23 April 2007 | Approved: 11 June 2007
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:34 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Georgette Cole, Kathie Evans, Betsy Klinger, and David Stopak. Also present were; Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Charlie Challstrom, Keith Spangler-Vellios, George Paine, Gary Gordon, Birgit Henninger, and Ed Roberts.
Keith Spangler-Vellios came to talk about preservation of the buffer between lower Ridge Road and the proposed development. He also expressed great concern about the preservation of the wells on lower Ridge Road. Mr. Spangler-Vellios asked for the Council’s support on these two issues adding that he had written the County Executive but received no response. Mr. Spangler-Vellios did contact Delegate Ali who offered to help by sending something from his office. Mayor Compton said that he and the Council are aware of these two issues and are watching them closely. David Stopak stated that he didn’t believe that this was even on the Park & Planning “radar screen”. Mayor Compton will call and ask for a meeting with Park & Planning to see the revised site plan and to discuss these two concerns.
Cator/Harrison Property Annexation Update
Charlie Challstrom reported that the property owners have concerns about a Historic Preservation Commission review, the distance from the railroad tracks, and the creation of a new zone. They are under a strict time constraint and need to be sure that the Town can meet their deadline. Charlie explained that the target date to iron-out any pending issues is May 21st.
Woodward Park Soccer Field Use
Mayor Compton reviewed the on-going issue of noise and traffic. He also reviewed the current policy. A discussion ensued… The biggest problem appears to be communication. The following questions were asked,
- Why do we have permits?
- If it’s full why can’t we change the number of permitted days?
- Why can’t the rules be changed?
Mayor Compton explained that the permits are more for an effort to control the use, not restrict it. Kathie Evans wants to remove the restrictions and open a weekend day – good community relations. Betsy Klinger volunteered to talk to Christiana Figueres to help with communication. Kathie Evans asked for a sense of the Council concerning making a change that would make the requirement for permits effective for weekdays only with Saturdays & Sundays as non-permitted days but used in accordance with noise regulations etc… The sense of the Council was “yes”. Birgit Henninger stated that she thought that permits should be issued regardless of which days they were issued. Birgit also suggested that the regulations allow for 3 of the 4 permitted days to be during the week and 1 day be on the weekend. Mayor Compton reminded the Town Council that the rules for Woodward Park were done by ordinance and that any change must go through the public hearing process. Someone must propose the ordinance change. The current permits run out after the 22nd of June and then the Town Council should make the change. Kathie Evans reminded the Council, for the record, that what is not onerous for us is daunting for others.
Town Block Surveys
Charlie Challstrom gave a brief status report and brought up the concerns presented by the Planning Commission. The Commission’s most pressing concerns are the mortgage and insurance problems that could arise for residents if encroachments on Town property are officially recorded. Charlie also explained that establishing the block corners not only benefits the residents but helps with identifying road/walkway rights of way and set backs. He urged the Council to move forward on this. Discussion…
Kathie Evans moved to endorse the filing of the block corner surveys of blocks 11, 12, and 14 and to move ahead with the block corner survey of block 10 and Johnson Alley. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Discussion… the motion was withdrawn.
There was a motion to introduce Resolution #2007-05; Resolution Adopting Completed Boundary Surveys of Blocks 11, 12, 14, and 17 in the Town of Washington Grove, Maryland. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Discussion… The resolution was amended by adding the following language; Be it further resolved that additional surveys of Block 10 and the right of way of Johnson Alley be undertaken in the current fiscal year. The resolution passed as amended.
Personnel Policy Review
Mayor Compton reviewed a memo from Treasurer Mary Challstrom about accumulating leave, maximum hours, and compensatory time. The Mayor and Council agreed to use the calendar year not the fiscal year, a maximum carryover for both sick and vacation time of 160 hours, and that earned compensatory time (as of the time of the new policy) must be used in the current quarter. Any compensatory time accumulated before this change must be used by December 31, 2007.
Kathie Evans moved to incorporate these changes in the Town Personnel Policy. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
Betsy Klinger brought up the issue of performance reviews. Mayor Compton set June 15, 2007 as the deadline for employee reviews.
Darrell Anderson reported on the following:
Master Plan Review – The Planning Commission reviewed Sections 4, 5, 8, and 9 of the Master Plan. There were no controversial additions or subtractions to any of these sections by the Commission. There were, however, significant suggested deletions of text relating to the Historical Preservation Committee (HPC) from Section 8. The Commission felt that much of this text should be considered for the Introduction to the Master Plan, and will work to include some of the concepts. The Master Plan review will be completed at the May meeting with review of Sections 6 and 7.
306 Chestnut Avenue (Kelly) – approval of a fence under Section VII, Article 3.328 that was previously approved in 2005. The resident was asked to reapply for the permit due to the length of time expired since prior approval.
117 Grove Avenue (Robertson) – review of plans for a shed. The review indicated compliance with all Town Ordinances; the resident will be asked to submit the plans to the HPC.
