8 February 2021 | Approved: PENDING APPROVAL
The unprecedented emergency health crisis poses a challenge to all – individually and collectively. To protect ourselves and do our part to impede the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 disease, the regular meeting of the Town Council was held remotely via ZOOM Video Conferencing. The meeting was recorded.
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:35 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Charlie Challstrom, David Cosson, Marida Hines, Patty Klein and Gray Yachup. Also in attendance were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, and residents Georgette Cole, Christine Dibble, Marc Hansen, Robert Johnson, Joan Mahaffey, Audrey Maskery, and Jean Moyer. Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Bob Booher was also in attendance.
Approval of Agenda:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the agenda. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved.
Approval of Minutes:
Gray Yachup moved to approve the January 11, 2021 minutes of the Town Council. Dave Cosson seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved.
Treasurers Report 2021-January
Darrell Anderson moved acceptance of the January 2021 Treasurer’s Report. Marida Hines seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Patty Klein moved to authorize the transfer $10K from savings to checking to pay bills. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, approved.
Mayor’s Pledge on Behalf of Washington Grove to Work Towards 100% Clean, Renewable Energy Use:
Mayor Compton explained the pledge committing the Town to work towards the exclusive use of clean energy sources, which he proposes to endorse. He was approached by the Montgomery County Sierra Club to join other municipalities in the county, Maryland, and the country in this goal. There was a discussion about the following:
- Town’s commitment to do anything.
- Effect on which Town-owned facilities.
- Town’s roll in encouraging all to participate.
- Greenhouse gases as the main concern.
- Concerns about climate change.
- Getting a Town-wide opinion before agreeing to follow any recommendations.
- Town Sustainability Group’s efforts to write a plan and make recommendations.
- Partnering with other municipalities.
- County goals for 2035.
- County movement towards selling energy itself.
Gray Yachup moved to support and endorse the signing of this pledge by Mayor Compton. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0
- Kudos: Steve Werts for his recent efficient snow clearing of Town roads. Mayor Compton praised Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts for his outstanding ability in keeping our roads clear of snow. Bravo!
- COVID-19 Community Committee: Mayor Compton reported this group has been created by the County to succeed the Census Committee now that their work has concluded. He inquired whether anyone on the Town Council was interested in joining the group. Darrell Anderson volunteered to join. Patty Klein volunteered to serve as a back-up.
- Washington Grove Bikeways Connector Study Status: Public meeting Wednesday February 17th: Mayor Compton noted the public meeting on this subject scheduled take place virtually on February 17, 2021, and urged Washington Grove residents to attend.
- WSSC Sewer Project Status: The Ridge Road sewer project will be completed when full re-paving takes place in the Spring. WSSC has finished their Grove Avenue work, however restoration of the Avenue by Steve Werts will not be completed until weather allows.
- Montgomery County Draft Climate Action Plan: Mayor Compton reported on the public presentation last month, and that the draft plan is available to the public.
- Community Solar Project Proposal Status: Mayor Compton reported lots of activity concerning this project. Montgomery County Council Member Sidney Katz is strongly supportive, and he arranged and participated in discussions with Town representatives and County department heads and with Park and Planning. The proposed use of the lower field owned by the Parks Department for installation of solar energy collection has expanded to potential use of MD200/Metro Access/I370 interchange property and County building roof space.
- West Woods: It was reported to the Mayor that evidence of open fires have been seen by Saybrooke residents. This raises safety concerns. Town representatives walked the woods but could not locate the areas because of snow cover. Community Services officer Kimberly Jones has been contacted about the matter.
- Stormwater drainage under Railroad Street: Mayor Compton reported reconnecting (at the urging of the Emergency Preparedness and Safety Committee) with Montgomery County Department of Transportation – once more – about the drainage problem on Railroad Street. He will report their response and continue to pursue a solution to the problem.
- Salt Barn Status: Mayor Compton reported he was able to touch base with County Executive Marc Elrich and is hopeful that a decision about how to move forward can be made soon.
