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10 December 2012 | Approved: 11 January 2013

Mayor Cole called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:32 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Joe Clark, Audrey Maskery, Joli McCathran, Bill Robertson, Greg Silber and David Young. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Planning Commission Chairman Charlie Challstrom, residents Sheldon Bierman, Ann Briggs, Birgit Henninger, John Hutchinson, Dennis Kane, Carolyn Rapkievian, Bruce Rothrock, Donna Shriner, Steve Werts and Judy Young.

Approval of Agenda

David Young moved, Audrey Maskery seconded that the agenda be approved. Mayor Cole added two (2) items; McCathran Hall Report & Draft Ordinance 2012-07. Vote: 6-0.

Public Appearances

Pastor Judy Young announced that a plan to collect gift cards for the homeless at the Holiday Show on the 15th was in the works. Mayor Cole approved the action. Pastor Young assured the Mayor and Council that all proceeds would benefit the homeless in Montgomery County.
Sheldon Bierman came to remind the Mayor and Council and the Town Attorney that expert testimony about some issues concerning the Towne Crest redevelopment plan was necessary and should be secured as soon as possible. He stated that the issues that would require expert testimony are; the green area calculations, setbacks, the reasons for the first denial, the need for a better traffic study, school impacts and storm water run-off in to the Town woods. Mayor Cole explained that David Brown (Knopf & Brown Attorneys at Law) was addressing these types of details and thanked Mr. Bierman for his input. Mr. Bierman gave her a paper copy of his list of concerns.
Renee Chandler (125 Grove Ave) came to protest the installation of the new street light near 119 Grove Avenue stating that she voiced her opposition from the beginning. She is very disappointed by the lack of communication about and is equally disturbed by the light itself. Renee requested that the light be removed. There was a discussion about the following; the unevenness in lighting that existed in that area, shielding, safety vs. convenience and the Town lighting philosophy. Mayor Cole explained that the placement of this light was based on the gap in spacing of the lights on Grove Road and addressed a public safety need. She ended the discussion by thanking Renee for her input and asking that the OLAC move forward with the form and process for changes in street lighting. Greg Silber expressed concern that he still felt that the charge to the OLAC and the two (2) Council liaisons was vague. Mayor Cole asked that Greg, Joe Clark and Carolyn Rapkievian discuss this and bring their findings to the Council.

Approval of Minutes

Joe Clark moved, Bill Robertson seconded that the Town Council minutes for November 12, 2012 be approved. Joli McCathran asked that a few changes be made. Vote: 6-0, as amended.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Joe Clark moved, Audrey Maskery seconded that the Treasurer’s Report for November 2012 be accepted. The Treasurer took questions from Joe Clark and Greg Silber. Vote: 6-0.
  • Treasurers Report 2012-12 pdf

Approval of the FY 2012 Audit Report

Joli McCathran moved, Joe Clark seconded that the FY 2012 Audit Report be approved. There was a brief discussion. Vote: 6-0.

McCathran Hall Report

David Young summarized a report from Professional Engineer David Wallace concerning the wall separation on the front of the building. Over time the eight corner columns, pressed by the roof trusses, have become out-of-plumb which has caused the roof to drop and the walls to bow. The skin separation we can see may have been aggravated by the recent earthquake, but is something that would have become apparent eventually anyway. Although the building does not appear to be in danger of collapse, it could get worse if steps are not taken to stabilize it. Town Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts reported that, in fact, between the time the report was written and the first week of December, he has noticed that the wall opposite the damaged one has separated as well. A lengthy discussion ensued. David Young also reported that the McCathran Hall Needs Committee recommends that the Town Council approve Mr. Wallace’s recommendations to study the damage by exposing all corners of the building, exposing the sill plates and then get estimates for the work to fix the damages found. This would be considered Phase One (1) of the project.
Bill Robertson moved, Audrey Maskery seconded that a detailed study of the columns and sill plates, not to exceed $2,500.00, be done by Mr. David Wallace, P.E. and a contractor of his choice. Vote: 6-0. The Mayor and Council decided to limit use of the Hall while the study is being done.

Draft Ordinance 2012-07 – Discussion

Mayor Cole explained that the lack of communication from outside agencies (WSSC, Verizon, PEPCO etc…) when doing work in Town precipitated the need for this ordinance. Currently, no outside agency is required to obtain a permit from the Town. There should be something in place to protect Town interests. A discussion about easements, emergency waivers, responsibilities, timing, stop work orders, the State Roadside Tree Law and the definition of “other work” ensued.
Joe Clark moved to introduce Ordinance 2012-07 as amended and to set the date for the Public Hearing for January 14, 2013. Greg Silber seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.

Council Reports

Mayor’s Announcements

  • Deer Park Bridge Update – Nothing new to report.
  • Towne Crest Development – Nothing new to report.
  • WGCMP Update – Nothing new to report.
  • MARC Update – Joli McCathran reported one of the previously removed stops in Washington Grove will be restored. MARC will announce the new schedule changes in January 2013.

New Business

  • Joe Clark asked for clarification about funding for the repairs of the Town Hall and who would be doing the research to find possible sources for the money. Mayor Cole asked Joli McCathran to discuss this with Senator Nancy King. The Historic Preservation Commission will also help.
  • Joe Clark also brought up lighting along the new sidewalk along Washington Grove Lane. It was mentioned that all of the street lights along Washington Grove Lane seem to be out. The Clerk will call PEPCO to verify who should be responsible for reporting outages along this road.
  • Charlie Challstrom brought up the sand filter project at the end of Brown Street extended. This property is no longer in tax lien limbo and officially belongs to the Town. Town Maintenance will look at the area and establish whether or not it can be rejuvenated/repaired in-house.
  • Bill Robertson stated that he thought that storm water run-off from the new Montgomery County Salt Barn area was discharging directly on to Town property. Charlie Challstrom volunteered to help Town Maintenance find the property markers in that area.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:17 p.m.

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