10 October 2016 | Approved: 14 November 2016
Mayor Joli McCathran called the meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:32 p.m. In attendance were Council Members Georgette Cole, Pat Klein, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Greg Silber and Shelley Winkler. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Woods Committee Co-Chair Joan Mahaffey, residents Charlie Challstrom and Bruce Crise. Ken Miller and Robert Krebs from the Saybrooke neighborhood were present as was former resident Jean Myers.
Approval of Agenda:
John McClelland moved to approve the agenda. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Mayor McCathran added Potomac Disposal rate increase and the invasive species removal RFP to the agenda. Vote: 6-0, as amended.
Ken Miller, 11 St Ives Place in Saybrooke, reported the stone wall, bird house, and other items have been removed from the Town land behind his home. He asked if the plantings had to be removed as well. He stated he would not be moving from the house for a long time and lobbied to keep them in their current location. After a discussion, the Council agreed Mr. Miller must move the plant material off Town land. They came to this decision based on the fact that the landscaping was planted on Town property, was inconsistent with the Town woods and the Town’s ongoing efforts to define Town boundaries, and created the illusion that the land was part of the home when it was actually part of the Town woods. The Council noted this was consistent with previous action asking Town residents to move plantings off Town land.
Robert Krebs, 7 St. Ives Place in Saybrooke, asked if the large, orange boundary stakes could be replaced with something less intrusive. He showed a picture of a ground level marker. Mr. Krebs also asked what was driving the Town’s action of marking the boundary. Mayor McCathran explained the trampoline and tire swing still on Town land after letters from two (2) Mayors and a conversation with a Council member requesting their removal are the driving force behind the action.
There was a discussion about the following:
- Communication with the Jackson’s (trampoline owners). Mr. Krebs offered to ask Mr. Jackson to call Mayor McCathran.
- The Jackson’s agreement over a year ago to move their items.
- Dumping of grass clippings, brush and large logs in the woods.
- Asking (via letter from the Mayor) all who back to Town woods to stop the dumping.
- Losing Town land via possible adverse possession
- Painting the orange markers black.
- Moving the plantings to hide the property markers.
- Communication with the Saybrooke Home Owners Association.
- Previous attempts to contact the HOA with no results.
In conclusion, Mr. Miller will move all plants from Town land. Upon completion of the removal of encroachments along the Saybrooke and Town border, the Town will paint the Saybrooke side of the orange markers black with the exception of the one at Kelley Park which is a crucial corner marker. It was suggested Mr. Miller could plant one of his bushes on his own land in front of the marker, keeping in mind the future growth of the bush should be on his property in deciding the location. The bushes should not grow into Town land. Mayor McCathran thanked Mr. Miller and Mr. Krebs for attending the meeting and for removing their items from Town land. All agreed communication is the key to good neighbors.
Approval of Minutes:
Georgette Cole moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting on September 12, 2016 and post them to the website. John McClelland seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, as amended.
Treasurers Report 2016-Septemberpdf
Georgette Cole moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for September 2016. Shelley Winkler seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Potomac Disposal, Inc. (PDI) Proposed Rate Increase:
Greg Silber reported receipt of a letter from PDI asking for a 6% increase to our refuse and recycling collection costs due to a number of incremental mandatory increases in the minimum wage. Treasurer Mary Challstrom pointed out the request was contrary to the contracted compensation in the agreement and should have been presented in April of this year. The Mayor and Council reviewed and discussed the Treasurer’s evaluation of the proposed price increase. The new rate would bring the Town’s payment to the contractor’s to $2,198.45 per month (or, an increase of roughly $.55 per month per household). The Mayor and Council agreed it was a reasonable request. A letter will be sent to PDI indicating that although this proposed increase is outside the contract terms, the Town will allow it. Mary asked for a Council review and update of the compensation section language used in all the Town’s contracts. John McClelland moved to approve the request for an increase from Potomac Disposal Inc. making the new monthly fee $2,198.45. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Zoning Text Amendment 2016-10 – Special Exception Commercial Corner:
John McClelland moved to introduce ZTA 2016-10; Adopting Amendments to Article VII, Zoning, Section 8.21 to Allow Charitable, Religious or Educational Institutions in the Commercial Zone as a Special Exception Approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0. A hearing date was set for November 14, 2016.
