12 March 2018 | Approved: 9 April 2018
Mayor Joli McCathran called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:43 p.m. In attendance were Council Members John Compton, Pat Klein, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Greg Silber, Shelley Winkler and Treasurer Mary Challstrom. Also in attendance were residents Charlie Challstrom, Christine Dibble, Marida Hines, Robert Johnson, Lisa Kokes, Carolyn O’Connor, Virginia Quesada, Jane Seegal, Mary Warfield, Missy Yachup, Woods Committee Co-Chair Joan Mahaffey and District 39 candidate Lesley Lopez.
Approval of Agenda:
Pat Klein moved to approve the agenda. Shelly Winkler seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved.
District 39 Candidate Lesley Lopez introduced herself, explained some of what she supports and left cards for anyone interested. She stayed and observed for a while.
Approval of Minutes:
Shelley Winkler moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting on February 19, 2018 and post them to the website. Greg Silber seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0, approved, as amended. Greg Silber abstained.
Treasurers Report 2017-February pdf
Treasurer Mary Challstrom took questions from the Council. The Budget Work Session is scheduled for March 26, 2018. The Treasurer’s Report for February was accepted by general consensus.
Dog Park Work Group Report:
Members of the Dog Park Work Group are Chairman Marc Hansen, Meredith Horan, Lisa Kokes, Joan Mahaffey, Virginia Quesada, Nick Suzich, and Mary Warfield. The group was praised for its hard work and diligence. There was a request for supporting documentation concerning the sites that were rejected for a Dog Park location. The report, with the recommendation to locate the dog park in the Town’s West Woods (called site 3A), will go back to the Planning Commission for consideration at their meeting on April 4, 2018. A site visit to this location by the Town Council, Planning Commission and anyone else interested will take place at 7:00 p.m. on April 4. A Grove Alert will be sent to all residents.
Town Council Decision on the Local Map Amendment for the East Woods:
Audrey Maskery moved to approve the Local Map Amendment. Pat Klein seconded the motion. A brief history (first proposed in 1981) and justification for this project was presented. The Mayor and Council thanked all involved in completing the re-zoning of the East Woods.
Ordinance 2018-02; Ordinance to Establish a Process for Sale of Surplus Properties for Main Buildings constructed in Part on Land Owned by the Town of Washington Grove:
A cover letter and draft ordinance from the Town attorney were presented to the Council. There was a discussion which included pricing the land, the Historic Preservation Commission’s role in the process, historic integrity, attaching covenants to a sale, and having another meeting to discuss only this item. This extra meeting will take place at the beginning of the regular meeting of the Planning Commission on April 4, 2018. Both the HPC and TC will attend as well. The Mayor will send the cover letter and draft ordinance to all three (3) groups for review prior to the newly scheduled meeting.
15 The Circle Easement – Vote for Approval:
Settlement has happened on this property. Whether or not to pursue the permanent easement is now in the hands of the new owners.
Opening Refuse & Recycling Bids: Of the six (6) RFP’s sent out, the Town received two (2) bids for consideration.
- Key Sanitation Refuse – $2,688.75/month Recycling – $1,890.00/month
Total = $4,578.75
- Potomac Disposal Refuse – $1,480.50/month Recycling – $960.75/month
Total = $2,441.25
Pat Klein moved to accept the Potomac Disposal, Inc. bid for refuse collection and disposal and the collection of recyclables. John McClelland seconded the motion. There was a discussion about how co-mingled recycling was handled by Potomac Disposal.
Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Shelley Winkler moved to approve and post the Council Reports. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. The following items were discussed:
- The need for a clearer guidance for the collection of firewood by residents when a Town tree has come down
- Reviewing website content
- Up-coming WSSC work in Town/Staying proactive
Vote: 6-0, as amended.
The Mayor asked about the status of the RFP for a generator for McCathran Hall. It was noted there was no mention in the RFP of a Montgomery County permit to cover the natural gas hook up. A few more additions were made. The amended RFP will be sent to the Emergency Preparedness Committee for another review. A bidder’s list will also need to be created.
Highway User Revenue: Passed third reader in the 2018 General Assembly.
201 Washington Grove Lane: Report from Montgomery County is still pending and is not yet sent to the Town. Montgomery County is continuing to investigate of complaints.
