9 July 2001 | Approved: 13 August 2001
Mayor John Compton called the meeting to order at 7:56 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Dave Gumula, Tricia Knox, Peggy Odick, Nick Suzich, and Dodie Tippens. The following Town residents also were present: Clare Cavicchi, Charlie Challstrom, Larry French, Don Gallagher, David Neumann and Ed Roberts. Boy Scout G. R. White and his dad were present, as was Outreach Coordinator Luis Martinez of the Upcounty Regional Services Center.
Approval of Minutes
Nick Suzich moved, Dave Gumula seconded, that the Town Council minutes of May 8, 2001 be approved. Vote: 6-0.
Peggy Odick moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, that Treasurer’s reports for May and June be accepted. Vote: 6-0.
Mayor Compton announced the following:
- New street addresses will be finalized soon for Ridge Road residences in the Washington Grove Hills subdivision. Additional addresses are necessary to accommodate new homes when the mostly one-acre parcels are subdivided.
- The Distribution Unit of the Maryland State Comptroller’s office has completed an audit of individual income tax returns for Washington Grove residents. Last week, the Town received a check that included an additional $31,000 for tax year 2000.
- Still looking for volunteers for the Deer Management Study Group
- Kudos this month to Della Curenton and Bob Booher for the very successful Town Forum on possible development of the Casey Field. Also to the many Fourth of July volunteers who made this year’s event a rousing occasion.
- Town Councilor Tricia Knox took the oath of office before the group assembled for the Town Forum on Saturday, June 30.
It was moved and seconded to confirm the following appointments:
- appointment of Bill Miller to replace Jim Leng on the Planning Commission. This term continues until July 2002
- appointment of Bud O’Connor to replace Peggy Odick on the Planning Commission. This term continues until July 2003.
Casey Field Development Issues/Status Report
Mayor Compton reported that the Town has applied for a $5,000 grant from Preservation Maryland/Maryland Historical Trust to help defray costs associated with shielding our historic Town from negative impacts of the proposed residential development on the Casey property. Barbara Raimondo is leading the grant effort. Recently, the Town was informed that a potential buyer of the Casey industrial property will seek a special exception from the County Board of Appeals to build mixed-use productivity housing on the property. Clare Cavicchi, representing the Town Planning Liaison Committee, said that this high density use will impact the entire area and it would not be practical for the Town to work with a planner in the absence of firmer plans for the industrial property. The Council scheduled a Special Town Council meeting for Monday, July 23, to receive progress reports from the Finance, Environmental/Open Space and Planning Liaison Committees. Attorney Bill Chen, the Town’s advocate on development of the Casey tract, asked the Mayor and Council to schedule a meeting with Oxbridge attorney Steve Kaufman prior to Oxbridge filing a pre-preliminary residential development plan. The preferred date is Wednesday, July 25.
Introduction of Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance
Peggy Odick moved, Nick Suzich seconded, introduction of Ordinance No. 2001-04 concerning The Establishment of a Historic Preservation Commission and clarifying the existing Building Permit Regulations. Mayor Compton stated that the recently completed Historic Preservation Report recommended such an ordinance as a valuable tool to encourage preservation of the Town’s historic structures. Clare Cavicchi, Larry French and David Neumann, former members of the Historic Preservation Study Group, presented seven modifications to the proposed ordinance. The modifications aim at distinguishing contributing historic structures within the Town and developing criteria and procedures for the issuance or denial of demolition permits for houses deemed to be historic. One suggests that the advisory role of the Commission be reviewed after two years to consider vesting relevant decision-making powers in the Historic Preservation group rather than the Planning Commission. The Study Group members said that the Historic Preservation Commission should have the ability to act to protect historic structures rather than just acting in an advisory capacity as the ordinance is currently drafted. Clare said that enacting an ordinance without teeth now makes the addition of more stringent regulations later seem onerous. Mayor Compton said that he would ask Town Attorney Bill Roberts, who drafted the current ordinance, to incorporate the modifications presented by the Study Group members in an amended ordinance. The motion introduced the ordinance in its current form. Vote: 4-2.
A public hearing on the ordinance was scheduled for Thursday, September 6.
Darrell Anderson reported that John McClelland has been elected chairman. Several revisions were suggested to the proposed ordinance to change the composition of the Planning Commission. Adding an alternate member will increase the chances of having a quorum for meetings. Town-owned building lots are being explored as a potential source of revenue to raise funds needed to influence proposed residential development of the Casey Field.
Darrell Anderson announced that three Montgomery County "Big Trees" have been recognized in Washington Grove. The trees were nominated by John Bradfield and are on public land: Big Tooth Aspen, Pitch Pine and a Short leaf Pine. Darrell reported that the City of Gaithersburg donated 128 vinca plants to the Town. Carol Uhlendorf and Mary Kay DuBois planted them at the commercial corner.
Tricia Knox reported that Jim Fletcher had supervised the removal of six trees at the end of June and the maintenance staff has been weedwacking.
Tricia Knox reported that a cell phone had been stolen from a vehicle.
Peggy Odick asked for information on restoring the wooden floor in McCathran Hall.
Dodie Tippens suggested that lake users be reminded that the lake well water has not been certified safe for drinking by WSSC. Forty-two children were enrolled in swim classes this year, which makes the classes crowded. The Lake Committee will work on a solution to overcrowded classes before next summer. Dodie said that she would talk to the City of Gaithersburg about testing the storm water sediment pond off Girard Street because of its proximity to Maple spring and lake.
Dave Gumula moved, Nick Suzich seconded, to pay planner Della Curenton $500 as a token of the Town’s appreciation for her excellent work in organizing the Town Forum. The Forum on possible development of the Casey Field was planned on short notice and involved training group moderators and the production of an extensive final report. Vote: 6-0.
Don Gallagher asked about the status of the problem speed hump in front of his house. Mayor Compton said that he had spoken with County traffic engineer Dave Loughery at the end of June and modification of this speed hump is in the queue for action. Status of the redesigned truck route signs was unknown.
Don Gallagher suggested that the Town rely on Montgomery County’s Deer Management Plan, but change Town ordinances to permit deer fencing as the only mechanism open to residents to protect their landscapes.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:07 p.m.