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14 June 2003 | Approved: 12 June 2004

Mayor John Compton called the 68th annual Town Meeting to order at 8:12 p.m. Gary Gordon delivered the invocation.

Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Carol Uhlendorf and seconded by Barbara Hawk that the Annual Town Meeting minutes of June 14, 2003 be approved. The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Compton thanked members of the Town Council, Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Election Supervisors, and the GWG Fire Board representatives. He commended members of the standing committees on Forestry and Beautification, Lake (special recognition to retiring chair Dodie Tippens), and Recreation (special recognition to retiring chair Kathi Carey-Fletcher) for their work throughout the year. Out-going Council member Peggy Odick was presented with a whimsical gift and sincere thanks for her valued service. The Mayor specifically noted the following accomplishments by Grove volunteers:

  • Patricia Deely & Don Henninger – Fire Board Representatives
  • Jenny Long – McCathran Hall Scheduler
  • Vicky Erhart – Street Light Czarina
  • Trash Crew along Washington Grove Lane
  • Dan Tutas – Trash Crew of one; Railroad Street
  • Carol Uhlendorf – Maryland Municipal League liaison
  • Bill Saar – Website Coordinator

Mayor Compton spoke a bit about the importance of volunteers in our community and urged residents to get involved. Mayor Compton also specifically thanked the Town employees Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher, Clerk Kathy Lehman, and McCathran Hall Scheduler Jenny Long for their hard work throughout the year.

Mayor Compton reported that the state of the Town was good and highlighted the following subjects:

  • The new refuse/recycling contract with Waste Management has a 30% increase in refuse costs while recycling costs remain unchanged.
  • Federal disaster relief money for the President’s Day snow storm helped the Town.
  • Leaf pickup for this year was good in the fall but we had a rough spring.
  • The continued loss of our old oak trees is a concern. We used all the budgeted money for tree removal and will probably continue to do so. Thirty new trees were planted this year. The tree inventory is about half finished.
  • Replacement of the tennis court fence has been put back in the budget. The time to decide the future of our clay courts is upon us.
  • Woodward Park will get new signs indicating “open” or “closed” due to weather conditions in an effort to keep the soccer field in useable shape. The park will also get a new piece of playground equipment for toddlers in FY 04.
  • The 30K in our budget for roads will be spent this coming year. The biggest problems are the Ridge Road corner and the intersection at Pine & Brown.

Planning issues noted during the year included:

  • The Planning Commission will complete the Town Ordinance revisions and a Public Hearing will be held in early fall.
  • The Planning Commission will take on a modest update of the Master Plan which will also be presented at a Public Hearing.
  • Things at the Commercial Corner have been quiet. A Board of Zoning Appeals hearing is scheduled for applicant “Twice Is Nice”.
  • The traffic study which started in the spring is almost complete with the final report due at the end of the month. The issue of lowering the Town speed limit will be looked at again after the results of the study are in.
  • The Deer Park Bridge issue has been activated again. A planning study by Montgomery County is underway. Darrell Anderson, Ned Helme and Mayor Compton will represent the Town on this issue.
  • Annexation of the Cator Property is an on-going issue which was discussed several times this past year. The Town has a substantial interest in what happens to this property.
  • Hiring a Code Enforcement Officer to help with the Town Planning and Zoning Code is still being discussed.

Election Results

Board of Supervisors of Elections Chairman Mary Kay Dubois announced the following election results:

  • Mayor: (1 yr. term) John G. Compton 68 – elected
  • Council: (3 yr. term) Darrell Anderson 67 – elected
  • (3 yr. term) Tom Land 68 – elected

Town Council Reports

Residents brought up the following concerns to the Mayor and Council:

  • The Commercial Corner – Will new tenant use back loading dock?
  • Town Survey – Where are we?
  • Road Study – Traffic Count – Speed Limit
  • Road Repairs – Is Pine Road at the top of the list?
  • Waste Management Trucks – Can we restrict access on Pine Road & Johnson Alley?
  • Drainage (especially near Pine Rd.) – Could they get more regular cleaning?

Action on FY 2004 Budget and Tax Rates

Mayor Compton began the discussion with an explanation of specific line items in the budget; legal expenses with the Casey Field, a new tractor, the tennis fence and road repairs. The Real Property portion will stay with the constant yield method where as, the Dwelling Tax reflects an increase of $10.00 per household to help with the increase in refuse collection costs. Ann Briggs asked if more money should be put in the budget to allow for the problems that we have with drainage and litter. Jim Fletcher reported that the drainage problems were primarily caused by the clogged CSX drain. Once that was fixed drainage was improved considerably.
Donald McCathran made a motion to adopt the FY 2004 budget. Ann Briggs seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Historic Preservation Commission Report

Mayor Compton reported that the HPC used the consulting services of Historic Preservationist Jerry Trescott for the renovation at #8 the Circle. HPC Chairman Bob Booher explained "contributing structures". A discussion ensued. Bob also stated that HPC reviews will be available on the website very shortly.

Casey Fields Update

Mayor Compton said that although the number of houses hasn’t really changed, the density and arrangement have. The current plan shows the school reserve but is still facing problems in the Wetlands Committee. Residents brought up the following concerns:

  • Access to Roberts Oxygen.
  • Number of houses on the ICC right-of-way.
  • Number of Moderately Priced Dwelling Units.
  • Loss of the big tree near the Washington Grove Park (old WSSC property).
  • School set aside guarantee.
  • Ownership of the Legacy Open Space field.
  • Maintenance of the Legacy Open Space field.
  • Annexation of the Legacy Open Space field.
  • Maintaining the tree line.

Proposed School at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church

Planning Commission Chairman John McClelland presented an “Issues, Facts & Process” summary and the discussion began. Mayor Compton suggested that a special town meeting dealing with this subject alone should be scheduled. Residents brought up the following concerns:

  • Is the WGUMC cooperating?
  • Over-all impact on the Town.
  • Safety on our streets.
  • Is this a permitted use?
  • Who is the John Wesley Academy & would they be leasing the church?
  • The capacity of the septic system.
  • What does the Town Attorney think?
  • Will the WGUMC officially present the idea to the Town?

Further discussion continued and David Neumann moved to reconvene at a special Town meeting on July 2nd. More discussion, the question was called; Terry Cox seconded the motion to meet on July 2nd. Vote: Unanimous

Ellsworth Briggs moved to adjourn, Betty Knight seconded and the meeting was adjourned

The meeting was adjourned at 11:21 p.m.

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