8 June 2020 | Approved: 13 July 2020
The unprecedented emergency health crisis poses a challenge to all – individually and collectively. To protect ourselves and do our part to impede the spread of the coronavirus and COVID -19 disease, the Regular Meeting of the Town Council was held remotely. The meeting was recorded.
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, David Cosson, Marida Hines, Patty Klein, and Gray Yachup. Also in attendance were Treasurer Mary Challstrom and residents, Sat Amagai, Sam Beres, Emily Cavey, Sun Chang, Paige Clifford, Georgette Cole, Bruce Crise, Rob Gilmore, John Hutchinson, Robert Johnson, Betsy Klinger, Lisa Kokes, Joan Mahaffey, Audrey Maskery, Paul Patrone, and Krista Zenetti. Missy Yachup joined the meeting at 8:00 p.m.
Approval of Agenda:
Patty Klein moved to approve the agenda. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Introduction and discussion of Resolution 2020-09 was inserted in the #11 position and the document was re-numbered. Vote: 5-0, agenda approved, as amended.
Town Clerk Kathy Lehman brought forward a request from the Swing Time Big Band to rehearse outside in Woodward Park. They will sanitize, social distance etc. Because the band has 18 members, the gathering would be a violation of the Governor’s orders still in place not counting people who may gather to listen. The Mayor and Council denied the request.
Action: Kathy Lehman will get in touch with the band.
Mayor Compton announced the following:
- The WSSC expects that the sewer line work planned for Grove Avenue and for Ridge Road will get started in approximately two (2) months. August at the earliest.
- Several phone calls were made to Montgomery County inquiring about the second salt barn being built near Robert’s Oxygen were not returned. He will continue to reach out. (Note added post-meeting: the barn being constructed is as submitted, completion mid-summer.)
- A letter about safety concerns on Railroad Street, the Commercial Corner, and the bus stops in the same area, compiled by the EPSC, was transmitted to County Executive Marc Elrich. Receipt was acknowledged, and the issues have been assigned to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. Mayor Compton will share any follow-up when it is received.
- Mayor Compton reported on the observation of National Gun Violence Awareness Day last Friday and weekend. Orange lights were put in the Gazebo along with a single empty chair. He showed a picture of the orange-lit Gazebo at dusk. He thanked Charlie Challstrom and those who to helped make this happen.
- Status of Summer in the Parks: Emily Cavey also announced the difficult decision to cancel the Summer In The Parks program this year due to challenges in providing the program under COVID-19 restrictions.
- Status of Music Weekend: Mayor Compton asked Recreation Committee Chair Emily Cavey to share current plans for a modified Music Weekend. Emily reported the following:
- Keith Gillis and his band will do a live stream concert on June 19, 2020.
- The Kids Recital will be a ZOOM recital on Saturday morning.
- The Saturday evening event will likely be a ZOOM sing-a-long with adult performers.
- Mayor Compton stated Music Weekend is a traditional annual Grove event and he is grateful to the Recreation Committee for organizing and carrying on the tradition in this modified way.
Approval of Minutes:
Darrell Anderson moved to approve the May 18, 2020 Town Council Meeting Minutes. Marida Hines seconded the motion.
Vote: 6-0, approved.
Treasurers Report 2020 May pdf
Darrell Anderson moved acceptance of the May 2020 Treasurer’s Report. Marida Hines seconded the motion. Treasurer Mary Challstrom reported the May income tax installment came in at the expected amount. She reported the Town’s Worker’s Compensation insurance premium is significantly lower this year due to our improved safety record. There will be one final monthly Treasurer’s report to close out the current fiscal year. Mary also gave kudos to the Town Audit Committee members, who because of the pandemic, have to do everything manually.
Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Resolution 2020-07 Budget Transfers:
Patty Klein moved to introduce Resolution 2020-07 Budget Transfers. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion and moved adoption. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion to adopt.
Vote: 6-0, adopted as introduced.
Patty Klein moved to approve the Mayor’s appointment of Charlie Challstrom as liaison to the Planning Commission through June 2021. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion.
Vote: 5-0 (Charlie Challstrom abstaining), in approval
Charlie Challstrom moved to elect Councilor Darrell Anderson as Mayor Pro Tempore through May 2021. The motion was seconded.
