14 October 2019 | Approved: 11 November 2019
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:48 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Charlie Challstrom, Rob Gilmore, Marida Hines, Patty Klein, and Audrey Maskery. Also in attendance were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, and Historic Preservation Commission Chair Bob Booher. Residents Georgette Cole, Dave Cosson, John Hutchinson, Robert Johnson, Joan Mahaffey, Meghan O’Connell, and Virginia Quesada also attended.
Approval of Agenda:
Darrell Anderson moved to approve the agenda. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved.
There were no public appearances.
Approval of Minutes:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the September 9, 2019 Town Council Meeting minutes. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Two (2) administrative edits were made. Vote: 5-0, approved, as amended. Marida Hines abstained.
Treasurers Report 2019-September pdf
Darrell Anderson moved acceptance of the September 2019 Treasurer’s Report. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Treasurer Mary Challstrom reported receipt of the County revenue sharing funds and the completion of the FY2019 annual audit. Audit acceptance will be on the November agenda. Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Deer Management Hunt – Update:
Patty Klein reported six (6) does have been harvested from the East and West Woods. She expects the archers will come in again next on Tuesday.
Sewer Line Replacement on Ridge Road and Grove Avenue – Update:
Mayor Compton gave a basic review of WSSC’s (Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission) plan to do sewer replacement on Ridge Road and on Grove Avenue. Representatives from WSSC and the Town have met to discuss the trenching and potential tree disturbance. Since some laterals on Grove Avenue could not be located, the decision was made and noted on the permit that if WSSC determines that any tree will be severely impacted after locating the actual position of a lateral, that the Town will be consulted before further work to determine whether the lateral replacement should proceed.
Ordinance 2019-14; Sale of Land Adjacent to 8 The Circle – Discussion and Possible Action:
Charlie Challstrom moved to table Ordinance 2019-14 for now and to explore new options. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Charlie Challstrom reviewed the Planning Commission recommendation that the land in question is of little use to the Town and that sale to 8 The Circle is reasonable, as long as that portion of the land used as a public walkway is retained. Bob Booher suggested a land swap to allow the brick path providing access to 6 The Circle be enlarged from 4-ft to 5-ft to provide for a better walkway. Since it is expected that 8 The Circle will be going up for sale quite soon, further negotiation with the new owner of 8 The Circle was proposed and recommended. Vote: 6-0, approving tabling of the ordinance.
Resolution 2019-13 Providing For Proper Governance of WG Committees – Discussion and Proposed Revisions:
Mayor Compton reported comments from many committees were received as requested. Rob Gilmore stated his review of the comments indicate general agreement that committees should have guidelines, but that these should not be overly prescriptive and should serve as recommendations not requirements.
Prior to further discussion, Rob Gilmore moved to introduce an amended form of the Resolution pdf. Darrell Anderson seconded and also applauded Rob for his efforts and attention to the feedback and his thought in revising the Resolution. The amended Resolution would now serve as a recommendation and guidance document for Committees from the Town Council, recommending adoption of Bylaws and listing operational areas ought to be addressed (e.g. membership, voting, etc.).
Vote: 6-0, to amend by substituting with the revised Resolution.
A lengthy discussion by the Mayor and Council followed:
- Encouraging membership
- Voting members
- Eliminating use of words like “must” and “shall”
- Adding the word “guidelines” to the title
- The pros and cons of prohibiting Councilors to serve as committee chairs
- The way the chair position is viewed by committee members and the general public.
- Increasing willingness to volunteer; possibly surveying residents to better understand why we seem to have a shortage of volunteers.
- Liability concerns over an injury to a volunteer when participating in an event organized by a non-recognized Town group.
Action: The Resolution will be on the November agenda. Advance written input was requested from Town Councilors and others, including particularly comments on the language and specifics recommended.
Introduction of Ordinance 2019-17; Enacting Article XVIII Small Wireless Telecommunications Facilities and Amending Public Ways and Property Permit and Use Fees – Discussion and Scheduling of a Public Hearing:
Charlie Challstrom moved to introduce Ordinance 2019-17 pdf and to set the Public Hearing for November 11, 2019. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Charlie Challstrom explained that a Public Ways and Property Permit would be required for small wireless communication device installation (e.g. 5G) on Town property, and that applicants would be required to follow guidelines for small cell facilities in the proposed new Article XVIII pdf. He went on to explain that based on an FCC ruling last year, the Town needs to have criteria in place for proposed 5G facilities as soon as possible or possibly lose control for regulating such things. The proposed guidelines are based almost wholly on those adopted by other municipalities. They do not address use of private property for 5G facilities. The Mayor and Council agreed it made sense to get something on the books now and tailor it to our specific needs in the near future. Bob Booher (HPC Chairman) summarized the items of concern as; height, size, distance between cells, and looks.
