10 December 2018 | Approved: 14 January 2019
Mayor Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 8:01 PM. In attendance were Council Members Darrell Anderson (via phone), Charlie Challstrom, Robert Gilmore, Marida Hines, Patty Klein, and Audrey Maskery. Also in attendance were Historic Preservation Commission Chair Bob Booher, Treasurer Mary Challstrom, and Town residents Margo Cavenagh, Joe Clark, Georgette Cole, Christine Dibble, Marc Hansen, Robyn Renas, Nick Suzich and Mary Warfield. Also present was PEPCO Sr. External Affairs Specialist Tony Ruffin.
Approval of the Agenda:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the agenda. Patty Klein seconded the motion. Action on Ordinance 2018-13 was added to the Agenda.
Vote: 6-0, approved as amended.
Sr. External Affairs Specialist Tony Ruffin introduced himself to the Mayor and Council. He gave a brief over-view of his time at PEPCO. He would like to get on the agenda for another meeting in order to discuss the upcoming LED streetlight conversion. The Mayor and Council discussed planning an informational meeting and role of the new lighting group in recommending options to the Council.
FY 2018 Audit Report – Review and Acceptance; Presentation by Auditor Bob Diss Lindsay & Associates:
Mr. Diss gave a summary of the FY 2018 Audit Report. Seems the Town remains in good shape financially. Audrey Maskery moved to accept the FY 2018 Audit Report. Marida Hines seconded the motion.
Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Approval of Minutes:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting on November 12, 2018. Marida Hines seconded the motion. No discussion.
Vote: 6-0, approved.
Treasurers Report 2018-Novemberpdf
Audrey Maskery moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for November 2018. Patty Klein seconded the motion. Treasurer Mary Challstrom reported income tax revenue is higher than expected. She noted that the completed in-house rebuild/repair of the Maple Lake culvert came in well under estimate and budget.
Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Action on Ordinance 2018-13; Ordinance Adopting Amendments to the Washington Grove Code of Ordinances Article X Election Procedures for Absentee Balloting, Provision Balloting, Resolution of the Votes, and a Bar to Political Activities:
Ordinance 2018-13pdf (adopting amendments to Article X election procedures)
Charlie Challstrom moved enactment of Ordinance 2018-13 (minutes of public hearing) as presented. Rob Gilmore seconded the motion. Discussion included:
- The absence of a provision for emergency absentee balloting.
- The barring of political activities and First Amendment freedom of expression rights.
- Town nominations process
- Handling of absentee ballots and election procedures
Charlie Challstrom moved, and Rob Gilmore seconded, amendment to restore the provision for Emergency Absentee Balloting using language provided by the Elections Procedures Modernization Work Group. Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Marida Hines moved to remove the clause “or solicit others to sign a certificate of nominations” from Section 5.2(C). Rob Gilmore seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0 accepted
Marida Hines moved to amend Section 4.3(e) referncing election balloting by adding “Such procedures will be developed by the Board and submitted for review and approval by the Town Council” as the second sentence in that section. Rob Gilmore seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0. Accepted
Vote on the Ordinance: 6-0, adopted as amended.
Additional Action: the Town Council will discuss the idea of absentee balloting at Town Meetings, put forth by Marc Hansen in his Public Hearing testimony, at the January Council Meeting.
Road Resurfacing RFP:
Mayor Compton opened the sealed bids received from A.B. Veirs and M.T. Laney. Discussion included the following:
- Paving all or part of Ridge Road
- Planning ahead for more costly segments
- Splitting the job between the bidders
- Pro’s and con’s of partial vs. full width paving.
- The priority order of for repaving the 9 road segments in the bids.
- Budgeting for remaining segments in future fiscal years.
Action: Deferred award of a FY19 contract until the January Town Council meeting. The cost and priority of each of the nine areas proposed for repaving may be factored in to a 3 year proposal budget proposal. Councilor Anderson will explore splitting the current year work between the two contractors.