Vote: 5-0 (Darrell Anderson abstaining), in approval
It was moved and seconded to confirm the Mayor’s appointments of Robert Johnson as Alternate on the Planning Commission, to a 5-year term through June 2025.
Vote: 6-0, in approval.
It was moved and seconded to confirm the Mayor’s appointments of Sat Amagai and Christine Dibble as Members of the Board of Zoning Appeals, and Kathie Evans as Alternate on the Board of Zoning Appeals, to 3-year terms running through June 2023. Vote: 6-0.
Mayor Compton reported Joe Clark resigned from the Board of Supervisors of Elections. A request for residents to join the Board will be placed in the July Bulletin.
Annual Planning Commission Report to the Maryland Department of Planning:
Charlie Challstrom explained the Annual Planning Commission Report pdf and is required by the State and moved it be accepted. Dave Cosson seconded the motion.
Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Maple Lake Opening – Reconsideration and Discussion:
Mayor Compton discussed his decision to delay “opening” Maple Lake the previous weekend in voluntary compliance with an email and verbal communication received June 5 from the County Department of Health. We were informed that in spite of the Board of Health (County Executive Order) for Phase I reopening that lifted some pandemic shutdown regulations, the Town could not “open” Maple Lake as planned on Saturday June 6. There followed a lengthy discussion and debate about the many issues surrounding opening Maple Lake amidst the COVID-19 restrictions in place. The Mayor and Council struggled with the following issues:
- The meaning of “opening” Maple Lake as being supervised operation of the lake
- The assertion by the County Health official that the County Attorney’s office concurred with the Health Department interpretation of Phase 1 in the matter of “opening” Maple Lake.
- How it affects the dual status of Maple Lake; a swimming body of water and/or part of our park system.
- Consultation with the Town Attorney to clarify the authority over Maple Lake granted to Washington Grove by the State Legislature in 2016 under the Maryland Environmental Code, Sec 9-321.2 “Regulation of a closed swimming lake”.
- Regarding “(b) Exceptions from regulations, which states in part: “… is not subject to the regulations that apply to public bathing beaches under COMAR 26.08.09 or any County regulations related to public swimming facilities.” Specifically, to what extent does this make us exempt from all County swimming-related regulations?
- And also possibly regarding “(c) Municipal corporation required to establish policy for assessment and management of water quality”.
- Do Board of Health and Health Department regulations trump our local authority?
- The likelihood current monitoring procedures meet safety requirements, but formalizing by adopting a Policy for management of water quality at the Lake, including a sanitary survey.
- Potential risk to our authority if we are out of compliance with the State legislation.
- Consulting the County about water quality standards. Should a County official visit the lake?
- And in any case, should the Town voluntarily follow Montgomery County regulations and guidelines, even though it is not our preference?
- The prudence of suspending opening Maple Lake I the expectation that Phase 2 will soon go into effect, when swimming restrictions may be lifted.
- The importance of carefully monitoring activity at the lake so that guidelines for required social distancing, number of people, masks, and a contact tracing option are followed.
- With the lake remaining closed, safety concerns were discussed and the option of staffed the lake to prevent trespassing was raised.
- Providing a safe recreational and social outlet for residents, but concern over widening the circle of users to extended family and friends.
- The need for patience and caring for each other during a pandemic.
The discussion was extended, with many residents present contributing.
Action: Mayor Compton will contact the Town Attorney, and the offices of County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilor Sydney Katz. He will report back to the Town Council via e-mail.
Resolution 2020-09 Maple Lake Policy for Assessment and Management of Water Quality – Introduction and Discussion:
Charlie Challstrom discussed details of the proposed Resolution, specifically water quality (bacteriological monitoring) and Town notification. He stated the Resolution codifies Town water quality monitoring at the lake to insure the Town is meeting the requirements of the 2016 State legislation granting the Town authority over the Lake. He moved to introduce Resolution 2020-09 and Marida Hines seconded the motion. There was a discussion about having the Town Attorney verify applicable regulations, the meaning of “designated agent”, and performing a sanitary survey of the area. It was noted that there are no septic systems that flow into the spring that feeds the lake and the stormwater runoff from Washington Grove Lane flows around the lake. The Lake Committee believes quality of the water in the lake is excellent.
Darrell Anderson called the question.
Vote: 6-0, Introduced.