Request for Proposal (RFP) Template Language and Affidavits:
Mayor McCathran explained the Town attorney recommended use of the presented RFP language and the new affidavits. The Council will review the documents and send comments to the Mayor. This item will be discussed at the November meeting of the Town Council.
RFP Invasive Species:
Mayor McCathran thanked the Woods Committee for their thorough, hard work. Patrice Klein gave background information of the project. Recommendations from the Bill Bonds Forest Stewardship report provided the framework for the scope of work. The following items were discussed:
- Amount of invasives in the canopy
- Methods used by the State Highway Administration
- Town’s expectations of the contractors and volunteers
- Mandatory initial inspection by prospective bidder
- Follow up requirements
- Use of new affidavits
- Posting the Forest Stewardship Plan on the Town website
- Keeping the long-term health of the woods in mind
- Successional species
- Use of herbicides
- Need to include a provision for accidental destruction of property
- Quickly distributing the RFP’s to prospective bidders
Patrice Klein moved to accept the Final Draft RFP presented with attachments to be mailed out to bidders by 10/25/16. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Shelley Winkler moved to approve the Council Reports for posting on the web. Patrice Klein seconded the motion. The Council discussed:
- Painting or staining the steps at the Gazebo. Advised they will age to blend with the Gazebo
- The possibility of installing no parking signs on Grove Road for alleged public transportation commuters to not park in these areas
- Parking Policy in the Section 9 of the Town Master Plan
- To address the concerns about the excessive number of vehicles at 201 Washington Grove Lane about the number of vehicles, including a boat, and the unauthorized removal of a Town road barrier
- Defibrillator purchase
Mayor McCathran announced she has enough volunteers for both the Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Washington Grove Lane Committee.
Mayor McCathran reported she followed-up with the Town attorney about a Council Member fully participating, including voting, in a meeting via telephone or teleconferencing while away. Our ordinances do not address attendance via telephone or teleconferencing. A Council Member who calls in can be counted in a quorum and be a voting participant of the meeting. However, all attending must be able to hear and/or see the participant who joins via telephone.
There was no new business.
There being no further new business, the meeting adjourned at 10:18 p.m.
TC REPORTS – November 2016
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Georgette Cole
Review Session: Carolyn O’Connor was present for the discussion of the Permanent Easement Application for continued use and location of the existing front porch located at 409 5th Avenue. First, the HPC had an in-depth review of Exhibit C to the Deed of Easement (Historic Integrity Features Description) including:
- Schedule of historic integrity features
- List of photos of easement improvements, house and neighborhood
- Documentation and analysis of significance and context of historic integrity
- List of archival images and document showing easement improvements
- Archival images and documents showing easement improvements
- Gail made a motion, seconded by D
avid, to approve the draft documentation (with HPC suggestions) and send to Mayor McCathran to be forwarded to the Town Attorney for review. The motion carried unanimously.
Next, the HPC reviewed the Resolution Granting a Permanent Easement. Gail made a motion, seconded by Bob, to approve the draft documentation of Resolution No. 2016-11 (with HPC suggestions) and send to Mayor McCathran to be forwarded to the Town Attorney for review. The motion carried unanimously.
Last, the HPC reviewed the Deed of Easement and Agreement. Mimi made a motion, seconded by Bob, to approve the draft documentation (with HPC suggestions) and send to Mayor McCathran to be forwarded to the Town Attorney for review. The motion carried unanimously.
Bob agreed to make the changes and prepare the final draft documentations with the HP Commission’s suggestions.
