14 January 2019 | Approved: 11 February 2019
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Charlie Challstrom, Rob Gilmore, Patty Klein and Audrey Maskery. Also in attendance were Historic Preservation Commission Chair Bob Booher and Town residents Georgette Cole, Joan Mahaffey, Bud O’Connor, Virginia Quesada, and Jane Seegal.
Approval of Agenda:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the agenda. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0, approved.
Approval of Minutes:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the December 10, 2018 Town Council Meeting minutes. Rob Gilmore seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0, approved as amended.
Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report:
Treasurers Report 2018-December pdf
Darrell Anderson moved acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report for December 2018. Patty Klein seconded the motion. Mayor Compton asked about the status of McCathran Hall projects should additional funds be necessary for the McCathran Hall Floor Beam Replacement project. Vote: 5-0, accepted.
Darrell Anderson moved to approve transfer of $5,000 from savings to checking to pay bills. Rob Gilmore seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0, approved.
The Town Council set Tuesday, March 26, 7:30 p.m., for a work session on the FY 2020 Town budget.
Road Resurfacing Awards:
Two proposals for each of 9 road segments in the RFP were received and opened at the December Council meeting, one from A.B. Veirs (total $119,260) and another from M.T. Laney (total $123,545). It was the consensus of the Council that all segments could be completed in a three-year program. Because the proposals were similar in cost, and Darrell Anderson obtained excellent references for both firms, he proposed splitting the award for the current year between the firms: A.B. Veirs would resurface segments of Ridge Road for a total cost of $29,181 and M.T. Laney would resurface segments of Brown Street and Hickory Road for $22,410. Charlie Challstrom moved to award these contracts as proposed. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion.
Vote: 5-0, approved. Rob Gilmore will review the contracts before they are sent out.
McCathran Hall Floor Beam Reinforcement Proposals:
The original RFP sent out in July 2018 received only a single response. The Council elected to send out a second request for proposals, relaxing the deadline for completing the work, and two proposals were received: from Rocky Gorge, the original bidder for $29,880, and M. Taylor Enterprise for $16,000. The references provided by both firms consisted of Washington Grove residents. Questions were asked about the inspection process. Is a County inspection required? Should engineer David Wallace who drew the plans inspect the work, or should Town consultant Doug Lohmeyer conduct the inspection. It was suggested the steel beams should be inspected on delivery. Charlie Challstrom moved to award the contract to M. Taylor, pending a reference check, based on the significantly lower bid. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion.
Vote: 5-0, approved. Charlie Challstrom will follow-up on permit requirements and inspections, and Rob Gilmore will review the contract.
Ordinance 2018-11; Authorizing Sale of Town Land under 315 Grove Avenue:
Discussion revolved around Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) edits to this ordinance originally drafted by the Planning Commission. Bob Booher, chair of the HPC, explained the additional language and covenant which a) mandates that certain repair work associated with the structure on the land sold be reviewed by the Town Council regarding the historic integrity of the structure, and b) also exempts ordinary repairs from review or the need for a building permit. The Planning Commission does not want property owners to alter the historic facades without the building permit process, which triggers a review. The public hearing scheduled for February 11, is postponed until March 11 to allow language to be reconciled. It was also noted that definitions regarding repairs and requiring a permit in the Code of Ordinances need refinement.
Forest Health Restoration Plan:
Woods Committee Co-chair Joan Mahaffey presented the results of the questionnaire on the Committee’s Forest Health Restoration Plan. The results tallied those questionnaires received at the conclusion of November’s informational meeting and those sent as part of the December 2018 Town Bulletin. Of the 44 responses received, a clear majority supports the three-pronged approach of non-native invasive plant control, deer control and reforestation. Woods Co-chair Patty Klein added that deer control is a priority and the Committee is working on a timeline to enable deer culling this fall. Town ordinances must be amended to permit hunting under certain circumstances. Montgomery County has very strict requirements for archers and their services are available free of charge. Audrey Maskery asked if the Town could find out about culling efforts by nearby jurisdictions.
Darrell Anderson has identified a portable speed hump to be tested at a location on Grove Road. The Chestnut Road speed bumps installed at stop signs will remain in place for now. If a decision to relocate these bumps is made, additional hardware must be purchased.
Voting at Town Meetings:
At the December Council meeting, Marc Hansen suggested consideration of permitting absentee voting at Town Meetings. Charlie Challstrom noted the Town Charter stipulates Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, as the parliamentary authority of the Town Meeting. Robert’s Rules, Section 45 – Absentee Voting states “It is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that the right to vote is limited to the members of an organization who are actually present at the time the vote is taken in a regular or properly called meeting…” It was the consensus of the Town Council not to pursue this matter further at this time.
Charlie Challstrom moved approval of Town Council Reports for posting on the website. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. The following three items were highlighted:
- Mayor Compton noted the Planning Commission will hold a Master Plan Work Session on Wednesday, January 16.