Patty Klein moved to postpone adoption another month to allow for a more thorough review and public comment. The motion was not seconded.
Charlie Challstrom moved to adopt Resolution 2020-09 pdf as presented and Gray Yachup seconded the motion.
Vote: 5 in favor -1 opposed (Klein). Resolution adopted .
Reopening of Town Facilities: Town Hall, Office, Lake – Discussion:
Mayor Compton and the Council reviewed the recommendations from the Emergency Preparedness and Safety Committee. The input from Council and others overlapped with the discussion about opening Maple Lake. The importance of social distancing and the use of masks were reiterated. In addition, recent events in Woodward Park were the catalyst for further debate over the Montgomery County Executive Orders and their interpretation. The suggestion was made that guidelines/guidance from Town Government would be helpful to residents and would help with enforcement. Mary Blake suggested organizing a ZOOM forum with local public health experts to gather more information, and offered to propose to Washington Grove Cares that they consider sponsorship of such a forum.
Action: Mayor Compton will put something together as a starting point.
Resolution 2020-08; Authorizing Deer Management 2020/21 Bow Hunting Sessions – Introduction and Discussion:
Patty Klein moved to introduce Resolution 2020-08 pdf and Marida Hines seconded the motion. Woods Committee Co-Chairs Patty Klein and Joan Mahaffey briefly noted the need to authorize deer management hunting this fall and that the Resolution was unchanged from last year except for the dates that correspond to the deer hunting season from September 11, 2020 – January 31, 2021. Darrell Anderson reminded the Co-Chairs of their commitment to solicit input from residents after the completion of the first hunt and before authorizing a new hunting session. Mayor Compton and the Town Council agreed that the July Bulletin should specifically request comment on the Resolution from residents. Further discussion and approval was deferred to the July Council meeting.
Subdivision Plan Approval for 326 Ridge Road – Update & Discussion:
Mayor Compton noted that the new owner of this property approached the Town about subdividing the property, building another home on the new lot, and renovating the original home. Charlie Challstrom explained the Planning Commission had reviewed the subdivision, and eight (8) conditions, including those recommended by the Historic Preservation Commission, were approved. These conditions should be met in granting the applicant a building permit. Property owner Mel Golden has been very cooperative through the process.
Town Council Reports:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the June Council reports for posting on the website. Dave Cosson seconded the motion.
Vote: 6-0, approved for posting.
Old Business – Reschedule Public Hearing on Ordinance 2020-01; Amending Article XIII “Application of County Legislation” to Include Chapter 33B “Pesticides”
Charlie Challstrom reported he contacted a couple other municipalities considering such an ordinance and they all reported having taken no action at this time. He offered his opinion that because no businesses in the Grove were impacted, few if any lawns in the Grove were impacted, and since Grove residents generally are environmentally conscious, that the proposed new rules would not be considered objectionable. He proposed that the Council should move ahead with the Ordinance and schedule the public hearing in July. It was agreed the Public Hearing would start at 7:00 PM on July 13, 2020.
- The Mayor has proposed further additions to the Public Ways & Property Permit to the Planning Commission. These address concerns of the Historic Preservation Commission over potential impact on historic resources by work on public property, and concerns from the Forestry & Beautification Committee about disturbance to flora. The Applicant should be required to note potential impacts, and a policy of consultation by the Planning Commission with the HPC and Forestry and Beautification followed when appropriate.
- Patty Klein asked for clarification concerning a volunteer Town Councilor receiving payment for performing another Town job, thus being an employee. She used the example of a Town Councilor who is also a Lifeguard. There was a discussion about ethics laws and how small towns handle these types of issues. Charlie Challstrom reported that due to its size Washington Grove is considered by the State of Maryland to be exempt from the requirement to enact a local ethics law. The Town of Washington Grove does not have an Ethics Policy at this time, but in the future could consider codifying our own ethics policies where they might be appropriate.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:04 P.m.
Kathryn L. Lehman
TC REPORTS – June 2020
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Darrell Anderson
The HPC held a virtual meeting on May 19; the next meeting will be held on June 16 at 7:30 pm by virtual means.
