Special Town Meeting

McCathran Hall, Saturday January 25 @ 11:00 am

Purpose: Discussion of Connection to the County and Gaithersburg Bikeway Systems

A direct and safe walking and bicycle pathway to the Metro and the Grove Shopping area has been a goal in the Town’s Master Plan for decades. It is also a priority connection in Montgomery County’s Bikeways Master Plan.

Accomplishing this is now within reach, as funding has been allocated for planning and constructing a connection by Montgomery County to the Department of Transportation (MCDOT). MCDOT has initiated a dual planning study of routes to connect the County bikeways path on Crabbs Branch Way to Washington Grove, and to connect Crabbs Branch Way to Amity Drive. To solicit input from the affected communities, they have scheduled a public Study Workshop to be held in McCathran Hall on February 13 at 7:00 p.m.

As well, the City of Gaithersburg is engaged in studying options for an improved bikeway connection between Old Town and the Metro.

It is critical that the Town Council and Mayor provide guidance to the MCDOT at the Study Workshop. To develop such guidance, the Mayor and Town Council are seeking input from Town residents. This Special Town Meeting will provide a forum for discussing the merits and impacts of potential connections to the Town.

To focus the discussion, a review of some connection options will be prepared by the Mayor and made available sometime before the Special Town Meeting on January 25th.

TOWN COUNCIL NEWS

Next meeting: Monday, January 13, 2020; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend. Actions at the December meeting include:

  • Continuation of discussion about Resolution 2019-13 pdf; Providing for Proper Governance of Washington Grove Committees.
  • Adoption of Resolution 2019-19 pdf; Evaluation Criteria for Driveways and Parking Areas Using Public Ways and Property.
  • Approved RFP for West Woods Watershed Study, and RFP for West Woods Survey.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

The Washington Grove Town Council will hold a Public hearing on Monday, January 13, 2020, 7:00 p.m. in McCathran Hall, 300 Grove Ave. Washington Grove, Maryland.

The purpose of this hearing is for public testimony regarding Ordinance No. 2019-18 pdf; Amending the Washington Grove Zoning Ordinance to Modify the Minimum Lot Size Standards for the RR-3 Zone. A copy of the Ordinance is available by contacting the Town Office at 301-926-2256.

Maryland State Income Tax

Washington Grove Subdivision Code: 1612
Every year the Town of Washington Grove receives a portion of the Maryland State income tax paid by Town residents. Because most residents do not have mail delivered to street addresses, this presents a challenge for the State Comptroller’s office when attributing the taxes collected to Washington Grove. It is critical that all Washington Grove residents (including renters) designate “1612” and “Washington Grove” on the tax form. For those filing electronically or using software, there should be a drop down menu to select Washington Grove. Please share this information with your renters and your tax preparer if appropriate. This DOES NOT increase your taxes, but DOES help ensure the Town receives its proper share of income tax revenue. Thanks for your help! Questions, call Treasurer Mary Challstrom at 301-926-4498.

Town FY 2019 Audit Report Online

As required by State law, an annual audit of the Town’s accounting records is performed by an independent certified public accountant. In April 2019, Lindsey & Associates was awarded a 5-year contract to provide auditing services. You may review the FY2019 Audit Report pdf by going to www.washingtongrovemd.org. Click on “Government,” “Financial & Budget,” “FY 2019 Audit Report.” Please contact Treasurer Mary Challstrom at [email protected] if you have questions.

Planning Commission News…

Next meeting: Wed, January 8, 2020; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend.

Building Permit Submission Deadline
The deadline to submit a building permit application for approval by the Planning Commission and review by the Historic Preservation Commission is the 2nd Wednesday of the month prior to the PC meeting at which the permit will be reviewed (this will be in the following month). This timing ensures the HPC will be able to complete a formal review before the PC meeting as this review is required for the PC to approve the permit in a timely fashion. If you are considering any renovation or building project at your house, be sure to get a copy of the procedures to apply for a Town Building Permit which will help you through the Town’s process.

Permits Approved in December:

  • 121 Chestnut Ave. Renovation

2019/20 Master Plan Work Session

The next 2019/20 Master Plan Work Session will be at 7:30 p.m. on January 15 in the Town Council Room. New submissions on the Bike Path (Section 3.4), on Section 6.3.2 (Brown Street Corridor) and 6.3.3 (Ridge Road Corridor), and Section 7 (Water Resource Management) were approved by the Planning Commission work session on November 20, 2019.