Vote: 6-0, to set the Public Hearing for 7:30p before the November 11 Town Council meeting.
Action: The HPC will examine and recommend adjustments to any adopted guidelines which might better serve the specific needs of Washington Grove
Town Council Reports:
Marida Hines moved to approve the Council Reports for posting on the Town website. Rob Gilmore seconded the motion. There was a brief discussion about the installation of speed humps on Chestnut and Grove Roads. Mayor Compton noted the hump near his home on Ridge Road is working very well.
Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Charlie Challstrom noted his Town Council Report included the recent request from Montgomery County for a Debris Management Plan. Charlie explained the purpose of the plan, the Memo Of Understanding (MOU) and the requirement to reply by October 18, 2019. Mayor Compton indicated he will sign the MOU before the October 18 deadline set by the County.
- County Executive Outreach – Marc Elrich is holding a community get-together in McCathran Hall on Sunday, October 20, 2019 from 2:00 – 4:30 PM. The Mayor reminded the Council to RSVP.
- Public Hearings – Mayor Compton reminded members of the public hearing on November 11th at 7:30 PM for Ordinance 2019-15; Expanding the Applicability of the Public Ways and Property Permit, and also as added in action tonight for Ordinance 2019-17; Enacting Article XVIII Small Wireless Telecommunications Facilities and Amending Public Ways and Property Permit and Use Fees.
Stormwater Management Matters
- West Woods Stream Management and Remediation. Request For Proposal for engineering consultant services: The Mayor and Council briefly discussed the RFP drafted by the Stormwater Management Committee. It addresses mitigation, remediation, and design. This topic will be on the November agenda.
- Cherry Avenue stabilization and stormwater management: The Stormwater Management Committee believes this project is larger project than first anticipated. They recommend doing a study and getting professional help. There was discussion about consulting with Montgomery County government stormwater management personnel.
Article XVII Sale of Town Land
Mayor Compton noted there are now inconsistencies in the covenants in this Article specified for the sale of Town land and the land sale Ordinances 2019-03 and 2019-11 adopted subsequently. Language changes should be made to resolve the discrepancy. A proposal may be on the November agenda.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:10 p.m.
Kathryn L. Lehman
TC REPORTS – October 2019
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Darrell Anderson
Meetings: The regular monthly meeting was held on September 17, 2019. The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be held October 15, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the McCathran Hall Council Room. I was unable to attend the meeting and am waiting on the draft summary.
STREET SIGN RESTORATION PROJECT – Darrell Anderson
Nothing to report.
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Darrell Anderson
Town officials met with WSSC to finalize the scope of work to be performed on Grove Avenue to replace sewer lines. Distances were measured and marked to show presence of the main sewer line and auxiliary lines branching off to residential properties. Work is not expected to begin until the Town and WSSC sign an agreement and the Town issues a permit for this work. It is anticipated that the work will not begin until early spring.
Town officials and Steve Werts met with WSSC to negotiate the Town’s costs for repaving Ridge Road from the intersection of Brown Street to approximately 112 Ridge Road. Discussions of the amount of road bed needed for repair and the length and width of repaving were agreed to. WSSC and the Town agreed to a price; WSSC subsequently sent the agreement to their attorneys for review. It is hoped that the agreement will be signed soon and work should begin sometime in early Spring 2020.
The speed hump to replace the one on Grove Road has been ordered and should arrive during October.
Repaving Contract for FY2020
The contracts for A.B. Veirs and M.T. Laney have been sent to the contractors for review and signature. Two somewhat emergency areas have been added because of ongoing deterioration: a potential sinkhole on Chestnut Road and another sinking area on Grove Road. I have asked for the contractors to submit estimates for those small sections when they return their contracts for approved work.
The Lighting Committee met on September 25, 2019; the next meeting will be on October 23, 2019, in the McCathran Hall Council Room. I was unable to attend the meeting and am waiting on the draft summary.
The Light Pole Inventory is well underway and it has been decided to capture pictures of the pole number and light. These are being submitted to the Chair and placed in the Dropbox files for access by all Committee members.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – Darrell Anderson
Nothing to report.
CENSUS LIAISON – Charlie Challstrom
Nothing to report.
