13 August 2001 | Approved: 10 September 2001
Mayor John Compton called the meeting to order at 7:38 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Dave Gumula, Tricia Knox, Peggy Odick, Nick Suzich, and Dodie Tippens. Town residents Betsy Klinger, Rev. Patrick Malone, Ressie Malone, David Neumann, Barbara Raimondo and David Stopak also were present, along with Gaithersburg Gazette reporter Clementina Pope.
The Reverend Patrick Malone, pastor of Washington Grove United Methodist Church, and his wife Ressie introduced themselves and said that they were happy to be in the Grove.
David Neumann presented a petition signed by 16 residents to the Mayor and Town Council requesting that the Town obtain correction plats for each of the blocks emanating from the Circle and that each of these blocks be monumented. The petition also asked that beginning with this fiscal year, the Town budget and contract for one such correction plat each year and asked the Planning Commission to prioritize the work, assessing the survey needs of the entire Town, and include this project in the next Master Plan. The Council agreed that the Commission should proceed to develop a project description for surveying work with the goal of recording the necessary correction plats.
Approval of Minutes
Peggy Odick moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, that the Town Council minutes of July 9, 2001 be approved. Vote: 6-0.
Dave Gumula moved, Dodie Tippens seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for July be accepted. Vote: 6-0.
Mayor Compton announced the following:
- Joe and Mary Ann Adams have asked that their appeal to the Court of Special Appeals in Adams v. Town of Washington Grove be dismissed.
- Montgomery County Regional Services Centers are offering a grant program to community groups who can use some financial support in the achievement of a community program or initiative. Funds are limited.
Casey Field Development Issues/Status Report
Mayor Compton reported that the Oxbridge Group filed a pre-preliminary plan entitled Casey Property at Mill Creek featuring dense clustered housing (162 units) almost identical to the plan previously presented. The Town plans to attend a meeting of the Development Review Committee on August 27. Prior to that meeting, Town representatives will meet with Park and Planning staff to get informed staff views on transportation, compatibility, impact and piecemeal development issues. The Legacy Open Space staff at Park and Planning has prepared a draft report recommending that the upper field or a major portion of it be preserved as open space through the planning process. The Legacy Open Space Advisory Board approved the draft report and it will go before the Planning Board at a public hearing towards the end of September. Letters to the Planning Board and the support of our State and County officials for this recommendation should be vigorously pursued. The Mayor said that he plans to meet soon with a potential developer of the Casey industrial tract who is planning to seek a special exception to build dense low-income housing on the tract.
Barbara Raimondo reported on the tour and lunch she organized for Elise Butler of Preservation Maryland. The Town has applied for a $5,000 grant from Preservation Maryland to help defray expenses in the Casey Field preservation effort. Carole Huberman, Betsy Klinger and Shelley Winkler helped with the tour/lunch. Ms. Butler suggested that the Town gain support from conservation groups.
Mayor Compton said that he would call Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz to discuss the Casey Trust and development on the Casey tract. Explorations into “senior” or “active adult” housing have been put on hold because of Sami Totah’s cool reception to the concept. In earlier discussions, Mr. Totah had raised the possibility of “active adult” housing for a part of the project.
Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance
Mayor Compton reported that Town Attorney Bill Roberts drafted an amendment (paragraph l.) to the proposed ordinance introduced at the July 9 Council meeting. The proposed amendment would need to be acted upon at a regular meeting either before or after the September 6 public hearing on the ordinance. The amendment explicitly authorizes the Commission to adopt guidelines for its review of proposed construction. Tricia Knox stated that even with the guidelines, acting on the advice of the Historic Preservation Commission would still be voluntary. Darrell Anderson asked if every permit would have to be reviewed by the Commission. Mayor Compton said that there should be a way to exempt certain minor improvements from review by the Commission.
Dodie Tippens reported that the Gaithersburg High School Band (100 students) had requested to have a picnic at the lake. The Lake Committee discussed the lack of restroom facilities, adequate parking and lifeguards, and decided that Lake Party Permits would not be issued to groups of more than 40 people. Dodie reported that bids for replacing the Maple Lake dock are being sought by September 10.
Dodie announced that Craig English, assisted by John Hutchinson, has agreed to organize the Labor Day weekend sporting events again this year. The Washington Grove Film Society has announced their film series for the 2001-02 season. Call Birgit Henninger for information and tickets. Mousetrap Concert Series brochures will be mailed soon.
In addition to their regular tasks, Jim Fletcher and Britt Garoni have trimmed intersections to improve visibility, repaired the lake fence, and took a load of garbage from the area around the Maintenance Shop to the Transfer Station.
Tricia Knox reported that a bike theft had been interrupted and that a Toyota van had been stolen and recovered. Ways to improve pedestrian safety at Oak Street intersections with Maple Road and Grove Road were discussed.
Dave Gumula announced the publication of “A History of the Woman’s Club of Washington Grove” by Sylvia Tate Horan and said that there would be a book signing on Sunday, September 16, from 3 to 5 p.m. at The Woman’s Clubhouse.
Darrell Anderson reported that the Commission discussed issues of density and cluster zoning relative to annexation of the Cator property. The Commission plans to investigate the ownership of the Roberts Oxygen property to determine if actions need to be taken to protect that property from development. A request from a Town resident to explore Town-owned and privately owned building lots within the Town will be presented at the next Commission meeting. The Commission will also investigate the existence of a “scenic road” ordinance in Montgomery County or the State of Maryland to determine if Ridge Road may be so designated.
Darrell Anderson reported that more than 30 homeowners requested a visit from the Town Forester to discuss the health of their trees in the first round. At their September meeting, the Forestry Committee will review tree inventory data sheets developed by Town Forester Dan Landry. The Committee hopes to begin the inventory with volunteers in October.
Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher, in a letter to the Mayor and Council, asked for a decision on removal of a large dead oak at the intersection of Oak Street and Chestnut Road, as well as a tulip poplar on Chestnut Avenue behind the Adams residence at 415 Washington Grove Lane. The Council said that the oak should be removed as soon as possible. The Council, on the advice of Forestry Councilor Darrell Anderson, agreed that Town Forester Dan Landry should look again at the tulip poplar before deciding on removal.
Washington Grove census information is available on the Town’s website.
Dave Gumula reported that memorials are being contemplated for both Emmette Keese and Brenda Gumula’s daughter.
Mary Challstrom asked permission to purchase an amplifier and microphone to use for amplifying Town meetings. The Council agreed to the purchase.
Mary Challstrom conveyed Vicki Andrews’ concern about rail commuters parking between the railroad tracks and Railroad Street. Vicki reported that the numbers of vehicles parking in this area are increasing. The Council said that the Grove should not discourage use of public transportation by complaining about parking in this area and should make an effort to find additional parking to keep the Washington Grove train stop.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 p.m.