The HPC reviewed the planned subdivision of 326 Ridge Road (Golden). The Chair explained that the subdivision plan would need to be submitted to Montgomery County before applying for a building permit. Because Mr. Golden also presented plans for the new house on the subdivision, the HPC held a lengthy discussion about potentially making the house more compatible with surrounding houses. Mr. Golden agreed that he would resubmit the house plans at the next meeting and would take into consideration HPC recommendations. The HPC approved submitting the subdivision plan to the Planning Commission with the recommendation that the house be more compatible to surrounding houses.
A letter was submitted to the Maryland Historic Trust regarding archeological sites adjacent to the lower field between the Conservation Park on Ridge Road and the ICC. This inquiry was in reference to the current Shady Grove Sector Plan under review by the County. The discussion also addressed the designation of the bikeway in the sector plan. The Town has submitted some comments. Mayor John Compton joined the virtual meeting and explained the process for the sector plan comment period and that the end of the comment period is May 29. There may not be much time left to submit comments.
The HPC reviewed member comments on the draft of Section 9 of the Master Plan review. After revising the current draft, members voted to approve a final version with revisions. This will be used for the Master Plan committee meeting on May 20.
The HPC discussed and approved purchasing two color copies of the final National Register report for the Town Office, and eight black-and-white copies of the report for individual members. They will find out the cost before purchase, because the report is more than 500 pages.
The HPC would like more involvement in the WSSC permit process. This has been brought up because of the current work on 6th Avenue.
The HPC has submitted an award nomination to the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for the sign project. This award will be announced in August.
As part of Masterplan Section 9, the HPC will be recommending training for town staff.
The Lighting Committee held a virtual meeting on May 27; the next meeting will be held on June 24 at 7:30 pm by virtual means.
In a call with Sandy Barrier of PEPCO, information was provided about the Empower Grant Program. Ms. Barrier said that the Town may be eligible for this grant, but other towns who received the grants have lost their ability to choose the type of lights and fixtures PEPCO would install. The Committee decided not to pursue the Empower Grant at this time.
However, Ms. Barrier provided information about the “Instant Discounts” program that would allow the Town to purchase LED bulbs at greatly reduced prices. She provided a list of approved vendors for this program. As a follow-up to this call, the Committee approved contacting the vendors and purchasing these approved LED bulbs to provide to PEPCO maintenance when they make the conversion. The Chair will contact PEPCO to let them know when we have the LED bulbs ready for installation.
The Chair reported that she is in contact with a vendor that fabricates streetlight fixtures. The Committee approved further contacts to decide if it would be cost-effective to have them fabricate fixtures to replace those that are broken or past their utility.
A sample of a bollard-type light has been installed near McCathran Hall for evaluation. In addition, the sample of the “barn light” and fixture will be installed near the Maintenance Shed for evaluation.
The Committee is working on suggested text regarding lighting to the Master Plan Committee. Revisions will be sent to Committee members for input.
The Chair reported that she has contacted most of the residents impacted by the damaged pole and light at Oak Street and Grove Avenue to provide input on replacement.
Spent much of the month cutting grass and trimming brush along roads and walkways. Removed a privet bush at the Grove Road entrance to make room for planting new Crepe Myrtle trees. Oversaw planting of Crepe Myrtles. Removed brush and tree branches from Town property. In addition, placed COVID-19 signs at the lake. Other tasks included:
- Checked on a residential complaint about a leaning tree in the East Woods.
- Worked on the clay courts—watered and rolled—to prepare for the summer season.
- Met with the Mayor and members of the Forestry and Beautification Committee to review procedures.
- Met at McCathran Hall with a representative from Mettee Plumbing for testing and certification of the backflow preventer in the sprinkler system. Also, checked fire extinguishers.
- Went to Home Depot, purchased asphalt patching, and patched a hole on Daylily Lane.
- Watered trees as needed.
- String-trimmed various locations.
- Worked on projects in and around the Maintenance Shop.
PLANNING COMMISSION – Charlie Challstrom
Building Permit Activity –
- 107 Pine Ave – PC approved permit for fencing, including 5-foot height fence portion for swimming pool.
Application for Subdivision – The PC approved the subdivision application for 326 Ridge Road received from Mel Golden. This recently purchased property is in the Town’s RR-4 Zone where the minimum lot size is 18,000 square feet. The PC’s subdivision approval includes eight conditions, five of which were recommended by the Historic Preservation Commission. The subdivision divides that property into two lots, the first lot comprising 20,529 square feet with the existing home. For the second lot, comprising 19,286 square feet, a permit application will be required for building a new home in accordance with conditions established with this subdivision approval.