Casey 6 and 7 – The Commission reviewed a letter from Bob Booher regarding concerns about the placement of a State Highway Administration (SHA) maintenance facility on the Casey lot abutting the Town. After much discussion, the Commission passed a resolution to encourage the Town Council to pass a resolution that does not oppose the facility, but for the SHA to conduct environmental impact study consistent with Section 106; after the study, the SHA should work with the Town to provide mitigation of any environmental concerns indicated by the study. The Mayor and Council discussed the idea of passing a resolution concerning the impact of the ICC.
Code Enforcement Officer – The Commission heard a report on the interview with Mr. Larry Plummer for the position of Code Enforcement Officer. They fully support entering negotiations to hire him for this position. It also was suggested to change the position title to Code Inspection Officer.
Town Survey – The Commission would like the ongoing Town Survey to continue. They are being polled on whether to accept the current surveys of Blocks 11, 12, 14, and 17.
Darrell Anderson reported that the March meeting of the MML was held on Wednesday March 21, 2007, at the Executive Office Building. This was the annual meeting with the County Council. Of interest to the Town was the MML business meeting that followed. An ongoing lawsuit against PEPCO to allow ownership of light poles in municipalities may be something that the Town may want to support. The lawsuit was spurred by a rate-hike request from Pepco that includes significant increases in pole maintenance fees. I will keep the Town Council apprised of progress on the lawsuit, as the rate increase will significantly increase our payments to PEPCO.
Forestry & Beautification
Georgette Cole reported the following:
The Forestry Committee met on Wednesday March 28. The committee now has co-chairs with Audrey Maskery joining Carol Uhlendorf. The committee would like to change the committee name to Forestry Committee as they feel it better reflects the serious nature of the work that they do.
Plans for Arbor Day were covered and the day will begin with coffee, lemonade and donuts at the Town Hall office at 10 AM on April 21st. This will be followed by cleanup and planting around McCathran Hall.
Other items discussed were:
- Condition of the under canopy in the East and West Wood Forest Preserves
- Trash collection along the Town borders and in the Forest Preserves
- Resumption of the Town tree inventory
- More gravel on Oak Street the next time graveling is done
- Introduction of new trash receptacles, starting with the soccer field (see figure below)
- What structure would most suitable for keeping vehicles off the soccer field?
- Query on status of the former garden allotments on the edge of the field
There was a brief discussion about a trash receptacle in Woodward Park (see above). Georgette Cole made a motion to try a test trash container, like the sketch above, in Woodward Park for three (3) months. Betsy Klinger seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
Roads and Walkways
Jim Fletcher, Kathy Lehman and I have come up with a list of road repairs to put out for bid for fiscal 2006-07. Jim is marking patch areas on the roads in question. Kathy has put together letters soliciting bids that will go out before the April 9 Council Meeting. We are advising the contractors that we plan to open the bids at the May 21 Council Meeting and would like the work to commence promptly thereafter to fall within the current fiscal year.
Kathie Evans reported the following:
All is going as expected with trash, recycling and yard waste pickup.
Our leaf contractor US Lawns picked up leaves for two days during the last week of April to complete its commitment for spring leaf pickup.
Kathie Evans reported the following:
Bill Saar reminded me that our agreement was for a monthly payment at $100.00 not $200.00. So the budget entry will be appropriately adjusted.
Betsy Klinger reported the following:
Recreation Committee meets on alternate months but is now meeting on the 4th Wed. rather than 4th Tue. Met March 28 and will meet next on May 23.
Discussed St Pat’s Day Ceili Dance:
- Reason for lower attendance this year by Town residents (Less publicity & event fell on actual St Pat’s Day this year)
- Incomplete clean-up / lock-up after the dance (Should Rec-sponsored activity planners be given the form designed for rentals, and should a Rec person always be assigned to each
- such event to see that users close up properly?) No decision on policy but will assign Rec member to oversee closing at Fall Ceili dance.
Discussions of other upcoming events included:
- Family Program (4/15) – Reptile World
- Town Meeting Party (5/12) – Decided against platters of sandwiches this year
- Music Weekend – Will switch Friday and Saturday concerts to accommodate Rock & Roll Relics. No program yet for other evening.
- July 4th – Plan to replace hot dog picnic or evening campfire this year with brunch/potluck on Grove Avenue outside McCathran Hall, 10 to noon. Will provide budget. Costume judging will occur during brunch and parade will begin there.
- Art Show – (This Fall) Rec Committee will provide budget only, not responsibility for planning. Will allow use of “commitments” provided at the door for patrons to give to artists instead of money.
Betsy Klinger reported the following:
Electrical upgrade in the Hall – Choice of lighting for the upper room is not complicating the procurement of an estimate. Ann will provide a brief statement at the Monday meeting on how that effort to get that estimate now stands.
Betsy Klinger reported the following:
Investigated response of fire trucks to Grove addresses – Lt. Beall, at Communications Dept, ECC is checking on possibility of adding directional info to county database but says system is complicated.
Spoke with and visited Captain Bill Wells of MCFD Station 8 (Russell Ave). Reports that the truck drivers don’t use ECC info for directions – they consult flip books of hard copy maps mounted in the cab as they drive. Station 8 sends this map to other area stations to use also.