Resolution 2021-02; Establishing Procedures for Issuing Permits for Archeological, Cultural Artifact of Fossil Investigation on Town Land – Introduction and Discussion:
Dave Cosson gave a history of the resolution. Both the Historic Preservation Commission and the Woods Committee have provided input for this legislation. Permit fees will be set by ordinance per our Charter requirement. Patty Klein moved to introduce Resolution 2021-02. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
There was further discussion about potential costs for archeological work, use of Municipal Infractions ordinance to specify fines, and amending language in the Resolution. Patty Klein moved to adopt Resolution 2021-02 as amended. Gray Yachup seconded the motion.
Action: Dave Cosson will present a draft ordinance concerning fines at the March meeting of the Town Council.
Ordinance 2021-01 Amending the Washington Grove Zoning Ordinance to Terminate Certain Restrictive Covenants and to Authorize Related Legal Instruments Suitable for Recordation in the Land Records of Montgomery County
Ordinance 2021-01 – Discussion and Public Hearing date. The Mayor and Council discussed the following:
- Where in the Town Code to integrate this ordinance; Article VII Zoning vs. elsewhere in the Code.
- Whether the Town or its successors can terminate or retract already existing covenants.
- Whether the term “terminate” or rather “make null and void” would be appropriate.
- Defining the ordinance as being general in scope yet permanent in nature.
Charlie Challstrom moved to set the date for the public hearing as March 8, 2021 at 7:00 PM prior to the Town Council meeting. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion.
Action: Mayor Compton will talk with the town attorney about placement of the ordinance.
Road Paving Plan for Spring 2021 – Updated Estimate for Chestnut (Oak Street to Brown Street), for McCauley Street at Washington Grove Lane, and Discussion of Stormwater Drainage Pipes Under Chestnut Road and Center Street:
Gray Yachup presented estimates from A.B. Veirs for new work on Chestnut Road and updated figures for the third phase of current year’s proposed road work. Although the updated amounts for the Chestnut Road work were accepted and considered reasonable, the apron on McCauley Street at Washington Grove Lane was higher than expected. Discussion included:
- Combining the McCauley Road at Washington Grove Lane work with the Chestnut Road work represents a new new project expense exceeding $5,000 and would require a new RFP.
- The Town Request For Proposal process.
- Who owns the apron (Town or County?).
- The extent of work involving addressing the stormwater management issues (pipes and berms). When it was appropriate for the Town to address stormwater problems adversely effecting residential property.
Patty Klein spoke to stormwater management problems that were localized and not Town-wide, and noted that any fixes should also consider what will happen downstream of the problem. For this local area, she encouraged the Council not to neglect the impact on the West Woods.
Actions: Consensus was reached to proceed with the Chestnut Road paving by A.B. Veirs, to explore stormwater control measures by non-contracted mitigation, and to issue an RFP for the McCauley Street – Washington Grove Lane intersection work. Gray Yachup will talk with Steve Werts about his ability to install a pipe under Chestnut Road.
Stormwater Run-off and Collection in the Vicinity of Chestnut Road, Oak Street, Chestnut Avenue & Center Street, Morgan Park, Stormwater Drainage Under Railroad Street, and Flooding in the West Woods:
This topic was covered in the previous item discussion and in Mayor’s Announcments. Mayor Compton has been in touch with Montgomery County Department of Transportation again and will continue to track our request for increased drainage capacity under Railroad Street.
Town Council Reports:
- Summary of the 2020-21 Hunt Deer Hunt Management Session – Mayor Compton asked Patty Klein, Co-Chair of the Woods Committee, for a summary of the culling activity this session. Patty reported one (1) buck and five (5) does were harvested and the session ended on 30 January 2021. The tree stand and feeding station have been removed. The hunter’s trail camera was reported stolen, and the Town will reimburse the $75.00 cost of the camera. One of the bow hunters will attend the next Woods Committee meeting for a debriefing. There was a brief discussion about the harvest being half of last year’s and talking to Montgomery County Parks about expanding the hunting area.