Master Plan 2020 Update – A master plan work session was held on May 20 focusing on revisions submitted by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) for Master Plan Section 9, Preservation and Development Strategies. The PC suggested the HPC should also develop guidelines for fences as some of the fencing currently allowed by ordinance could significantly impact the character of the Town. The next PC master plan work session is scheduled for June 17, and will start with a proposed new Master Plan Section 11, Emergency Preparedness with Risk Management and Hazard Mitigation.
Annual PC Report to State of Maryland – All planning commissions are required to submit an annual report for the previous calendar year to the Maryland Department of Planning. The report for Calendar Year 2019 mentions expanded requirements for Public Ways and Property (PW&P) Permits for driveway aprons and for small wireless telecommunications facilities. This report, completed in a prescribed format, must be approved by the Town Council before submission to the State.
Public Ways & Property (PW&P) Permits – The PC has endorsed some additions to the PW&P application and approval process as proposed by Mayor Compton to respond to concerns about projects involving Town property. These include: adding a diagram showing all nearby trees, plants, signs, etc.; identifying any possible disturbance to these with protection or remediation measures; requiring HPC review prior to permit approval if there may be any disturbance to historic features of the Town; and consulting with the Forestry and Beautification Committee prior to permit approval if there may be any disturbance to Town flora. A team of volunteers has offered to craft updates to the PW&P Permit Application and Instructions.
West Woods Plats and Boundary Marking Project Update – This project will produce an updated plat of subdivision to enable approval of the West Woods as one parcel, and an identification plat required to initiate an application for local zoning map amendment. The boundary marking work will establish property corners for remaining portions of the West Woods boundary not yet marked. A critical element of this boundary is the Washington Grove Lane right of way. Using an RFP process, the contract was awarded to Snider & Associates in February with a specified completion not later than June 30, 2020. Ed Snider, Snider & Associates, has reported: “We are working on the boundary resolution and are trying to get this wrapped up asap”.
MCCATHRAN HALL – Charlie Challstrom
Hall Sprinkler System Inspections and Tests – The Town Hall has a fire suppression sprinkler system of pipes throughout the building always pressured with air, and then water only if triggered by sensors. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides code standards for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems. On May 11, we had the NFPA-required annual sprinkler inspection, and this will be followed soon with the 3-year air pressure test, both by Guardian Fire Protection Services. Also, the water backflow preventer test was done by Jack Mettee Plumbing on May 29.
Hall Cleaning – The Hall cleaning, until the March suspension, was in cooperation with SEEC, a progressive nonprofit agency providing an array of services to help people who have significant disabilities live, work and thrive in their own communities. As discussions continue regarding criteria and timetables for reopening local government facilities, continuation of the SEEC team cleaning arrangements is being evaluated.
MONTGOMERY MUNICIPAL CABLE (MMC) – Charlie Challstrom
I continue to represent Washington Grove on the MMC Board of Directors. Other MMC Board members represent Somerset, North Chevy Chase, Kensington, Chevy Chase View, Chevy Chase Village, and Glen Echo. The next meeting of the MMC Board is on Tuesday, June 9. The MMC 3-person video production team continues the MMC TV channel operations on cable and on YouTube. MMC provides the “MMC Inside Scoop” weekly which is forwarded to town residents via the Yahoo Group. This email newsletter highlights MMC shows that provide the public with information pertaining to health and wellness, politics, business, the arts and life planning including services, organizations and local events.
CENSUS – Charlie Challstrom
Census Status and Activities – More than 79% of Washington Grove households have responded thus far, according to the Census response rates website. We are currently ranked 14th in the response rates for the 157 cities and towns in Maryland. During a recent Upcounty Census 2020 Subcommittee meeting, we learned the “door knocking” enumerators will visit the homes of the non-responders starting on August 11 to get census information in person. The Census enumerators will be wearing masks, gloves, and teal-colored Census shirts, and will not enter homes.
CONTRACTS – Dave Cosson
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT – Dave Cosson
Prior to joining the Council, I sat in on the Committee Meeting of May 12, 2020 by Zoom. A significant portion of the meeting dealt with flooding issues in the area around Chestnut Ave. and Center Street. Additionally, we discussed the recent successful work on the removal of the deadfall and channel elimination in the West Woods Watershed.