Clare Kelly Presentation: Everything is in place for the upcoming event to be held at McCathran Hall on Friday evening, October 21st. Georgette has placed signs at the four entrances to Town and Gail will post a reminder on the Grove Yahoo site on Friday, as well. The Commission agreed that a $200.00 honorarium be presented to Clare for her professional services. Mimi will contact the Town’s Treasurer to have a check prepared so it can be given to Clare after the presentation.
Bulletin Material: Wendy reported that she has finished the upcoming third and final installment of a “Portrait of a Founding Mother: Amelia Elmore Huntley”. She and Pat are continuing to prepare articles for the Town bulletin on News Dispatches from Other Centuries, a series devoted to the earliest days in Washington Grove, based on historic newspapers and original records in the Grove’s archives.
PLAYGROUNDS – Georgette Cole
Several pieces of the new playground equipment are now in use. Steve Werts is still waiting for safety/spacing information on several others so he can install the board edging and bark-surround.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – Georgette Cole
New trees from Pope Farm are scheduled for installation in the Meadow this fall but we have not yet been told the date.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Georgette Cole
In order to more easily locate the shared border markers on Ridge Road, Charlie Challstrom has offered to install the same orange boundary markers we are using on our East and West Woods borders. These would be installed next to the existing legal survey markers. I have cleared this with the president of the Shady Grove Crossing HOA, Michelle Neary. This is a test to see if the markers are useful and how well they stay in place.
MAPLE LAKE – Patrice Klein
October 20th – final meeting of this year. Good news – this season there were no geese, no algae, and no pond weed!
September 17th small group met at the Lake to clean up and organize the storage shed; and did some minor repair on the Lake driveway drainage. Removed the video surveillance equipment and transferred to Town Maintenance building.
Winter Plans include inspecting the underwater obstruction off the dock where buoy is located (see details below). Hutch will present his report at the TC meeting. Other activities will be to remove or cut a path through the fallen tree at far end of lake grass area, construct lockable area on shelf for video equipment, and turn off the bubblers when ice starts forming for Ice Skating.
Dock inspection: On October 28th, the dock area was inspected while the lake was 4 feet below high water. Using a kayak, the depth of the lake was measured off the diving board at 13 feet below the surface when the lake is full. The lake bottom was probed and some buoys set to mark the “edges” of the obstruction that a town resident struck his head on last summer.
It appears that the obstruction is at least 9 feet below the surface at high water, and 12 feet off to the left of the center-line of the diving board at a 45-degree angle. The consensus of the Lake Committee group discussion was that the obstruction does not pose a hazard to divers as long as they dive straight out (or even at a 30-degree angle). The recommendation is to post a sign about the obstruction and mark it with buoys. On a subsequent visit the location of the obstruction was marked using 8-ft. sticks to mark the edge of the wall and the depths shown in the circles on the attached schematic. (See below)
Plan for Next Season:
- Watch for geese presence starting in February
- Contact NatureWorksCWA to arrange treatment of algae & pond weed every 3 weeks.
- Contact Water Testing Labs to arrange H2O testing for eColi & Coliforms monthly. We would also like to meet with them to understand the meanings of their results.
- “No Parking” sign needed on outer gate.
- Recruit/select life guards and swimming instructor
- Update Lake information on Town website – pending web master completion
Next Lake Committee meeting will be Thursday, March 16th at 7:30 PM.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS– Patrice Klein
Sat Amagai has agreed to serve as the Chair of this new Committee. Members include Nan Atil-Thompson, David Cosson, Mark Frederiksen, Keith Gillis, Jason Newman, Mary Warfield, and Pat Klein (who also is the TC liaison). Plans are underway to schedule the first Committee meeting. In addition, Joe Corona, Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security contacted the Mayor and Pat Klein to request to meet with us and discuss opportunities to engage with his Office. Pat Klein and the Mayor are working to set up an initial meeting with Mr. Corona.
SAFETY – Patrice Klein
The AED/CPR units ordered for the Lake and Town Hall have been received.