- East Woods Trail Maintenance: Patty Klein reported she had engaged a landscaper to help fix the chronically wet spots in the East Woods. They will use Town soil, downed timber and brown gravel to build timber turnpikes to help with the water problems.
- Refuse and Recycling RFP: Dave Cosson reported the RFP for the collection of refuse and recycling was mailed to vendors on Friday, 5 February 2021. Bids will be opened at the TC meeting on 8 March 2021 at the virtual Town Council meeting with bidders invited to attend.
- Border Committee Sign Proposal: Charlie Challstrom presented a proposed new sign design for installation in three new locations on Washington Grove Lane and Railroad Street. The materials used are a combination of pressure treated wood and a synthetic material. Planning Commission Chair Peter Nagrod will do a formal presentation of the signs at the March TC meeting.
Vote: 6-0, Town Council Reports approved for posting by general consensus.
There was none.
Gray Yachup reported a small problem with the nuclear reactor at NIST last week. He reported a leak entirely contained in the confinement building on the property, and that some personnel were being treated for potential radiation exposure.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:07 p.m.
Kathryn L. Lehman
TC REPORTS – February 2021
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Darrell Anderson
The HPC held a virtual meeting on January 19, 2021; the next meeting will be held on February 16, 2021, at 7:30 pm by virtual means.
There were no new submitted permit applications for review.
The HPC approved with revisions the current draft of Ordinance 2020-13 (Amending Article I to Enable Regulation of Activity on Town Land by Resolution, to Prohibit Damage to or Removal of Vegetation, Minerals or Artifacts on Public Property, and to Require a Permit for Archeological Activities). The HPC will send to the Town Council. Discussion and review of the permit application will be conducted at the next HPC meeting.
Information from the Town archives continues to be collected for the Racial Equity group, including census data. It was recommended that results of this fact finding be held for presentation to the Town when in-person meetings resume.
The HPC continues to work on a map regarding Town historic resources based on the historic review information for our National Register nomination. The Appendices have been printed and delivered to the Town Office.
For the National Register (NR), the HPC is working with the Communications Committee to make NR materials more visible on the Town website. Concept for a “landing page” was reviewed.
Comprehensive (Master) Plan Update: The HPC continues to review the draft of the new Section 13 (Climate Change) submitted by the Climate Change group.
The Lighting Committee (LC) held a virtual meeting on January 27, 2021; the next meeting will be held on February 24, 2021.
The LC reviewed the Comprehensive Plan lighting segments. No additional changes or updates were proposed.
The LC reviewed the updated streetlight spreadsheet and discussed how to address some questions to help clarify and understand how the billing information is generated. This is noted in the LC meeting notes. Annual estimated total operating costs for street lights is approximately $5,000, which is the Town’s largest annual energy cost item. Also noted were the reductions of annual costs from $18,784 (with incandescent bulbs, prior to 2012) to $8,622 (with induction bulbs, 2012 to 2020), and now to $4,974 (with the current LED bulbs).
Regarding sustainability, the LC thinks there is an opportunity of advocate for changing to a renewable energy source for the Town’s electricity. Issues include the Town’s eligibility to make such a change, and also discussion noting an expected increase in the Town’s energy costs associated with changing to renewable energy sources.
A discussion of lighting options at the corner of Grove Avenue and Oak Street clarified an issue of light replacement needing input of residents affected by replacement. In this case, some affected residents want a replacement and some don’t. It may be that a Town policy could be developed to address these types of issues.
A few low-voltage bollards have been purchased for installation along the pathway alongside McCathran Hall.
PEPCO has submitted its tariff proposal with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). The LC will locate and download portions of the application or other information needed to interpret the potential impacts on the Town’s street lights. A suggested strategy us to have the Town produce a filing and a request for submission soon to the Maryland PSC that the Town be allowed to retain its current stock of streetlight fixtures, recently updated with the new LED bulbs, done in cooperation with PEPCO at Town cost and with LED bulbs purchased from the PEPCO-recommended supplier, and retention of the historic lighting fixtures that contribute to the historic character of this National Historic Register District.
