13 February 2006 | Approved: 13 March 2006
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:38 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Linda Baim, Georgette Cole, Betsy Klinger, Tom Land, and David Stopak. Also present were; Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher, Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Charlie Challstrom, Jeanie Myers, Ann Briggs, Linda Buel, Bud O’Connor, Bruce Rothrock, Meredith Horan, Charles Horan, George Paine, Peggy Booher, and Christine Currier. Bob Diss from Lindsey & Associates came to discuss the annual Town audit.
Introduction to Town Auditor
Bob Diss from Lindsey & Associates reviewed the Town’s annual audit report. He also took questions.
Charles Horan (127 Maple) expressed his and Mike Scott’s (411 Oak) concern about speeding on Maple Road. He said, "To improve public safety we are asking for speed bumps at Maple Road and Oak Street". Mayor Compton thanked Dr. Horan for his input and agreed that a full discussion was in order. Georgette Cole presented a plan from the Woman’s Club for a new patio. Because the Woman’s Club sits on Town land, the club must get approval from the Mayor and Council for any construction activity. The Mayor and Council reviewed the plan and suggested that a railing be installed on a patio of this height. The plan will go back to the Woman’s Club. Jeanie Myers came to ask if a Trash Committee could be formed. The Mayor and Council liked the idea and suggested that the Forestry & Beautification Committee take on the supervision of the trash crew.
Approval of Minutes
Darrell Anderson moved, David Stopak seconded that the Town Council minutes of January 9, 2006 be approved as amended. Vote: 6-0.
David Stopak moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for January be accepted. Vote: 6-0. Mary Challstrom noted that this year’s anticipated gypsy moth spraying will not have to happen but that a more realistic number should be determined for next year’s budget.
David Stopak moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, a motion to transfer funds. Vote: 6-0.
Jim Fletcher reviewed the new problem of damage, apparently from skateboarders, to the spiral slide in Woodward Park. A discussion of replacement parts and cost ensued. Jim will research the cost of fixing the broken pieces and report back next month. Tom Land also suggested that some kind of bar be placed across the top of the slide in order to make it more difficult for skateboarders to enter at the top. Jim reported on the furnace inspections at McCathran Hall and the Maintenance Shop. The recommendations were to replace 3 igniters in the Town Hall furnaces and a complete replacement of the furnace at the Maintenance Shop (cracked heat exchanger). Jim also reported that residents have been leaving very large debris piles for pick up by Town Maintenance and he asked for guidance. Discussion… The Mayor and Council agreed that piles larger than one pick up truck load should be the responsibility of the resident. An item that reflects this decision will be put in the Town Bulletin. Mayor Compton asked Jim to compile a priority list of road repairs.
Mayor Compton brought up the need for noise abatement for the proposed Inter-County Connector. The State noise study resulted in the opinion that no abatement was necessary for the Town of Washington Grove. The Mayor believes that the Town must hire a noise consultant to do our own study in order to rebuff the State’s study. A discussion about spending $5,000.00 for our own study vs. spending less money to review the State study for correctness ensued. The Mayor will ask Bob Booher to look into this idea. Mayor Compton announced that the State Program Open Space program is being fully funded this year. Mayor Compton also announced that Council Member Georgette Cole would be attending a Tree Management Seminar in Columbia, MD next month.
Mayor Compton announced that nothing was happening with the Phase I site plan. However, a meeting with the Park & Planning legal staff did happen. The legal staff is not opposed to the condemnation proposal but they are concerned about the wording on the approved plan. Park & Planning wants the preliminary plan process as well as the passive recreational use of the land to be protected. Park & Planning and the Town are drafting a maintenance management agreement for this property.
Deer Park Bridge
Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation raised the idea of turning over maintenance and ownership to the Town and the City of Gaithersburg.
Harrison Annexation Update
Mayor Compton reported that Town Attorney Bill Roberts thinks that creating a flexible zone for this annexation would help with the Town’s control of the development on this land.
Speeding on Chestnut Road
Linda Buel and Chris Currier expressed their concerns about speeding in Town. Discussion… The Mayor and Council agreed that there is a need for speed bumps on Maple Road. They also agreed that the reconfiguration of the McCauley Street and Washington Grove Lane intersection might help with the problems on Chestnut Road. There was further discussion about One-Way traffic, Do Not Enter signs, the placement of our speed limit signs, and speed bumps. An announcement asking for public comment about speed bumps on Maple, Chestnut, and Hickory will go in the Town Bulletin and Betsy Klinger will call the County Police for help with enforcement.
