14 March 2016 | Approved: 11 April 2016
Mayor Joli McCathran called the 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 Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts and residents Bruce Crise, Jennifer Hix, Ed Roberts, Charlie Challstrom and property owner Dennis Kane.
Approval of Agenda:
Mayor McCathran added a Playground Committee Report to the agenda. The amended agenda was approved by general consensus.
Closed Meeting Statement:
Mayor McCathran read the following closed meeting statement:
The 8 February 2016 meeting of the Town Council in the Council Room in McCathran Hall went to a closed session at 9:00 p.m. The meeting was closed under General Provisions Article 3-305(b), (1) to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom this public body has jurisdiction. Georgette Cole, Alison Faupel, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Bud O’Connor and Greg Silber voted to close the meeting. During this session, a vote was taken in setting Town employees FY 2017 pay rates and to enter into a second contract, up to $5000 with Human Resources Specialist Nedra Weinstein.
Bruce Crise thanked those involved in the woods clean-up and vine removal on Saturday. He suggested the Town educate residents who live on the wood’s edge about the proper way to remove the English ivy, Hedra helix, vines from trees. Ali Faupel suggested additional vine removal could be done on the Lake clean-up day in April. There was a brief discussion concerning educating the public about the benefits of ivy eradication. Bruce also wanted to ask for help with a broken steel grate that is rusty and in pieces. Because of the location (on shared property lines) he offered to share the cost for a new one. Steve Werts offered to look at the drain.
Ed Roberts indicated he wished to make a comment during Bud O’Connor’s report and wants to hear about Block 11.
Approval of Minutes:
Georgette Cole moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting on January 25, 2016. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. A minor housekeeping change was made. Vote: 6-0, as amended.
Georgette Cole moved to approve the minutes of the Joint Work Session (TC, PC, HPC). Bud O’Connor seconded the motion. They added the following:
Because of technical difficulties the meeting was not recorded as previously indicated on the agenda.
Ali Faupel moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting on February 8, 2016. Greg Silber seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Treasurers Report 2016-February pdf
Bud O’Connor moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for February 2016. Ali Faupel seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Bud O’Connor moved to transfer $5,000 from savings to checking to pay bills. Greg Silber seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Playground Committee Report:
Jenn Hix showed photographs of the equipment the group selected and gave estimated costs for each piece. She explained the estimated cost of $100K projected over five (5) years. There was a discussion about the following:
- Installation costs
- Installation in-house (Town Maintenance and volunteer crew)
- New surfacing
- Longevity of equipment (selected equipment has lifetime warranty)
- Posting the report on the Town website
- Placement of new equipment
- Removal of older pieces
- Cost of replacement parts
This item will be discussed further at the Budget Work Session on Monday, March 21, 2016. Ali Faupel thanked Jenn and the group for all their hard work.
Action on Ordinance 2016-02; Ordinance Granting a Non-Exclusive Cable Franchise Agreement to Comcast of Potomac, LLC:
Mayor McCathran explained the revised Comcast document from another municipality was sent to the Town office. She asked the Council if they would like to review the agreement and vote on it at the Budget Work Session. There was a discussion about what benefits, if any, there were to delaying the vote. Bud O’Connor observed there was no end date to this contract. For clarification, Mayor McCathran will call Suellen tomorrow. There was no vote on the ordinance as Suellen asked them to hold the vote until the PEG negotiations were complete.
Mayor McCathran explained the need for a website policy especially when pictures of children are involved. Ali Faupel volunteered to review a hard copy policy from Greenbelt, Maryland in order to have a starting point to develop one for Washington Grove. In order to allow pictures from Summer in the Parks, Ali suggested adding a check-off of box of approval in the form to act as a photographic release.
Georgette Cole moved to approve the February 2016 Council Reports for posting on the Town website. Ali Faupel seconded the motion. There was a brief discussion about the lean-to structure found in the West woods during the recent clean-up day. The structure was removed.
John McClelland thanked Charlie Challstrom for his summary of the Automated External Defibrillator equipment. John said the number and variety of machines available is complicated. The Town is planning to purchase two (2) units in the near future; one (1) for use at Maple Lake (water resistant) and one (1) for McCathran Hall. John McClelland moved to approve the purchase of two (2) defibrillators. Bud O’Connor seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
HB1101 – Mayor McCathran reported HB 1101, Closed Swimming Lakes was heard before the House Environmental and Transportation Committee this week. Mayor Joli McCathran, Maple Lake Committee Chair John Hutchinson, Aquatic Expert Nate Simpson, and Town Attorney Suellen Ferguson attended and testified in favor of the bill at the hearing. The vote for this bill before the House of Delegates is scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2016.
Block 11 Update – Town Maintenance will complete the brick walkway this spring at which time the fence at 319 Grove Avenue will be relocated to the owner’s property. Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts restored Second Avenue to a temporary status which will allow construction to continue. Concerns regarding the contractor for rebuilding 203 Second Avenue were expressed. The foundation cracked over the winter and it was discovered the blocks were the incorrect size to support the structure. The foundation must be demolished and rebuilt. The owner has hired a new contractor. This contractor is responsible for obtaining a new bond to ensure the restoration of Grove and Second Avenues and is required to apply for a Public Ways Permit from the Town. John McClelland suggested a 60 day reminder be put in place to be sure it doesn’t expire.
