8 March 2021 | Approved: 12 April 2021
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 via ZOOM Video Conferencing. The meeting was recorded.
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:31 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, Jean Moyer and approximately 56 residents.
Approval of Agenda:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the agenda. Patty Klein seconded the motion.
Vote: 6-0, approved.
Mayor Compton noted that he received an email asking for an explanation of Public Appearances and the opportunity for public participation at Town Council meetings. As there were a large number of residents present at this meeting, he responded as follows:
The Public Appearance period is intended to allow those present to raise issues of concern, make new requests, or bring new information to the Council’s attention. The Town Council traditionally allows Public Appearances at Town Council meetings at the outset of the meeting, with a stated limit of 5 minutes which may be more or less depending on how many wish to make statements. Generally if a personal statement is on a complex issue, speakers are urged to provide written letters to facilitate understanding and to ensure the matter is “on the record”.
Frequently, as at this meeting, residents appear wanting to contribute on a matter on the meeting Agenda which will be taken up by the Council. This Mayor and Council have felt it helpful to request they hold their “appearance” until that issue is reached in the meeting. This is not a rule and the Town Council could choose to hear all statements at the designated Public Appearances time, and then not allow further public participation at the meeting.
In addition, after public statements are taken on an Agenda matter, the Mayor and Council may allow those present a limited opportunity to participate in the discussion as long as their contribution is relevant, helpful, not repetitious and respectful of the opportunity afforded. Should time become an issue or for any other reason arising, the Mayor and Council may end further public participation. No one should expect to participate in a Council debate on actions to be taken.
There were no Public Appearances at this time.
Approval of Minutes:
Patty Klein moved to approve the February 8, 2021 minutes of the Town Council. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. There was one minor wording change.
Vote: 6-0, approved, as amended.
Treasurers Report 2020-February
Darrell Anderson moved acceptance of the February 2021 Treasurer’s Report. Dave Cosson seconded the motion. Mayor Compton reminded everyone of the Budget Work Session scheduled for 22 March 2021. On 12 April 2021 the Town Council will vote on the final Proposed Budget and this budget will be considered for adoption at the Annual Town Meeting on 8 May 2021.
Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Bikeway Connection – Discussion on how to proceed:
Mayor Compton began by summarizing the 3 main options being studied for connecting the Town to Crabbs Branch by the MCDOT Taskforce (the Washington Grove Connector – Crabbs Branch Way Extension Study), on which findings were reported at a public meeting held by the Taskforce on February 17. The three options being behind the Brown Street residences to Railroad Street/Roberts Oxygen, through the Meadow to Ridge Road, or to the end of Brown Street. Mayor Compton then reported he has learned that the Taskforce expects to update both the Planning Board and the County Council on the status of the study in April, likely including recommendations from among the three options being studied.
The Town could find itself being reactive to this report should the recommended route be different than the option preferred by the Town. Therefore tonight is likely the Town Council’s best opportunity to be proactive and go on record in advance with the Town’s preferred connection option.
Charlie Challstrom moved to identify the end of Brown Street as the priority routing for the bikeway connection to Washington Grove. Marida Hines seconded the motion.
Mayor Compton recognized the large number of residents in attendance, and explained that the Town Council would take public statements after an initial discussion. He also noted that a number of written statements on the bikeway connection options had been received and had been distributed to the Council.
The following summarizes comments made by Town Councilors:
- Council Member Charlie Challstrom presented some background going back to 1994, 2009, and 2012 which consistently identified the end of Brown Street option.
- Council Member Darrell Anderson stated this issue has been the subject of much thought, public input and discussion in the recent past (~18 months). Choosing an option now affords us more control. We must get ahead of the County on this.
- Council Member Marida Hines stated as part of the greater community, we should look towards a future of walking and biking rather than driving. She has no strong feeling about which option, but believes we will suffer death by 1,000 papercuts if we don’t move forward.
- Council Member Gray Yachup agreed with much of what Marida said. Discussions have gone on for a long time. To be effective we must take swift, expedient action.
- Council Member Dave Cosson stated the objective should be to minimize adverse effects on Brown Street residents and the woodlands. We should ask the County for detailed plans.