Darrell Anderson reported that the T1, in preliminary form, will be handed out next month. Some pieces (aerial views & recommendations) from Dan Landry are not ready but will be completed by Town Meeting in June. Jeanie Myers volunteered to maintain the Tree Inventory data base.
There was a lengthy discussion about deer fencing, realistic dates for the growing season, the definition of "front", the definition of "front yard", and the definition of "accessory building". Georgette Cole suggested that a purpose should be added to the fencing requirements in the ordinance. David Stopak will work on an Accessory Building definition and Darrell Anderson will work on P.O.D. and temporary use permit language. The record will remain open for another month.
Darrell Anderson reported on the following:
- 407 Acorn Lane: The Planning Commission recommends to the Town Council that the violation(s) be a "grandfathered" violation under the new Municipal Infractions Ordinance. Discussion… Mayor Compton would like to meet with Planning Commission Chair John McClelland and property owner Bruce Rothrock to put this issue to rest.
- Historic Preservation Commission: The PC was presented with the results of the HPC Survey and believes that this should be considered while working on the update of the Master Plan.
- Master Plan Revision: As a good beginning for the committee that will formally review this plan, PC members were assigned sections of the Master Plan to review.
- 352 Ridge Road – deck
Darrell Anderson reported that the Montgomery County Chapter of the MML will hold its next meeting on February 16th. It will be a work session with the County Council and Darrell will attend.
Linda Baim reported that the ice rink continues to wait for perfect weather.
Linda Baim reported that the improved website is ready for action but that a re-education effort must take place. Bill Saar would like all committee chairs to post their meeting announcements and information on the website. He would also like to see more and better use of the calendar.
Roads & Walkways
Georgette Cole reported that there have been several complaints about speeding on Chestnut Road and on Maple Road.
Forestry & Beautification – The Forestry Committee met on February 8th. Arbor Day was a major topic of discussion and schedule for April 22nd (rain date April 23rd). The Committee will invite Mayor Compton and a representative from PEPCO to speak. They may also get a representative from Tree City USA to attend/speak. The Forestry Committee gratefully accepts the offer of mulch from the ice-rink project. Georgette also reported that the Committee discussed the Tree Inventory, the disappearing mulch in the woods, re-starting the Trash Pick-up Crew, cleaning & pruning needed in various parts of Town, a possible fall/early winter woods clean up and the purchase of more benches for the Town.
Betsy Klinger reported that the Recreation Committee met on January 25th and will meet again on March 22nd. The Committee reviewed the successes and some problems with the Rec-sponsored New Years Eve party. Ann Briggs volunteered to develop a Recreation Event Application for such sponsored events. The purpose is to clarify responsibilities and expectations of future party planners who ask for Recreation sponsorship. The Committee also discussed the recent Davidangelo concert and the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day dance, the Peregrine Falcon program, Music Weekend events and the two remaining Mousetrap Concerts.
The McCathran Hall Needs Committee met on February 8th. The Committee continues to work on previously reported projects and will get cost estimates for all work and acquisitions planned for the FY06 budget meeting. Jim Fletcher continues to work on the closet improvements and on the baseboard replacement project.
Betsy Klinger reported that reports to Neighborhood Watch have dwindled to nearly nothing, however, there does seem to be intermittent reporting on the Yahoo Listserve. Another Bulletin item to encourage reporting of incidents to Neighborhood Watch will be put in the next issue.
Tom Land reported that our previous swim instructor Courtney Osbourne has agreed to teach Town kids again this summer. The Lake Committee will meet on March 1st.
Tom Land reported that Waste Management has been operating with infrequent issues, the fall leaf collection was extended because of bad weather with the crew taking extra efforts to suck up frozen, wet, flattened piles, and the rest of the leaves will be done in the spring week-long collection at the end of March.
see Maintenance Report.
Historic Preservation Commission
David Stopak reported that the HPC reviewed the following permit applications;
- 205 Grove Ave. porch/breezeway addition
David also reported that the HPC continued their discussion about the permitting process and that some members plan to attend the next Planning Commission meeting to raise their concerns.
David Stopak reported that the results of the HPC Questionnaire show that there is a strong consensus that the issues of mansionization and preservation of the character of the Town are important to address.
David also reported that Chairman Bob Booher would provide the Mayor and Council with language that will help clarify some definitions in the proposed ZTA2005-07. The HPC also discussed the Cator property annexation and continued their work on rules of procedure, archival issues and the organization of the house photo project.
Mayor Compton reported that he will look into sending someone from the Town to the Digital City Expo at the end of April in an effort to research the idea of the Town providing high-speed internet access to residents. The cost of the expo is $395.00.
It was moved and seconded.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:07 a.m.