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14 July 2014 | Approved: 11 August 2014

Mayor Joli McCathran called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:32 p.m. In attendance were Georgette Cole, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Carolyn Rapkievian, Greg Silber and Bill Robertson. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Planning Commission Chair Charlie Challstrom and resident Jane Seegal.

Approval of Agenda

Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Mayor McCathran asked for her additions to be placed under New Business.
Vote: 6-0

Public Appearances

Jane Seegal (315 Grove Ave.) came to voice her dissatisfaction with the noise, specifically amplified noise which occurred at a wedding on June 21, 2014. In her opinion the most recent amendments to the rules and regulations for McCathran Hall did not solve the noise problems. She asked for better enforcement of the noise restrictions. She stated renters should be mindful of the fact McCathran Hall is in the middle of a residential neighborhood and behave accordingly. A discussion about decibel levels, stop times, number of usages per month and enforcement ensued. It was noted that the amplified music stopped at 10:00 PM as the renters had been instructed. Ms. Seegal was advised to call the Mayor or the Montgomery County Police if the noise was unreasonably loud or going on longer than allowed. The Mayor and Council will continue to monitor this situation.

Approval of Minutes

Carolyn Rapkievian moved to approve the meeting minutes for June 9, 2014. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Georgette Cole asked John McClelland if he was able to get in touch with Jan Davis (304 Chestnut Ave.) about the knee-high grass and overgrown plant material in her yard. John reported Ms. Davis stated she has lost the property to foreclosure and does not care about the property’s condition. John asked the Maintenance Staff to mow the area. Greg Silber had a few questions about other parts of the minutes and offered one change for clarity. Vote: 6-0, as amended.
(Since this meeting, Mayor McCathran determined this is not an appropriate action for Maintenance Staff. Enforcement of property condition is the responsibility of Montgomery County.)

Treasurer’s Report

  • Carolyn Rapkievian moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for June 2014. Greg Silber seconded the motion. There was a discussion about costs associated with testing the water at Maple Lake and with repairs/refurbishing of the dirt tennis courts. Vote: 6-0.
  • Treasurers Report 2014-07 pdf

Council Reports

  • Carolyn Rapkievian moved to approve the June Council Reports for posting on the Town website. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Georgette asked electronic versions of the Council Reports, minutes and agenda be sent to the Council members before the Council meeting. The paper copies in the Council packet are convenient, but the electronic ones are better for document retention. The group discussed this year’s significant problem with excessive growth of pond weed and algae at Maple Lake, moving up the dredging from 2016 to 2015, the toilet habits of lake users, a rumor that the 1996 dredged material may have been dumped illegally in our woods, and the status of the Forestry Plan bids. Mary Challstrom announced the retirement of George Ellis who has been our McCathran Hall janitor for 17 years. Town resident Haley McClelland has been hired to clean McCathran Hall. Vote: 6-0.
  • Town Council Reports – July 2014 pdf

Mayor’s Announcements

  • Deer Park Bridge Updates: Mayor McCathran reported she had received a few phone calls from residents who were having great difficulty exiting Town via Hickory Road and Chestnut Road due to the closure of the bridge. The Mayor asked Montgomery County Dept. of Transportation about cycling the full signal of the light during rush hours but was told it would cause too much of a traffic back up on Railroad Street in both directions. Mayor McCathran will suggest the residents try leaving Town via Grove Road until the bridge is reopened.
  • Playground Updates: Mayor McCathran reported there are nine (9) adult members and three (3) child testers on the Committee. The Committee received a charge by the Mayor (see attached) and the Committee will have their first meeting soon. The State Program Open Space funding was raised. There was a vigorous discussion. The Committee will look at both grant funding and P.O.S. funding as part of their research.
  • Traffic Calming Committee: Mayor McCathran reported there are five (5) people on this committee and Carolyn Rapkievian will serve as Council Liaison. They were given a charge (see attached) and will start with a review of the Cutro Report from 2003.

Georgette Cole asked if the charges for both committees could be added to the minutes and be part of the public record.