- Mayor John Compton agreed with Dave. A list of impacts and some assurance the Town may play a role in minimizing these effects is desirable. To this end, we should seek an agreement with the County (possibly a Memorandum of Understanding) that they will work with us to implement the best design for the bike path that meets the expectations of both parties.
- Council Member Patty Klein noted that an organized report on the connection options and resident input is not available to the Town Council. In spite of the short timeline, she recommended creating a work group to synthesize the pros and cons of the path options in a summary report with recommendations for submission by the April Town Council Meeting. Intentionally using our Town vehicular roads for a bike/pedestrian path creates a liability for the Town. We should consider option is the most safe and beneficial for our Town.
The following comments were among those made by others present:
- Rebekka Popov (505 Brown Street) stated her support for Patty Klein’s position. The impacts need further review. She is strongly against the motion on the table.
- Jay Everhart (118 Grove Avenue) stated creating a taskforce would be a mistake. It would waste people’s time and won’t go anywhere. We need to work with the planners and chose an appropriate access.
- David Stopak (501 Brown Street) stated there are two (2) arguments:
- Expediency for the sake of providing a definitive answer to Montgomery County is bogus. We need to take the time to have further discussion about impacts on our 125-year-old town. We should take an extra month for more consideration. We need a task force.
- Addressing the County’s Shady Grove Master Plan revision in progress, he stated that if the Brown Street connection gets into the Master Plan, we are done since other alternatives may not be pursued.
- Eva Patrone (117 Grove Avenue) agreed with Jay that no taskforce is needed. We needs to move now. Climate Change should be considered. Walking and/or biking to the Metro via a Brown Street connection is the most direct route. She and others would like to see this benefit happen. She also referred to the Town’s history of being unwelcoming to non-residents.
- Jan Davis (207 Washington Grove Lane) stated the Town Council made a commitment over a year ago to decide about this issue. The route is not for pleasure riding, but for commuters and they go fast. She supports everything David Stopak said and cautioned the Council again about the potential safety concerns for a commuter route to the Metro.
- Krista Zanetti (127 Washington Grove Lane) stated she was in favor of a bike path but is concerned about responsibility and safety. We need to think about what is best for us. We need to collect our data, not just Montgomery County data. She urged the Council to think 10 or 20 years ahead. She supports creating a taskforce.
- Christine Dibble (313 Brown Street) stated she has three (3) points:
- At the other end this path will connect from Crabbs Branch to the Metro Station, but Montgomery County has not shown the route. This connection must be a viable one.
- Why not back the Salt Barn option? Too expensive? The Railroad Street connection is not safe. The Salt Barn option seems to make most people happy.
- The Brown Street option has many unknowns, specifically how much bike traffic could use this connection. She prefers the Salt Barn route.
- Paula Puglisi (406 Grove Avenue) stated robust discussions have happened and letters have been written. Brown Street option is clearly the most direct route and is cheaper. The Racial Equity Committee is high on the Brown Street option. They want the Council to advertise via Grove Alert, put information in the Bulletin, and post flyers around Town before the next Council meeting. People need one more chance to comment on this issue.
- Barbara Raimondo (414 Center Street) stated the idea of mitigating potential problems is a good one. We should urge the County to provide bike racks in convenient places. She also believes the Salt Barn option is a bad idea. It is not welcoming and this seems like we are putting people there so we don’t have to see them. Our speed humps, stop signs and low speed limit will keep people riding at a reasonable speed. The Brown Street route is the best and we need to move forward.
- Bob Booher (111 Maple Avenue & Historic Preservation Chair) stated his support for the creation of a taskforce. In his opinion, the maps presented by the County showing the three (3) options were sketchy and did not represent the actual paths. The Town needs to decide how much traffic and what kind of traffic will be allowed.
- Peter Nagrod (1 The Circle & Planning Commission Chair) complimented everyone on the thoughtful discussion. He expressed his approval of the absence of an Oakmont Avenue option in the discussion.
- Collin Turner (405 Brown Street) agreed with Bob Booher and would like to see more discussion before a decision is made.