Retrieved copies of WG pages that they use: maps show streets, avenues and hydrants. One map shows north half of the Grove, including Center St, but although only this map shows Ridge Road extended, the only connection between east and west sides of Town shown is Center St. (the blocking posts are not shown). The two connecting maps showing south parts of Town (and Brown St connection) are oriented at 90 degrees to this one. Also the maps are missing the most recently built homes (lower Ridge homes and Gumula’s). I am trying to re-configure the maps.
The captain expressed great frustration with access in the Grove, specifically:
- Hydrants on un-gravelled walkways which (according to him) Sta. 8 refuses to use for fear of becoming mired. Trucks have to be close enough to hydrant for a pumper to increase pressure sufficiently for firefighting.
- Signs that are not plainly visible at night.
- Difficulty maneuvering trucks on small roads and tight corners in Town.
I mentioned that practice drives around Town were routine in the past. Capt. Wells seemed to agree that it would be helpful and to indicate that they do still do this, but my impression from his reply was that if they do, it is very infrequent.
Other notes: When a call to 911 comes in it is picked up by all area stations and all stations that have trucks available respond. In the case of the Odick fire, excellent instructions were given by Sarah L. who called 911. The first trucks responding found the location quickly but others wandered quite a bit. Two of the trucks responding were from Station 8. Trucks responding to Grove calls often enter Town on McCauley and (I suspect) then consult their street maps to locate the address. Current maps are not useful for finding a route to the east side of Town or even to any addresses south of Center. The maps or ECC need to clearly state that to reach addresses on Brown, Pine, Ridge, Maple Rd or Ave, Oak, Cherry, or #400 and up on Center, all trucks should enter the Grove from one of the two entrances on RR St.
Betsy Klinger reported the following:
Speeding. – Speeding continues to be a complaint from residents. The speeders range from Grove residents and visitors to contractors and delivery trucks. When the roads are wet or icy, speeders lose control of their vehicles more easily; when the weather is nice, more children are likely to be outdoors playing. Please make an extra attempt every day to keep your speed down to 15 mph.
Mar. 29: Attempted theft. 200 block Chestnut Road – Resident reported seeing an individual (not a Grove resident) removing a bicycle from another resident’s garage. Police were summoned to the location and questioned the individual, but took no further action.
Apr. 1: Vagrancy. West Woods – A resident out dog walking discovered evidence of someone living in the West Woods near the edge of Kelley Park. A black tarp covered two suitcases full of clothing. On April 2, more items and a structure were found at the site. Police were summoned to the location but found no one. Police found no ID in the belongings, but they planned to return later in the evening hoping to catch the individual.
Apr. 8: Vagrancy. West Woods – Another resident out dog walking saw a man with a campfire at the same location as reported April 1. The resident summoned the police, who then called the fire department to put out the fire. The man was obviously living at the site. The man was told to pack up his things and move on.
Historic Preservation Commission:
David Stopak reported the following:
The HPC welcomed new member Margot Bohan, who immediately demonstrated to be an invaluable addition by bringing delicious homemade cookies.
Permit Reviews: 303 McCauley: Renovation of the LeCompte property was discussed as preliminary review, which allows applicant to proceed to PC without referral back to HPC. Phone consultation with the applicant during the meeting allowed HPC to work around lack of specifics provided on paper.
House Histories: Announcement of this feature on web site is ready for next newsletter
Oral History Project: This project continues to move forward with interviews of B. Hawk and C. Uhlendorf.
ICC: Bob Booher met with Secretary of Transportation Procari along with members of SGA. Next step is to meet with Public Relations arm of ICC project. Town and SGA continue to spin wheels. Meanwhile contract for our leg of ICC has been awarded with construction scheduled to begin this fall.
Casey 6-7 and ICC Maintenance Facility: HPC received and reviewed the preliminary plan for SHA facility for the ICC on Casey 6. This is the same plan that has been in Council room for last several months. Plan was referred to HPC by the applicant with a request for comment before its presentation to the County Planning Commission. Meanwhile, a preliminary plan for only the Crabbs Branch extension to the facility was approved by the Board last week. It has been suggested that the Town Council might want to add comment to this review. In case Council members have not seen it, the first draft is attached below.
- Legacy Open Space Condemnation – Mayor Compton reported that the hearing on Summary Judgment in April 24th. He also reported that Park & Planning and Toll Brothers have done a land transfer (“flim-flam style”) of the LOS property. Bil Chen filed an argument immediately. Discussion…
- Piedmont Crossing Phase 1 Update – Mayor Compton reported that the site plan had been revised. There are more trees and some lots removed. The Mayor asked the Clerk to call Park & Planning and ask for a copy of the new plan. More discussion…
- Mayor Compton reported that the State Highway Administration is doing community outreach. A meeting could be scheduled as soon as next week.
- Betsy Klinger reported that she would like to investigate a sub-meter for water use. She also reported that she did communicate with Dan Hardy from DPWT about the realignment of Railroad Street.
Kathie Evans moved to adjourn. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:38 p.m.