Bike Path Master Plan: The Council learned that in its draft Plan Montgomery County has elevated the importance of bike pathway construction near the Town and a network connecting nearby transportation hubs from Tier 3 to Tier 1 planning status; the highest level of the planning stage. There was a discussion and disagreement about communications with Montgomery County by Town representatives and residents. A concern was expressed that the Town will be sending “mixed signals” to the County if numerous people, including Town representatives, are speaking with or testifying before the County regarding Town sentiments, including expressing views about possible bike path locations. The Mayor will draft and send a letter to the County indicating the Town is pleased to see and supports staff recommendations regarding elevating the importance of nearby bikeway networks. It was stated the Town would be best served by developing a position on the location of bike trails around and near the Town now. This is a matter that might be included in the revising of Town Master Plan and presented to the County’s Department of Transportation. The Department has repeatedly encouraged the Town as a whole to weigh in on its preferences about the location of these trails.
There being no further business, the regular meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.
TC REPORTS – April 2018
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Audrey Maskery
A large American Sycamore was removed end of Hickory Road/Washington Grove Lane; the tree was found to be in poor condition.
One large Oak fell across Grove Avenue/Oak Street during the last wind storm. The trunk and branches were removed by a contractor, the remaining base will be removed by Maintenance at a later date.
The first F&B meeting took place on 14th of March, discussions covered future tree planting for spring and fall 2018. A work morning installing new plants in The Circle is planned to celebrate Arbor Day from 10-12 on Saturday April 28.
MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery
New playground equipment footers installed, center part of equipment finished.
Picked up debris from roads and avenues after wind storm; took trash to the dump.
Assisted contractor with removal of large tree that fell across Grove Avenue.
Removed the old floor from the old Council Room; termite damaged joists strengthened. Minuteman Exterminators treated the exposed wood and soil. Maintenance placed vapor barrier under the floor and installed insulation between joists, laid plywood across floor joists and completed floor with finished wood flooring.
Cleared two trees that had fallen over the fence at Maple Lake, temporarily straightened metal fence.
Worked on clay tennis courts and pinned down the line tape.
Took down street signs ready for refurbishing and replaced with refurbished signs.
MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report
INTERGOVERNMENTAL – Joli A. McCathran
The Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League is taking nominations for the following offices:
- Vice President;
- Treasurer; and
- Four (4) Members of the Executive Committee, which are At-Large positions.
This is a great opportunity to work with other municipalities in Montgomery County. Nominations will be accepted until close of business on Friday, April 13th, anyone who is interested in filling these positions should contact either of the following members of the Nomination Committee:
- Shana Davis-Cook, Village Manager, Chevy Chase Village
- Joli McCathran, Mayor, Washington Grove
- Sanford W. Daily, Town Manager, Kensington
PLANNING COMMISSION – John McClelland
Building Permits: The new owner of 117 Grove Ave attained insight into the building permit process for the Town as well as MoCo. Foundation repairs were mentioned.
Site for Potential Dog Park: Approval granted for the specific location of a potential dog park (site 3A) situated in the west woods. This location was established by the dog park committee after a thorough investigative period and then examined as part of a public meeting (TC, PC and HPC) held on site immediately preceding the April PC meeting. The PC thanks the Dog Park Work Group for their extensive work and research.
Public Ways and Property Permit: A public ways and property permit submitted for a 6’ fence located in the west woods and surrounding an area intended for a potential dog park was tabled. The PC will revisit this permit assuming the TC approves the dog park and its related costs and procedures.
Permanent Easement 203 2nd Ave: According to last month’s PC recommendations the front porch stairs will be modified/rebuilt to conform to the originally approved building plans (although moved to the west side of the porch). Ralph Hurst will provide the plans prior to reconstruction to verify adherence.
Ordinance 2018-02; To Establish a Process for Sale of Surplus Properties for Main Buildings Constructed In Part on Land Owned By the Town Of Washington Grove
- Unanimously approved by the PC and forwarded to the TC
- The ordinance language is very similar to the language found in Article IV Section 10 “Grant of Permanent Easement for Use of Town Land” and is arguably more restrictive as it does NOT include alterations.
- Establishing documentation and pictures of the portions of structures located on current Town land will be incorporated into the companion ordinances required for the individual properties.