Mayor Compton reviewed the motion on the table. He then expressed his thoughts about the difficulties that come along with serving in Town government and reaching a decision of consequence. He noted that the taskforce created for the Dog Park was successful because there were alternatives available that eliminated or minimized most concerns. In contrast, the bikeway connection can only enter the Town from the south or southeast and would mainly affect residents at that end of town. He noted that all options would put bike and pedestrian traffic on town roads that is no different from traffic that presently exists. He cited Ridge Road as heavily used by non-resident bikes and pedestrians without known adverse incidents, and suggested that most if not all concerns over safety, usage, and other impacts are no more or less than elsewhere in town. The Town Council must consider what is best for the whole Town. Furthermore, the Mayor reminded all that the Town remains in total control of access to its roads, and that should bikeway become a problem for the South and East areas of the Grove, we can require the bike path connection be moved (or close it).
There was further discussion of procedural issues, assuring the path meets the Town’s expectations and whether this was motion was a Resolution. Charlie Challstrom explained that a resolution of the Town Council was formalized form of motion.
A request by Patty Klein to poll attendees at the meeting was denied by Mayor Compton, who noted there was no precedent for polling attendees at a Town Council meeting.
The question was called, and the motion “to identify the end of Brown Street as the priority routing for the bikeway connection to Washington Grove” was voted upon.
Vote: 4 in favor (Darrell Anderson, Charlie Challstrom, Marida Hines, Gray Yachup); 2 opposed (Dave Cosson, Patty Klein). Patty Klein explained that she opposed the motion as it was stated and because she felt it was rushed through.
Action: Dave Cosson will put together a Resolution laying out the Town’s expectations that the bike path constructed should minimize impacts on the environment and on residents, which he will present it at the April meeting of the Town Council.
Refuse and Recycling Contractor RFP:
Bids were opened from two vendors, Potomac Disposal and Key Sanitation. Dave Cosson stated he supported awarding the contract to the low bidder (Potomac Disposal). Their work has been good even under the icy condition we had this winter. Bob and Peggy Booher stated they have observed multiple times recyclable yard waste being mixed with refuse in collection trucks. They asked if this was allowed and where the yard waste went? We expect it to be recycled, so the Town should insure this is what happens. There was a discussion about adding significant language about the mixing of yard waste and regular trash. Charlie Challstrom moved to award the contract to the low bidder, Potomac Disposal. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion.
Vote: 6-0, awarding the contracts to Potomac Disposal
Action: Dave Cosson and Mayor Compton will discuss the co-mingling of yard waste and trash with Potomac Disposal, and whether a penalty clause to the contract can be added to discourage this violation of our contract.
- Kudos to the HPC, Marida Hines, Bill Saar, and Wendy Harris for updating the Washington Grove Historic District page on the Town website.
- Unwelcome racial epithet graffiti: Mayor Compton reported a racial epithet appeared on the sidewalk near the entrance to Maple Lake. This type of activity should be reported to Montgomery County Police as well as to the Town Office. Some residents expressed concern that the spray paint used to cover it up is not an adequate fix. The current repair efforts are temporary until the weather allows for a more complete removal.
- MCDOT project initiated to replace the Railroad Street stormwater drainage pipe from Morgan Park: Mayor Compton reported after many years of living with this drainage issue, Montgomery County has committed to fixing the problem. This will likely happen next spring.
- Washington Grove Bikeways Connector Study Status: See Council discussion above.
- Testimony to the County Council on the Shady Grove Comprehensive Plan Minor Amendment: Mayor Compton summarized his written and verbal testimony to change bikeways language and to include a community solar project as a potential use on the lower field past the Meadow. Ned Helme followed up with his support of including said language in the Comprehensive Plan.
Ordinance 2021-01 Amending the Washington Grove Zoning Ordinance to Terminate Certain Restrictive Covenants and to Authorize Related Legal Instruments Suitable for Recordation in the Land Records of Montgomery County – Discussion and Possible Adoption:
Charlie Challstrom moved to enact Ordinance 2021-01. Patty Klein seconded the motion. Mayor Compton reported the Town attorney thought this ordinance should be placed in the general code rather than the zoning code. Because this ordinance pertains to land use, the Planning Commission believes this should be in Article VII Zoning.
Vote: 5-0, adopted. Marida Hines had to leave the meeting.
