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12 March 2001 | Approved: 16 April 2001

Mayor Pro Tempore Paris Pacchione called the meeting to order at 7:34 p.m. Mayor John Compton joined the meeting at 8:00 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Dave Gumula, Paris Pacchione, Nick Suzich, Dodie Tippens, and Allen Winter. The following Town residents also were present: Charlie Challstrom, Della Curenton, Don Gallagher, Jim Leng, David and Maureen Neumann, Peggy Odick, David Stopak and Freda Temple.

Public Appearances

Don Gallagher expressed dismay with the Council’s decision to ask Montgomery County to modify the speed hump in front of his house at 125 Washington Grove Lane. Mayor Compton explained the County’s response to the Town request to locate another hump closer to the Railroad Street/East Diamond intersection and to have that hump be a raised crosswalk for pedestrian safety. County traffic engineer Dave Loughery replied that the curved roadway would not permit another hump at or closer to the intersection. Charlie Challstrom said that the Railroad Street/East Diamond Avenue intersection needs to be redesigned and suggested that the City of Gaithersburg might be willing to support the effort. Della Curenton suggested that more appropriate traffic calming devices could be available for the Washington Grove Lane corridor. Everyone agreed that sign improvements are necessary to support the prohibition on trucks over ¾ ton on Washington Grove Lane. It was noted that storm water pools in the road behind the speed hump near 208 Washington Grove Lane.

Charlie Challstrom, Della Curenton and Don Gallagher agreed to serve on a committee to seek reconfiguration of the intersection, diversion of trucks over ¾ ton from Washington Grove Lane, and traffic calming improvements along Washington Grove Lane. Dave Gumula will serve as Council liaison.

Maureen Neumann asked if the Town Council would agree to buy an ad to support the Oakmont School yearbook. The Council agreed to buy an ad.

Approval of Minutes

Allen Winter moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, that the Town Council minutes of February 12, 2001 be approved. Vote: 5-0.

Treasurer’s Report

Allen Winter moved, Dave Gumula seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for February be accepted. Vote: 5-0. Dave Gumula moved, Nick Suzich seconded, that the Treasurer be authorized to transfer funds, if necessary, to pay bills in March. Vote: 5-0.

Mayor’s Announcements

Mayor Compton announced the following:

  • Suggestions will be taken to name the common private drive in the new subdivision at 309 Ridge Road.
  • Steve and Shirl Harrison, owners of the 2-acre Cator property located between Railroad Street and the tracks, have approached the Town about annexation if agreement on zoning can be reached. Annexation of this property was recommended in the 1997 Raab Annexation Study commissioned by the Town. The Harrisons have proposed a single-family residential subdivision having as many as 8 new homes (while retaining the present structure). They propose to include in the development, but not build upon, the small treed, wedge-shaped property to the west, which probably belongs to the Town.
  • Requested change in April Town Council meeting date due to Mayor’s absence. Council agreed to meet on Monday, April 16.
  • Scott Nagem, 104 Maple Road, has been asked to move wood and other items off the Town parkland adjacent to his property. Mr. Nagem and the Town have a difference of opinion about the property line location and a survey may be necessary to resolve the issue.

Supervisors of Elections

Reappointment – Dodie Tippens moved, Dave Gumula seconded, to confirm the Mayor’s reappointment of Mary Kay DuBois, Betty Knight and Nancy McCullough to the Board of Supervisors of Elections. Vote: 5-0.

Casey Field Development Issues/Status Report

Mayor Compton reported the following:

  • Legacy Open Space (LOS)Received substantive letter from Brenda Sandberg, LOS Program Manager in response to Town request that the Casey Farm receive accelerated study in view of threatened development. Ms. Sandberg said in brief that 1) a study team will be created in near future to determine merits of the site based on the LOS criteria, and whether it “rises above the rest” to be included in the acquisition program; 2) placement of the property “in reservation” is not appropriate at this time; 3) realistically, its attributes are unlikely to raise its priority enough; and 4) most likely, the results of the new study will be used by staff to protect key natural resources on the site through the development process.
  • Selection of Land Use AttorneyA number of prominently recommended land use attorneys have been contacted regarding their interest and availability as a co-advocate for the Town’s interest with Town Attorney Bill Roberts. Several remain strong candidates after considerations of conflict of interest and other ethical or philosophical issues.
  • Ownership of Ridge RoadThe consensus opinion of the County Attorney’s office is that upon inclusion of all of Ridge Road in Washington Grove, ownership passes to the Town. In this case, no further action is needed. However, both Bill Roberts and the County Attorney’s office agreed to jointly seek a ruling from the Maryland Attorney General as to whether further action by the County is required.
  • Selection of Community PlannerA Planner Liaison Group will be appointed later this week to identify and work with a planner engaged by the Town to design a development concept compatible with historic Washington Grove and to point out deficiencies in a developer’s plan. Potential liaison members include Clare Cavicchi, Tom Brown, Della Curenton and Larry French.