On May 16, I joined a “walkabout” with Committee Members and Steve Wertz which produced the following observations based on direct observation and reference to Steve’s maps showing, culverts, swales, curbs, etc.:
- Examined area of Bruce Crise’s concern, water pooling on yards in part, at least due to yard elevation issues. Not clear what, if any, town work caused problem. East side of Chestnut Rd. swale improvements might help.
- Existing Culverts may be too small in several areas
- Toured West Woods work, downed trees have been cut up, some may need to come down to handle water crossing under WGL. Possible catch basin.
- Residents’ shrubbery and driveways in some cases are on town right of way where expanded swales are needed to improve drainage.
- Self-help trenching on town right of way needs to be restricted. Examples on Cherry Avenue, Chestnut road to Maple Lake, Oak St. in playground.
WOODS – Dave Cosson
The Woods Committee met on June 1, 2020 by Zoom.
I was introduced as the new Town Council liaison to the Committee and commended co-chairs Klein and Mahaffey for the excellent orientation walk in the East and West Woods the previous day.
The Committee discussed updating and formalizing the Tree Policy for the East and West Woods. A three-stage analysis of distressed trees was proposed that would consider first, whether the tree posed a public safety risk. If so it should be removed. Second where neighboring communities raise concerns, as in a recent case, the situation will be evaluated and removed if appropriate. Third, where fallen parts or tees are interfering with movement they will be removed. Further, non-native trees, such as White Mulberry, should continue to be removed.
Two issues were discussed regarding Deer Management. First, the 2020 Plan will be completed upon receipt of updated mapping information. Second, the 2020 proposed resolution for the Town Council’s adoption will be substantively the same as last year, except dates will be changed and the new dates are not yet available. Alternatively, the Council could adopt a resolution simply cross-referencing the dates of bow hunting season as may be ultimately announced by the County.
The Committee has been coordinating with the Stormwater Management Committee, especially as to the West Woods where there are serious erosion problems caused by stormwater. Falling trees that were creating new water channels have been cut up and the ground has been rearranged so as to spread out the water that flows out of the residential area and under Washington Grove Lane. There will need to be steps taken, such as planting to hold the soil in place.
The Committee approved revised language describing the Town’s woods for inclusion in the Women’s Club Town Directory, which should be released shortly.
The Committee also reviewed in detail the relevant portions of the proposed 2020 Master Plan including Sections 6.0 and 6.1 to update and harmonize the wording.
Because decisions with respect to further planting/restoration in the woods depend on various soil factors, the Committee discussed the most appropriate and cost effective means of obtaining that soil analysis. The analysis should also reveal whether the herbicides that have been applied have properly bio-degraded.
Finally the Committee discussed how the trails in the woods can be improved with respect to both surface and marking/signage. One member is working with the County to obtain detailed information on how it operates in this area.
It was also noted that there is some evidence of, apparently, non-residents searching for artifacts in the woods with metal detectors. Also, some unauthorized structures have been found in the East Woods. The Committee discussed improved boundary marking and signage and other enforcement measures.
The meeting adjourned at 9:10.
COMMUNICATIONS WORK GROUP – Marida Hines
The Communications Working Group, led by Christine Dibble, will be focusing their efforts on finding a viable alternative to the Town listserv. As of this writing, no meeting is scheduled.
DOG PARK – Marida Hines
RECREATION – Marida Hines
The Recreation Committee met virtually on June 3 by Zoom, with the discussion centered on what Town recreational activities will be possible within the current coronavirus situation, and in what form.
Summer in the Parks, which had continued taking applications and had a full complement of attendees and staff, has been cancelled. However, volunteers are organizing some virtual activities for children in July, including a storytelling activity that Judy Mrozcka plans to lead. Other virtual events will be led by high school students who depend on the SSLs these volunteer hours provide as part of their requirements for graduation. Typically, Grove students benefit extensively from these opportunities to gain volunteer hours through Recreation Committee activities.
