10 January 2000 | Approved: 7 February 2000
Mayor John Compton called the meeting to order at 7:36 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Dave Gumula, Nick Suzich, Carol Uhlendorf and Allen Winter. Town residents present: Charlie Challstrom and George Paine. Washington Grove Hills residents present: . Washington Grove Hills residents present: Tony and Connie DeIuliis and Mike Voigt. Also present were Bob Ellis and Jack Kontgias, contract purchasers of the WSSC property, and Gaithersburg Gazette reporter Karen O’Keefe.
Approval of Minutes
Carol Uhlendorf moved, Nick Suzich seconded, that the Town Council minutes of December 13, 1999 be approved. Vote: 4-0.
Carol Uhlendorf moved, Nick Suzich seconded, acceptance of the Treasurer’s report. Vote: 4-0. Nick Suzich moved, Carol Uhlendorf seconded, that the Treasurer be authorized to transfer funds, if necessary, to pay bills in January. Vote: 4-0.
Mayor Compton announced the following:
- The Mayor will be out of town for the February 14 Council meeting and the Council agreed to reschedule its meeting for Monday, February 7.
- The February Council agenda will include acceptance of the annual Audit Report prepared by Lindsey & Salita.
- Volunteers did a wonderful job putting on the New Years Eve Millennium party at McCathran Hall.
- Vicki Erhart has been appointed street light czar and will report burned out street lights to Mary Challstrom for relay to PEPCO.
- The Prime Choice Caterers have not applied for a business license.
- A lighting plan for the commercial corner parking lot has been sent for Town approval.
- Electric deregulation is coming to Maryland and governments are trying to decide how they can take advantage of deregulation to reduce costs for their citizens.
- In addition to support from County planning staff for Legacy Open Space funding for the Casey parcels, the Town has received indications of support from County Councilmember Derrick Berlage of the County Committee for Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED), as well as the Maryland Alliance for Greenway Improvement and Conservation (MAGIC) and the Sierra Club.
- County stormwater inspectors have been asked to compel completion of the stormwater facility in Brown Street Station. The Brown Street Station developer will soon be asked to complete the offsite afforestation requirement of their forest conservation plan.
Zoning Text Amendment for Conditional Zoning or Rezoning
Allen Winter moved to introduce Ordinance No. 2000-01 which proposes to amend Section 13 of the Washington Grove Zoning Ordinance to afford the Town Council, upon the zoning or rezoning of property, the opportunity to adopt such additional restrictions, conditions or limitations deemed appropriate to preserve, improve or protect the general character of the Town. Carol Uhlendorf seconded the motion. Copies of an amended version of the text prepared by Town Attorney Bill Roberts were distributed. This amendment eliminated strict details in what is to be included in the application for a local map amendment. Allen Winter moved, Nick Suzich seconded, that this amendment be accepted. Vote: 4-0. Dave Gumula stated that the proposed zoning text amendment is overkill and is too restrictive in telling people what they can do with their property. Mayor Compton said that the Planning Commission had been disappointed with the lack of visual variety in the Brown Street Station development, and that conditional zoning would permit the Town to require visual variety in new development that was being zoned or rezoned and considered it to be in the public interest. Vote: 3-1. A public hearing on the zoning text amendment was set for Monday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Local Map Amendment Application for WSSC Property
Allen Winter submitted an application from the Planning Commission requesting that the WSSC property be rezoned from RR-3 to RR-1. The application is complete except for detailed conditions to be attached to the rezoning. Allen summarized conditions proposed by the Planning Commission which include requiring land set aside for forest conservation to be dedicated to public use, approval of house facades, driveway/garage arrangements and stormwater facilities. In addition, matching funds may be required from the developer for repairs to Ridge Road caused by heavy construction vehicles. Dave Gumula asked why the zoning proposed for the WSSC property (RR-1) is different from that proposed for Washington Grove Hills (RR-4). Allen Winter said that the proximity of the WSSC property to the Town’s RR-1 zone makes it reasonable to put the WSSC property in the RR-1 zone and that Washington Grove Hills could be looked at separately.
Roads and Walkways
Dave Gumula reported that B&B Paving has completed repairs to Ridge Road and Center Street. John Compton said that in light of recent break-ins, the Town should move forward with plans to improve street sign visibility and to provide help with house address numbers.
Grove Historian Phil Edwards has been invited to speak about Washington Grove at the Montgomery County Historical Society on Sunday, February 20.
Carol Uhlendorf reported that different opinions have emerged from Tree Improvement Advisory Committee members about the value of a tree inventory. The Town will purchase 25-30 white oak trees for planting as part of Maryland’s Arbor Day celebration. The Forestry Committee is considering a Forestry Weekend with speakers and special activities to promote tree care. George Paine expressed concern about ivy that has engulfed many large Town trees. It was suggested that a forestry work party in addition to Town maintenance efforts would be helpful to combat this serious threat to tree health. Carol reported that the Maryland Department of Agriculture has found the Town’s gypsy moth egg case count to be quite high again and the State plans to spray in May. The State would like to use Dimilin because it has proven to be more effective than B.t. The Forestry Committee will research and make a recommendation to the Council on which agent is most desirable.
Carol Uhlendorf reported that the Town will sponsor a legislator at the Montgomery Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League’s annual Legislative Dinner in Annapolis on January 25.
Town Hall Improvements
Carol Uhlendorf announced that Leila Keese has agreed to help with the Town Hall landscaping project. The Council authorized Nick Suzich to purchase two new lightweight aluminum tables for the Town Hall and Dave Gumula suggested that the Hall trash receptacles be replaced.
The Council agreed that a letter should be sent to U.S. Lawns expressing the Town’s dissatisfaction with their fall leaf collection performance. The letter should specifically reference the liquidated damages section and the Town’s intent to apply this penalty without hesitation in the future.
The Program Open Space application for playground improvements in Woodward Park must be submitted by June for project completion next fall. Town funds available will likely buy one large piece of equipment and several ancillary pieces.
The Swing Time Big Band is scheduled to perform in McCathran Hall in February. This dance band practices in McCathran Hall several times each month.
Allen Winter reported that the residence at 119 Grove Avenue was broken into over New Years weekend and that nothing of value was taken. A car was broken into at 500 McCauley Street a few days later.
Allen Winter reported that the Commission is considering a zoning text amendment that would permit, by special exception, certain service uses at the Grove’s commercial corner. Text is being prepared for review by the Town Attorney.
Mayor Compton said that Don and Bobbie Gallagher have requested that the speed hump in front of their house at 125 Washington Grove Lane be removed because heavy vehicles going over the hump frequently shake their house. The Town is consulting with County traffic engineer Dave Loughery to see if there is an engineering solution to the problem. Mayor Compton suggested that residents on Chestnut Road be polled to see if speed humps are desired to slow traffic.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:17 p.m.