14 September 2015 | Approved: 12 October 2015
Mayor Joli McCathran called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council Members Georgette Cole, Alison Faupel, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Bud O’Connor, and Greg Silber. Also present were Planning Commission Chair Peter Nagrod, Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts, residents Sat Amagai, Ann Briggs, Charlie Challstrom, John Compton, Mark Fredericksen, Kitty Seiferlein and property owner Dennis Kane.
Approval of Agenda
The agenda was approved by general consensus.
John Compton and Ann Briggs came to discuss their concerns about ways to support and improve the tree canopy particularly in the residential part of Town. Ann referenced an e-mail she and John had sent to the Council on this subject. She and John suggested the Town Council consider forming a new group to research and study the health and possible restoration of the over-story canopy. John and Ann volunteered to research this subject and come back to the Mayor and Council in January with some ideas and recommendations. They acknowledged the old trees cannot be replaced but they can be cared for and maintained to retain the Town’s identity of “a Town within a forest.” Mayor McCathran suggested adding to the current contract with Bill Bond in order to get a professional evaluation. There was a discussion about the following:
- Reforestation which has occurred in the last five (5) years
- Aerial maps, existing grids
- Encouraging residents to care for and maintain old trees on private property
- Updating the Town tree inventory
- Consideration of forming an additional group to focused on tree canopy issues when Forestry & Beautification and the Woods Group already exist.
- Watering, aerating, feeding mature trees
- Caring for middle-aged trees
- Forming a Forestry & Beautification sub-committee
- The benefits of using professionals for evaluation of the canopy.
- The Council decided Ann and John will work through Forestry & Beautification and to present options at the Council meeting next month.
Peter Nagrod is the Woodward Park Coordinator. He recently issued a permit for regular use of our athletic field by a soccer team composed of kids (ages 18 – 24) from a Gaithersburg program called Identity Youth. After speaking very highly of this group and their commitment to improve lives of youth, Peter asked the Town Council to waive the fee for using our athletic field. He also stated these folks are our neighbors and he believes this is the right thing to do. The Council discussed the fact that the Town just regained control of the field after some years of discontent and some members questioned the wisdom of the request because it may be precedent-setting for the Town. They also talked about continuing to request the fee from the group then donating it back to them at the end of the season.
Bud O’Connor moved to continue to take the rental fee for the field and donating it back at the end of the season. Alison Faupel seconded the motion. Vote: 4 in favor (Cole, Faupel, Maskery, O’Connor); 1 against (McClelland); 1 abstention (Silber). The motion carried.
Approval of Minutes
Georgette Cole moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting on August 10, 2015. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
- Greg Silber moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for August 2015. Bud O’Connor seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
- Greg Silber moved to transfer of $5,000 from savings to checking in order to pay bills. Bud O’Connor seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
- Treasurers Report 2015-September pdf
Emergency Preparedness Task Force
The Mayor announced Mark Fredericksen has volunteered to chair this group. Mark provided a draft charge for the Task Force including its goals and told the Council of his qualifications. There are currently three (3) members (Mark Fredericksen, Larry French, and Sat Amagai) but the Mayor would like a to add additional members. Charlie Challstrom volunteered to join this task force.
Shared Use Bike Path – Discussion (cont’d)
The Mayor had no updates to report but did say some residents have expressed concern about their peace and tranquility should this path come through Washington Grove.
Permanent Easement Application (409 5th Avenue)
The documentation for this application is in the hands of the Town attorney. To date, nothing to report.
Abandoned Properties – Update/Discussion
The Mayor announced a task force of six (6) volunteers is now in place. The first meeting will take place on October 19, 2015. There was a brief discussion about the legal definition of “abandoned.”
Georgette Cole moved to approve the September 2015 Council Reports for posting on the Town website. Bud O’Connor seconded the motion. There was discussion about the following:
- Repair of the 3rd Camera at Maple Lake
- Advice from Gaithersburg Aquatic Expert Nate Simpson concerning autonomy for the Town to self-monitor Maple Lake
- Signage along Washington Grove Lane
- Website design and payment for same
- Use of tax exempt number when purchasing the swings for the playground
- Vote: 6-0.
- Town Council Reports – October 2015 pdf
- Signs at Tennis Courts: Mayor McCathran read a sign used by Brunswick Crossing in Maryland to communicate rules for using their tennis courts. The Mayor and Council reviewed and finalized the language for four (4) new signs at the Town tennis courts (Clapperton Courts). Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts will have the signs made.
- Maple Lake: Mayor McCathran reported a new “Swim at your own risk” sign will soon be posted.
- New Business
- Mayor McCathran reviewed the basis of the Maryland Open Meetings Law and reminded everyone that e-mail discussions using the “reply-all” method are considered a meeting, thus they are prohibited. There was a brief discussion about using a disclaimer line on e-mail correspondence.
- Bud O’Connor suggested with the audio system upgrades for McCathran Hall, the Town should consider providing, for those who need them, listening system aids under the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act. He will bring a couple of devices to the next meeting for review.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m.