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Audrey Maskery
Nine trees and four shrubs have been planted throughout Town during the month of November.
One 9″ caliper Red Oak.
One 2.5” caliper White Oak.
Woodward Park near children’s play area
One 10″ caliper Pin oak.
One 2.5” caliper Swamp Oak.
One 6″ caliper American Beech.
One 2.5” caliper White Oak.
Woodward Park near 108 Maple Ave
One 2″ Black Gum.
5th Ave/The Circle
One 2″ Black Gum.
6th Ave/The Circle
One 2.5” caliper White Oak.
Additional Fall plantings;
2 Viburnum (Chindo)
end of Ridge Road
2 Viburnum (Chindo)
Tree trimming throughout town; tree removal and stump grinding program will finish as soon as leaves have dropped. The program will start again in 2017. The next F&B meeting will be November 17 at 7:30pm. This will be the last meeting for 2016. There will be a break for winter, resuming again in March planning for spring tree installation.
MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery
Work started on children’s playground, old equipment removed and area cleared for the placement of new equipment. Drainage dug to divert surface water away from each enclosure. Concrete poured around mounting posts providing secure anchorage for each piece of equipment. “Super Nova” and new seesaws now in position, other pieces of equipment will be placed as soon as the manufacturer has delivered the equipment. Edging timber re-placed around each playground enclosure plus new (chemical free) wood chips.
Tree watering will finish mid-November. Grass cutting and leaf removal will continue through November into December. Tennis nets have been removed from the clay courts, equipment placed in courts storage shed.
MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
PLANNING COMMISSION – John McClelland
Building Permit Applications:
- 112 Chestnut Avenue – Application denied as 6’fence height is maximum allowed. BZA option is available to the property owner.
- 201 Brown Street – Permit application received too late for formal review, however, the PC’s general consensus is to deny as a 4’ fence height is the maximum permitted.
- #8 The Circle – installed stairs and enclosed a rear portion of the home without applying for a permit. The P Chair and Mayor will contact the property owner for remediation/appropriate action.
- #15 The Circle – A potential partial demo, structure rebuild etc. was presented to establish permit requirements and ordinance allowances. Consulting with the HPC was recommended along with a brief review of the applicable sections of the Town’s Code of Ordinance.
17050 Railroad St (Cator Property): presented reforestation cost figures (approx. $26K) and a bond pre-approval letter. Once the bond is received the property owner will move forward with the reforestation process.
House Files: five (5) more properties have been completed.
Easements: A recommendation for the HPC to complete documentation reviews for all potential “easement” properties will be presented to the TC. Having these reviews and documentation on file will facilitate future easement requests, guarantee correct information before a potential partial/total loss situation takes place and protect the Town’s interests.
Street Parking: Although the current Town ordinance prohibits vehicular parking on Town owned land the Mayor requested clarification assistance from the PC due to parking along Brown Street and Grove Road (thought to be overflow MARC train/Washington Grove station parking). A specific addendum to clarify a no parking zone for all roadways bordering Morgan Park will be written. General “No Parking on Town Property” signs placed at the entrances to the Town were discussed in lieu of the standard no parking signs with arrows placed at all intersections. Towing of vehicles is not permitted without extensive signage.
Washington Grove Lane: A pedestrian cross walk was requested by residents of Daylily Lane. Per the Mayor, the MoCo Dept. of Transportation suggested walking back to the speed hump and current pedestrian crossing located near the intersection of Towne Crest Drive and WG Lane. The lack of a sidewalk on the western side of WG Lane, the road’s easement and curves, options for “cutting a path through the West Woods from Daylily Lane to the lake access road, etc. were briefly discussed. The Mayor will continue to meet with the concerned parties.
MCCATHRAN HALL – John McClelland
Defibrillators have been ordered.