Border Committee Proposal for New Signage and Gateway Installation – Presentation and Discussion:
Peter Nagrod presented the following Border Committee’s recommendations:
- New entrance signs on Washington Grove Lane and Railroad Street to improve the perception of drivers that they are driving through Washington Grove.
- Doing the new signs “in house”, like the street sign project rather than purchasing a vendor solution (cost estimates $12 – $15K for 3 signs).
- Install identity fencing to set off the new gateway signs.
- Look into officially closing the ends of Brown at Hickory, and of Oak and Center Streets at Washington Grove Lane, to create more pleasant looking areas with better signs.
Peter Nagrod also requested a Council Liaison for the Border Committee is needed, noting that Gray Yachup had expressed interest. Patty Klein also expressed interest. He will discuss further with Mayor Compton.
Several safety issues also arose during the Border discussion:
- Collin Turner asked about the process for getting speed humps for Brown Street. He would like to see two (2) new humps. Mayor Compton reported there is money in the budget but doing them this fiscal year may be a challenge.
- Peter Nagrod reported another car drove off Washington Grove Lane and landed in the West Woods. He expressed his frustration with the excessive speed that continues to occur on that road. The Montgomery County Police need help from citizens in order to stop the behavior. Residents can help by reporting vehicle descriptions, tag numbers and locations of the violations to the police department. This includes the very loud cars that are such a disruption.
Revision of the Public Ways and Property Permit – Discussion:
Georgette Cole reviewed the changes proposed by the Planning Commission, with input from the Historic Preservation Commission and the Forestry and Beautification Committee. They include a new query to insure any impact on historic features is evaluated, and another query about impact on trees (which may invoke the Roadside Tree Law). In addition to the general permit application, a separate permit application was created for proposed work on residential driveways crossing a Town right of way. Timing for review of submitted applications was also added.
The Mayor and Council discussed the revised documents. Mayor Compton made several suggestions about process and language.
Action: The Planning Commission will further review the documents prior to finalizing them.
Resolution 2021-04; Evaluation Criteria for Driveways and Parking Areas Permitting – Discussion and Possible Adoption:
Charlie Challstrom presented the Resolution to the Mayor and Council and explained the revisions to existing criteria. Charlie Challstrom moved to introduce and adopt Resolution 2021-04. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion.
Vote: 5-0, approved.
Town Council Reports:
Mayor Compton brought attention to the following:
- Experimental “timber turnpikes” have been installed in the East Woods. Joan Mahaffey explained the project and showed pictures of the areas.
- West Woods clean-up – Because of the pandemic, volunteers will work alone or together with proper social distancing.
- The Racial and Social Equity Committee has proposed that funds be included in the FY22 Budget to contract for professional services to survey town resident attitudes and concerns, and to evaluate the results. The findings should aid in developing educational programs and recommended actions that will help to sustain volunteerism and promote inclusion of all.
- PEPCO has submitted a tariff proposal to the Maryland Public Service Commission that includes a statewide proposal to replace all streetlights. Noting that Grove street lighting is integral to our historic character, the Lighting Committee and HPC have requested that Washington Grove either be excluded from the program, or retain significant authority to preserve the character features of our streetlights. They have provided input at one public hearing and engaged Pepco in a discussion of how they can address our concerns. The possibility of the Town filing written testimony on May 5 was raised and will be reviewed tat the April meeting.
There was none.
- Patty Klein asked that the Town’s responsibility for sidewalks on Washington Grove Lane be clarified, and that this subject be discussed by the Town Council at the April meeting.
- A draft Ordinance specifying fees for the permits required by Ordinance 2020-13 (passed in February) has been circulated and will be brought to the Town Council in April.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Kathryn L. Lehman
TC REPORTS – March 2021
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Darrell Anderson
Comprehensive (Master) Plan Update:
MAINTENANCE – Darrell Anderson
PLANNING COMMISSION – Charlie Challstrom
Building Permit Activity –
- 317 Brown Street – porch screen enclosure approved; confirmed lot coverage is near max.
- 414 Brown Street – fence approved; discussed expected permit application for installation of railings for porch on the side of the home facing Roberts Oxygen.