- Darrell Anderson reported Robert Johnson has agreed to chair the Street Lighting Committee. Bob Booher, Charlie Challstrom, Bruce Crise and Carolyn Rapkievian will serve to help find a replacement for the Town’s street light fixtures that are no longer supported by Pepco and for which parts have become impossible to find.
- Mayor Compton anticipates the Communications Committee will soon recommend ways to improve the exchange of information in Washington Grove.
Vote: 5-0, approved.
- Steve Werts has been authorized to remove the fence sections on Town property at 215 Washington Grove Lane. Steve will lay the fence sections on private property.
- The Board of Elections Supervisors will meet soon to develop election procedures for approval by the Town Council.
- Town consultant Doug Lohmeyer recently toured the East and West Woods to observe erosion issues caused by excessive stormwater run-off. He reported a local environmental engineering firm will provide a proposal for stream restoration. Mayor Compton will share Lohmeyer’s report with the Council. Rob Gilmore suggested Diane Cameron of EcoLogix Group as another resource in the area of water resource protection and restoration.
- A Minor Amendment process for the Shady Grove Metro Master Plan has commenced that will bring suggested changes before the Montgomery County Planning Board later this spring. The current Plan restrictions on commencing Phase II development will be reviewed, primarily regarding transportation and traffic issues, and possibly also the mix of units allowed. Mayor Compton will continue to monitor this Master Plan for the Town.
- Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) – The County Council will introduce a zoning text amendment modifying County rules regarding accessory dwelling units. The issue of allowing second dwelling unit on our properties is a recurring issue of interest in the Town, and should be followed closely.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
Mary M. Challstrom
Secretary Pro Tem
TC REPORTS – January 2019
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Darrell Anderson
Meetings: The regular monthly meeting was held on December 18, 2018. The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be held January 15, 2019.
Progress on contract for review of the Town’s Historic District Updating. The HPC consultant (Claire Kelly) submitted a report that was reviewed by the HPC. Wendy and Bob met with Robinson & Associates on December 5 and they indicated they would incorporate the consultant suggestions into their documents.
The Phase II documents include the Viewshed Document, which already has been reviewed by the HPC and the draft of the Nomination document. The Nomination document will reflect some of Claire Kelly’s recommendations, expected by March 1, 2019, including architectural descriptions of representative structures. There will be an eight-week review process timeline.
The HPC plans to input sections of the National Register language into the Washington Grove Masterplan document, including sections on: the Commercial Zone; Land Use and Zoning; and, Municipal Growth and Boundary Enhancements.
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. Another 10 signs were completed and were turned in to the office for Steve to pick up and install.
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Darrell Anderson
Repaving: At the December Council meeting, bids were opened and discussed. A decision was made to contact references submitted by AB Veirs and MTY Laney Company. A discussion was held regarding the possible awarding two bids for work to be started in the spring if references for both companies are positive. A decision will be made at the January meeting on awarding the bids. I contacted references and found both companies to be exemplary.
Speed Hump Trial: Based on discussion and decisions at the December Council meeting, I submitted information for a Superior Speed Hump to the Treasurer. Steve and I met and discussed moving the current speed humps at Oak Street and Chestnut Road to Hickory Road. However, we must order the hardware for the new placement. This may be accomplished by the end of January. We also decided on placement of the new speed hump on Grove Road. Posts will have to be installed on the sides of the speed hump to eliminate the ability to go around them.
Street Lights: Residents who showed an interest on participating on the ad hoc Lighting Committee were contacted. A proposed Chair and members will be presented at the January meeting. It is anticipated that the first meeting will be held the week of January 14.
PLANNING COMMISSION – Charlie Challstrom
- 15 Circle – Discussions with the owner of this home helped to clarify requirements for location of a new shed. Copies of the boundary survey plat were provided, and the Commission anticipates a building permit application will be submitted soon.
Master Plan Update: The next Planning Commission Master Plan Worksession will be held January 16 at 7:30 p.m. The Commission has received recommended updates from Emergency Preparedness Committee, Woods Committee, Lake Committee, Forestry and Beautification Committee, and Bike Path Workgroup. The Historic Preservation Commission has provided an initial submission with recommended edits to existing Master Plan segments. Eva Patrone has initiated discussions with Mark Terry, County DOT, to explore sidewalk improvements for pedestrian safety near the East Diamond Ave, Railroad Street, and Washington Grove Lane intersection. To prepare stormwater management updates for the Master Plan, Robert Johnson will lead a group to follow up Town Consultant Doug Lohmeyer’s recommendations. Darrell Anderson will update the Master Plan growth area segment for the Washington Grove Conservation Park. The Commission anticipates making the “Working Draft of the 2019 Master Plan” available to residents as the update process continues.
MCCATHRAN HALL – Charlie Challstrom
McCathran Hall Cleaning: Exploration of options for cleaning McCathran Hall continues with SEEC, a non-profit organization seeking employment, equality and community for people with developmental disabilities. I met at the Hall with a SEEC Program Manager and a SEEC Customized Employment Consultant to review the tasks and provide them with an onsite perspective. The SEEC option is being considered along with individual expressions of interest and a commercial services proposal received thus far. The Town’s summary of janitorial tasks has been updated to reflect preferred methods for cleaning wooden and vinyl floors.