Copies of the latest 2019/20 Master Plan Working Draft and the draft minutes from each work session are available on the Town web site as a link on the Master Plan page.

Historic Preservation Commission News…

Next meeting: Tuesday, January 21, 2020; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.

A second camp meeting was served by the B&O Railroad when it stopped at the Washington Grove station…
Did you know that Johnson’s Park at Emory Grove, alongside Washington Grove Lane, was the site of a camp meeting? The community of Emory Grove, unplatted and unplanned, was built by former African American slaves and their descendants, dating from the 1860s. During that same decade, a nearby grove of trees became the site of song and praise services. By 1880, that 1860s custom had evolved into an organized 10-day to two-week camp meeting. It was widely attended by crowds of up to 3,000 – 4,000 local community and Montgomery County residents as well as black Washingtonians and others who arrived by train and walked from the Washington Grove Station to the campgrounds. Until barred, part of their route from the station was through Washington Grove.

Reflecting limited means, this camp meeting had no permanent presence—no tabernacle, no cottages, no dining hall. It remained a tent meeting in a grove of trees.

The Emory Grove Camp Meeting was closed down by the Montgomery County health department in 1967 for not meeting food safety standards, primarily for outdoor cooking.

The Emory Grove community of modest two-story vernacular dwellings (approximately 150 arranged on informal lanes) and local businesses were largely demolished and residents dispersed by an unfortunate urban renewal project. Perhaps in an echo of the camp meeting days, many of the former residents made it a practice to return to the community on Sunday to attend the altered 1903 Emory Grove Methodist Episcopal Church (now Emory Grove United Methodist Church) at the intersection of Washington Grove Lane and Emory Grove Road.

By 2004, the only tangible sign of the camp meeting grounds was a small remnant grove of oak trees, located behind a baseball field in the County’s Johnson Park. The historic marker erected by the Montgomery County Parks Commission notes that the property had been purchased in 1947 by Edward Johnson, a prominent African American businessman, who added a baseball park for night games. It is claimed that this was the first illuminated baseball park in the county. In the days before African Americans were allowed to play in the major leagues, many of baseball’s best black teams played at Emory Grove. All this within walking distance of the Town!

If you would like to know more about the community of Emory Grove and its camp meeting, see A Harvest in the Open for Saving Souls. The Camp Meetings of Montgomery County, by Elizabeth Jo Lampl with Clare Lise Kelly, Montgomery County Planning Department, Historic Preservation Section (prepared by the Maryland Historic Trust, July 2004). It can be found online at https://montgomeryplanning.org/historic/resources/documents/CampMeetingReport.pdf. A hard copy is also available in the Town Archives.

Montgomery County’s “Paths to the Present” series includes a short about Johnson’s Park at Emory Grove which features the oral history recollection of an Emory Grove Camp Meeting participant.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el4NbnF3ngs

The City of Gaithersburg’s brief overview of Johnson’s Park also includes additional information about Emory Grove’s place in baseball history.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWv9V_xQUHI

Forestry & Beautification News…

Next Meeting: Wed, March 11, 2020; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room.

Woods Committee News…

Next Meeting: Monday, January 6, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The February meeting will be on February 3, 2020. Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month. All are welcome to attend.

The Woods Committee welcomes the New Year by discussing plans for our annual Spring Work Day in the West Woods and ongoing trail maintenance in the East and West Woods. Volunteers are needed to help these efforts to succeed!

We also continue to monitor the ongoing deer management program with the Bow Hunter Fire Fighters of Maryland (BHFFMD). Two does were recently harvested in the West Woods for a total of 12 deer in the East and West Woods combined to date.
We wish all our neighbors and friends a wonderful New Year filled with peace, joy, and hope!

Recreation Committee News…

Next Meeting: Wed., January 15, 2020; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. Open to the public.
Anyone interested in joining should come to the next meeting!

It Was The Best Worst Holiday Show!

Many thanks to Judy Mroczka, Marilynn Frey and the skadillion members of the cast and crew who put together this year’s Holiday Show. A good time was had by ALL!!

Woman’s Club News…

The Washington Grove Woman’s Club Invites you to our Annual White Elephant Auction on January 25th

In Washington Grove, January is White Elephant Auction time! What is a White Elephant Auction you ask? It’s a great excuse for a good time! You bring treasured things that you’re willing to part with, be they artistic, household, historic, useful, beautiful or just plain goofy, then join the fun as it’s auctioned off to the highest bidder.