MAINTENANCE – Darrell Anderson
Made trips to the County dump when necessary. Purchased gas when needed. Completed paperwork as required. Worked in the maintenance shop if needed or weather dictated.
Took down holiday decorations outside of Town Hall. Picked up a load of Christmas trees and took to the dump.
Met with Myers & Laws to review tree work and stump grinding in the Circle, Brown Street, and trimming dead wood out of Town tree over 415 Washington Grove Lane.
Filled hole in the Circle with dirt so it could settle through the winter. Loaded and hauled left over firewood in the Circle (not picked by residents) to the dump.
Started reconstruction work on the retaining wall and drainage on 4th Avenue.
Picked up two loads of gravel from Jack T. Irwin to spread in low areas in the park parking lot.
Fixed the basketball net on the court.
Met with WSSC about sink holes on Grove Avenue. Met with WSSC to review camera work in the lateral at 207 Grove Ave. Met with Darrell and WSSC on Ridge Road to review impending paving work. Met with WSSC about sewer lining on Grove Ave and Center Street.
Met with A.B. Veirs to go over asphalt work needed on Chestnut Rd, the drainpipe under the road, and also at the McCauley entrance.
Worked on the drainage project on Cherry Ave. Removed brush on Cherry Ave. Picked up load of topsoil from Seasons Nursery and hauled fill dirt from the shop to Cherry Ave.
Went to Home Depot to pick up supplies for Town Hall, Cherry Ave., and the shop.
Moved bench on Brown Street for F&B – installed another bench on Chestnut Ave. Installed memorial plaques on boards for two new benches and installed boards back on new benches in the Circle.
Worked in the shop on the tennis roller. Went to Applied Technologies to buy a new gear for the roller.
Met with Joan Mahaffey to go over tree work on paths in the East Woods
Replaced rotted fence post on Cherry Ave (behind 105 Maple).
Went to Home Depot to pick up 2x10x12s for refurbishing the baseball backstop and began work on it.
Cleaned the bathrooms.
Checked roads for ice (rain & ice) and sanded hills and intersections. Went to Jack T. Irwin to pick up two loads of sand for snow removal – shoveled sand in the shop.
Met with Guardian Fire (sprinkler system inspection).
Met with Georgette to discuss parking on 4th Avenue (issue to be brought up to the Planning Commission).
For the 3-day snow event, plowed roads when necessary and sanded hills repeatedly when needed.
Went to get new brake line for the Town truck. Replaced brake line.
Cleaned the leaves out of the ditch in the park.
Went to the dump with concrete (removed from 122 Grove Ave for WSSC work).
Went to Lowes to pick up split rail fence posts (used on Oak Street and Ridge Road)
Went to Jack T. Irwin to get two loads of CR6 for Cherry Ave. Hauled and spread fill dirt on Cherry Avenue at new drainpipe.
Installed a new bench in the park (along Grove Road at McCauley).
Worked on the Town truck and plow to prepare for snow. Plowed snow. Sanded icy hills & intersections around Town.
Cut up a downed tree that fell across Cherry Ave.
Met with Guardian Fire at Town Hall (to repair a smoke detector).
Put cones around sink hole outside 117 Grove Ave.
Contacted A.B. Veirs about road work on Chestnut Road.
Fixed exit light at Town Hall.
Picked up bamboo (cut during the snowstorm on Grove Road) and hauled it to the dump. Cleaned park bathrooms.
Surveyed landscape drainage issue in front of 4th Ave (reconstruction suggested by Mayor Compton). Began reconstruction.
PLANNING COMMISSION – Charlie Challstrom
Building Permit Activity – There were no approvals this month of building permit applications. An application was recently received for a porch enclosure at 317 Brown Street, and Jon Cohen is reviewing that application to report back to the PC regarding setback and lot coverage requirements. Deb Mehlferber has been coordinating with the property owner and a fence company for proposed work on a replacement fence at 303 First Avenue, which also requires a boundary survey.
