8 December 2014 | Approved: 12 January 2015
Mayor Joli McCathran called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Georgette Cole, Cindy Frei, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Carolyn Rapkievian, and Greg Silber. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Planning Commission Chair Charlie Challstrom, HPC member David Stopak, Pastor EunJoung Joo and residents Darrell Anderson, Sylvie Favret, Marida Hines, and property owner Dennis Kane. Resident Eva Polston arrived at 7:43 p.m. and HPC Chair Bob Booher arrived at 8:25 p.m.
The meeting began with item #6, Permanent Easement Application because a Council member John McClelland, Liaison to the Planning Commission had to leave by 8:00 p.m.
Permanent Easement Application – 203 2nd Ave. – PC Recommendations
Carolyn Rapkievian moved to approve the permanent easement application for 203 2nd Avenue. Cindy Frei seconded the motion. John McClelland began the discussion by stating the Town’s easement requirements as listed in Ordinance 2014-03; Ordinance to Authorize Issuance of Permanent Easements for Main Buildings Initially Constructed in Part on Land Owned by the Town of Washington Grove, and then presented the easement documentation provided and reviewed by the PC and HPC. David Stopak disagreed stating the HPC review submitted to and reviewed by the Planning Commission was for the building permit application for new construction on the property (including the front porch) – not for the permanent easement. He also said the HPC did not review this easement application in part because there was insufficient time to do so. There was a detailed discussion about:
- HPC’s opinion that the building permit review and the permanent easement review were two (2) separate items.
- HPC’s charge to document the history of the property.
- Discussions about front porch, design elements and square footage of this property at previous HPC meetings.
- Delaying Council approval of the easement application until the HPC can do a separate review and the subsequent potentially negative ramifications with Montgomery County’s building permit process.
- Approving the building permit application now and the permanent easement application in January.
- Changes, if any, which would occur as a result of another HPC review.
- PC’s understanding that the new construction/easement request was presented and approved as a joint package.
- Three HPC members were present at the prior December 3, 2014 PC meeting and presented no concerns from the HPC regarding this easement approval process.
- The language requiring the porch floor and posts to be made of wood vs. composite materials.
John McClelland moved to amend the motion on the table by removing the text "with the exception that the porch floor and columns shall be constructed of natural materials such as wood" from the document titled "Deed of Easement and Agreement." The motion was seconded. Additional discussion about the following:
- HPC’s discomfort with the process not being clearly delineated.
- Timely receipt of information from the Town attorney.
- The HPC request for additional time to give an item of such importance an intelligent HPC review and proper consideration.
- Delays, timing and deadlines.
- The purpose of the TC, PC and HPC; to serve residents not to promote self-interests.
The Mayor pointed out the easement for 203 2nd Avenue is the first document which needed to be reviewed by both the HPC and PC and to use this experience as a learning curve. The Mayor called the question. McClelland amendment passed. Vote: 6-0.
The motion on the table to approve the permanent easement application for 203 2nd Avenue passed. Vote: 6-0.
Georgette Cole moved to approve Resolution 2014-06; Council of the Town of Washington Grove Resolution Granting a Permanent Easement. Carolyn Rapkievian seconded the motion. Georgette Cole asked to amend the motion on the table. Since the HPC had not yet submitted their review for the permanent easement for 203 2nd Avenue, she made a motion to remove the words "for permanent easement and" from the fourth paragraph of Resolution 2014-06. Carolyn Rapkievian seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0. The motion to approve Resolution 2014-06 as amended passed. Vote: 5-0
There was further discussion about the need for clarity in the procedure in order to eliminate any confusion which may still exist. Looking toward the future, the Mayor suggested having a joint meeting (TC, PC, HPC) to discuss and clarify the process.
Approval of Agenda
Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Greg Silber seconded the motion. Georgette requested the addition of the re-approval of the minutes from October 13, 2014 under #4. The version approved in November was missing some important information. Carolyn Rapkievian asked to move item #7 (Town Website Development) before Public Appearances in order to allow Marida Hines, who was ill, to get home earlier. Vote: 5-0.
Town Website Development
Carolyn Rapkievian explained she asked a few Town people to review the Scope of Work document created by web designer Marida Hines. The Mayor and Council discussed the following:
- Audio files (rights & permissions).
- Including Past Perfect information.
- A fluid not static site.
- Oversight (to be done by Carolyn Rapkievian not the contract administrator).
- Marida’s time restrictions (very busy until the end of February).
- The Council’s need for a basic, general schedule (Marida will do).
Carolyn Rapkievian moved to approve the Contract/Proposal to Develop Website for the Town of Washington Grove. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
Mayor McCathran asked to move item #9 (WGUMC Memorandum of Understanding – Parking & Snow Removal) to this spot since Pastor Joo had come for a public appearance. The Mayor explained the MOU had been received today and asked the Council to review it. They discussed the pre-arranged use of the parking lot in exchange for snow removal from same. Pastor Joo stated the Church Council approved the concept. Carolyn Rapkievian moved to approve the MOU upon receipt of a signed copy from the church. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
Approval of Minutes
Carolyn Rapkievian moved to approve the meeting minutes for 13 October 2014 as amended. Greg Silber seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
Georgette Cole moved to approve the meeting minutes from 10 November 2014. Cindy Frei seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
- Carolyn Rapkievian moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for November 2014. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. There was a brief discussion about the annual road report for the State. Vote: 5-0.
- Treasurers Report 2014-December pdf
Application for Zoning Text Amendment
Mayor McCathran reported she and the Council are still awaiting a response from the Town attorney. At this time there was additional, non-structured discussion about the permanent easement application process, clarity, deadlines, and HPC language about non-compliance in the ZTA.
- Greg Silber moved to accept the Council Reports and approve for posting on the Town website. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. The Mayor and Council discussed "skins" on STOP signs, the revision of the Information for Applicants document that comes with a building permit application, the back-up snow contract, and the PEPCO pole replacement job. We need the snow contract in writing and Audrey Maskery was asked to speak to Steve Werts about it. Audrey Maskery reported Steve Werts did not wish to have the old poles for future use. She also reported she would ask PEPCO to remove the old poles in order to avoid numerous "double poles" standing in Town. In addition, Audrey stated the PEPCO tree trimming job for increased reliability would only jeopardize two (2) trees. Vote: 5-0.
Mayor McCathran reported the receipt of a response from Montgomery County Department of Transportation pertaining to the Mayor’s letter regarding requests made by our Traffic Safety Advisory Committee. The response came from Mr. Marc Terry and, unfortunately, had been sent to the Montgomery Village Foundation by mistake. In summary, many of the requests made simply did not meet the thresholds specified in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and MCDOT could not comply with the requests. Mayor McCathran will send this response to the Committee and ask if they would like to reply. The Mayor and Council discussed focusing on the positive and acknowledging what will be done, pushing back a little on items they denied and asking for pedestrian traffic data. This will be an agenda item for January.
- As follow-up to last month’s discussion about climate change, Carolyn Rapkievian reported Ned Helm was not available to talk to the Council this month and is not sure about January.
- There being no further business, the regular meeting adjourned at 9:49 p.m.
- Georgette Cole moved, Cindy Frei seconded the meeting be closed to the public in order to discuss personnel matters. Vote: 5-0. The Mayor and Council went into closed session at 9:50 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:49 p.m.