This year’s auction will be hosted by Arlene and Jeff McCrehan, on Saturday, January 25, 2020, 7:00 p.m., in their home at 410 Brown Street. Don’t forget that it’s never too early to start searching for those wonderful White Elephants. Don’t forget to mark this fun event on your calendars! This is our big fundraiser for the year, so come, donate, bid and have a ball ??.

January is also Our Annual Membership Drive
The Woman’s Club’s 2020 dues of a modest $15 are due starting in January. In addition to donating funds to help support the Summer In the Parks program, the Acorn Library and the Holiday Show, we also host annual Town events like the January White Elephant Sale, the February Chili Dinner, the Spring Egg Hunt, the May Flower Show, the June Progressive Porch Party, the September Pot Luck Supper, and other special events such as guest speakers and, of course, all year we collect for our Community Outreach programs.

Why I Joined the Woman’s Club of Washington Grove…
We recently received this letter from our newest member, Caitlin Bethepu, and it was so touching that we wanted to share it with other prospective new members:

“I grew up a millennial in the neighborhoods of Midwest America, and my only experience with anything like a woman’s club was watching Doris Day films. So, when I moved to Washington Grove, and discovered there was a current and active woman’s club, I was intrigued.

I initially applied to join the Club because I wanted to meet other women in the Grove. I’ve only been to a couple meetings so far, but it has quickly become clear to me that the Club is so much more than a place to meet other Grove women. I’ve learned so much about what makes the Grove a wonderful place to live: the history, the cultural community, the charitable outreach and the support of education-both school age and adult. The Grove is a unique community and joining the Woman’s Club is a wonderful way to get plugged into the Grove community.”

For the Washington Grove Elementary School…

The Teachers Closet
We continue collect school supplies for the Teachers Closet. We hope to keep it filled with things like glue sticks, pencils and sharpeners, paper, hand sanitizers and tissues, and other supplies. Without our help, teachers will all too often end up buying these things out of their own pockets.

Winter Coats, Hats, Scarves and Gloves
We try to keep the Teachers Closet filled with winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves so that no child goes without through the bitter winter months.

Bringing Music to the Students
This Fall, the school asked us to help ensure that all children can participate in the Music Programs. We are hoping to donate resin, reeds, instruction books and other necessities for a successful instrumental music program. Checks should be made out to the Woman’s Club and marked for donation to the WGES Music Program.

Working with Interfaith Works
While the less fortunate children of our County need essentials, they also need occasional treats in their lives, and we help provide these by collecting Birthday Presents and small Treasure Chest items to be distributed through Interfaith works. This year, for the first time, Interfaith is also collected holiday presents for needy families.

There is also an ongoing need for new underwear for boys and girls from toddlers to teens. Last summer they put out an urgent request for these, and through the incredible generosity of our Town, we were able to provide over 250 pair. We have developed sources for purchasing the underwear, so the easiest way to help with this need is through money donations.

White Socks for the Men’s Shelter
Winter is hard enough for the homeless without going without socks! This winter we are continuing to collect new white socks for the men at the Shelter.

The Linus Project
For those who like to spend the long winter months on indoor projects, we continue to support The Linus Project, which makes fleece blankets for children in need of comfort when they are in the hospital or foster care. If you are interested in helping with this, please contact Marilynn Frey (301-926-0867) to get the instructions.

Where to Bring Your Contributions
You can drop off your contributions in the painted can on Wendy Weisbard’s porch at 119 Grove Road, or you can leave them in the plastic bins on the Clubhouse porch. Checks are always appreciated too. Just put in the memo field if you want your donation to go to a specific project.

Work will be starting on our next Town Directory!
You will soon be getting a request to confirm or update your information for the 2020-2022 Washington Grove Directory. Please, when you get it, return it to us as soon as possible ??.

Film Society News

On Sunday, January 12, 2020 we welcome everyone to the third movie in our 2019/2020 Film Series, Woman on the Run.

Frank Johnson witnesses a gangland murder. Afraid of the gang and not trusting the police, he goes into hiding. His wife Eleanor (Ann Sheridan) searches for him with help from a reporter (Dennis O’Keefe), and she learns things she never knew about Frank. A gritty and compelling crime drama. Directed by Norman Foster, 1950, US, b&w, shown with English subtitles. 79 minutes.