Public Ways & Property (PW&P) Permit Activity – PW&P forms have been updated to reflect an adjusted timing for application submission to facilitate application review by the Historic Preservation Commission. The PW&P forms include a specific application for a driveway or walkway apron, the portion of a driveway, walkway, or parking area located on a public way or other Town owned property. This PW&P application reflects updated evaluation criteria regarding a proposed circular driveway or multiple driveway aprons, and the Maryland Roadside Tree Permit requirements. The PC requests Council adoption of Resolution 2021-04 with the updated evaluation criteria for PW&P permit applications.
Terminating Restrictive Covenants – Ordinance 2021-01 is the proposed Zoning Text Amendment to declare a set of three Restrictive Covenants as terminated and authorize optional legal instruments for filing in the Land Records, if requested and prepared by owners of affected properties. Of the 225 homes in Washington Grove, 115 have been identified as being burdened by this set of restrictive covenants. Additional searching in the land records may identify additional affected properties. The public hearing for this Ordinance is March 8, 2021.
2021 Comprehensive Plan – During the PC Work Session on February 22, review and edits continued for new Section 13 (Sustainability) with a focus on opportunities and strategies for carbon sequestration associated with mature oak forests, and other trees and vegetation. There was discussion again about a proposal to allow more public ways and parks to revert to forest, but these were rejected again based on concerns including health and safety, e.g. increased tick exposures. Updates were accepted to improve explanations of “infill development” and “re development” in Section 2 (Municipal Growth and Boundary Enhancements). Review continued of draft maps for the Comprehensive Plan: Exhibit A (Current Zoning and Growth Areas) and Exhibit B (Town Buildings, Parks, and Community Facilities). Exhibit A is being updated by Kirk Eby, GIS Planner, City of Gaithersburg, and a few final edits were suggested. Exhibit B is being updated by Charlie from the Town Directory map, and edits were suggested for this map as well. Suggested edits were also received for the long-term vision for the Commercial Corner to create a more welcoming connection to the Town and a “sense of place” that is safe, comfortable, and essential to the community. The next PC Work Session is scheduled for March 17.
Lift Repairs and Inspection – The Town has a 3-year agreement with ALLSAFE Elevator Inspections, LLC for annual inspections of the witnessed safety testing performed by Premier Lifts, our maintenance contractor for the lift in McCathran Hall. These inspections must be done by a third-party Qualified Elevator Inspector who is registered with the State. The lift has not been used for more than a year, and Steve Werts recently discovered a damaged switch when testing the lift operation in anticipation of the annual inspection. With concurrence from our lift maintenance contractor, Steve repaired the switch and re-secured the electrical cables to prevent future problems. The annual safety testing and inspection was completed on March 3rd.
MONTGOMERY MUNICIPAL CABLE (MMC) – Charlie Challstrom
Meeting with County Executive – Members of the Maryland Municipal League (MML) Montgomery Chapter met with County Executive Marc Elrich on February 18. The meeting began with interactive updates from County Health Officer Travis Gayles, and OEMHS Director Earl Stoddard on COVID-19. Marc Elrich focused on the County-managed vaccination strategies, his efforts to coordinate vaccination registration with State-managed programs, and the impacts of disparities on the County’s goal to get 80% of the community vaccinated. This was also the annual “meet and confer” event intended to discuss county/municipal tax issues. Along with the County Executive and other County officials, representatives from cities and towns, including Mayor Compton and me, reviewed revenue projections, commercial property development strategies, upcoming tax duplication payments, and new expectations for funding with the proposed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This meeting with the County Executive was recorded and is available for streaming on the MMC YouTube channel.
CENSUS – Charlie Challstrom
Census Update – To make responding as easy and quick as possible, people were allowed to respond to the Census with or without the Census ID mailed to them. If a household responded with its unique Census ID, Census was able to link the response to the home’s physical address right away. According to Michael Thieme, an Assistant Director at Census, they chose to give households the option to respond without their Census ID, meaning that by design, Census is processing an unprecedented number of 2020 Census responses without IDs. This means it takes longer to match responses to the right address and count people in the right place. This is one aspect that contributes to the complexity of processing and the delay in meeting target dates for Census reports. Here in Washington Grove, we appreciate the challenges of having the mail delivery addresses different from the physical addresses used for other services.
CONTRACTS – Dave Cosson
RFPs for the Refuse and Recycling contracts have been issued with a return date of March 5, 2021.