MCCATHRAN HALL – Charlie Challstrom
Archive Room – Steve Werts, et al., continue installing the Mitsubishi Ductless Split System to air condition and heat the Archive Room in McCathran Hall. This system will help with humidity control to preserve archival material. The inside and outside units are in place, awaiting completed pull of the 10-gauge electrical wire between the main panel and the exterior wall of the Archive Room. Bob McCathran will complete the electrical connection.
Exterior Shingle Staining – Steve has completed power washing all the exterior wall shingles of the Hall, and re-staining is well underway. The stain is being applied via sprayer, with windows and doors taped and covered prior to spraying.
MONTGOMERY MUNICIPAL CABLE (MMC) – Charlie Challstrom
The Town is a participating member of MMC, a nonprofit organization established to operate a cable station on behalf of municipalities in Montgomery County. MMC provides a weekly email “MMC Inside Scoop” to highlight the latest programming, and this weekly MMC message is distributed to those who are part of the Washington Grove Yahoo Group. This month, MMC staff visited the Town again to capture video of the “Washington Grove Fall Festival” on September 28 which is available on YouTube for streaming (search using “Washington Grove”).
PLANNING COMMISSION – Charlie Challstrom
- 500 McCauley Street – new shed approved
- 412 Fourth Ave – detailed plans for addition/renovation were reviewed. The PC determined that height of the proposed rear deck must be less than 36 inches to avoid increasing the degree of non-compliance with respect to lot coverage. The PC also noted that a boundary survey of this property is not available as required for permit approval. There are three markers on property boundaries from Town surveys, and one remaining corner marker from the survey of the adjacent property. Consultation with a registered survey is required to re establish a corner marker that was unfortunately removed.
Ordinance 2019-14 Sale of Town Property Adjacent to 8 Circle: The PC discussed Ordinance 2019 14 introduced by the Council to authorize sale of part of former alley and part of former park in Block 11 adjacent to Maggie Range’s home at 8 Circle. The PC recommends maintaining viable and attractive access to 6 Circle, retaining sufficient Town-owned land to sustain an alley width of 5 feet for handicapped access where possible, and adding a condition that any fence erected for 8 Circle abutting the Town-owned alley is limited to 4 feet in height. Versions of Ordinance 2019 14, Exhibit A (description), and Exhibit B (identification plat) have been prepared and dated 10-08-2019 to include these PC recommendations. With these modifications, the PC recommends the Council enact Ordinance 2019-14.
Ordinance 2019-17 Small Wireless Telecommunications: The PC reviewed proposed Ordinance 2019-17 to establish a new Article XVIII in the Code of Ordinances with the process and criteria for Public Ways and Property (PW&P) permits for small wireless telecommunications facilities. Ordinance 2019-17 also proposes to amend Article XVI, Schedule of Fees, to specify PW&P agreement fees and PW&P use fees. This is a dynamic arena with federal and state processes underway regarding the ability of local governments to regulate such services. The PC recommends the Council introduce Ordinance 2019-15 and set a date for the public hearing.
Master Plan Update: A 2019 Master Plan Work Session was held on September 18, with continued leadership and coordination by Georgette Cole. The PC reviewed and accepted a submission from the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), an historic description of both the East Woods and the West Woods authored by Wendy Harris. Material was also reviewed and accepted for Section 6.1, Forest Conservation. This process has finished up through Section 6.3.2, Brown Street Corridor. Next with be work on Section 7, Water Resource Elements, and Section 8, Commercial Corner. A copy of the latest 2019 Master Plan Working Draft and the draft minutes from each work session are available on the Town web site.
CONTRACTS – Rob Gilmore
Nothing to report
DOG PARK – Rob Gilmore
The Dog Park Committee conducted a survey to gauge members’ views on the committee governance questions posed during the August 27, 2019 meeting of committee chairs, Mayor Compton, and Councilor Gilmore. The responses of committee members were compiled into the attached document. In general, the committee members who responded were supportive of committees having procedures, and of the Town Council playing a role in requiring / recommending certain procedures.
Dog Park Committee Responses to Questions Pertaining to Draft Resolution – Sept. 2019
A) Should committees have rules/procedures?
Member 1: Yes. To me, the official committees have what amounts to the imprimatur of the Town. They are not just a group of townsfolk with a common interest. The Town government has an interest in the open and democratically legitimate running of the committees, not least because the Town disburses money to the committees.
Member 2: If the question means to ask whether all committees should be required to observe certain given basic rules/procedures, I’d say it would be reasonable. If the Town decides not to impose basic rules, I think they should at least give committees a set of guidelines to consider, which the committee could follow or not.
Member 3: Absolutely. The more rules/procedures that are set forth in writing in the form of by-laws, the less time will be spent later arguing about what rules/procedures are in place.