Ordinance 2021-01 Terminating Restrictive Covenants – This is the proposed Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) accepted by the PC in January to add a new Section 2.4 to Article VII, Zoning. This ZTA would declare a certain set of three Restrictive Covenants, as terminated, and authorize legal instruments for filing in the Land Records, if requested and prepared by owners of properties burdened by these Restrictive Covenants. During the January Council meeting, there was a brief discussion about the Town attorney’s preliminary opinion that this action may not specifically belong in Article VII, Zoning. During that Council meeting, Marc Hansen stated he agreed this is a quasi-land use issue and there is logic for putting it in the zoning code. To comply with Article VII, during the next Council meeting the Council must set a date for the public hearing for this Ordinance as accepted by the PC. In the meantime, work has continued to identify additional properties in Washington Grove burdened by these Restrictive Covenants.
PC Work Session on January 25, 2021 – During this Comprehensive Plan work session, the PC reviewed the updated Exhibit A map (Current Zoning and Growth Areas) courtesy of Kirk Eby, GIS Planner, City of Gaithersburg. Bob Booher suggested including a version of the November 2017 map of the Washington Grove Boundary from Chris McGovern, County GIS Manager, to include additional details. The PC then reviewed the new Section 13, Sustainability. The energy use and electricity sources were updated for McCathran Hall and the Maintenance Shop, and the Street Lights cost figures were updated to reflect savings associated with the new LED bulbs. In the subsection on Town Natural Resources, the composting recommendations were accepted, but conversion of mowed Town parks to forest was rejected. Conversion of the athletic field to a natural meadow was also rejected. A suggestion for community gardens was retained. The PC added consideration of financial parameters to the EV charging stations recommendation. Most other recommendations were accepted without changes, except the recommendation to enact a tree ordinance for private property. The PC noted the Town already has a forest conservation ordinance in place that includes reforestation and afforestation requirements. The next PC work session is scheduled for Monday, February 22.
Public Ways & Property (PW&P) Permit Activity – Work has continued on updating PW&P permit application forms to incorporate requirements of the Maryland’s Roadside Tree Law. The PC tentatively approved additional modifications to two versions of the application forms, both including updated submission time to allow for HPC review. One of these versions has been adapted to accommodate PW&P permit requests for driveway or walkway construction in a public way that is adjoining residential property. The updated PW&P permit application forms have been shared with the HPC for review during the next HPC meeting.
MCCATHRAN HALL – Charlie Challstrom
No activities to report this month.
MONTGOMERY MUNICIPAL CABLE (MMC) – Charlie Challstrom
The MMC Annual Meeting was held via Zoom on January 27 and included election of officers. David Winstead (Chevy Chase Village) is the new MMC President, Matt Trollinger (Somerset) is the new MMC Vice President, Lisa Fair (Chevy Chase View) is the new MMC Treasurer, and Martin Crowson (North Chevy Chase) is the MMC Secretary. The meeting included showing the MMC 2020 Year in Review program, also available on YouTube, with video highlights of our Washington Grove events. MMC Legal Counsel Ron Bolt joined us, and we discussed the upcoming franchise renewals for Verizon and Comcast, citing the role of the Montgomery County Office of Cable and Broadband Services.
CENSUS – Charlie Challstrom
Census Update – The U.S. Census Bureau is implementing President Biden’s Executive Order “Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census,” released January 20, 2021. The 2020 Census data products will not include information on citizenship or immigration status. The Acting Director of the Census reports the current schedule points to April 30, 2021, for the completion of the apportionment counts. On a separate note, I recently responded to the 2021 Boundary and Annexation Survey, the annual Census survey to confirm Washington Grove has no boundary changes, annexations, or contact updates to report this year.
CONTRACTS – Dave Cosson
RFP’s for the Refuse and Recycling contracts have been issued with a return date of March 5, 2021.
