delineating ownership and easements, pedestrian safety, communication with the Methodist Church urging adherence to the Town speed limit, lack of enforcement of the gross vehicle weight restrictions on W.G. Lane by Montgomery County Police, involving MCPD liaison Scott Zimmerman, improving signage, County guidelines for crosswalks, the unusual placement of RideOn bus stops and using political pressure to achieve changes. The Council recommended that "Town of Washington Grove" was a better choice than "Private Property". The Council agreed the in-house “Quick and Easy Fixes” recommended by the Committee: re-painting crosswalks and clearing brush sway from signage, should be completed as soon as possible. Safety reminders are being published in the Town Bulletin and conversations with the Washington Grove United Methodist Church have been productive. Mayor McCathran will write a letter to Montgomery County officials outlining the items from Exhibits A&B. She thanked the Committee for the hard work and thoughtful recommendations, as did Safety Liaison Carolyn Rapkievian.
Approval of Minutes
Georgette Cole moved to approve the meeting minutes for 8 September, 2014. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. There were a few minor changes. Vote: 6-0.
- Greg Silber moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for September 2014. Bill Robertson seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
- Georgette Cole moved to transfer $10K from savings to checking to pay bills. Carolyn Rapkievian seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
- Treasurer Mary Challstrom distributed the Audit Report for fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 and asked it to be placed on the November agenda of the Town Council.
- Treasurers Report 2014-10 pdf
Drainage at the Playground – Discussion
Mayor McCathran explained this issue had come forth due to the work of the new Playground Committee. Greg Silber reported safety fixes are on-going items being addresses by Town Maintenance, however, the drainage issues will take a concentrated effort and some funding. Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts has ideas for helping with the drainage issues and would like to work on them this winter. There was a discussion about costs, wood chips, handicapped access, long-term plans and a trial use of a playground covering material called Playmata.
Greg Silber moved to approve funding up to $2,500 work on the drainage problem at the playground starting with the toddler piece, the merry-go-round and the swings. John McClelland seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0. The Mayor thanked the Committee for their work.
Security at Tennis Courts – Discussion
Mayor McCathran explained dogs on the dirt tennis courts and cars in the parking lot at night are the primary reason for the discussion. There was a discussion about locking the court gates and the unintended consequences of locking the gate on Oak Street. For now, the gates at the dirt courts will be locked for the winter starting in mid-October.
Application for Zoning Text Amendment
Mayor McCathran reported she sent this Zoning Text Amendment to Town Attorney Suellen Ferguson for review. Ms. Ferguson expressed concern about the lack of section numbers in the title, the lack of a permit process for approval of a sign request, the lack of enforcement mechanisms for same, and issues with first amendment rights when restricting political signage. A discussion ensued resulting in the following;
- there will be additional input from Suellen Ferguson regarding the use of the words “dwelling/dwelling unit” and signage.
- the ZTA will go back to the Planning Commission for reconsideration
- Carolyn Rapkievian moved to accept the October Council Reports and approve for posting on the Town website. John McClelland seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
- Town Council Reports – October 2014 pdf
- Mayor McCathran announced a meeting of the Clay Tennis Court Committee on October 27, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. She explained this is a follow-up meeting to the initial meetings from last year to assess the current situation to get resident’s view about the playing surface throughout the outdoor tennis season and costs for maintenance for the same period.
- 315 Grove Avenue – Mayor McCathran confirmed receipt of a request for permanent easement for Ms. Seegal. All her paperwork is in order. Georgette Cole asked if there should be a reference to the screening of the porch in question. The Planning Commission Chair said the original screening was done without a permit and is not legal. He reminded Mayor McCathran of the need for receipt of a draft easement agreement promised by the Town attorney.
- Bill Robertson Resignation – Mayor McCathran reported receipt of a letter of resignation from Council member Bill Robertson. The letter was accepted with regret and Bill was thanked for his years of service. Mayor McCathran would like to appoint Cindy Frei to fill the vacancy. Georgette Cole moved to nominate Cindy Frei to fill Bill Robertson’s Town Council seat until the May 2015 elections. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.