10 May 2008 | Approved: 9 May 2009
Mayor John Compton called the 73rd Annual Town Meeting to order at 7:43 p.m. The Reverend Judy Young delivered the invocation. There were over 50 residents in attendance.
Approval of Minutes
It was moved and seconded that the Annual Town Meeting minutes of May 12, 2007 be approved. It passed unanimously.
Mayor Compton thanked, and mentioned by name, members of the Town Council, Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Elections, Fire Board and the Audit Committee. He also talked about the importance of volunteering and asked for people to fill the voids on the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission. He also mentioned that paid positions for minute takers were available for both the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission.
The Mayor spoke about all of the other volunteers who beautify our Town, organize activities and care for Maple Lake. He specifically mentioned;
- The Recreation Committee
- The Lake Committee
- The Forestry & Beautification Committee
- The Website Coordinator, Bill Saar
- The Town Trash Brigade
- The Summer In The Parks Coordinators
- The Mousetrap Concert Series Coordinators
- The McCathran Hall Needs Committee
- The Woman’s Club
Mayor Compton made a call for volunteers and encouraged residents, old and new, to continue the Town’s strong volunteer tradition.
Mayor Compton also thanked Town employees Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Maintenance Supervisor James Fletcher and Town Clerk Kathy Lehman for taking care of the Town.
Mayor Compton reported that the state of the Town was good. He commented on the many issues and projects from the past year including; contracted services (refuse/recycling collection, leaf pick-up and snow removal went well), roads & walkways (crack sealing & 30K in road repairs will happen shortly), trees (spent the entire tree budget because the old oaks are all being adversely effected by drought & age), new water wagon purchased in order to make watering new trees easier, restoration of the soccer field, a geese-less Maple Lake, car accident damage to Railroad Park, re-surfacing and sealing of the asphalt tennis court, playground committee (will be reactivated this year) and McCathran Hall work (furnace maintenance, window cleaning, electrical upgrades & blinds).
Mayor Compton also made note of the following Municipal Issues;
- Town Council now meets twice per month (2 shorter meetings).
- Traffic calming recommendations (Dorsey St. stop signs & more visible crosswalks).
- Continued work on Town Ordinances (revision of Home Occupation ordinance, revision of Article IX; Penalties-Enforcement-Severability, Cluster Option Zoning Text Amendment, revision of the Woodward Park Ordinance and changes to the accompanying resolution)
Mayor Compton continued with a list of issues that will be coming up in the near future along with some brief explanations.
- Town Master Plan enactment
- Woods Preservation Projects
- Piedmont Crossing Landscape Plan
- Commercial Corner (possible renovation in the works)
- Possible annexation of property at 465 E. Diamond Ave. (Hanagan’s) & 469 E. Diamond Ave. (Action Hauling)
- Phase I Site Plan for the Piedmont Crossing development adjacent to Ridge Road
- Phase II Site Plan for the Piedmont Crossing development adjacent to Ridge Road (M-NCPPC may want this property for a ball field)
- Legacy Open Space Condemnation – John explained that M-NCPPC appealed the Circuit Court’s ruling to exclude them as a 3rd party defendant in the LOS lawsuit. Perhaps the condemnation trial will get back on track later this year. The M-NCPPC hearing is set for November.
- Deer Park Bridge (no further action on this)
- InterCounty Connector (The Town should continue to monitor this. The way the highway is built DOES have an effect on the Town. State Highway should be asked to take all necessary noise reduction precautions.)
Town Woods Report
As a follow-up to last year’s concern about the state of our Town Woods, Ann Briggs and Charlie Challstrom did a visual presentation.
- Erosion – corrective action was taken in both the East and West Woods. An Eagle Scout project managed by Peter Suzich placed big rocks to slow down the water in select areas in the West Woods. Town volunteers built 2 new bridges for new paths in the East Woods.
- Invasive Ivy – corrective action was taken in both the East and West woods in the form of two (2) days of cutting and professional spraying.
- Trash – in conjunction with the Eagle Scout project, a massive trash pickup was completed. Audrey Maskery, Jeanie Myers and Dan Tutas continue to do their volunteer weekly trash removal.