WOODS – Dave Cosson
The Woods Committee met on February 1st and discussed the following:
Deer Management – The 2020-21 bow hunting season ended January 30th with the BHFFMD reporting one doe harvested in January for a total of 6 deer (1 buck/ 5 does) in the season. The Committee reflected on perceptions about reduction of the deer population and whether the bow hunters should relocate their tree stand to adjust to changing deer movement patterns. The BHFFMD will be invited to a virtual meeting to discuss this season’s experience and activities in the 2021-22 season. The WC will draft a letter of appreciation from the Mayor to send in recognition of BHFFMD’s efforts over the last two seasons.
Ordinance 2020-13 – The draft Resolution implementing Ordinance 2020-13 and a model permit application instruction sheet were discussed. The Resolution was not considered at the last Town Council meeting in order to provide HPC opportunity for comment. Revisions included making terminology consistent and clarifying that the permit requirement doesn’t apply to picking up trash. The current proposed Resolution reflects the HPC’s input and will be introduced at the next council meeting. After the Mayor has reviewed instructions for permit applications directed to archeological excavations, drafts with respect to fossils and minerals will be prepared. Separately, proposed application fees and associated Ordinance text are being prepared.
Town Comprehensive Plan – The Committee reviewed the draft Section 13.3.3 of the Plan (Town Natural Resources) and noted it does not mention the importance of trees as a natural resource for carbon sequestration, and that maintenance of the forest preserve remains of utmost importance as reflected in the mission statement. The WC will draft a statement to be incorporated in this Section.
Signage – Discussions with a potential sign supplier have continued and mock-ups and prices are expected this month. The initial focus will be on signs and small kiosks at trail entry points, with interior signs to follow. The signposts will be pressure treated wood and the WC will consider whether painting similar to the Town’s street signs would be practical.
Timber Turnpikes – The Committee approved a proposal from a landscape contractor to construct pilot Timber Turnpikes in three wet portions of the East Woods trails using downed tree limbs for side rails and soil available from Town Maintenance. Plastic drainpipes would be used to channel rainwater under the Turnpikes. These 3 installations will subsequently be evaluated for use in other wet trail areas. The majority cost will be labor. Separately, a section of Maple Avenue Extended between Center Street and Franklin Trail that is habitually wet will have 67 tons of brown chipping stone placed to improve drainage and prevent erosion. Sufficient funds are available in the WC’s FY21 budget for this trail maintenance project.
Tree Removal – WC is contracting with tree service company to fell 10 dead or dying trees along the Challstrom Trail that present public safety hazards. The work is expected to be conducted in February.
West Woods Cleanup – The WC will place a notice in the Town Bulletin to ask residents to assist with a Spring trash clean-up in the West Woods on an individual basis consistent with pandemic precautions of social distancing and wearing masks. Committee members will investigate reports of small camp-fire sites in the West Woods and remind the Mayor of our request to notify our Montgomery County Police liaison officer of the issue. Follow up contacts with Gaithersburg officials will be made with respect to the collapsed storm water culvert along the edge of Kelly Park and the West Woods that is causing flooding into the West woods.
Budget – The Committee approved a proposed budget that retains the $50,000.00 total from the current fiscal year but reallocates funds among some categories to reflect an expected increased need for trail maintenance.
RACIAL EQUITY COMMITTEE – Dave Cosson
The Committee met by Zoom on January 17th and discussed the following:
Social Equity Assessment – A Social Assessment would involve have qualified professionals evaluate how Washington Grove is perceived in terms of racial equity by residents, potential residents, and neighboring communities and what disparities need to be addressed. The Assessment would provide important information to the Town Government and the Committee for use in formulating policy and planning educational programs, consistent with the draft Comprehensive Plan goal to become a more inclusive town.
The Committee will make inquiries to county and state governmental agencies, non-profit organizations and consultants with respect to developing the specifics for the assessment, exploring the availability of funding, and identifying people and organizations to conduct it. The Committee will propose a funding amount for FY 2022.
Education Subcommittee – The Committee is evaluating monthly small gatherings where short presentations on experiences and thoughts from readings would be made. A shared spreadsheet has been created for listing resources and to sign up as presenter.