Traffic Calming – Bumps vs. Humps on Chestnut Road; Discussion of Proposed New Temporary Installations:
The test bumps on Chestnut Road have now been installed for about three (3) months and have been effective. Requests for bumps or humps on Hickory Road, Grove Road and Brown Street have been received. Darrell Anderson discussed three (3) types of humps that may be appropriate to our needs (standard hump, superior hump, a speed table). The Mayor and Council discussed the following:
- Safety of bumps and humps.
- Replacing the test bumps at Chestnut Road STOP signs with “standard” humps.
- Efficacy of various hump types.
- Moving the current test bumps at STOP signs on Hickory Road.
- The most affective placement of humps: at STOP signs or between STOP signs.
- Placement and location of a “standard” hump on Grove Road.
Action: A trial of a movable hump was approved, and the Town will purchase and install one (1) “superior hump”. Further humps will be considered after evaluating how well it functions.
Dog Park RFP – Further Discussion and Approval for Solicitation:
Mayor Compton reviewed a number of revisions on pages 2, 10, and 11proposed by the Woods Committee and Christine Dibble, which addressed whether any fence poles should be cemented in place, and Town supervision of fence installation. Language was adjusted to request vendor recommendations.
Discussion included observations from a revisit to the Dog Park site by Woods Committee, Dog Park Committee and Town officials. Trees to keep have been marked, and the advisability and options were reviewed for clearing all other vegetation from the site prior to vendor bidding.
Rob Gilmore moved to approve the revised RFP. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion.
Vote: 6-0, RFP approved for solicitation.
Additional Action: The Mayor was authorized, per Steve Werts’ recommendation, to engage Myers Tree Service to clear the site. The work was estimated to require much less than a day’s labor and will be performed in conjunction with tree work already planned.
Introduction of Ordinance 2018-11; Authorizing Sale of Land Occupied by a Main Building at 315 Grove Avenue Initially Constructed in Part on Land Owned by the Town of Washington Grove:
Charlie Challstrom moved to introduce Ordinance 2018-11 (version titled “Draft 7/08/2018 with HPC edits 10/24/18”)pdf and set a public hearing date for February 11, 2019. Patty Klein seconded the motion. Mayor Compton noted the additional language suggested by the Historic Preservation Commission aimed at preserving historic features.
Vote: 6-0, for Introduction. A Public Hearing was scheduled for the February Town Council meeting.
It was moved and seconded that the Town Council Reports be approved and posted on the website. No discussion (due to the late hour).
Vote: 4-0 (Darrell Anderson and Marida Hines having left the meeting.)
skipped due to the late hour.
skipped due to the late hour.
- Naming of the recreational fields in Woodward Park. Mayor Compton introduced the proposal, originating with Eve Zibart, that the ball fields in Woodward Park be named to honor Craig English, who is ‘retiring’ from his decades long volunteer position as planner/organizer of the Town’s Labor Day competitions.
Resolution 2018-14; Joseph Craig English Recreational Fieldpdf was introduced and seconded. Vote: 4-0, approved.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:22 PM.
TC REPORTS – December 2018
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Darrell Anderson
Meetings: The regular monthly meeting was held on November 20, 2018. The next regular meeting is scheduled for December 18, 2018.
Progress on contract for review of the Town’s Historic District Updating. The HPC completed review of Phase I Reports and issued a spreadsheet revision document to Robinson & Associates.
Clare Kelly, consultant to the HPC, completed the review of the Phase I Reports. She recommends that the nomination extend the period of architectural significance to the Early Municipal Era, 1937-1969. This extension would be reflected in additional research by consultants, modification to Phase I reports, and revisions to the post-1937 building descriptions. There was a discussion of how to incorporate revisions, in general, as well as revisions to the architectural inventory with the period of nomination extended to 1969.
A conference call will be initiated by the HPC and Daria Gasparini of Robinson & Associates to discuss: (1) what revisions Robinson & Associates proposes to make to the document; (2) what revisions are necessary or not necessary for MHT/NPS review and consideration; (3) how to incorporate Clare Kelly edits; (4) what additional research may be required; and, (5) how to reconcile the additional scope of work that may be requested.