WOODS – Dave Cosson
The Woods Committee met on March 1st by Zoom and discussed the following:
Deer Management. A representative of the BHFFMD called in to discuss this season’s experience and activities in the 2021-22 season. He noted that fewer deer were harvested in the 2019-20 season and that the hunters had seen fewer deer in the East and West Woods. Approximately 250lbs of venison were donated to the food bank. They did observe a substantial increase in residents using the walking trails in the woods especially along Franklin, Cherry, and Maple trails, beginning with early morning which may have affected deer movement. He discussed with the Committee potentially relocating their stands for the next season and will contact the Montgomery County Parks Deer Management Program manager to inquire if the Town and County could agree to a managed bow hunt in the Conservation Meadow next season.
The Committee approved a draft letter of appreciation for the Mayor to send in recognition of BHFFMD’s efforts over the last two seasons.
Ordinance 2020-13. The Committee approved for introduction a draft Ordinance establishing the fees applicable for permits by Ordinance 2020-13 for archeological or fossil exploration. The draft Ordinance also would revise the title of Article I to remove the word “morals.”
Signage. Sample East/West Woods trail signs and potential prices from a supplier were discussed. Three symbols would be attached to posts: Dogs on Leash, Stay on Trail, and No Bikes. A more detailed price list is being prepared for final evaluation, including whether to have the posts installed by the supplier or the Town.
Timber Turnpikes. Experimental “Timber Turnpikes” have been installed in the East Woods on Franklin, Cherry, and Challstrom trails using natural tree limbs for side braces with fill dirt and wood chips. Drainage pipe and rocks have been placed under the trails to assist with water run-off. The Committee will evaluate whether the mix of soil and wood chips is adequate or if more soil layers are needed in the future. Brown gravel was placed along the Maple Ave extended trail between Center St and Franklin trail.
West Woods Cleanup. The WC will place a notice in the April Town Bulletin to ask residents to assist with a Spring trash clean-up in the West Woods on an individual basis consistent with pandemic precautions of social distancing and wearing masks. Volunteers will be assigned specific areas, provided with heavy duty trash bags and instructed on precautions for dealing with broken glass.
Border Committee Identity Fence Proposal. The Border Committee is exploring “identify fencing” and Town Signing in several areas, including the West Woods border with Washington Grove Lane. The Committee discussed placing of the “Welcome to Washington Grove” sign near the intersection of WGL and Daylily Lane and alternative styles of identity fencing. It concluded that the sign should be placed so as not to obscure the vision of vehicles turning onto Washington Grove Lane, and that split rail fencing, similar to what is now in place at the entrance to Maple Lake would be appropriate where there is sufficient grade and no large trees would be harmed.
RACIAL EQUITY COMMITTEE – Dave Cosson
The Committee met by Zoom on February 21 and discussed the following:
Graffiti on Washington Grove Lane Sidewalk Committee members expressed great concern with the racist graffiti painted on the sidewalk and that a picture of it had inadvertently appeared on the town listserve without context. The Committee subsequently sent a letter to the Mayor and Council regarding the incident as a potential hate crime.
Social Equity Assessment A revised version of the paper describing the purpose and function of the proposed Social Equity Assessment was discussed and approved. The proposal focuses on the Town’s need to gain insight in this area in order to sustain volunteerism and promote inclusion of all. This concept document will serve as the basis for the Committee’s budget request to the Town Council. The Committee’s budget proposal was provided to the Treasurer on February 28.
Comprehensive Plan The Committee has reached agreement with the Sustainability Group with respect to the Committee’s proposed edits to the Sustainability Section of the Comprehensive Plan.
Education Subcommittee The Education Subcommittee met by Zoon on February 28 and watched two presentations from members. The first was a discussion of the book My Grandmother’s Hands Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem. The book explores the damage to the bodies of the victims of racism and ways to reduce that damage.