Leaking Hydrants – A Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission expert inspected the two (2) hydrants in the East Woods in which concerns of leakage were expressed. He determined the hydrants are not leaking.
Drainage: In response to several residents’ concerns about drainage, John McClelland agreed to set up a meeting with Montgomery County representative Don Dorsey to learn about possible options for rain water runoff control. In addition to the residential section of Town, John will investigate about water run-off around Maple Lake.
Community Center: Ali Faupel brought up a general interest from List-serve chatter about a Community Center at the Commercial Corner. There was a discussion about the use of McCathran Hall for such purposes. It was suggested Ali seek support through the Recreation Committee for sponsorship of this endeavor.
Road Work: Bud O’Connor presented a map showing areas in need of paving/patching and the idea of 15 mph road stencils for five (5) entrances (Ridge Road, Grove Road, Chestnut Road, Hickory Road, and McCauley Street). He suggested spending $7,000 for the core work, $1,600 on the stencils, and a few hundred for some additional road work. Bud sought estimates using e-mail and received only one (1) reply from A.B. Veirs Company. The Council reviewed the information and discussed the need to follow the required process of sending out requests for proposals, and receiving sealed bids, for any contracts involving amounts of $5,000 or more.
Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts was asked for input concerning asphalt paving and patching and his ability to perform some of these tasks.
Bud O’Connor moved to apply road graphics, which includes five (5) 15 mph stencils, ten (10) stop sign lines and one (1) crosswalk marking. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
The Council discussed moving the $25K in Highway User Revenues funds into the FY 2017 budget year in order to have additional monies for that fiscal year. Mayor McCathran and Steve Werts will look at Requests for Proposals from previous years during the next four (4) weeks. Steve will do an inventory of trouble spots.
There being no further new business, the meeting adjourned at 10:10 PM.
TC REPORTS – April 2016
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Georgette Cole
Review Session: Maia & Larry Good were in attendance to discuss the extension of their existing garage at 3 Daylily Lane. They provided a preliminary drawing for discussion, however, no further plans are proposed at this time. The HPC advised them that a boundary survey is required to check for setbacks and a building permit application will need to be submitted when they decide to move forward with their plans.
A building permit application was submitted by Marida Hines for screening an existing open porch at 204 Ridge Road. The application included sufficient documentation for discussion. No changes to the existing footprint or roof structure are planned. The HPC will prepare and submit their review to the Planning Commission accordingly.
Archives: Marilynn Frey has volunteered to oversee the Town’s records management plan. She presented a HPC File Retention Policy Draft for the Commission to review and to get approval on the HPC inventory section of the Records Retention and Disposal Schedule so an “official” schedule can be established. All sections of the document must be approved before moving forward with the plan. She will make the recommended changes/additions to the draft version as determined by the Commission. It is unclear if the HPC records will be categorized as state archives or special collections.
Annual Budget: The draft budget proposed for FY2017 was reviewed. Except for an increase in income for the Archives Worker, the Commission voted to keep the HPC budget figures proposed for FY 2017 the same as FY 2016. No other changes were made.
Bulletin Material: Over the next couple of months, the Town bulletin will feature historical newspaper articles pertaining to Washington Grove.
Presentation with Clare Kelly: A new book Montgomery Modern, released in October 2015, is a chronicle of mid-century modern architecture in Montgomery County. This illustrated reference guide includes an inventory of key buildings and communities, and biographical sketches of practitioners including architects, landscape architects, planners and developers. Author Clare Lise Kelly was awarded the 2015 Paul H. Kea medal for architectural advocacy by the American Institute of Architects (Potomac Valley Chapter). Clare will give a lecture on Montgomery Modern Architecture sometime in late May or early June. This presentation will take place in the Town Hall, focusing on properties and contributing structures in Washington Grove.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – Georgette Cole
The Montgomery County Parks Department annual mowing/bush hogging of the Conservation Meadow was completed as planned.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Georgette Cole
Nothing to report.
MAPLE LAKE – Alison Faupel
HB 1101 regulating the use of closed swimming lakes passed the MD House and Senate with a unanimous vote and awaits the Governor for his signature. Once signed, it will become effective on June 1. Thank you to Mayor McCathran and John Hutchinson for their concerted efforts to see the legislation through!
Lake Clean-Up Day has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 10 at noon.
The geese eggs at Perlmutter Pond have been oiled and the nest will be removed in a few weeks according to Humane Society protocol. A second nest has appeared at the end of the island in Maple Lake; those eggs will be oiled before Lake Clean-Up Day on April 10.
The next Lake Committee meeting will be held on April 21 at 7:30pm.
