9 March 2015 | Approved: 13 April 2015
Mayor Joli McCathran called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Georgette Cole, Cindy Frei, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Carolyn Rapkievian and Greg Silber. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Planning Commission Chair Charlie Challstrom, residents Darrell Anderson, Paula Puglisi, Ed Roberts and property owner Dennis Kane.
Approval of Agenda
The agenda was approved by general consensus.
Closed Meeting Statement
The 9 February 2015 meeting of the Town Council in the Council Room in McCathran Hall went to a closed session at 9:25 PM. The meeting was closed under General Provisions Article 3-305(b), (1) to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom this public body has jurisdiction; any other personnel matter that affects one or more specific individuals. Georgette Cole, Cindy Frei, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland and Carolyn Rapkievian voted to close the meeting. The Mayor and Town Council (minus Greg Silber) attended the closed session. This was a discussion only. No action was taken. There was no recorded vote.
Charlie Challstrom asked for Council introduction of Ordinance 2015-03; Ordinance Adopting Amendments to Article IV, Sections 1 and 10 Regarding the Issuance of Permanent Easements for Main Buildings Initially Constructed in Part on Land Owned by the Town of Washington Grove. The Council approved this by general consensus.
Darrell Anderson presented written testimony concerning ZTA 2015-01. He also made a request for the plowing of 2nd Avenue die to the health and mobility issues of the resident of #6 The Circle. 2nd Avenue is the shortest access route from Miller drive to the resident’s side entrance.
The Mayor Pro-Tempore to lead the discussion in which the following items were discussed:
- Consistency – Two (2) other avenues (6th amp; Cherry) have regular vehicular access and are currently plowed.
- Safety – The same safety protocols used for the other two (2) avenues would apply here.
- Damage – Potential gravel displacement was questioned but same procedures as the other two (2) avenues would apply.
- Duration – 2nd Avenue plowing is non-transferable and would cease upon the needs of the current resident of #6 the Circle.
- Historical issues involving the resident of #6 The Circle determined to be irrelevant.
- Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts was not present to convey the snow depth needed to safely plow a gravel avenue.
- Notification – Delaying Town council action in order to attain input from nearby residents and Maintenance Supervisor was determined to be unnecessary.
Carolyn Rapkievian moved to approve the plowing of 2nd Avenue after a snowfall of four (4) inches or more. Cindy Frei seconded the motion.
Mr. Roberts expressed his opinions on various matters then left the meeting with Darrell Anderson. The Council discussed the need to protect the integrity of walkways and the potential disruption of the gravel base when plowed. Greg Silber indicated the Council had addressed the issue of plowing walkways in the past and suggested first seeking consistency with that decision; and Steve Werts should have input on this discussion/decision because of his experience with such things. Carolyn Rapkievian called the question. John McClelland introduced an amendment which reads:
- In cases of snowfall when Steve Werts deems it necessary to plow throughout the Town, he will include 2nd Avenue to #6 The Circle in order to accommodate the current resident with medical needs. Vote: 6-0 in favor of the amendment.
Carolyn Rapkievian moved to approve the addition of this amendment to the original motion on the table. The motion was seconded.
The Mayor asked the Town Clerk to call the question and take a roll call vote. The Clerk called the question; Audrey Maskery – Yes, Cindy Frei – Yes, John McClelland – Yes, Greg Silber – Yes, Carolyn Rapkievian – Yes, Georgette Cole – Yes. The motion with the amendment passed.
Approval of Minutes
Georgette Cole moved to approve the meeting minutes for 9 February 2015. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, as amended.
- Carolyn Rapkievian moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for February 2015. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
- Treasurers Report 2015-March pdf
Opening Refuse amp; Recycling Bids
|Company||Refuse||Recycling||Total (per month)|
|Mont. Co. Sanitation||$2613.03||$1769.16||$4382.19|
|Titus Trash Service||$3200.10||$1750.02||$4950.12|
Carolyn Rapkievian moved to accept the bid from Potomac Disposal. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. The Council discussed the difficulties involved in turning a large truck around on lower Ridge Road. Vote: 6-0.