- Although the companion ordinances (for the sale/transfer of specific Town land) would clarify the restrictive covenants and address many questions they could not be reviewed in a public forum until Ordinance 2018-02 is adopted.
Master Plan: A meeting to review and discuss the ongoing Master Plan revision is scheduled for April 18
House Records Project: Ten (10) more properties were completed bringing the total to 188.
MCCATHRAN HALL – John McClelland
Termites: Phase one (foundation, beams, joists, walls under/near the kitchen, office, hallway, bathrooms) is completed. After the main hall support repairs are completed that too will be treated.
Bench: The restored bench has been returned. Looks great.
Council Table: The table top surface and “leaf” have yet to be completed. The goal is to have it ready before the Town meeting in May.
WOODS COMMITTEE – Greg Silber
The Committee is hosting an Arbor Day event on Saturday 21 April, 10:00-noon (rain date, Sunday 22 April). Volunteers to help with this effort are welcome! The event is being held on the same day as the annual Lake clean-up and volunteers will work on both projects. Work in the Woods will focus on trash removal and manual removal of non-native plants. Coffee/donuts provided.
The Committee is reviewing relevant sections of the Town’s Master Plan and expects to provide input to ongoing revisions of the Plan. The Committee is also in the process of assessing past treatments of encroaching non-native vegetation in the East Woods to help shape plans for further treatments this spring/summer; and it continues to explore ways to curtail deer browsing in the Woods.
The next Committee meeting will be Monday 7 May at 7:30.
CONTRACTS – Greg Silber
The Town has entered into a multi-year contract with Potomac Disposal (PD) for refuse and recycling services. A PD representative will attend the Council’s April meeting to address questions about its services. A bulk trash pick-up has been scheduled for Saturday 9 June.
Contractor GreenEarth, Inc. was supposed to have been completed spring leaf collection by 31 March. A number of residents put leaf piles curbside by this deadline. We are working now to determine when this final collection will occur.
RECREATION – Shelley Winkler
Reminder that Summer In The Parks applications are due by April 30, and the “Reptiles Alive” program for all ages has been scheduled for Sunday, April 15 at 2pm, in McCathran Hall. Plans for Music Weekend are well underway.
WEBSITE – Shelley Winkler
Please provide me with the names of persons who will be overseeing the web pages for your respective commissions/committees, and the frequency with which the group intends to review the pages in the future. I will compile a list. Thank you.
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Shelley Winkler
The two sets of speed bumps will be ordered very soon, and they should be installed within the next month.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – John Compton
Meetings: The regular monthly meeting was held March 20, 2018. The next regular meeting, scheduled for April 17, 2018, may be rescheduled. Please check the Town website that week.
Reviews: Ed Mroczka presented drawings showing the current front and side elevations of the original section of his residence at 107 Grove Avenue, and planned exterior and interior of work intended to extend the livability of the home. The drawings will be made part of the Archives to record the evolution of this home that is a contributing resource.
Expansion of our National Register nomination: Wendy Harris previously distributed a progress report by Robinson and Associates, and stated the work was proceeding on schedule.
Street Sign Rehabilitation Project: Gail Littlefield circulated copies of Susan Van Nostrand’s status summary and a draft “sign design policy”. The spreadsheets presented show the progress of the sign rehabilitation project, as well as a street-by-street database spreadsheet.
Easements and Sale of Property: The Town attorney is reviewing the proposed ‘Sale of Town Property’ ordinance, including research into how a “reversion” clause can be included to allow the Town to reverse a sale in the event of covenant violation.
Master plan update: HPC suggestions that were not included in the 2009 Master Plan will be reviewed. No start date for discussions has been yet set.
Preservation Maryland Tours: Mimi will contact Chris Kirtz about what Preservation Maryland’s expectations are for a tour of Washington Grove. The HPC would not be able to participate prior to May.
WSSC work: A WSSC project is scheduled to start soon to replace or repair several sewer mains and connections to some houses. A Town permit has been obtained and Steve Werts is the contact for the project. Gail Littlefield will contact project supervisors to determine potential disturbance of any historic features of the Town; how much digging will be involved, where, and especially plans for restoration of any disturbance, such as type of gravel to be used, and such.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – John Compton
Neighbors and residents raised the issue of whether pruning of the red cedars in the Meadow by Town volunteers was appropriate. I consulted with Carole Bergmann, Forest Ecologist/Field Botanist in the Park Planning and Stewardship Division of the Montgomery County Parks Dept. She definitively stated that “pruning the deer damaged lower limbs from eastern red cedar is not something that needs to be done for the health of the tree”. Consequently cedar pruning in the meadow is no longer sanctioned by the Town or the Parks Dept.