WOODS COMMITTEE – Greg Silber
A survey of the western boundary of the West Woods has been completed and markers have been established along the boundary. A request for proposals (RFP) to survey and mark the eastern boundary of the East Woods and associated areas was developed and distributed to prospective bidders. Incoming bids will be reviewed by the Council at its November 14 meeting.
A draft RFP for a large-scale and multi-year project for removal and control of non-native, invasive plant species in the East Woods has been developed and distributed to prospective bidders. The Council will review bids at its 11 December meeting; and work to remove non-native vegetation is expected begin in spring 2017.
Plans are underway to acquire and plant trees of various sizes throughout the woods this fall and early winter. On Friday 18 November, about 30 small trees will be planted in the East Woods near Maple Avenue extended. Volunteers are needed to assist in these plantings! The Committee is having discussions about a “deer exclosure” project to further promote restoration of native vegetation diversity and forest health in certain locations in the woods.
The Committee will meet again on Monday 5 December, 7:30.
CONTRACTS – Greg Silber
Leaf pick-up service began 31 October and continues through early January. Recyclable yard waste collection ends 31 December. Thanksgiving Holiday refuse collection will occur on Wednesday 23 November.
RECREATION – Shelley Winkler
The Holiday Show is scheduled for Saturday, December 10. Parent volunteers Emily Cavey and Jenn Hix have begun planning for Summer in the Parks 2017.
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Shelley Winkler
Steve Werts has done an amazing job completing the repair of the walkway at Oak Street, between Maple Road and Cherry Avenue. The repairs needed to Cherry Avenue will take place in the spring, because the leaf pickup truck would tear up any sod put down now. We will begin work on the RFP for spring roadwork.
WEBSITE – Shelley Winkler
Thanks to Christine Dibble for updating the front page of the Town’s website with current announcements. Kathy Lehman is keeping the calendar updated, including listing when private events are being held, so that anyone wishing to reserve the hall can see availability directly. Councilmembers, please continue to review, or ask commissions/committees you work with to review, portions of the website relating to your areas and send to me any items that need correction or changes.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL – Joli A. McCathran
In October I met with Frank Kingsley, Division of Traffic Engineering and Operations, Montgomery County Department of Transportation to discuss Oakmont Avenue safety and condition concerns and possible bike path. This included a discussion of the installation of a sidewalk along Oakmont Avenue. Oakmont Avenue has inconsistent right of ways (ROW) and according to Mr. Kingsley, there is not enough contiguous ROW for a sidewalk installation. Mr. Kingsley referred me to Patricia Shepherd also in the Montgomery County Traffic and Engineer Department for more information on the proposed bike path options. I am awaiting for a return e-mail or call from Ms. Shepherd.
As I promised to the residents who reside on Daylily Lane, Mr. Kingsley and I discussed the possibility of an additional installation of a cross walk over Washington Grove Lane. In Maryland, the law states that a crosswalk exists at every intersection. However, the County has determined there is not enough additional foot traffic to install another crosswalk anywhere along Washington Grove Lane. Mr. Kingsley referred me to Marc Terry within his department for ROW information. The ROW along Washington Grove Lane is 50’ wide with the pavement being 26’ in width. However, the ROW is greater on the east side of the Lane than the west side. A permit is required if we want to make any changes within or across this ROW. I am referring this issue to the Washington Grove Lane Committee and the Woods Committee to seek out possible options for a safer crossing.
The 2016-17 Maryland Municipal League (MML) Legislative Committee has selected three priorities and two strategic initiatives to be considered for adoption by the MML membership at the Fall Conference. They are listed below:
- Restoration of highway user revenues to municipal governments;
- Mandating that all governmental entities pay the municipal storm water fee on all governmental properties and facilities located w/in municipal boundaries;
- Ensuring better communication and coordination in scheduling/undertaking projects by public utilities and other governmental agencies in municipal rights of way
- developing protocols for the use of police body cameras and the dissemination of body camera video footage under the Maryland Public Information Act
- dealing with foreclosed properties that lead to blight in municipalities