Mayor Compton identified sources of funds from the current budget, which could be redirected to be spent on a land use attorney and professional planner. The Mayor suggested that a small group interview potential attorneys. In addition to the Mayor, Marc Hansen, Peggy Odick, Paris Pacchione, Bill Roberts, and Shelley Winkler will interview attorneys. Della Curenton suggested that the Town send a letter to County planning staff reiterating the Town’s specific concerns about the proposed development. Mayor Compton reported that several letters are being drafted, one requesting an immediate sub-sector review of the applicable County Master Plan and another to Mrs. Casey.

Oxbridge to Present Concept Plan for Casey Field Development on Wednesday, March 21. Mayor Compton urged meeting participants to maintain an atmosphere of civility even where there is a significant difference of opinion. He stressed that this is an opportunity to ask questions and express opinions reasonably.

Special Town Meeting on Casey Field Development

The Council agreed to call a special Town Meeting for Monday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed residential development of Casey fields.

Renumbering of Ridge Road Addresses

Don Gallagher urged the Council to consider the safety of Town residents when assigning addresses to new houses in the Washington Grove Hills subdivision. He explained the existing problem in getting emergency services to find Grove addresses. Two of the eleven affected homeowners have objected to the renumbering. Allen Winter moved, Dave Gumula seconded, that the proposed renumbering of upper Ridge Road addresses be referred back to the Planning Commission to consider safety issues. Vote: 4-0.

Council Reports

Planning Commission

Allen Winter reported that Historic Preservation Group (HiP) members expressed concern about enforcement of Town building standards regarding height of main buildings, height of accessory buildings, and types of fences. The HiP members questioned whether the Town has the expertise and equipment to accurately enforce the Town code.

With regard to proposed residential development of Casey fields, the Commission recommended funding a team to include the Town attorney, a land use attorney, a landscape planner and a civil engineer to support the efforts of the Mayor.

In an initial discussion about annexation of the 2-acre Cator property, the Commission leaned towards supporting residential development rather than transitional zoning for the property. They also discussed the Master Plan recommendation to relocate Railroad Street closer to the tracks, abandoning the short section through Morgan Park. The Commission continues to examine a detailed list of items included in the 1995 Town Master Plan in preparation for the 6-year review.


Darrell Anderson announced that Arbor Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 28. McCathran Hall landscaping will be the focus of plantings for the Arbor Day celebration with bulbs, annuals and perennials to be planted. There will be a workday in advance to prepare plant beds.

Darrell reported that Dan Landry has accepted the position of Town Forester.

McCathran Hall Improvements

Darrell Anderson reported that the next project would be to stain the exterior of McCathran Hall.

Town Web Site

Darrell Anderson reported that Diana Talbert and Michael Shipway have updated the web site with current information. Michael has organized a Washington Grove e-group for subscribers.


Dodie Tippens reported that Jim Fletcher removed two dead trees by the Maple Lake parking area and soon will implement the Lake Committee’s plan to enlarge the parking area. Britt Garoni is working on a plan to teach children about fish and fishing, perhaps through Summer in the Parks. The annual lake clean-up is scheduled for April 21.

Recreation Events

Dodie Tippens reported that the Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Woman’s Club is set for April 7. Magician Barry Taylor will appear on April 28 at the Town Hall and Music Weekend will be held June 15 through 17. Yoga classes have been well attended and likely will continue. Ideas for new recreation activities were presented at the March meeting.

Recreation Facilities

Nick Suzich reported that Program Open Space paperwork for the playground equipment is about done and work on the bid package for the tennis court fencing will begin soon.

Roads and Walkways

Don Gallagher reported that the storm drain grate on Washington Grove Lane near his house is blocked with leaves and debris. The County will be contacted.

Public Safety

Paris Pacchione reported that a man seen acting suspiciously in Woodward Park was later arrested and charged with indecent exposure seemingly targeted at children. Washington Grove Elementary School and parents have been notified.


Paris Pacchione reported that Jim Fletcher is designing a signboard that could be erected at three or four Town entrances on which residents may post notices of upcoming Town events. Responding to concerns about permanent signboards, these boards are portable and may be removed when not in use. Paris said that he would ask Jim to display samples of the new reflective street signs at the developer’s presentation on March 21.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:50 p.m.

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