12 September 2005 | Approved: 10 October 2005
Mayor John Compton called the Public Hearing to order at 7:53 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Linda Baim, Georgette Cole, Betsy Klinger, and David Stopak. Also present were; Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher, Treasurer Mary Challstrom and residents Ann Briggs, Charlie Challstrom, Joe Clark, Jim Leng, Barbara Leng, Ed Roberts and Brian Currenton.
Charlie Challstrom expressed concern that the Town doesn’t have standards for the special exception process needed in the proposed ordinance. The Board of Zoning Appeals must have some guidelines, for example; the need to protect the residential character or something to that effect. Charlie also stated his reservations about the use of "unimpeded prior lawful use", stating that unimpeded should be removed and the use of "profit vs. non-profit", stating that use of tax exempt was sufficient. Ed Roberts suggested that the justification at the beginning should be shortened and more reference should be given to federal law. The Mayor and Council decided to leave the record open until their next meeting.
Approval of Minutes
Darrell Anderson moved, David Stopak seconded, that the Town Council minutes of August 8, 2005 be approved. Vote: 5-0.
Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher reported that mowing had slowed down because of the lack of rainfall. Georgette Cole asked Jim to mark the areas in the roadway that needed sealing and then walk off the distance. Veirs’ charge for this is .75 – .82 cents per linear foot. Linda Baim asked Jim the status of lining the basketball court. Jim Leng suggested we hire this out because of the difficulty involved. Jim Fletcher said that he would try it. He will do half of the court.
David Stopak moved, Georgette Cole seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for August be accepted. Vote: 5-0. Darrell Anderson moved, David Stopak seconded a motion to transfer funds. Vote: 5-0.
David Stopak brought up the need for a revision of the Town Charter because the language is at odds with our eminent domain action on the Legacy Open Space property. Mayor Compton offered a short explanation and proposed that this be discussed under New Business.
- Revised Fees Ordinance – Mayor Compton reviewed and one change was made. Page 5, #6 (b) should be changed from $100.00 to $300.00. Darrell Anderson moved to adopt Ordinance No. 2005-04 as amended. David Stopak seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
- Revised Charitable, Religious & Educational uses within a Residential Zone – Former Mayor Marc Hansen sent in written comments concerning his reservations about the proposed ordinance. His concerns were about the use of the term non-profit and the lack of criteria for the Board of Zoning Appeals. Joe Clark suggested that there should be allowances for one time events (as did Ann Briggs) and that putting limits on worship services would be a problem. He also stated that perhaps the use of traffic police should be part of the Special Exception requirements. Ed Roberts stated the need to be very careful to avoid litigation. More discussion… The Mayor and Town Council decided to ask Marc Hansen and other members of the Board of Zoning Appeals to work on some criteria for Special Exceptions with regard to the proposed ordinance. They would ask for them to be completed one week before the next meeting. The record will remain open and the discussion was tabled.
- Discussion & Introduction of Municipal Infractions Ordinance – The discussion involved existing infractions, how to use this tool, mechanism for residents to verify the infraction(s), grandfathering criteria, compliance, and how to inform residents who are in violation. Charlie Challstrom suggested that an implementation regulation should be put in place. The reason for this ordinance is to prohibit new violations and to correct old ones, where ever possible, without undue burden to owners.
- Ordinance changes proposed by the Planning Commission – Darrell Anderson presented the Mayor and Council with a list of ordinance revisions that had not yet been acted upon. The revisions included changes to Article VII; Sections 4.2, 3.38, 3.328, and 5.32 and to Article IV; Sections 1, 8 and a new 9. A discussion ensued and the following items were eliminated from this round of revisions; kitchen definition, the addition of a height limitation in Article VII; Section 5.32 and the treatment of propane tanks as structures.
Roads & Walkways
Georgette Cole reported that the roadwork done by A.B. Veirs was completed. The Mayor requested information on the cost to seal cracks in the road surface before winter. A.B. Veirs will give an estimate after we mark the areas to be sealed. Georgette also reported that WSSC contractor S&J Enterprises has not yet completed the restoration part of the water main project. Forestry – Georgette Cole reported that the Washington Grove Lane reforestation project was going well. A meeting with Stadler’s Nursery is scheduled for September 16, 2005. Jim Fletcher is helping with this. The project should be completed by the end of October. Three trees are slated for removal; C & L Tree Service will take out the large oak near 111 Chestnut Avenue and Cutter Tree Service will take out the maple near 122 Chestnut Ave. and an oak near 410 4th Avenue.
Betsy Klinger reported that the Recreation Committee will sponsor a music class for toddlers in McCathran Hall. The program is called Music Together. Fees will be paid to the Town and the Town will pay the instructor. The Committee also reviewed the Music Weekend and 4th of July events. Both events were very well attended. The Committee decided to schedule the 4th of July potluck again next year. Betsy also reported that Ann Briggs presented the idea of holding an invitational tennis tournament and family potluck in the spring to celebrate the newly formed alliance with the Oakmont/East Deer Park communities. The Recreation Committee suggested that softball might allow more participation. A second annual Washington Grove Art Show is in the making. Safety – Betsy Klinger reported that, according to Montgomery County and Gaithersburg City experts, the graffiti that appeared on a few road signs in Town was not gang related. Betsy also reported that there was one incident of cash and personal documents stolen from a resident on August 19, 2005. The incident was reported to the police.
See Maintenance Report
Historic Preservation Commission
David Stopak reported that the HPC welcomed new member, Mimi Styles, to the Commission. The HPC reviewed a permit application for a porch roof at 102 Center Street. They found that materials submitted for a sunroom at 202 Grove Avenue were insufficient to act upon. David also reported that the HPC questionnaire needed further modifications. The plan is to have the questionnaire included in the September Bulletin.
Darrell Anderson reported that the Planning Commission took up the issue of the addition to 407 Acorn Lane before a packed house at its September meeting. After much discussion the key issue seemed to be the ownership of Johnson Alley. The Commission would like the issue forwarded to the Town attorney for further research. Darrell also reported that the $5,000.00 construction bond obtained from the owners of 350 Ridge Road would not be returned until the utilities were placed underground, as specified in the Public Improvement Agreement. Darrell presented a list of ordinance revisions that need to be reviewed by the Council and scheduled for public hearing.
Although not present at the meeting, Tom Land’s written report stated the fall leaf collection contract is going out to U.S. Lawns. The snow removal contract is being revised and will be distributed to our current service provider and other companies that have expressed interest.
Tom Land’s report stated that the Lake Committee met in early September to consider the past season and begin preparing for the next. An early October clean up date will be scheduled soon. The Committee also discussed having a larger public meeting to address this year’s schedule change for swimming lessons. The goal is to accommodate both swimming for kids and swimming for adults.
Linda Baim reported that the large backstop needed a new post in the ground to which mesh can be attached, the small backstop needed new mesh, the basketball court needed its lines painted and the tennis courts will need new nets and windscreens for the next season.
Linda Baim reported that Bill Saar is getting information much faster but would still like to see more use by residents in terms of posting flyers and applications.
- Casey Field – Letters about the intent of the Town to purchase the field are being prepared for all County Council members and for members of the Planning Board.
- Mayor Compton also reported that the Shady Grove Master Plan, the Cator property, and the Deer Park Bridge issues are all quiet right now.
Charter Amendment – David Stopak made a motion to amend the Town Charter; Town Property, Section 68: Condemnation; adding the words "within or outside the limits of the Town". The motion was seconded by Darrell Anderson. Vote: 5-0.
Betsy Klinger moved, David Stopak seconded the motion to adjourn. Vote: 5-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:34 p.m.