TOWN COUNCIL NEWS
Next meeting: Monday, January 8, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend.
From the Mayor…
Planning for Bike Trails – Update
Town Council members Greg Silber and Shelley Winkler and I met with J.T. Thomas, Planning Section Manager, and Patricia Shepherd, Capital Projects Manager, Bikeways Coordinator of Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MDOT), Division of Transportation Engineering officials. The purpose was to determine the status of planning for bike trails connecting Washington Grove to other locations, walkways, roadways, and bike trails.
Some highlights include:
- A general budget under the County’s Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2022 has been approved at the County level; therefore, County staff expects something to be done about connecting bikeways in our area and elsewhere sometime within the next six years;
- MDOT’s “scope” only includes connecting other bikeways and roads/streets in the vicinity to paths and roads at the Town’s border, but not within the Town; bikeways through or within Town limits is not under consideration by MDOT;
- any number of possible ways to connect to Town thoroughfares will be assessed and may include, but may not necessarily be limited to, the end of Brown Street extended, Amity Road/Court and/or the development of the lower field, Railroad Street, via Oakmont, or other ways;
We asked that the Town be involved in the planning stages and be allowed to comment directly and through the public planning processes, and both Mr. Thomas and Ms. Shepherd readily agreed, indicating the Town input was important to their work. We also discussed MDOT staff addressing the Town, perhaps by joining a Town Council meeting, to discuss the planning and conditions study process, only. This is likely to take place in fall 2018. Public scoping and comment is likely to commence around spring 2019. Additionally, we have scheduled a meeting with Gaithersburg City Planners in early January to learn of their plans for a bike path in the City and how we can coordinate bike path efforts together.
McCathran Hall – Update
In December, a serious termite problem was discovered in McCathran Hall. It appears the Town will need to treat for pest removal and reconstruct support beams for portions of the building. While McCathran Hall may be rented for private events, please note this treatment and repair may interrupt scheduling. Please be sure to check with the Town Clerk for scheduling Town or private events. One additional note: The project for the prototype for a new Town Council meeting table design, which was voted upon at the last Annual Town Meeting, is on hold until this termite problem and construction is complete. Your patience is appreciated.
Wishing all a Happy New Year!
Joli A. McCathran, Mayor
Planning Commission News…
Next meeting: Wed, January 3, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Modification to Building Permit Process
The Planning Commission is changing the building permit application deadline to 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.
Historic Preservation Commission News…
Next meeting: Tuesday, January 16, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Forestry & Beautification News…
Next Meeting: March 14, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
This fall has been a busy planting season for the Forestry and Beautification Committee. Almost all planting occurred in December, later than usual due to the warm fall weather. Most of the trees were moved once they had dropped their leaves and entered winter dormancy. Five (5) new trees and two (2) Viburnum bushes have been installed by Stadler Nursery. We were pleased to be able to add a less common variety, the Nuttal Oak, to the trees in Woodward Park. These newly planted trees have tree guards or fencing to protect from deer damage. These will remain in place until the tree is large enough to withstand both deer browsing and antler rubbing. In addition, ten (10) large caliper (8-10 inch) trees were purchased from Ace Tree Nursery and installed in December. These trees are mostly Sugar Maple and Black Gum, but there are also three large American Hollies on Center Street near the Maintenance Building. The other trees are distributed around Town. A Black Gum has joined the new-this-past-spring American Beech in Woodward Park. Three others were placed in the McCauley Triangle Park along Washington Grove Lane. All will be easy to spot in the spring as they will be will tagged for the watering program to promote their survival.
Woods Committee News…
Next Meeting: Monday, February 5, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. Meetings are open to the public. The Woods Committee meets on the first Monday of each month. Please join us!
The East and West Woods of Washington Grove are the only municipally owned forests in the State of Maryland. The East Woods are an oak forest type with white oak being the dominant tree in the overstory. Also found are swamp chestnut oak and pin oak. One swamp oak was listed on the Register of Champion Trees in Montgomery County. The understory in the East Woods was previously dominated by non-native Japanese wisteria vine, mile-a-minute, and Japanese stilt grass, as well as native green briar. In the spring of 2017, the Woods Committee took action to control these non-native species which threatened the future existence of the East Woods. A non-tidal wetlands occupies the central area of the East Woods. Water from the East Woods runs into Mill Creek and Rock Creek before emptying into the Potomac River on its way to the Chesapeake Bay. The West Woods are a tulip poplar type forest with tall canopy trees. Spice bush is the main under story plant, but there are some non-native plants as well. Maple Lake and both Maple and Whetstone Springs are located in the West Woods. Water from the West Woods runs into Whetstone Creek and Seneca Creek on its way to the Potomac River.
