/* The Divi child theme test */ Town Council Meeting Minutes December 2016 | Town of Washington Grove
301-926-2256 washgrove@comcast.net

12 December 2016 | Approved: 9 January 2017

[TC Report – January 2017]

Mayor Joli McCathran called the meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council Members Georgette Cole, Patrice Klein, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Greg Silber and Shelley Winkler. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Woods Committee Co-Chair Joan Mahaffey, residents Charlie Challstrom, Bruce Crise, and property owner Dennis Kane.

Approval of Agenda:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Shelley Winkler seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved.

Public Appearances:

There were no public appearances.

Approval of Minutes:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting of November 14, 2016 and post them to the website. Shelley Winkler seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved as amended.

Georgette Cole moved to approve the minutes of the Public Hearing of November 14, 2016 for ORDINANCE 2016-10; Ordinance Adopting Amendments to Article VII, Zoning, Section 8.21 to Allow Charitable, Religious or Educational Institutions in the Commercial Zone as a Special Exception Approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals. John McClelland seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved.

Treasurer’s Report:

Treasurers Report 2016-November pdf
Shelley Winkler moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for November 2016. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Treasurer Mary Challstrom fielded a few questions from the Council about the report. Vote: 6-0, accepted.

Resolution 2016-12 – Charter Resolution To Amend The Budget, Taxation, And Indebtedness Article Of The Town Charter, Section 57, “Purchasing And Contracts”, To Authorize The Council To Override The Bid Process In The Best Interest Of The Town And To Take Advantage Of The Bids Received By Other State And Local Governments Through A Comparable Competitive Bid Process:

Georgette Cole moved to adopt Resolution 2016-12. John McClelland seconded the motion. The Clerk will change the word “city” to “Town.” There was a motion and a second to allow for this amendment. The Clerk took the following roll call vote: Georgette Cole – Aye; Patrice Klein – Aye; Audrey Maskery – Aye; John McClelland – Aye; Greg Silber – Aye; Shelley Winkler – Aye. Adopted, as amended.

RFP Re-Subdivision and Marking Boundary of East Woods:

Review & Decision
Mayor McCathran presented follow up information from both bidders. She checked references for both and confirmed with the Town attorney the 100-year title search mentioned by one bidder was not a requirement. The references from Snider & Associates showed experience relevant to the work described in the RFP. John McClelland moved to accept the Re-subdivision and Marking Boundary of the East Woods bid from Snider & Associates. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, accepted. It was noted the 100-year title search may be performed any time during the survey work should it become necessary.

Opening Sealed Bids for Invasives Removal:

Invasive Plant Control, Inc. (IPC) was the only bidder responding to the RFP. The Mayor and Council reviewed and discussed the response. The ICP proposal is:

1st year: $22,180.75 $32,526.35
2nd year: $10,375.60 $16,233.80
3rd year: $7,419.00 $13,277.20
4th year: $7,419.00 $13,277.20
5th year: $7,419.00 $13,277.20

The Clerk will send a PDF version of the response to Council members. Pat Klein will contact Spencer Johnson from IPC and ask him to attend a meeting of the Woods Committee on January 2, 2017 to discuss and clarify details of the bid. Pat Klein offered to make contact with a colleague who is an expert and is familiar with the scope of the contract to discuss the terms of the bid.

409 5th Avenue Easement – Update:

Mayor McCathran reported little action on this item by the owners or their attorney. However, some discussion about language in Exhibit C the property owner considered unacceptable has occurred. To date, the owner’s objections are unclear. Mayor McCathran indicated:

  • The Town Council, Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission approved the application as presented to the owners. Therefore the application, as approved, is in a form acceptable to the Town.
  • It is the owner’s responsibility to sign the easement documents and file them with the County Land Records. The Mayor and Town attorney are also required to sign after the easements are accepted by the owners.

Joint Council/Planning Commission/Historic Preservation Commission Meeting:

Mayor McCathran will ask members of each group to indicate their preference for January 23 or 30, 2017 for their annual joint meeting.

Back-up Snow Removal Contract for 2016-17:

Greg Silber gave the background for this contract to new Council members including the Town’s use of a back-up contractor in recent years. He stated the recent purchase of a skid loader will help immensely with our in-house snow removal efforts. Greg Silber moved to accept the back-up snow removal contract for 2016-17 from RJ Landscaping. John McClelland seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved.

Council Reports:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the Council Reports for posting on the web. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. The Council made some corrections to the reports. There was some discussion about issues relating to options for the Gaithersburg/Shady Grove County bike path. Vote: 6-0, approved.