New Business

  • Bill Robertson expressed his displeasure with a recent Saturday evening phone call about the combination to the public restrooms at Woodward Park. The call was from a person (not a Town resident) who was hosting a child’s birthday party in the park the next day. The Clerk explained this was a permitted use sponsored by a Town resident. The Clerk apologized for neglecting to give the combination to the user in advance.
  • Legislative Powers in Town Charter: Mayor McCathran asked the Council to review Section 15(b) of the Town Charter. She explained the recent problem with proper notice requirements. The Charter states “Within 10 days of the enactment of any ordinance by the Council, notice must be given to the qualified voters of the Town and to the public by mailing a summary of such ordinance to each dwelling unit in Town.” Recently, the required summaries have appeared in the Town Bulletins, however, not within the required 10 days. Mayor McCathran offered the following ideas;
    • When the Public Hearing occurs on the same night as the Town Council Meeting, a separate meeting could be called for the vote only.
    • OR/Do an extra mailing to meet the 10-day requirement.
    • OR/Hold the Public Hearing and the vote on another date which would allow the requirement to be met.

    There was a brief discussion about a Charter Review Committee and the benefits of making the title of a proposed ordinance equivalent to the summary.

  • MML Conference: Mayor McCathran reported she attended the MML Conference in Ocean City. She attended a workshop regarding Parliamentary Procedures and brought back some booklets for the Council. Mayor McCathran will try the use of “general consent” on simple reoccurring procedures of the meeting.

Washington Grove Traffic Safety Committee

May 19, 2014  »  Joli A. McCathran, Mayor

Town Council Liaison: Carolyn Rapkievian

Membership: Margot Bohan, Donna Edwards, Melanie McComb, Kristen Perry, John Tomlin, Mary Warfield. More members of the committee may be added.

The Committee will choose from among its member a chair.

The purpose of this committee is to address citizen concern regarding the speeding of vehicles on Town roads and other safety concerns regarding vehicles. All meetings must be announced in advance and are open to the public. The Committee will follow the Open Meetings Laws of the State of Maryland.

The Committee shall review the recommendations of the Traffic Calming Committee’s report of March 11, 2007. They shall also review the traffic proposal submitted to the Town by Joseph Cutro, P.E. on July 3, 2003. There are also various minutes of the Town Council meeting discussing this issue beginning in 2006 through 2010 which may assist the Committee in making recommendations. The Committee may want to investigate comparable sized communities to investigate comparable sized communities in resolving similar concerns.

The Committee will report their findings and recommendations to the Town Council.

Town of Washington Grove Woodward Park Playground

May 19, 2014  »  Joli A. McCathran, Mayor

Charge from the Mayor and Town Council to the Playground Committee:
Woodward Park is a multi-use park for the enjoyment of sports and recreation for residents and guests in Washington Grove. This includes an area with playground equipment. During the
Town Meeting on May 10, 2014, it was proposed to set aside $5000 in the Capital Improvement Projects for FY 2016 designating these funds for improving and/or adding playground equipment in the Woodward Park. There is a need for upgrading playground equipment as well as evaluation of possible removal and/or installation of playground equipment. Further input brought up the need for evaluation of this proposal and the need for a committee to examine the ramifications and report back to the Mayor and Town Council.

Financial parameters: There is currently no money in the FY 2015 budget for playground equipment beyond general maintenance. Please note for many years playground equipment was installed by volunteers who were able to perform this work, though there was no comprehensive plan. While an overall design is requested, the Committee should also outline phased multi-use plans for changes as funds allow.

The Town may have the opportunity to make requests for financial assistance through state grants and other funds via bonds, etc. While the Town Council does not expect the Committee to address this possibility, the Town Council will work with the Committee to should funding opportunities arise.

Resident feedback and resident use: It is important to seek the input of Town residents in the design of this area. While the Committee is developing a plan, it is important to keep the residents updated and to allow for input as requested. All meetings regarding this venture shall be open to the public and advertised in the Bulletin (provide highlighted link on the web site).

Goals: The goal of the Committee is to provide the Mayor and Council with the information for review of a comprehensive playground improvement and maintenance plan. It would be desirable if financial estimates could be included. The Committee’s recommendation and Council decision should allow for contingencies, especially with respect to the state of the Town finances. We expect to keep the cost modest in the near future while allowing for changes as the economic climate continues to improve. It is the charge of this committee to review and evaluate the current conditions, make recommendations for improvements and develop a comprehensive, stepped plan. All playground equipment and their surrounding areas must meet current safety standards and are subject to review by our insurance carrier.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:47 p.m.

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