Zoning Text Amendment 2015-01 – Additional Public Comments
The Town Clerk will send Darrell Anderson’s public comments to the Town Council this week. There were no other comments for the record.
Ordinance 2015-03 – Introduction
John McClelland explained this ordinance was an amended document containing language provided by the Town attorney regarding the Town’s processes for historic preservation activities. The new language is expected to afford the Town an improved legal framework. Charlie Challstrom stated the Planning Commission was in full agreement with this language. Charlie reminded the Council that Gail Littlefield had offered two amendments to the "whereas clauses" during the Joint meeting on February 18.
He stated that the Planning Commission believed these additions were useful. The Town Clerk has a copy of Gail’s language and will send it to the Council members.
John McClelland moved to introduce Ordinance 2015-03; Ordinance Adopting Amendments to Article IV, Sections 1 and 10 Regarding the Issuance of Permanent Easements for Main Buildings Initially Constructed in Part on Land Owned by the Town of Washington Grove. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. The public hearing date was set for April 13, 2015. Vote: 6-0.
- Georgette Cole moved to approve the March Council Reports for posting on the website. Greg Silber seconded the motion. Georgette Cole reported being contacted by the President of the Shady Grove Crossing Home Owners Association about a social function involving the Town and Shady Grove Crossing residents. Greg Silber and Georgette Cole will look into this and an event will likely be scheduled in the spring. Audrey Maskery brought up a complaint about a sign at Washington Grove Lane and McCauley Street. It is for the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (a renter at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church) and is placed in such a way that encourages people to make the illegal left turn to enter the Town. Rev. E.J. Joo will be contacted. Vote: 6-0.
- Town Council Reports – April 2015 pdf
- Emergency Preparedness – Update from MML Convention
- Mayor McCathran learned of two (2) levels of Emergency Preparedness training available through the Maryland Municipal League. She reported most municipalities the size of Washington Grove generally defer responses to officials trained in emergency response (Montgomery County Police and Fire amp; Rescue). The Mayor and Council discussed forming a Committee to discuss emergency preparedness; the idea of using McCathran Hall for our emergency contingency location; obtaining a generator for McCathran Hall; gathering and storing such things as cots, blankets, water; and developing a system to account for the whereabouts of residents during an emergency.
- Carolyn Rapkievian will write an announcement for the April Town Bulletin to seek interested residents in developing such a plan.
- Permanent Easements Update – Mayor McCathran reported Jane Seegal (315 Grove Ave.) withdrew her application for a permanent easement because of issues with her insurance company.
- Carolyn Rapkievian reported residents’ concerns about the proximity of Roberts Oxygen to the railroad tracks and about the nature of the toxic, combustible materials that are shuttled through our area on a daily basis. Both Shelley Winkler and Wendy Harris have expressed their concerns in writing to County officials but wondered if the Town should take steps to do anything further. Mayor McCathran suggested a coalition of towns and communities along the CSX lines may do more good than just one (1) town in addressing the transport of dangerous materials by rail. She also indicated if residents had already written to County and other elected officials, there may be little role for the Town, but such things could be discussed at future Council meetings.
- John McClelland made a request for another sign for his business at the commercial corner. It will be a 32 sq. ft. sign advertising a new facet of his business (Tag and Title Services). After some research, it was determined once the Town Council reviews the request and determines it meets the sign ordinance for the commercial corner (Article VII, section 6.342), a letter from the Mayor serves as the Town permit for such activity. Mayor McCathran will write the letter. The Council suggested a letter be written to all business at the commercial corner reminding them of the rules about signs with some additional guidance on the illegal temporary signs which currently exist. Georgette Cole moved to approve the application for a new 32 sq. ft. sign for John McClelland’s business at the commercial corner. Cindy Frei seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0 (McClelland recused himself).
The meeting was adjourned at 10 p.m.