McCathran Hall Lighting: Lights throughout McCathran Hall have been reviewed and updated to incorporate LED bulbs, where sufficient lumens and compatible light color are available, to save energy costs and/or to extend the bulb life where replacement is challenging.
MONTGOMERY MUNICIPAL CABLE (MMC) – Charlie Challstrom
MMC will hold its 2019 annual meeting on Wednesday, January 23, 1:00 p.m., at the Kensington Town Hall. A studio tour is available, and a short video presentation will highlight MMC operations and how communities benefit from MMC services. MMC was designed to increase community awareness by broadcasting municipal events, educational programs and interviews with noteworthy individuals. You can find MMC on Channel 16 on Comcast, Verizon and RCN every evening as well as 24/7 access to the online video archives. All are invited to this MMC annual meeting.
CONTRACTS – Rob Gilmore
Back-up snow removal contract received on January 9, 2019.
DOG PARK – Rob Gilmore
The Dog Park Committee’s next meeting is on January 16, 2019. The approved Dog Park RFP was mailed out to a list of potential bidders on January 4. The Dog Park site in the West Woods has been cleared in preparation for beginning construction work, once proposals are received and a bid accepted. The Dog Park Committee will continue consulting with the Woods Committee, Mayor Compton, and the Town Council on the progress of the Dog Park.
WOODS – Rob Gilmore
The Woods Committee met on January 7, 2019. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the December 2018 information meeting, and the results of the survey of Town citizens regarding their views on the Forest Restoration plan that the Committee has been developing, including specifically the issues of deer culling, herbicidal treatment, and exclosures. The survey results suggest that the Town supports the Committee’s plans; the Committee has asked to present the survey results to the Town Council at the January 14, 2019 meeting. In addition, the Woods Committee discussed further action to progress the Forest Restoration plan, to include additional informational meetings and further information collection regarding deer culling measures.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Rob Gilmore
Nothing to report.
WEBSITE – Marida Hines
Webmaster Bill Saar continues to optimize the website to make news and announcements more accessible and information easier to find and is working in conjunction with the Communications Working Group to explore technical options for communications.
To have minutes, agendas, and meeting announcements added to the website, please contact Kathy Lehman, Town Clerk, at [email protected] who can pass them on to Bill. To contribute suggestions for usability improvements or information requests related to the website please contact Marida Hines at [email protected].
RECREATION – Marida Hines
The next meeting of the Recreation Committee is Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The meeting is open to the public.
The Holiday Show was held Saturday, December 15. An all-star cast led by Judy Mroczka, Marilynn Frey and their terrific theatrical team, wowed Grovers with the theme of “The Brothers Grinch and the Grove: A Mystery!” The evening also featured a tribute to long-time Recreation Committee volunteer Craig English.
The Recreation Committee is seeking a volunteer to chair the Labor Day activities.
COMMUNICATIONS WORK GROUP – Marida Hines
The Communications Working Group (CWG) communications baseline survey has been closed and results preliminarily determined. The survey covered the following topics:
- What types of communications would you like to receive from the Town?
- How do you currently receive information from the Town?
- Which of these do you think could be improved?
- What additional means of official communication do you think the Town should consider?
- Do you have other comments, suggestions, or ideas for improving official communications in Town?
The response to the survey was strong, with ninety-eight townspeople contributing their perspectives and suggestions in response to town-wide personal email outreach from CWG volunteers. A follow up meeting will be held in January to analyze results and determine next steps. The meeting is open to the public and will be publicized on the Town website once the date is set.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE – Pat Klein
Nothing to report. No December meeting held. The next EPC meeting is scheduled on January 24, 2019.
MAPLE LAKE – Pat Klein
On or before December 25, the Lake Committee chairs reported a vandalism event occurred at Maple Lake. Damage included 2 new holes cut into the perimeter fence – one about half way between the sheds and the gate, and the other between the first hole and the sheds. In addition, the hasps and locks on both sheds were damaged. Coincidentally, the air compressor for the bubbler was not running and the circuit breaker kept tripping. Town Maintenance was notified and completed repairs to the fence and sheds on January 4th. Repair of the air compressor is pending. Monthly Lake Committee meetings will resume in February or March.
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Audrey Maskery
Tree guards were installed by Forestry and Beautification volunteers on the six newly planted trees. Spring planting will be discussed at the first F&B meeting for 2019 on March 13.
MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery
Worked on Town Hall handicap lift for the yearly State inspection. Put up the Christmas tree in the Gazebo. Removed bead board paneling from around the electric panel in the Town Hall in preparation for work by contractor; stained and replaced the bead board surrounding the electric panel upon completion of work.
Blew leaves off tennis courts and Town Hall roof.
MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
PLAYGROUNDS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL – Joli McCathran
Nothing to report.