SHADY GROVE SECTOR MASTER PLAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE – John Compton
(This MNCPPC committee is charged with monitoring development in the Shady Grove Metro Master Plan area. As a committee member, I am reporting on matters of interest to the Town and Town Council.)
Meetings. The next meeting of the Advisory Committee will be sometime in late April or May. Any interested residents are welcome to attend, and should contact me for information.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – John Compton
Nothing to report.
PLAYGROUNDS – John Compton
Installation of the new climbing piece by Steve Wertz continues as time allows.
MAPLE LAKE – Patrice Klein
The Lake Committee met on March 15 to continue preparations for seasonal re-opening of Maple Lake. The following items were discussed.
Maintenance: Small fence repairs will be scheduled with town maintenance; the bubbler near the dock will be fixed; a new dock ladder with handrails will be installed; and water-sealer applied to the dock and bridge area after the spring clean-up event.
Geese at the Lake: A pair of Canada geese have returned to nest on the lake ‘island’. Five eggs were recently reported in the nest and several Lake Committee volunteers will assist in addling the eggs following the HSUS egg-oiling protocol.
Lifeguards and Swim Lessons: Several lifeguards from last year are available on weekends only so additional lifeguards are being sought for weekday coverage. The AED unit and First Aid kits are being checked/restocked. The swim instructor is only available from July 2 – August 3 until 3:00 PM. Notices will be posted in the Town bulletin for May and June.
Lake Security: The Mayor met with MCPD to request random patrols 2-3 times weekly by local police during May and June as the school year ends.
A joint Maple Lake and Woods Committees Spring Cleanup event is scheduled on Saturday April 21 (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM) at the lake and West Woods. Notices have been posted in the Town bulletins.
The next Lake Committee meeting is April 19, 2018.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS & SAFETY – Patrice Klein
The EPC met on March 22, 2018 and continued discussions on the following topics.
Generator Update: The bidder’s list was sent to the Mayor pending final review of the RFP by town attorney. Information was shared on recent discussions with Town of Somerset officials regarding their emergency generator purchased in FY 2016 using a FEMA grant to cover 75 percent of the cost. The EPC will obtain copies of FEMA grant requirements and application information in case such FEMA grant opportunities are announced in 2018.
Fire Hydrant Marking: EPC contacted the WSSC Utility Services North Division Manager to request WSSC permission for marking hydrants in Town to make them more readily visible. WSSC has granted its permission with the condition that the Town will be responsible for replacing the reflective tape after any future repainting of the hydrants by WSSC. WSSC met with an EPC representative to provide a sample of reflective tape. EPC will mark a few hydrants in the coming weeks using that reflective tape along the rim of the bonnets in order to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach.
Street Name Signs and House Signs: EPC was impressed with the quality (and quantity) of street sign restoration work and will ask the work group if they can present an update at the Annual Town Meeting in May. Committee members discussed options to inspire town residents to improve visibility of individual house signs for emergency responders.
Hazard Mitigation Drafts and Meeting: The Mayor scheduled a Hazard Mitigation meeting with Michael Boldosser, Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) on March 28. EPC representatives planned to attend and have been working on Washington Grove draft responses for the OEMHS “Evaluation of Identified Hazards and Risks” and the “Capability Assessment Survey”. The EPC draft was sent to the Mayor noting we may need review by the Town Attorney.
First Aid Kits: EPC recommends first aid supplies be readily available along with the Town’s AED units. A First Aid Kit already is stored with the AED unit at Maple Lake and is accessible by life guards. Another First Aid Kit should be stocked and placed near the AED unit in McCathran Hall (lower level).
Preparation for Annual Town Meeting: EPC is preparing its presentation report for the Annual Town Meeting (May 12) to include street sign restoration, house signage (recommended by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service), generator for McCathran Hall, fire hydrant marking, and Hazard Mitigation Planning.
The next EPC meeting is April 26, 2018.