Several discussions have centered on Music Weekend, scheduled for June 19-21. These activities are by nature communal social events that could elevate the risk of coronavirus transmission, but they are also important events for the Town’s civic engagement. The children’s concert will take place virtually with sequential performances by each musician. At the time of this writing, the baroque/music breakfast will not take place in any form, but the Saturday concert is being organized by Keith Gillis, possibly as a virtual event although no final decision has been made.
WEBSITE – Marida Hines
Routine maintenance and content updates continue with no issues.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS & SAFETY COMMITTEE – Pat Klein
The EPSC met on May 28, 2020 and discussed the following topics.
Dave Cosson was elected to the Town Council in the recent 2020 election and decided to step down as Committee Vice Chair. Dave Lutter was elected by the Committee members to assume the Vice Chair role.
To date, the EPSC has expended a total of $286.00 in FY 2020 budgeted funds. This expenditure was for signage posted at town parks about the pandemic. EPSC members agreed that the committee should use some remaining funds to purchase PPE for town employees.
The TC committee liaison will inquire if the Mayor sent the letter to the County Executive that outlines public safety issues along Railroad Street which impact Washington Grove residents and other citizens.
The EPSC has forwarded our concerns to the Storm Water Management Committee to take the lead on runoff and flooding damage in the West Woods (tree uprooting and soil erosion), Railroad Street, and town roads (Brown Street, Chestnut Street, and Center Street). Committee members noted that in addition to property damage, flooding that results in standing water may pose health and safety risks.
The town’s debris management plan is currently implemented. As an example, EPSC members noted that the town has temporarily placed a dumpster for yard waste at the maintenance shed because the transfer station is closed due to the pandemic.
The EPSC submitted a new section on Town Emergency Preparedness for the 2020 Master Plan (MP). This section is scheduled to be reviewed at the next MP working group meeting in June.
MAPLE LAKE – Pat Klein
The Lake Committee met on May 21, 2020 and focused on challenges to open Maple Lake for the season during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and State/County public health safety orders.
Subject to change, the current plan is to open the Lake on weekends only starting on June 6; and full-time starting June 15. The Lake will close around Labor Day or if MCPS begins earlier.
The Committee will post signs guiding lake visitors on social distancing, limiting less than 10 people per groups, monitoring their children for their safety, use of face masks and hand sanitizer, and not to enter if you are sick. Lake visitors are encouraged to bring their own chairs, toys, and hand sanitizer /disinfectant wipes or spray to clean off items before leaving the area. Several lake guards will manage numbers of people and adherence to guidelines.
The dock and ladder will remain closed with yellow caution tape to prevent access. The diving board will not be installed. The toy bin and tether-ball poll were removed and stored. Picnic tables were stacked so not used. Swim classes are cancelled and no Party Permits will be issued. Hand sanitizer is available at the gate entrance and disinfectant provided for the lifeguards equipment. The pump will be run more frequently to increase water flow.
Several lifeguards will be hired if they have been CPR/AED-certified. Several lake guards will be hired to maintain Lake use guidelines.
The next Committee meeting to be conducted via Zoom will be June 18, 2020.
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION (Including Memorials) – Gray Yachup
The Forestry and Beautification Committee held a virtual meeting on May 13th. They will be having another impromptu meeting on June 10th to introduce the new liaison and to propose a new co-chair for the committee.
At the May 13th meeting, the committee reviewed the spring tree planting, which came to a total of $4,741.99. The current list of trees planted this season is as follows:
- 1 White oak at 402 5th Avenue
- 4 Dogwoods (2 Cherokee Princess, 2 Celestials) at various locations on the Circle
- 1 Maple Crimson King at 119 Maple Avenue (Woodward Park)
- 3 Overcup Oaks at 102 Center Street, 9 Circle, and 125 Grove Avenue
- 2 Red Maples (October Glory and Red Sunset) at 201 and 401 Brown Street
- 1 Red Chokeberry bush at Woodward Park (still to be planted)
The Committee also discussed the possibility of planting additional trees along Chestnut Avenue, but it was decided that discussion would be postponed until after Stormwater Management had assessed the drainage issues in that area.
There was also a proposal to plant Crepe Myrtles in Morgan Park to enhance the appeal of the entrance to the town. The Crepe Myrtles were purchased from Stadler Nurseries, and were planted in the positions identified in Morgan Park on May 30th.
PLAYGROUNDS – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report this month
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report this month
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report this month.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report this month.