PLAYGROUNDS – Alison Faupel
Nothing to report
SAFETY – Alison Faupel
Nothing to report
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Audrey Maskery
Large caliper trees; 3 Pin Oak, and 2 Black Gum trees will be planted in Morgan Park later this month. The trees will replace trees lost to age and damage. The Black Gum will provide canopy diversity and autumnal color.
Two American Sycamores will be planted by Stadler Nursery Monday 11 April. One tree has been designated for Woodward Park close to Maple Avenue, the other will also be planted in Woodward Park close to Grove Road to mirror the mature American Sycamore near the old Town garden.
Forestry and Beautification will be coordinating with the Woods Group in celebrating Arbor Day on April 30th 10am-noon. F&B will focus on cleaning and planting in Morgan Park while the Woods Group works on trails in the East Woods.
The next F&B meeting will be April 21st at 7.30pm in the old Council chamber.
MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery
Concrete beam set in place across gate entrance to Maple Lake, gate posts straightened and gate aligned enabling correct closure. Gravel spread on approach to lake gate, damaged during winter storm. Additional gravel placed inside gate providing a parking area for lifeguards.
PEPCO will be restoring the power line to the Lake pump shed damaged by tree fall during winter months. The Lake pump has now been tested and in working order.
Gravel spread and leveled on 2nd Avenue in preparation for new construction work. A ‘bid’ bond has been requested from the new contractor working on 2nd Avenue, this will insure the walkway will be restored and any additional damage to area after house construction.
New truck bed purchased prepped and undercoated to prevent rust. The current truck bed had rusted through and was beyond repair. The new truck bed will extend the working life of the Town truck by a number of years.
Work on the tennis courts; removing leaves/sticks, weeding, looting and rolling gravel court.
Mulching flower beds at Town Hall, and Morgan Park (Grove Road/Brown Street) entrance.
MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery
Work started on a memorial bench for Nicho Lembesis beside Maple Lake, the work will be completed later in the month.
PLANNING COMMISSION – John McClelland
Building Permits: 204 Ridge Rd – screened porch
Block 11: Brick walkway on hold for WSSC to install 1 ½” pipe (for MoCo building code required sprinkler system).
- Three additional properties were completed
- Excel spreadsheet being updated with information for future easy reference
Commercial Corner: Tatiana Bell (owner’s spouse) and Freddy Requero (Nueva Vida) presented a request to relocate an alcoholic’s anonymous type organization. Two hour meetings of approximately 15 – 20 individuals would take place seven days per week between the hours of 7:30 PM – and 9:30 PM. Parking would be limited to the lot facing Washington Grove Ln. A motion passed to expand Article XI Section 2.12 from a 9:00 PM deadline to 9:30 PM.
Storm Water Management: A meeting with Don Dorsey of Montgomery County has been scheduled for April 14, 2016
MCCATHRAN HALL – John McClelland
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ROADS & WALKWAYS – Bud O’Connor
Larger scale roadwork has been delayed due to a required bidding process; that is underway. Steve Werts has done some patching of potholes in the interim.
WEBSITE – Bud O’Connor
Nothing to report.
RECREATION – Bud O’Connor
- Kids Dance continues
- Yoga continues
- Afternoon Exercise class continues
- STBB rehearsals continues
WOODS GROUP – Greg Silber
A large number of enthusiastic volunteers turned out for the West Woods clean-up on March 12th. Many thanks to those folks for their efforts in making this a great success. Four truckloads of trash were taken to the Shady Grove Transfer Station. Some trash remains in the woods, but this greatly improved the quality of a walk through these woods.
Volunteers cut invasive English ivy vines growing on mature trees in the West Woods. An estimated 25-30 trees have been treated to date and more of this work is planned.
Arbor Day is set for Saturday, April 30, 10am to noon. Activities will include cleaning and planting trees in public areas around Town and spreading wood chips on East Woods trails. Volunteers are asked to meet at McCathran Hall at 10:00 am.
The Woods Group meets the first Monday of each month, 7:30PM.
CONTRACTS – Greg Silber
- Spring leaf pick-up was concluded around 1 April
- The spring bulk trash collection is scheduled for Saturday 23 April
INTERGOVERNMENTAL – Joli A. McCathran
House Bill 1101, Closed Swimming Lakes, pasted the State Senate unanimously, 45-0. This bill should be signed by the Governor within the next two weeks. The bill is slated to become law as of June 1, 2016. This bill was shepherded through the legislative process by Senator Nancy King. And Aquatic Expert Nate Simpson was vital to this process in developing this legislation. Our deep appreciate to both of these individuals. Our Town Attorney Suellen Ferguson was with us all of the way. Many thanks to her too.
I attended a Mayor’s Meeting with County Council President Nancy Floreen. Issues discussed included a potential county tax increase, the Watkins Mill Route 270 Interchange, the County’s Comcast agreement, and Air B&Bs.
The Maryland Municipal League Montgomery County Chapter discussed at its monthly the following topics: Tax duplication, school construction, and storm water management. Please contact me if more information is desired on any of these topics.
Last year I joined the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism initiative. To date, the initiative has drawn support from more than 300 U.S. mayors and municipal leaders from 48 states and the District of Columbia.