The movie will begin at 7 p.m. in McCathran Hall, discussion to follow. No tickets required—free to all. Hope to see you there.

Stormwater Management Committee

Next Meeting: Tuesday, January 14, 2020; 7:30 p.m. in the Town Council Meeting Room.
The Stormwater Management Committee meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month. The Committee will resume regular meetings on January 14th. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the West Woods Watershed Study was issued and we are expecting responses in February. Meanwhile, we will be working on making plans for the New Year. One important item is coordination with both Montgomery County and the City of Gaithersburg. Both jurisdictions have offered to meet with us and we need to decide our priorities and what we would like to ask each organization.

Washington Grove UMC News…

Washington Grove United Methodist Church…A Reconciling Congregation

As a Reconciling Congregation, we believe that each person is a precious creation of God and is of sacred worth. We welcome and celebrate persons of every gender identity, racial or ethnic background, sexual orientation, and physical or mental ability into full participation in the life of this faith community. We celebrate the gift of love and affirm all loving relations and marriages.

Please join us on Sunday mornings at 11:00 am at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church, 303 Chestnut Road, Washington Grove, MD 20880 (301-869-3753).

Emergency Preparedness Committee News…

Next Meeting: Thursday January 23, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Council Room.
All Town residents are welcome to attend and discuss any issues or concerns regarding emergency preparedness or safety. We are always looking for interested people to join our committee. About a dozen people have shown interest in the proposed CPR/AED class, so we are going ahead with the planning of this event, likely to happen in April or May. We are also still considering a cybersecurity presentation in February. Please, stay tuned!

Lighting Committee News…

Next Meeting: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Council Room.
We will be continuing our exploration of our lighting needs and investigating options for bollard lighting for some of the walkways. All are welcome to join in! Any questions, concerns or ideas, please contact Virginia Quesada at [email protected] 301 706-7933

Washington Grove Cares

WGC wishes everyone the best in 2020. If your New Year’s resolutions, despite your good intentions, leave you quaking at the unimaginable work of decluttering or redecorating, or disheartened by the challenge of learning to ice skate or speak Spanish, or intimidated by the idea of mastering tai chi or the art of French cooking — whatever! — think of the knowledge and skills of Town residents.

Go to www.washingtongrovecares.org and request some support. Washington Grove Cares helps build community through neighbors helping neighbors, in sickness and in health.

General Information

Recyclable Yard Waste Collection Ends

Please note that Thursday, December 26, 2019, was the last date for collection of recyclable yard waste by Potomac Disposal this year. This service will resume in early March.

Town Elections

To ensure you are registered to vote at your current Washington Grove address and on the proper precinct report for Town elections on May 11, residents can check their voter registration online: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch

If you are not registered to vote in Montgomery County, instructions to register are available at:
https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections/registration/faq.html#Where%20Do%20I%20Register

Christmas Tree Disposal

Beginning in late December, Christmas trees will be picked up roadside by Town Maintenance staff. When you place your tree out for collection, please remove all tinsel, ornaments, the stand and any other metal.

TRASH DAY CHANGED TO THURSDAYS

At the request of Potomac Disposal, our refuse/recycling collection day has been changed to Thursdays. This began THURS. Dec. 26th.

COMING EVENTS CALENDAR

January 6 »  Last Leaf Collection by GREENEARTH Town-wide
January 6 »  Woods Committee 7:30 pm Council Room
January 8 »  Planning Commission 7:30 pm Council Room
January 11 »  Board of Zoning Appeals Hearing 10:30 am Council Room
January 12 »  Film Society 7:00 pm McCathran Hall
January 13 »  Town Council Meeting 7:30 pm Council Room
January 14 »  Stormwater Management Comm. 7:30 pm Council Room
January 15 »  Recreation Committee Meeting 7:30 pm Council Room
January 15 »  Master Plan Work Session 7:30 pm Old Council Room
January 21 »  Historic Preservation Comm. 7:30 pm Council Room
January 22 »  Lighting Committee 7:30 pm Council Room
January 23 »  Emergency Preparedness 7:30 pm Council Room
January 25 »  SPECIAL TOWN MEETING 11:00 am McCathran Hall
February 3 »  Woods Committee 7:30 pm Council Room