We hope that you will take the opportunity to take a quiet walk on the trails through our woods in the New Year. Winter has its own fascinations: the rustle of leaves and the crunch of frozen earth underfoot, fungus and fallen wood sculptures, animal tracks, and the contrast of dark wood and soil against the white snow. Enjoy our forest preserves.
Recreation Committee News…
Next Meeting: Wed., January 10, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. This meeting is open to the public.
2017 Holiday Show
As the Grove Turns
A BIG Grove thank you to Judy Mroczka, Marilyn Frey and the huge group of Town volunteers for creating another blockbuster Holiday Show! The jokes were corny, the music was sweet, the acting was memorable and the topics were timely. It definitely takes a village for this one, a Town favorite. Volunteerism at its best!
Swing Time Big Band to Play for Town Dance
Saturday, February 10, 2018 McCathran Hall, 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Dance Instructor Frank Stanek will give a dance lesson beginning at 7 p.m. All free of charge. Come to dance or listen and shake off those wintertime blues!
Sponsored by the Washington Grove Recreation Committee
Film Society News…
Our first movie of 2018 (Sunday, January 14, 7 PM) is Nine Queens. Deceptions pile on top of duplicities when a couple of small-time swindlers are enlisted in a big-payoff scheme involving coveted rare stamps. With quicksilver performances and sassy twists of the plot, Nine Queens surprises its audience again and again. Directed by Fabián Bielinsky, 2000, Argentina, Spanish with English subtitles, 114 minutes. Tickets are $7 at the door.
Woman’s Club News…
You’re invited to the Annual White Elephant Auction on Saturday January 20, 2018
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 something you’re willing to part with, be it useful, beautiful or just plain goofy, and then join the fun as it’s auctioned off to the highest bidder. This year’s auction will be hosted by Joli & Ken McCathran on Saturday, January 20, 2018, 7:00 p.m. in their home at #2 The Circle, so mark this fun event on your calendars!
Don’t forget that January is also our annual Membership Drive, when the Club’s annual dues of a modest $15 are payable. 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 special events such as guest speakers and Community Outreach programs. Since the Club was formed, we have been an integral part of the fabric of our unique Town. So, if you’re a member, remember to pay your dues, and if you aren’t, please consider joining the Woman’s Club. Our goal this year is to have more members taking an active role in the Club. While everyone’s generous in contributing to our outreach programs, bringing delicious dishes to our pot luck dinners, and attending our annual events, we need more people to attend our monthly meetings. We need new ideas and more volunteers if our Club is to continue into the future.
Washington Grove Methodist Church News
Our joyful family worship services are Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM, at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church, 303 Chestnut Road, Washington Grove, MD 20880.
Most Sundays, during the 11:00 AM Church service, we also have Sunday school classes for children from nursery age to 5th grade. If you are interested, please contact Mary Lou English (301-840-1834 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Emergency Preparedness Committee
Next Meeting: Thursday, January 25, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All are welcome to attend.
Winter Weather Preparedness
Old Man Winter is upon with potentially serious consequences for residents, but there are actions that every resident can take to prepare for winter emergencies that may avoid, mitigate or aid recovery. The Emergency Preparedness Committee has identified some websites that provide helpful information for your preparations:
Dog Park Work Group
The next scheduled meeting of the Dog Park Work Group will take place on January 6th at 3:30 pm in McCathran Hall. Mark your calendars for the following 2018 meetings; Jan. 27th, Feb. 17th, and March 3rd. All meetings begin at 3:30 p.m. and are open to the public.
Christmas Tree Disposal
Christmas trees are being 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.
Recyclable Yard Waste Collection Ends
Recyclable yard waste collection by Potomac Disposal ended on December 28, 2017. This service will resume in early March.
Washington Grove Cares
In January, the post-holiday doldrums can get us down. Or maybe we’ve put off tasks that now must be done, or doctor’s appointments that can’t wait. Think about connecting with your neighbors through Washington Grove Cares if you need help and to find out if others need help. Or just to join others to have fun. Check out the calendar at washingtongrovecares.org.
Drive 15, Enjoy the Scene!
Town Elections Will Be Here Soon….
Town elections will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Any Town resident registered to vote in Montgomery County is qualified. Any qualified voter who has lived in Town for two years immediately preceding the election is eligible to run for a one-year term as Mayor. Any qualified voter who has lived in Town for at least one year immediately preceding the election is eligible to run for Town Council. This year there are two three-year terms open on the six-member Council. Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Chair, Meredith Horan, at PO Box 337, 127 Maple Avenue.