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12 November 2012 | Approved: 10 December 2012

Mayor Cole called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:33 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 Ann Briggs, Jenny Long, Marty Long, Carolyn Rapkievian, Jim Snyder, Donna Shriner, Judy Young, also Mike Uzzo (Lion Contractors) and Gazette Reporter Sylvia Carignan.

Approval of Agenda

Joe Clark moved, Bill Robertson seconded that the agenda be approved. Vote: 6-0.

Public Appearances

Pastor Judy Young announced three (3) upcoming events; the WG United Methodist Church Interfaith Thanksgiving Service (11/21/12), Blood Drive (11/28/12) and Fair Trade Craft Show (12/5/12).

Approval of Minutes

Bill Robertson moved, Joe Clark seconded that the Town Council minutes for October 8, 2012 be approved. Vote: 6-0.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Joe Clark moved, Audrey Maskery seconded that the Treasurer’s Report for October 2012 be accepted. The Treasurer took a few budget questions from the Council. Vote: 6-0.
  • Bill Robertson moved, Joe Clark seconded the motion to transfer $10,000 from savings to checking in order to pay bills. Vote: 6-0.
  • Treasurers Report 2012-11 pdf

Mary Challstrom handed out the final Audit Report for FY 2012 from Lindsay and Associates and asked that its acceptance be placed on the agenda for December.

Opening & Discussion of Snow Removal Bids

the Town received snow removal bids from R.J. Landscaping of Germantown and from Lion Contractors, our contractor for approximately the last 15 years.

Item R.J. Landscaping Lion Contractors
snow plowing $90.00/hour (2 hr. minimum) $96.00/hour
sand/salt spreading $90.00/hour (2 hr. minimum) $96.00/hour
sand $15.00/100 lbs. $18.00/100 lbs.
salt $27.50/100 lbs. $31.00.100 lbs.
loader $180.00/hour (2 hr. minimum) $195.00/hour

A discussion ensued.
Bill Robertson moved, Joli McCathran seconded that the bid from Lion Contractors be accepted. Vote: 6-0.

Discussion of Jim Snyder Request to Create Committee

Mayor Cole gave a brief review of Mr. Snyder’s current situation and explained why he was requesting that a Zoning Ordinance Review Committee be established. She made reference to Mr. Snyder’s October 1, 2012 letter to the Mayor and Town Council and used that document as an outline for her responses. She explained the history of the 25 foot strip of land along Maple Road that Mr. Snyder would like to purchase. She addressed Mr. Snyder’s four (4) points as follows;

  1. Town’s Ownership of 25 foot strip on the East side of Maple Road – The Mayor reviewed the history of the last request to purchase the Town strip of land in front of 201 Maple Road. This occurred in 1990 and after holding a public hearing the Planning Commission recommended to the Town Council that the request be denied. The transfer of land to the Town was clearly intended to maintain the 50 foot open space and this was supported by the residents at the public hearing. The Town Council then voted not to sell the land. In addition our Town Attorney says that reversing the decision that established the 25 foot strip of land on Maple Road for future widening and to maintain open space would be difficult because it was tied to a gift of land located between 104 and 115 Maple Road (now parkland). If the Council were to reverse this decision it could jeopardize gifts of land in the future.
  2. Surplus Land – Mayor Cole stated that she was unclear about Mr. Snyder’s point concerning the sale of surplus land. There is nothing in the Town Policy for the Sale of Surplus Parcels that refers to common boundary lines and no “apparent contradiction” to clarify.
  3. Non-Conforming Structures: Mayor Cole stated that the ordinance (Art. VII, Section 5.3) allows for the expansion of non-conforming structures into an area that is not in the setback. Since Mr. Snyder’s carport is completely in his setback, any expansion would also be in the setback, thus violating the ordinance.
  4. Variances: Mayor Cole stated that Maryland State law governs the appeals process which is used State-wide. Making changes to State law is very complicated. The last change to this law (which changed the words “undue hardship” to “practical difficulty”) was done in 1993 and was a two-year, laborious process involving state legislators and the MML. She went on to say that she did not see how a Town Committee could reverse the work done on this subject at the State level.

A lengthy discussion ensued. The discussion included, but was not limited to, the following; Jim’s opinion that the Town Council, Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals are too steeped in history and therefore too biased to make decisions about the issues he wanted addressed, open government, all three (3) groups having completed the work that they were charged to do, the quality of the work of these three (3) groups, undermining/second guessing decisions, authority, process, placing the garage in the back yard, the fact that Jim’s problem is not unique to his lot, use of volunteer time and the process for an individual resident to apply for a zoning text amendment to address the perceived problem. Mayor Cole also handed out a document that explained the ZTA process. She finished the discussion by stating that no special committee would be formed.

Resolution 2012-06; Regarding the Banning of Hydraulic Fracturing in the State of Maryland – Discussion

The Mayor and Council reviewed and discussed Resolution 2012-06 as amended by Joe Clark. Two additional changes were made.

Bill Robertson moved, Audrey Maskery seconded that Resolution 2012-06 be introduced and adopted, as amended. Vote: 6-0.

Draft Lighting Change Request Form – Review

Mayor Cole asked for comments and questions about the proposed form and process. The Mayor and Council discussed costs, timing, criteria for making the decision to remove/add/shield a streetlight, taking requests once or twice per year, deadlines, who would approve proposed actions, budget implications and looking ahead to LED and other lighting technologies. The Committee will work on criteria and costs. Carolyn Rapkievian encouraged the Council to help with new ideas as well.

Council Reports

  • Joe Clark asked about the structural issues with McCathran Hall. Bill Robertson reported that the building has been deemed safe for normal use by a structural engineer but no further communication has occurred at this time.
  • Town Council Reports – November 2012 pdf

Joe Clark moved, Greg Silber seconded that the Council Reports for October 2012 be approved for posting on the Town website. Vote: 6-0.

Mayor’s Announcements

  • Deer Park Bridge Update – Nothing new to report.
  • Kennett Driveway Update – The Kennett’s (123 Washington Grove Lane) have decided to change the original design of their parking proposal and will now build a 15 foot wide, straight driveway which conforms to neighboring driveways on Washington Grove Lane. This will not be their primary parking area.
  • WGCMP Update – The recent meeting with M-NCPPC went well. Twenty five tree stakes marking spots where new trees will be planted have been placed in the Meadow with the promise that 15 of those new trees will be at least 4.5 inches in diameter.
  • MARC Update – Nothing new to report.
  • Towne Crest Update – A meeting with three (3) families from Daylily Lane occurred today. These families recently received letters from Towne Crest attorneys and will be replying as a group. They would like to see less density, lower building heights and a discussion of fencing in the developers plan. A discussion ensued. The Mayor and Council will stay in contact with these residents as well as those on Washington Grove Lane.

New Business

  • Audrey Maskery reported that WSSC is scheduled to remove a tree which is causing sewer problems near 118 Grove Avenue. WSSC will supply a large replacement tree, perhaps a Black Gum.
  • Joe Clark praised the County for their work on the new sidewalk along Washington Grove Lane. He stated that he would write a letter to thank them. He also praised PEPCO for their recent quick restoration of power after Hurricane Sandy and said that they should also receive a thank-you from the Town.
  • The Mayor and Council welcomed new home owner Donna Shriner (503 Brown St.).

The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

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