The second presenter discussed the book History of Black Schools in Montgomery County, 1872-1961 by Nina Clark and Lilian Brown. The book describes at length how, despite the Supreme Court’s sanction of “separate but equal” in Plessy v. Ferguson, Montgomery County schools were anything but equal: physical facilities were atrocious, learning materials were scarce and hand-me-down and Black teachers were paid at half the rate of White teachers. Black residents nevertheless paid taxes at the same rate as Whites. This pay disparity lead to the County being sued by a Black teacher who was represented by Thurgood Marshall in a 1937 case. After settling the case it knew it couldn’t win, the County then fired the teacher. Later, however, his efforts were recognized by naming an elementary school in Germantown the William B. Gibbs Elementary.
Following the presentations the subcommittee discussed future events, noting that there is a sign-up page for residents who would like to volunteer presentations. The possibility of an in-person educational seminar in the fall if Covid restrictions are removed was discussed.
COMMUNICATIONS WORK GROUP – Marida Hines
DOG PARK – Marida Hines
RECREATION – Marida Hines
WEBSITE – Marida Hines
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS & SAFETY COMMITTEE – Pat Klein
The EPSC virtually met via Zoom on February 25, 2021. Although the Chair was unable to attend and a quorum was lacking, the committee members present discussed the following matters:
- • Washington Grove Lane sidewalk. The recent ice storm resulted in the sidewalk being hazardous for pedestrians. While the Town has done a good job removing snow from the sidewalk, icy conditions make removal impractical. The EPSC seeks clarification on whether the County or the Town has responsibility for this sidewalk to ensure public safety, and any role for the adjacent homeowner. The Town should have an all-seasons sidewalk safety policy identifying the responsible party.
- • Bike path alternatives – Mayor Compton filed testimony at MC Council meeting to remove “Brown Street” reference from bike path Sector Plan. EPSC recommends the Mayor establish a Bike Path Work Group (Task Force) to consider town residents’ concerns and perspectives; and submit a report with recommendations to the TC.
- • Railroad Street/CSX RR-tracks drainage – EPSC was awaiting updates from Mayor Compton on any response from MC DOT to his latest correspondence. Since the meeting, MC-DOT has replied that drainage pipe replacement will be completed by next year.
- • Town street and walkway lighting safety – The Town wants to retain our heritage style of lighting with LEDs to maintain our historic character. Public hearings are scheduled in March and April by the Public Service Commission to receive comments. Robert/Virginia may attend on behalf of the Lighting Committee and EPSC. EPSC recommends this topic be discussed at the next TC meeting.
The next EPSC meeting will be on March 25, 2021.
MAPLE LAKE – Pat Klein
The Committee had its initial virtual (Zoom) meeting on February 18, 2021 to begin preparation of the 2021 season. Routine organizational activities to start soon include:
- • Checking for arrival of nesting Canada geese in anticipation of egg addling in coming weeks
- • Start to drain the lake in early April prior to Lake Cleanup event scheduled on April 24th
- • Repair any fence holes and fill low berm areas and ground holes behind dock with soil
- • Resume monthly water quality testing and tri-weekly algae management to commence in early May.
- • Maintain COVID-19 protocols based on State and County Public Health guidance.
- • Recruit lifeguards and swim instructor.
- • Submit FY2022 proposed budget (see below)
- o Lifeguard salaries $17,000
- o Swim Instructor salary $ 2,000
- o Supplies $ 3,000
- o Electricity $ 750
- o Water testing/ treatment $ 7,000
- o Footbridge / Dock $ 200
- o Fencing $ 1,000
- TOTAL $30,950
The next Lake Committee meeting will be on March 18, 2021.
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Gray Yachup
The Forestry and Beautification Committee has concluded their efforts for Fall planting season and will begin meeting again next week on the 10th.
PLAYGROUNDS – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Gray Yachup
Bruce Rothrock requested a new sign denoting the intersection of Acorn Lane and 4th Avenue. Bruce is working with Steve and Susan to get the sign set up.
I am also monitoring the situation with the Bikeway to ensure that movement is occurring, and that all constituent’s thoughts are heard.
Will also be putting out the RFP for the additional work that was identified (McCauley, Chestnut pipe, squash pipe, etc.) next month.
MEMORIALS – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT – Gray Yachup
Chatted with Krista and Steve about their concerns with regards to water pooling in their yards, discussed possible mitigation efforts. I will be investigating more in the coming weeks.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Gray Yachup
Working with Border Committee to beautify the entrance between SGXC and the Grove. Will keep monitoring the efforts.