B) Should the Town Council require committees to adopt any such rules/procedures in order for the Council to recognize the committees and authorize the committee to receive funds from the Town?
Member 1: Yes.
Member 2: Yes. The Council should require that each committee adopt certain basic rules, like membership and voting membership requirements, and annual elections of officers. The Council should also recommend that committees consider other, less critical rules, like whether voting outside of meetings is permitted, where meetings can be held, etc.
C) Are there specific rules/procedures that the committees think should be adopted? If so, what are they?
Member 1: I don’t think the town has to specify the content of the rules or procedures but should specify the areas that should be addressed, including a statement of purpose of the committee, how committee leadership is chosen, how someone qualifies as a member, how voting proceeds, public notifications and minutes, etc. When a committee asks for recognition, the council can consider the wisdom or lack thereof of the committee’s proposed rules/procedures and ask for changes, if necessary. I do, however, believe committees might prefer a model of suggested by-laws from which they can work to create their own.
Member 2: I’m inclined to believe that it WOULD be best if committees re-elected their committee chairs each year, even if they happily re-elect the same chairs indefinitely. I also think it would be preferable for liaisons on the Council to not chair (or even vote with) the committees they work with.
Member 3: My preference is that the Council dictate that all committees must have annual elections of officers. I would not want to be part of a committee that has elections any more infrequently. The Council should also require that committees determine what constitutes voting membership. The Council could suggest options like: must have attended the previous three meetings in person or on the phone; must have attended one meeting in the past 12 months, etc. Committees should have the latitude to determine their own rules for voting membership.
In order to encourage higher rates of membership, especially among the parents of young children, the Council should encourage committees to conduct as much simple business/voting (e.g. approval of minutes, votes on more minor issues) as possible via email and online surveys.
WOODS – Rob Gilmore
The Woods Committee held a meeting on Monday, September 30, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in McCathran Hall. The Committee reviewed and discussed their views concerning committee governance questions posed during the August 27, 2019 meeting of committee chairs, Mayor Compton, and Councilor Gilmore. By a majority vote, the Committee responded as follows:
1. Should committees have rules/procedures? Yes (7-2)
2. Should the Town Council require committees to adopt rules/procedures? No (6-2, 1 abstention).
3. Are there specific rules/procedures that the committees think should be adopted? If so, what are they? Yes: Adherence to the Open Meetings Act; beyond that, committees should have flexibility to develop written guidelines (8-1).
The Committee also discussed draft by-laws introduced by co-chairs Pat Klein and Joan Mahaffey, as well as an outline of similar concepts prepared by Meg O’Connell. The Committee decided to hold a special working session in the coming weeks to continue discussing the by-laws and procedures that Committee would adopt for its operation and governance.
In addition, the Committee reported on the status of deer management efforts in September by the volunteer bow hunters operating in the East and West Woods: six deer (does) were harvested. The Committee will continue to monitor and report on the deer management efforts as they unfold the remainder of the season.
Finally, the Committee is planning Fall activities in the East and West Woods to be scheduled in November or early December.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Rob Gilmore
Nothing to report.
WEBSITE – Marida Hines
Routine maintenance and content updates continue with no issues.
RECREATION – Marida Hines
The Bluestoberfest on Saturday, October 5 was extremely successful this year. The event was very well attended and the music by Puryear, Summerour, and Selby and Liz Springer & Built 4 Comfort was very well received.
The Recreation Committee will meet on October 16, 2019. Plans for the Holiday Show are currently underway. There are no special plans for Halloween this year; Trick or Treating will take place October 31 from 6 to 8pm. The Recreation Committee continues to sponsor events such as the Ceili dance on October 26th.
Missy Yachup is continuing in her role as co-chair of the Recreation committee along with Emily Cavey until the end of the year.
COMMUNICATIONS WORK GROUP – Marida Hines
The Communications Working Group is currently scheduling the final website usability tests. Coordinating everyone’s schedules has proved unexpectedly challenging due to work travel on the CWG side and busy schedules of the remaining test subjects.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS & SAFETY COMMITTEE – Pat Klein
The EPSC met on September 26, 2019 and discussed the following safety topics. The committee had expressed concern for the Town’s computer security following recent ransomware attacks against Baltimore and several Texas small towns. Marilyn Frey was invited to discuss her paper “Emergency Preparedness for Town Computers and Archives,” and emphasized the importance of updating software and backing up data. Many of the Town’s paper archives also have been relocated to a secure state facility in Baltimore. The EPSC will consider sponsoring a seminar on computer security for Town residents in January or February 2020.