- Two (2) “identity fences” have been installed near the entrance to Maple Lake. This action is an effort to show ownership and to show that the Town cares.
- Education & Outreach – action here involves adding occasional “Did you know…” information in the Town Bulletin and reaching out to those who border our woods.
- The Town now has detailed soils and topographic reference maps in various forms.
Ann went on to report that there is still work to be done, including; further monitoring of the run-off, more trash removal, re-configuring of existing trails to help with erosion, controlling invasive & destructive plants, revitalizing Whetstone Spring, restoring Maple Spring, enhancement of fire control and more border identification. She praised the sub-groups from the Woods Preservation Group along with resident Peter Suzich and neighbor John Bradfield.
The election results were announced. For Mayor, Darrell Anderson received 90 votes, Charlie Challstrom, a write in, received 1 vote. For Town Council (3-year term), Georgette Cole received 97 votes, Joe Clark received 87 votes and David Stopak, a write in, received 1 vote. For Town Council (1-year term remaining/Anderson), John Compton received 73 votes and Terry Kirtz received 28 votes.
Discussion of Town Council Reports
There were no questions about the Town Council reports. Both Ann Briggs and John Compton commented on the benefits of having the three Town employees living and volunteering in Town. Ann also pointed out the short wall (ladder screen) that was built by Jim Fletcher to hide the ladders on top of the stage. Alice Negin reported that her husband stated that his work on the McCathran Hall upgrades was an electrifying experience.
Action of FY 2009 Budget and Tax Rates
Mayor Compton made a few comments about the budget and the tax rate. He also stated that the Town budget will absorb a little of the refuse/recycling increase and leave the dwelling fee unchanged. The Mayor made note of the following;
- Town Legal Expenses are proposed to be the same.
- Planning and Zoning includes limited use of a Code Inspector and the on-going Town block survey project.
- Municipal Buildings include electrical upgrades and the reconfiguration of the furnace room stairway at McCathran Hall.
- Refuse/Recycling is higher but we will spend all of it.
- Parks Expense includes the work proposed by the Woods Preservation Group and the privately contracted Gypsy Moth spraying.
Darrell Anderson moved to approve the budget for FY 2009 as proposed.
Carol Uhlendorf seconded the motion. There was no further discussion. Vote: Unanimous
Tom Land moved to approve the proposed tax rate. The motion was seconded. Charlie Challstrom pointed out that taxes aren’t going up. Vote: Unanimous.
Mayor Compton noted that David Stopak was leaving the Council and he thanked him for his service. He urged residents to read David’s Council Report concerning the challenges of preservation.
Historic Preservation Commission Report
HPC chairman Bob Booher noted the historic marker (big rock) in Morgan Park. Smaller markers showing where other buildings once stood (the hotel & the auditorium) are being considered. Bob also mentioned the small library started by the HPC in the Council Room and the fact that David Neumann has volunteered to do some archival work on a temporary basis.
The HPC participated in the Town Master Plan process this year, worked on the plans submitted for the Commercial Corner renovation, encouraged people to add information to the website house history project and continue to help take steps to maintain the value that this Town possesses. Bob specifically thanked Judy Mroczka for her efforts with the oral history project.
The Historic Preservation Award for this year was presented to Paula Puglisi and Darrell Anderson for their kitchen expansion/renovation.
Mayor Compton thanked the entire Historic Preservation Commission for all of their work during the past year.
Planning Commission Report
Charlie Challstrom reported for the Planning Commission. The highlight for this year was the Master Plan work. Thanks to Website Coordinator Bill Saar, Draft #3 can be seen on the Town website. The schedule is set for approval at the June PC meeting and then a September Public Hearing. The Commission hopes to make use of the Code Inspector during the coming year. Charlie thanked all the participants who served on the focus groups for the Master Plan.
Leila Keese brought forth a motion. We the people of Washington Grove move to commend and thank Mayor John Compton for his leadership, competence and perseverance during his time as Mayor. Ann Briggs seconded the motion. It was unanimously approved and there was much applause. John spoke briefly about why he does what he does, stating that he really enjoys it. He also said that the decision to run again and again was easy because of the support that he always felt.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:17 PM.
The party honoring Mayor Compton began at 9:18 PM.