The next step in the process is preparation of the application.
Sale of 315 Grove Avenue (Jane Seegal)
The HPC reviewed comments on the document for the sale of Town property at 315 Grove Avenue requested during the November meeting. Ms. Seegal attended but did not have further comments. The document was finalized and a letter to the Town Council with HPC comments will be forwarded for consideration at the December Town Council meeting.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – Darrell Anderson
No report this month.
STREET SIGN RESTORATION PROJECT – Darrell Anderson
Susan Van Nostrand held another gathering to produce more of the signs for this project. The project is nearing the end, with less than 40 signs to complete. I called Steve to determine how many signs he still has to give the Susan and progress on putting up finished signs.
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Darrell Anderson
An Addendum to the RFP was distributed to potential bidders based on a meeting Steve and I had to review the scope of work. A draft contract will be ready for the December meeting.
Speed Hump Trial:
Based on resident requests, research was completed on potential temporary speed humps on Grove Road. Both regular speed humps and table speed humps will be presented at the December Council meeting.
PLANNING COMMISSION – Charlie Challstrom
Electrical Permit: Town Hall Generator – Town approval of the electrical permit application was required before approval by the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services
Master Plan Update: The November 28 Planning Commission work session noted new Master Plan draft segments received entitled “Bicycling in Washington Grove” and “Emergency Preparedness with Risk Management and Hazard Mitigation.” The Commission’s strategy document was updated with assignments for each expected segment of the 2019 Master Plan. On December 5, the Commission noted receipt of items from the Lake Committee and the Forestry & Beautification Committee with proposed revisions to existing Master Plan segments.
A submission is expected soon from the Woods Committee. Options were discussed for making the Working Draft of the 2019 Master Plan available for public viewing as the update process continues. The next Commission work session will be held January 16, and the expected focus will be on Section 1 (Land Use and Zoning) and Section 2 (Municipal Growth and Boundary Enhancements).
MCCATHRAN HALL – Charlie Challstrom
McCathran Hall Generator: Installation of the new Generac generator continues. Most of the electrical and gas connection work has been completed, and we are awaiting inspection by Montgomery County. With the new larger electrical panel, the light and fan switches have been realigned, and Steve Werts will complete the woodworking to enclose the panel and switches after the inspection and approval.
McCathran Hall Floor Beam Reinforcement Project: The Town reissued the RFP for the McCathran Hall floor beam reinforcement project with a revised response time before the January 14th Council meeting.
McCathran Hall Cleaning: Exploration of options for cleaning McCathran Hall continues with consideration of engaging a cleaning service firm for the janitorial duties. Firms have been contacted, and we are awaiting contractor visits and cost estimates before proceeding.
MONTGOMERY MUNICIPAL CABLE (MMC) – Charlie Challstrom
I am still looking for additional feedback from Town officials and residents to complete the Town’s response to a questionnaire from MMC, a nonprofit organization established to operate a cable station on behalf of municipalities in Montgomery County. One of the questions asks if the Town is interested in having our meetings recorded to be televised on MMC. Another question asks if there any residents interested in a training course with MMC to be able to use MMC equipment to produce programming within our community for the purpose of airing it on the MMC channel and streaming via YouTube.
CONTRACTS – Rob Gilmore
Nothing to report.
DOG PARK – Rob Gilmore
The Dog Park committee chairs, Christine Dibble and Mary Warfield, have coordinated with the Woods Committee to set up a Dog Park site walk-through and discussion, which is scheduled for Sunday, December 9, at 10:30 am.
WOODS – Rob Gilmore
The Woods Committee finalized edits to the 2019 Master Plan sections on the East/West Woods updates; discussed group committee comments on the draft DP RFP; reviewed the highlights of the Informational Meeting and the results of the survey questionnaire collected after the meeting. There was majority support for the WC three-pronged approach to restore forest ecosystem health to include targeted use of herbicides to control NNI plants, deer population management, and reforestation (planting new trees). The survey results will be presented at the December TC meeting. The recorded meeting is posted on the WC web page of the Town website and the questionnaire was further distributed in the December Town Bulletin at the request of the Mayor to gather additional feedback from town residents.