Unfortunately, the September Preparedness Month event was not well attended. Nonetheless, interesting presentations were given by Lt. Browning of the Fire and Rescue Service and Joe Corona of the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Lt. Browning explained the Shady Grove Station, which he commands, has primary responsibility for Washington Grove, and that its personnel are familiar with the Town layout. Identification and access to Town residences is still often difficult. Joe Corona discussed emergency shelter issues and distributed multiple copies of emergency preparedness publications of his office. The Committee discussed alternatives for further educating Town residents on emergency preparedness issues, including distribution of literature and appearances at other official and unofficial Town events.
The EPSC approved their written bylaws and prepared their responses to the 3 questions posed by Councilor Rob Gilmore regarding the need for such committee procedural requirements. Responses are included below:
1. Should committees have rules and procedures? Yes
2. Should the town council require committee to adopt any rules and procedures? Yes, but to allow for individual committee needs, requirements should not be overly prescriptive.
3. Are there rules/procedures the town should require committees to adopt? If so, what are they?
The following items should be covered in some fashion – (a) How do you become a member? (b) How are decisions made? (c) Adopt Open Meeting standards. (d) Meeting locations should be accessible.
Time Sensitive: Debris Management Plan – Action Required
The County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hosted a meeting on October 2, 2019, to provide an opportunity for municipalities to participate in the planning process of the Montgomery County Debris Management Plan (DMP). The County is updating the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved debris management plan that identifies procedures, resources, and facilities involved in debris clean-up after a severe weather event. Charlie Challstrom represented Washington Grove to learn of benefits to the Town including potential use of contracted resources for debris collection, processing, and removal along with the debris monitoring required to qualify for FEMA’s 75% cost reimbursement. These resources will be available to the Town through the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) if the Town chooses to participate in the DMP. A draft MOU was included with the meeting invitation. Jamie Foster, Senior Engineer at DEP, sent a follow-up email message on October 4, 2019, specifying that the Town must respond by October 18, 2019, to comment and indicate if the Town will sign a MOU.
The next EPSC meeting is scheduled for October 24, 2019.
MAPLE LAKE – Pat Klein
The Committee met on September 19, 2019 as their final routine meeting of this year. Overall this was a successful lake season with great swim instructions, life guard coverage, and no security problems. The life guards and swim instructor received gift cards. Some supplies need to be replenished before the next season and the pump timer may need repair.
A town resident contacted the Committee with concerns about the potential for ‘harmful algal blooms’ in Maple Lake and associated toxins produced by the cyanobacteria. The committee gathered information from the EPA, Maryland DNR, and other expert resources. NatureWorksCWA, the company that provides algal treatments for Maple Lake, was contacted for testing advice. They stated that their routine lake treatment using a blue dye filters out sunlight and retards the growth of algae in the water column. The beneficial bacteria they add reduces nutrients in the water column that the algae need, further retarding growth. The algicide applications performed reduce cell counts before a bloom can occur so the lake is being managed to prevent algae (and cyanobacteria) to reproduce and bloom.
The EPA web link has information about blue-green algae: https://www.epa.gov/cyanohabs. Routine water quality/coliform testing results for July were within normal range.
The committee chairs attended the August 27th committee governance meeting conducted by Councilor Rob Gilmore and subsequently discussed the Lake Committee’s perspectives on whether committee bylaws should be required by the Town Council. The Committee responded to the 3 questions posed:
- Should town committees have rules/procedures? Yes
- Should the Town Council require committees to adopt such rules/procedures? Committees should, at a minimum adopt the guidelines specified in the Open Meeting Act (OMA)
- Are there specific rules/procedures that the committees think should be adopted? If so, that are they? Beyond the OMA, each committee should decide what rules/procedures it needs for their purpose.
The Lake Committee is drafting some bylaws to be further discussed at a subsequent committee meeting. The next committee meeting is tentatively scheduled in February 2020.
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Audrey Maskery
Purchased new trees for Fall planting;
One Bur Oak – Maple Ave. & one Bur Oak Howard Park.
One Red Maple – Woodward Park.
One Weeping Cherry – near Wishing Well in the Circle.
One Kousa Dogwood – Chapel Park.
One Buckeye – near the backstop Woodward Park, & one River Birch.
One Black Gum – Maple Ave/Pine Rd. & One Willow Oak.
MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery
New air-conditioner unit installed to provide stable humid conditions for archival material held in the Archive Room at the Town Hall.
Pressure washed the Chestnut Road side of Town Hall to removed moss and mildew; and applied brown stain.
MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
PLAYGROUNDS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
Nothing to report.