Comprehensive Plan Sustainability Section – The Committee reviewed the draft Sustainability section and noted concern that surveying of residents be done equitability and responses be voluntary. The leader of the Sustainability Group spoke to the Committee explaining the concepts in the Section and that the Group is examining the feasibility of a revolving fund from donations and a community solar project that could help residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The Committee will submit specific comments on the draft.
COMMUNICATIONS WORK GROUP – Marida Hines
Nothing to report.
DOG PARK – Marida Hines
Nothing to report.
RECREATION – Marida Hines
The Recreation Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 was cancelled due to the presidential inauguration. The rescheduled meeting will be held February 18, 2021. The tentative agenda includes a discussion of Summer in the Parks and activities that could potentially dovetail with the Sustainability Group/its mission. The public are welcome to attend the Zoom meeting.
WEBSITE – Marida Hines
A plan has been submitted to the Town webmaster with details on expanding coverage of the Washington Grove Historic District information. The plan is to add a new and easily accessible/findable page that will serve as a landing page with basic information about our status as a historic district and links to the actual application. This will be made more user friendly through inclusion of a Table of Contents linking to anchors in specific sections of the application. This initiative was spearheaded by Wendy Harris, Jeff McCrehan, and Bob Booher.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS & SAFETY COMMITTEE – Pat Klein
The EPSC met on January 28, 2021 to discuss the following topics.
COVID-19 vaccination in Montgomery County: Mark Frederiksen volunteered to research potential ways to have a COVID-19 vaccination site in Washington Grove similar to the federal government contracting with local providers to administer vaccinations on-site at nursing homes and similar facilities. He will update the EPSC on his outreach and potential Town actions to consider.
Drainage under Railroad ST and CSX tracks: Montgomery County has not taken action to repair or replace obstructed or improperly positioned drainage pipes under Railroad Street and the CSX tracks despite Mayor Compton’s June 4th letter to County Executive Elrich. MCDOT had replied that the drainage issue was forwarded to the Division of Highway Services (DHS) for response but no repair was done. The EPSC just drafted a follow-up letter for the Mayor to send to the DHS contact asking the County to address this maintenance request.
Overgrown vegetation along Washington Grove Lane: EPSC members discussed overgrown vegetation on the public land along the Washington Grove Lane sidewalk that poses safety concerns by impeding pedestrians or obstructing motorist vision. EPSC is requesting action to trim or remove this vegetation.
Improving Town communications: The EPSC will reach out to the Communications Committee to offer support to improve Town communications to residents, including updating website content and interface. The EPSC believes having solid communication capabilities and a high-functioning, accurate website are needed to help ensure effective Town communication during emergencies.
The next meeting is scheduled on Thursday, February 25, 2021.
MAPLE LAKE – Pat Klein
The Maple Lake Committee is on winter hiatus. The next meeting is scheduled on February 18, 2021.
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Gray Yachup
The Forestry and Beautification Committee has concluded their efforts for Fall planting season and will begin meeting again in the lead up to the Spring season.
PLAYGROUNDS – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report.
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Gray Yachup
With the steep estimated cost of the proposed culvert under Chestnut, I will be investigating bringing in a SWM consultant to identify the best mitigation locations for our key problem areas in Town. We must be willing to invest in infrastructure, but we also must ensure that significant spending is being directed towards areas of guaranteed efficacy.
I am also currently working on adding a sign on the Acorn Lane side of 4th Avenue to reduce ambiguity in that area.
MEMORIALS – Gray Yachup
Nothing to report.
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT – Gray Yachu
I have begun investigating the ongoing concerns of those on the corner of Hickory and Oak and will see what potential efforts can be made to assist in the runoff in that area. I am also investigating bringing in a Stormwater Management Consultant for the Town.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – Gray Yachup
Weed Warriors virtual trainings have begun again, and I will be putting out a message to the Town to ask for volunteers to take the training in preparation of efforts to eliminate MAM and other invasive species in the park this Spring.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Gray Yachup
Reached back out to Border Committee and the SGXC Board to see if we can begin moving forward with solidifying/beautifying the path between our communities. I will also be looking into beautifying the entrance to the Conservation Park from SGXC as well.