We also discussed recent November work days in East and West Woods – wood chips along East Woods trail, wrapping trees (Saybrooke) and physical removal of Japanese barberry along West Woods trail. Final brief discussion on moving forward in New Year with deer management options and continued efforts on NNI plant control.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Rob Gilmore
Nothing to report.
WEBSITE – Marida Hines
Bill Saar has been assisting the Communications Working Group by researching WordPress plugins/technologies for alerting residents of new posts on the website. This would be opt-in and alert subscribers would be able to select the categories of alerts they received. We do not want any double posting to be required. This is proving more challenging than expected.
RECREATION – Marida Hines
The next meeting of the Recreation Committee is Wednesday, January 16, 2019.
Several new activities continue, including Mindfulness & Meditation Class and the Youth Dance Class on Wednesdays.
The Holiday Show is scheduled for Saturday, December 15 at 6pm.
COMMUNICATIONS WORK GROUP – Marida Hines
The Communications Working Group (CWG) met on November 19. Highlights of the discussions include:
Video/Audio recordings – The group discussed the option of using Maryland Municipal Cable (raised by Charlie Challstrom) for training and potentially equipment use to record Town meetings, both Council and special meetings. Audiotaping Council meetings for upload to the website was also discussed. Both of these opportunities raise the issue of accessibility for those with vision or hearing issues. It was agreed that these concerns needed to be fully understood before any further action.
Emergency communications – Sat Amagai, representing the Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) joined the CWG to share EPC work and lessons learned. He noted that the EPC had sent recommendations to the Council three years ago but no action has been taken. Marida offered to make a renewed effort to have recommendations reviewed by the Council.
Messaging/alert technologies – Discussion of necessity for alert technologies via email, text, mobile apps including Everbridge Nixle (www.nixle.com), a software/app solution identified as an option by the EPC. It has a free version that can be used for community engagement and emergency management.
Email alerts – Long discussion about Town’s inability to send batch emails or send from anywhere but the Town computer. Hence, in an emergency, the mayor could not send out emergency messages from his or her home. Several solutions were proposed. (Since the meeting, we have heard that this issue may have been resolved).
Resident survey – The group finalized the questions for the survey to get resident input on what communications channels and process would be optimal for official communications. The Council “listening sessions” was removed from the survey. Marida suggested she make a motion to test this concept in the next Council meeting.
NextDoor – The Town has been removed from the larger Gaithersburg-Derwood group and a group for Washington Grove has been created.
Follow-up – Subsequent to the meeting, the survey was deployed and 64 responses have been registered but the number continues to rise. This is a very good response rate.
On Thursday December 6 two members of the CWG attended a Webinar by Nixle.
We continue to follow up with Bill Saar on technology issues, Sat Amagai on emergency issues, and Barbara Raimondo on accessibility issues.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE – Pat Klein
The EPC met on November 29th to discuss their accomplishments this year and to consider items for attention in 2019.
EPC-Related Accomplishments in 2018 with reference to recommendations in the Emergency Preparedness Task Force Final Report (June 2016) were identified:
Town Hall Generator – Installation underway including upgrade to 200-amp service and construction of visual barrier.
Master Plan Input – The EPC submitted a proposed new section on “Emergency Preparedness with Risk Management and Hazard Mitigation” for the 2019 Master Plan.
County Hazard Mitigation Plan – EPC members participated in the County’s update of the Hazard Mitigation Plan, providing input on items of Town interest that require County action, e.g. the stormwater drainage pipe under Railroad Street. The Town will adopt the updated County plan to remain eligible for FEMA disaster relief and grants.
Street Sign Restoration Project (in collaboration with HPC) – Town volunteers continue restoring street name signs using reflective glass beads to improve safety and visibility. Latest report is 125 signs restored for placement.
Fire Hydrant Marking – Fire hydrants in Town have been marked with red/silver retroreflective tapes to facilitate visibility of location in the dark.