Mayor’s Announcements:

Mayor McCathran reported she contacted Montgomery County Zoning about the used car lots along Oakmont Avenue. They are allowable uses per the County ordinances. Shelley Winkler expressed concern about the manner in which the cars are being parked, particularly their proximity to the road.

New Business:

There was no new business.

There being no further new business, the meeting adjourned at 9:32 p.m.

Town Clerk

TC REPORTS – January 2017


Review Session: The Commission spoke with Taunton Paine (son of George Paine and current property owner) via a conference call regarding the deterioration of #15 The Circle. He has been consulting with a real estate agent and contractor on ideas to get the home up to a “level of standard” to enable it to be put on the market in spring of 2017. Due to extensive damage that has occurred over the past 10-15 years, he is contemplating demolition of the side addition that was added sometime in the 70-80’s. The addition was poorly joined to the original part of the house causing severe water damage throughout the years. The foundation will remain in place with the possibility of building a deck and installing French doors for access to the outside. In addition, the pipes recently froze causing considerable damage to the kitchen, which now needs to be renovated. The HPC suggested that Taunton provide additional data (pictures, drawings, etc.) of the proposed construction so the Commission can prepare an early review. Demolition and building permits will be required, and, Gail advised Taunton of the tax credits available through the Maryland Historical Trust.

Old Business: Bud O’Connor was present with questions about Exhibit C of the Easement Agreement for 409 Fifth Avenue. The Town Council approved the Easement Resolution on November 14, 2016, and Mayor McCathran sent the final documents to the Town attorney, as well as to Bud & Carolyn O’Connor and their attorney, for review. The O’Connor’s are very uncomfortable with the language that exists in Exhibit C (description of the historic integrity features). They feel that there is too much description and language that doesn’t belong in the document. The HPC assured Bud that the existing document was created as a benefit to the owners of the property. Bud will come to the next HPC, bringing a copy of the final Easement Agreement, in order to discuss his specific objections with the language in the description. The HPC would like to understand the O’Connor’s issues with the current language in the easement documentation for 409 5th Avenue before continuing to prepare documentation on the historic integrity features description for the remaining property easements.

Archives – Monthly Report: The Commission reviewed an update received from Pat Patula on the progress of archival work for October through December 16, 2016:

  • Records Management Plan: A resubmission of the plan was mailed to the State Archives on November 14th. Most of the changes made to the plan were text adjustments with supplementary pages added for the Camp Meeting Era records.
  • HPC Design Guidelines: To assist the Commission in their research, Pat has assembled several samples of design guidelines originally gathered by the Preservation Study Group, including some additional examples from the Cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville, into one binder. The binder will be presented to the Commission at their December meeting for review.

The Commission also discussed forming a sub-committee to do an in-depth review of other design guidelines.
Vacant Properties: David reported that the group was on hiatus, however, they will continue with their work next year. To date, there are three contributing structures that are vacant: 408 4th Avenue, 402 5th Avenue, and 120 Chestnut Avenue.

PLAYGROUNDS – Georgette Cole

Nothing to report.


Nothing to report.


Nothing to report.

MAPLE LAKE – Patrice Klein

The Lake Committee is on break for the winter. The next meeting will be on March 16, 2017.

First meeting of this newly formed Committee was held December 15, 2016. Regularly scheduled meeting dates are to be determined. Sat Amagai serves as the Chair, Dave Cosson as Vice Chair, and Pat Klein as the TC liaison.
Several topics discussed at this initial meeting included:

  1. The new McCathran Hall AED unit: a proposed installation location in a metal cabinet would be mounted in the lower hallway on the wall between the doors to the restrooms. The metal cabinet will be ordered by the Town Treasurer after consulting with the Town Maintenance Supervisor. Two committee members (Nan Aitel-Thompson and Mary Warfield will coordinate registration of this AED unit. Nan also offered to contact the American Red Cross to explore the required CPR/AED training classes for users (open to all Town residents).
  2. Mark Frederiksen offered to collaborate with the Town Maintenance Supervisor on the purchase and installation site of the emergency back-up generator for the Town Hall.
  3. A presentation to Town residents by Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (MCOEMHS) Outreach Coordinator, Joe Corona, is tentatively scheduled in February 2017 in McCathran Hall. Once the date is confirmed a notice will be posted in the Town bulletin.
  4. Next meeting is scheduled on January 19, 2017.

SAFETY – Patrice Klein

See Emergency Preparedness


Two trees removed and stump ground out; one in Morgan Park (Grove/Railroad) the second in Woodward Park. The removal of dead branches program will resume weather permitting.

MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery

Final clearance of leaves from tennis courts, roads and avenues.
Maintenance on all mowers; installed new tow hitch on town truck. Completed playground wood surrounds and placed final layer of wood chips.
Removed Christmas decorations; Holiday Show platform, and placed in maintenance shop storage.
Sand for ice and snow covered streets, ordered and stored in maintenance shed.
Additional locks installed on entrances of the tennis courts; spread oil absorber on hard court after vandalism, (motor oil dumped on surface).

MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery

A private request and donation to re-furbish a bench (plus plaque) has been received. The bench is one of the two at front entrance of Town Hall. The request was made by the Dagnon family in memory of Donna Whetzel Dagnon, a past Washington Grove resident.


Building Permit Applications:

  • 112 Chestnut Ave fence – BZA approved a 6 foot fence facing the commercial corner.
  • 201 Brown St fence – Permit was denied as fence did not meet Code of Ordinances. Letter of notification to be sent to property owner along with a request for non-compliant fence removal/modification.
  • 8 The Circle – A permanent lattice enclosure built under an existing “bay window” must be removed as the total allowable square footage is exceeded (with this enclosure). Also, the Mayor reported a detached structure (shed containing wood pellet bundles) which was not included on any prior building permit. This structure and the property’s file will be investigated with appropriate action to address any additional ordinance violations.

Public Ways & Property Permit: The Planning Commission issued a permit to WSSC for sewer lateral replacements at four (4) homes on Grove Avenue (110, 112, 114, 315).

Block 11 Survey:
A boundary marker installation will be requested from Snyder and Associates. It was not previously placed due to the presence of a pond – which has subsequently been removed.

Border Committee:
Meeting scheduled for next week

House Files: Four more properties completed (total 88)

FEMA and the NFIP:
Charlie Challstrom, the acting flood plan coordinator for the Town, reported the following:

  • The TC adopted resolutions No. 2010-11 and 2010-12 allowing Town residents to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and committing the Town to cooperate with Federal, state and local agencies regarding special flood hazards.
  • New zoning ordinance language applying to accessory buildings (walled and roofed, including gas or liquid storage tanks located above ground) were provided by Kevin Wagner (FEMA). Since the Town has been designated by FEMA as a non-flood prone community (zone X) these ordinance updates do not appear to apply.
  • The flood plan coordinator should be a member of the PC (appointed by the Mayor and TC)
  • Annual reports are required to be provided to the State, however, 2015 and 2016 PC reports remain outstanding.
  • Once a new flood plan coordinator is appointed the required PC reports will be written and filed. The PC will also review the ordinance revision language for applicability to structures located in the Town and adjust the ordinances as necessary.

MCCATHRAN HALL – John McClelland

Nothing to report.


Bids to survey and mark the eastern boundary of the East Woods and associated areas were reviewed by the Council at its 14 November meeting. Following solicitation of additional information from the two contract bidders, the Council selected Snider & Associates for this survey work. Surveys are expected to start soon and should be completed by spring.
A request for proposals for removal and control of non-native, invasive plant species in the East Woods closed in December. One bid was received. The Council will discuss – including an appearance by a representative of the bidding company to address any questions about its proposal – at its January meeting and is expected to make a decision regarding this bid in the near future.
The Committee will provide an update on its various activities at the 30 January Council/Historic Preservation Commission/Planning Commission joint meeting.
The Committee will meet again on Monday 6 February, 7:30.

CONTRACTS – Greg Silber

Collection of leaves and recyclable yard waste ended early January. Our contractor for leaf collection, Green Earth, Inc., seems to have done a good job for us this year.

RECREATION – Shelley Winkler

A contra dance is scheduled for Saturday evening, February 4, 2017.

ROADS & WALKWAYS – Shelley Winkler

The RFP for spring road repairs will be distributed for Council review, focusing on the part of Brown Street from Ridge Road to just before Maple Road (including repair of a soft spot in that area), and on a part of Center Street between Grove Road and McCathran Hall (where the Grove Avenue walkway crosses Center Street).

WEBSITE – Shelley Winkler

Councilmembers, please continue to review, or ask commissions/committees you work with to review, portions of the website relating to your areas and send to me any items that need correction or changes.


I attended the Maryland Municipal League’s Montgomery Chapter Dinner with guests Senator Nancy King, Delegate Charles Barkley, Delegate Kirill Resnick and our Town Attorney Suellen Ferguson. The main point of the dinner is to reinforce the 2017 Maryland Municipal Legislative Priorities known to our Legislators.

As I reported at the December 2016 meeting of the Town Council, I contacted Montgomery County Zoning about the used car lots along Oakmont Avenue. These businesses are allowable uses per the County ordinances.

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