Guy Wire Visibility Covers – Yellow visibility covers were added to guy wires on two utility poles along Brown Street that EPC identified as safety hazards for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Light at Crosswalk on Railroad Street – The EPC initiated a request for a street light at the crosswalk by the Washington Grove MARC/RideOn bus stop. MC-DOT has confirmed a light will be added at the crosswalk to increase safety for those crossing Railroad Street.
Intersection Visibility – The EPC identified a few road intersections with existing obstructions to visibility, e.g. shrubbery over 3 feet in height within 25 feet of the intersection of two streets. The EPC recommends bush trimming on Town parkland at Brown Street and Grove Road.
Railroad Street Pavement Marking – The EPC noted recent MC-DOT actions intended to improve traffic safety, e.g. wide white lines painted along both edges of the Railroad Street pavement. To increase traffic safety on the Town side of the Deer Park Bridge, the EPC recommends the Town contact MC-DOT to request the two painted stop bars on Railroad Street at the junction with East Deer Park Drive be upgraded with more visible pavement marking tape.
Ridge Road Access to Bounding Bend Court – The EPC noted recent County Council action to adopt the Bicycle Master Plan which includes a connection between the end of Ridge Road and Bounding Bend Court. Since the Washington Grove Hills annexation in July 2000, the end of Ridge Road has been within the Town’s corporate limits. The EPC recommends the Town contact the County to request a safer bikeway connection between Ridge Road and Bounding Bend Court.
EPC Items for 2019:
House Number Signs – Continue examination of safety-related signage in Town by compiling some examples of house number signs for display at the Annual Town Meeting in May.
Brown Street Gate Near Hickory – Continue to discuss alternatives to replace the gate on Brown Street near Hickory Road, noting the gate has not been opened since its installation for emergency vehicle access. Other gate configurations have been considered as well as use of bollards, all intended to provide an easier and safer pass through for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Risk Management and Safety Procedures – Continue review of the draft document “Town of Washington Grove Risk Management and Safety Procedures” compiled using material from the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT). The document includes chapters on risk management, accident investigation procedures, driver training and accident prevention, emergency plans, semi-annual inspections, and a collection of forms.
First Aid Kit Review – Review contents of the Town Hall First Aid Kit and prepare an order for supplies as needed. Review Town Hall signage for locations of the First Aid Kit and AED unit.
Speed Bumps on Chestnut Road – The EPC noted the efficacy of the speed bumps being tested at stop signs along Chestnut Road, but also some reports of safety hazards that such speed bumps have been declared as not suitable for use on public roads. EPC will monitor their use with expectations that more suitable, compliant speed humps will be placed on Chestnut Road.
The EPC Chair met with the WG Communications Working Group to share information on local government use of contracted services for emergency communications and alerts, and our town situation with Grove Alerts. Also discussed was person-to-person communications such as was envisioned with the earlier Neighborhood Watch program.
The next EPC meeting is scheduled on January 24, 2019.
MAPLE LAKE – Pat Klein
Nothing to report
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Audrey Maskery
Seven trees purchased from Stadler’s were planted this Fall in the following locations: =
1 Scarlet Oak – 103 Grove Road
1 Princeton Elm – 127 Chestnut Road
1 Princeton Elm – 108 Maple Avenue
1 Pin Oak – 111 Maple Avenue
1 Red Oak – 119 Maple Avenue
1 Red Oak – 108 Maple Avenue
1 Red Maple Sunset – 312 Center Street
We received $150.00 from Maryland State for planting Native Canopy trees, also $250.00 from Montgomery County.
The next tree planting will take place in Spring 2019.
F&B will not meet during the months of December through February 2919. The next meeting will be Wednesday March 13 at 7:30pm.
MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery
Cut grass on avenues and blew acorns and debris off tennis courts. Picked up trash along Railroad Street and from Morgan Park. Removed leaves from Woodward Park and all avenues for Town disposal.
Worked with Electric contractor fitting new emergency generator at McCathran Hall.
MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
PLAYGROUNDS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL – Joli McCathran
Nothing to report